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Focus on Photography - ROCK your cell phone camera


One of the greatest things invented is the Smart phone.  A phone, computer and camera all in one – what more could we ask for?  Now we can take photos any time, all the time.   The only disadvantage to the cell phone camera is the quality.  The Nokia Lumia 1020 – the cell phone with a 41 megapixel camera, may change all of that, but for now, you’re not likely to get professional grade quality from your cell phone, but then you’re likely using it to capture everyday moments and not poster-sized canvases.

I love my cell iPhone 4s.  I never leave home without it and I love that I can always have photos without taking my dSLR everywhere.  This year, I’ve made a point to learn to use the camera better and play around with editing the photos.  This week, I’d like to share some tips to really rock your cell phone camera.  All of the photos in this post were taken with my iPhone 4s.

Tip #1- Light

Once again, our main consideration when taking photos is light.  Cell phone cameras really need a lot of light.  They do not work well at all in the dark and the LED light makes a better flashlight than flash, but it’s better than nothing, so we make the best of it.  I usually turn mine off.  I know I run the risk of camera motion, but I try to hold as still as possible.  This is also a good time to mention that the front camera (at least on the iPhone) is much worse in quality than back camera.

Tip #2 – Watch your background

As with any photo, pay attention to what is in the background.  Avoid clutter or objects coming out of people’s heads.  Ok, realistically, it's unavoidable to catch the right moment at the right time without also grabbing some background.  That's where editing can play an important role in your shots.  Other times, it's easy to set up a shot just the way you want.  Also, watch the horizon. The world might not be flat, but it should look like it is in photos.  We don't want anyone sliding off the edge of the world!  ;)

Tip #3- Editing apps

It’s very rare these days to see any photo that hasn’t been edited to some extent.  There are endless apps out there for editing photos, from free to quite a few dollars.  I don’t have all of them, so I’ll share a few of my favorites.

A.     Editing apps
a.     Snapseed – Full control of brightness, contrast, color and even some special effects.  I love this app for great all-purpose clean editing.
b.     VSCOcam – If you like the VSCOcam presets or just want to try something new, then you’ll love this app.  Perfect black and white images with one click.  I've also become quite fond of the "faded and moody" set (T1-3).

Edited with VSCOcam
c.      BigLens – add some depth of field and bokeh as if you took a shot with a wide aperture.
Edited with BigLens
d.     PicTapGo – From the makers of the totally RAD actions – find popular combinations or create your own.
e.     Picfx – Edit with fun presets, including light, textures and frames.
Edited with Picfx

Word art by Rhonna Designs
B.     Presentation
a.     PicFrame – Put multiple pictures together to make a collage.
b.     Line camera – Add cute little doodles to your photos.
c.      Over – Add text and doodle overlays.
d.     Beautiful Mess - Add text and doodle overlays.
e.     Rhonna designs – virtual scrapbook pages right at your fingertips.


 C.     Posting
a.     Instagram
b.     InstaWeather
c.      InstaFood
d.     InstaQuote, 
e.   InstaETC…Yes, I'm kidding about that one, bu there seems to be a ton of apps for posting any category you can imagine.
D.    Other
a.     Photo365 – one of my favorite ways to remember when photos are taken and perfect for Project Life!
b.     Photosynth – Create amazing, 3D panoramic images.
c.      Skitch – draw your own doodles for fun or add them to photos.

Tip #4- Accessorize!

macro attachment used
A.     Lens attachements - I have the ones from PhotoJoJo, but I’ve heard good things about the Olio Clip ones as well.  The set includes a telephoto lens, wide angle lens, and a macro.

waterproof case by DriSuit

  B.     Weather proof case -  Take your cell hone to the beach or underwater without worrying about the sand or water damage.  I have one from DriSuit.

  C.     Tripod – can you beleive the make little tripods for cell phones?  How fun!

Tip #5 – HAVE FUN!

My favorite tip is to always remind you to have fun.  Enjoy what you’re doing and the memories you’re capturing.  Remember that the whole reason we scrapbook is to remember the times that pass us so quickly…so make sure you enjoy them!

Here is a LO I did with a photo from my cell phone.  I used the Jimbo Jambo template Party Piece and papers and elements from How it Began by One Little Bird, and the quote bubble from His & Hers by Paislee Press.

Post Comment
Anonymous said...

This article is full of amazing resources! And your photos are fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered how so many images taken with a cell phone can look so awesome! You've given us lots of good tips and reasons to learn to love our phones. We may not always have our BIG cameras but this doesn't mean we shouldn't take pictures and you just taught us how to make them better! Thank You...

Kim J said...

Alot of GREAT tips Farrah! Thanks!

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