How many times has this happened to you? You see the perfect picture and wish you had a camera. Then, suddenly, you remember your cell phone has a built-in camera. You take it out, snap a shot and find the picture you wanted isn't the picture you got. There's one big reason for this, namely, shutter lag. The phone isn't snapping the picture the second you press the button to capture the subject, which ultimately makes you miss the shot. There's not much you can do about shutter lag, however, there are a few simple things you can do to improve the quality of the pictures you do take.
- Turn on the camera
Locate the camera button and activate the feature. Be sure to be in camera mode and not video mode if your cell phone has the ability to record video. This may seem pretty basic, but you can't do anything unless you turn on the camera first.
- Choose the resolution
Next, you need to choose the camera resolution. This is easily done typically on any cell phone by choosing options and then selecting resolution. It will either appear as a number or listed as quality (highest, lowest). If you have a number option, it's best to pick the highest number.
Resolution helps determine picture quality: the lower the setting, the poorer the picture quality. This is particularly important if you want to print the photo at a later date. Choose a lower resolution setting when you want to keep the picture on your cell phone or want to send it to another cell phone via messaging service (i.e. a multimedia message/mms). If you have a 1.3-megapixel camera (or higher) in your cell phone, you?ll get a decent print of the picture if you set the resolution at the highest setting when snapping the photo.
Note: The higher the resolution, the larger the size of the picture file, thereby using more memory in the cell phone. If you take all your pictures at the highest setting, you?ll have less room to store photos and other files on your cell phone.
- Locate the light source
Once you identify what you want to photograph, you?ll need to scope out your lighting options. Whenever possible, locate the best light source and make sure your back is to it so that the light is illuminating your subject and not shining into the camera phone lens. If you don't do this you?ll end up with something called lens flare, or as we like to call it, a crappy picture.
- When to use the flash
Generally, the flash that comes with cell phones don't make a huge difference in overall picture quality. The only time you need to use the flash is if there is absolutely no light source at all. The few times you should consider using the flash on your camera phone is outside at night, or in an extremely dimly lit room. Other than that don't bother setting the flash, since it will likely over-expose the subject and renders a useless picture. If your camera phone doesn't have a flash, you can adjust brightness to get more lighting options.
- Outline the shot in the viewfinder
Frame your shot by composing your subject matter within the limits of your cell phone screen. Typically what you see is what you?ll get. If your subject is moving a lot, ask them nicely to ?Please, hold still a second.? You?ll end up with a much better picture.
- Hold the phone still
You?ll need to keep the phone from moving too much in your hand as you try to snap the photo. If there's a stable object nearby set your elbows down on it to give you more stability. If not, try pulling your elbows tight into your body. This forces your body to act as a tripod. The end result will be a picture with less motion blur.
- Final image adjustments
Look at the subject in the screen that you are about to take and determine if you'd like to make further adjustments by accessing the Options in the camera application on the cell phone. Novice photographers should stay away from making too many adjustments since the automatic settings (especially in VGA or 1.3-megapixel camera phones) will work just fine. However, scene settings or zany frames (sometimes included in your camera phone application) are always fun to play with! More advanced photographers should check out options such as zoom, contrast, metering and white balance to further perfect your image control.
Note: If it's a once in a lifetime shot, such as a celebrity sighting, just shoot it and cross your fingers.