I have really missed having a camera phone. Although I am only into day two of playing with my new toy, having been without one for a year, I forgot how bloody handy it is to have a camera in your pocket at all times.
I imagine you could be thinking.. “Wait a minute, this guy works as a photographer.. Surely he has a camera at the ready at all times anyway.. and a good one at that?” Well, just as a bricky doesn’t take his trowel everywhere or the artist his brushes, I too neglect to carry around my very heavy pro kit, or even sometime my pocketable compact camera. I always seem to have my phone with me though.
This I think is a really important point and on that basis alone, I feel I could comfortably argue that the camera phone is the best type of camera you can own.
How could this be? Well the best camera is the one that gets the shot. The one you have with you when you really need it. We have seen phone pix from air crash victims, protesters using mobiles to keep the police accountable for their actions, Burmese sending at one point the only news from their oppressed country and let us not forget the most famous pix from the heart of the 7/7 bombings.
It’s all about being there.. with a camera. It doesn’t really matter what kind of camera as long as you can push a button and some kind of legible image is captured.
Initially the first time I thought you could actually take a decent picture was with the 2MP Sony k750i and now I have the K850i I am really beginning to think we are getting there. We still need the leica lens’s of this world and a decent sensitive CCD before the traditional camera can feel threatened regarding quality, but as it stands, we have some pretty decent tools at our disposal.
So there you are in the center of the action camera phone in hand. Do you trust yourself? Can you capture the moment under pressure?.. Or more likely.. after a few beers when tying shoe laces is hard enough?
Follow these few tips and you will stand a much better chance:
Get the most from your camera phone.
Keep things bright – Just as photography means painting with light, the better lit your subjects, the clearer and more defined your images are likely to be. Outdoors in the day will be much better than indoors at night, (obviously) even with a decent flash. Turning lights on indoors will help a little but you will get a bit of a colour cast depending on the kind of lights.
Use the best resolution available – Why anyone would want to take low resolution picture on an already limited format is beyond me. Memory is getting really cheep right now so stick the biggest card your camera will take and keep the quality setting on maximum to get the best resolution/image size. NB: Most cameras will automatically resize for texting so don’t worry about texting large files..
Don’t use affects – There is nothing you can do in the camera that you could not do later on the computer. If you want a picture to be in Black and white.. Wait and do it later so at least you have a backup copy of the original colour pic. Again, its easy to convert from colour to black and white but you try to do it the other way round.
Fill the frame – Don’t be afraid of getting in really close. If you haven’t got a lot of resolution to play with you don’t want a little spec of a person standing in the distance. Fill the view finder (unless you have a distorting fisheye lens), get in as close as your focus will allow and you will get much better detail in your photos.
Avoid using digital Zoom – If you have a zoom feature on your camera phone it will most likely be a digital zoom. all this does is cut into the amount of pixels you have to take the picture with , rapidly reducing the quality of your final image. Use your legs where possible and just move in close. Where not possible, later on the computer, crop in a little.
Be snap happy – You don’t have to worry about the cost of film so let rip. Take as many pix as your memory card will allow and you will be more likely to capture that ‘perfect moment.’ Play around, experiment. Some camera phones have a ‘best shot’ setting, taking a number of pix when you press the button and allowing you a choice from similar moments.
..and finally, Be prepared – Having your camera phone with you is one thing, remembering how it can be used is another. Practice using every aspect of it from the macro (close-up) feature to switching the flash off and on manually. Once is all because second nature you are ready to grab that one shot you may be able to retire on.
Or at the very least, you will have a nice photograph of something.
[The photos in this blog are my first and second ever taken with this phone. I am sure there will be better to come ;)]