Friday, 26 May 2017

Phone Camera Photography Hints - and a Clever Little Gadget

Taking photos on a phone camera has moved from a last-option to becoming a first choice for some people. And having a camera to hand all the time, as part of the phone you take everywhere with you anyway, means we often tend to take more photos than before. The camera on my phone isn't a top quality one but it can still take a good snap if the conditions are right - and it has a few simple settings that allow me the opportunity to get a decent image if those conditions are a bit wrong.

I've not taken many jewellery photographs with my phone camera as it's not that well-suited to such shots - yes, it has a surprisingly decent close-up if the lighting conditions are good enough, and it also has enough pixels to provide reasonable detail. However it lacks some colour range and subtlety and the closeness of the close-up is limited, so I can't get those extra-detailed images on smaller pieces of jewellery, like rings and earrings.

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The photo of the ring above was taken for this blog post on my phone camera - I've edited it very slightly for colour and clarity. I also increased the brightness a little, but perhaps not enough as it still looks a little gloomy...

I still find myself using my phone camera more and more for general photography, when I'm out and about and prefer the convenience of something quick and simple. At times like that a phone camera comes into its own and means I've more photos than ever sitting on another memory card. And that's where they tend to stay...

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This photo was taken a few months back when I was fortunate enough to be by the sea on a clear evening as the sun was setting. The quality isn't fantastic but having my phone with me meant I was able to snap this, enjoy the fun of clicking away as the sun sank lower and lower, and have the photographic reminder of the experience afterwards. I found this image hidden in the depths of the memory on my phone...

A few years back digital photo frames were nearly everywhere. I never owned one myself but have sat in other peoples' house, watching the photos images flick past, some good and well-composed, intermingled with many that should have been deleted immediately (and how many of us get around to that as often as we should) and lots that were out of focus or too dark or too light or just plain embarrassing...

So I was intrigued by a new digital photo frame, this one a smart one. The Aura Frame displays photos directly from a mobile phone, so it has no storage limits other than those of the phone itself. It manages to not only pick the best quality images for display but also groups pictures of the same people together. The frame itself has no controls on it; everything is dealt with via an app - although it also allows you to wave an image away by hand if you don't like it, which sounds quite fun.

And the Aura Frame company created this guide to taking a good photo on your phone camera - It was interesting as I believe it's hard to have enough advice and hints for such a topic as taking good photos.

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A few pointers of my own that I've learned through taking my own images are -

* Don't assume auto is best - most camera phones will have several modes for taking photos and while auto is good, others can sometimes be better. I've had good results with using the 'night' mode (for taking photos of low light scenes without a flash) but in the daylight when things are just a little bit gloomy and in need of more brightness. 'sports' mode is also handy for any kind of action shot.

* Touch the image on your phone where you want the focus to be - this is one of the joys of phone cameras and touch screens, being able to quickly and easily move the point of focus in the image you're composing.

* Keep your lens clean - it's easy to overlook this but tiny specs of dust and dirt can easily build up on your camera lens and will make your photo look smudged and blurry. A quick clean before taking a photo can sometimes make a world of difference to your final image.

* Alter the angle you hold your phone to alter the light - if your viewfinder shows your photograph will be pretty dark then tilt the phone up or down very slightly. You can often get very nearly the exact same view but by allowing more light in, via an altered angle, you can add detail that is otherwise lost in gloom. This works in reverse too for images that look to be too bright.

* Explore the settings - we all tend to just point and click but if you take some time to explore the modes your camera has to offer, perhaps by taking pictures of the same view but with different  settings, then you can quickly find how some alterations can create an improvement (or not!) to the quality of your images.


Hope some of these hints are useful and help your own phone camera photography - do leave any tips of your own in the comments, I'd love to read them.

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And if you'd like to see more of my posts on photography, including my photographing jewellery blog series, then do check this link out and explore.

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Please note - The infographic featured in this post was supplied by Aura Frames themselves, but I am otherwise not connected with the company and the links in my post are
 not affiliate links. As always, my views are my own and have been given honestly.

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