Since May is National Photography Month, get into the spirit by clicking away with your smartphone camera. You’ll want to do the best you can, and that takes a bit of thought and knowledge.
Bill Robinson
WHR Studios
4581 Chrome Ridge Court
Placerville, CA 95667
(
530) 306-3615
www.bilrstudios.smugmug.com

Bill Robinson has been taking pictures since he was 8 years old. In 2004, he started taking pictures professionally. His work covers a wide variety of subjects; people, animals, and landscapes are all in his viewfinder. He takes the images from his camera, works with them, and prints them on a variety of surfaces. You may find him just about anywhere; camera set up in town, along country roads, in the valley, in the mountains or meadows, looking for the best shot. He usually gets it.

Knowing The Difference Between Your Smartphone Camera And A Regular Camera

The resolution of most current smartphone cameras is such that you will be able to get a good 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10 print of an image, however, if you go larger than 8×10, the results may not be as sharp as you would like. The resolution of just about any smartphone will be perfectly adequate for photos that are only viewed on the web or a screen of some kind.


Composition And Your Photos

If your smartphone has a way to turn on a “grid” on the screen, turn it on and use it. Sometimes a grid like this is referred to as the “rule of thirds.” Think of your smartphone camera screen as having grid lines spaced such that your screen is divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically, like tic-tac-toe. When you take a photograph using your smartphone camera, position the subject along the lines of the grid and, if you can, at any of the intersecting points. Doing this will make your images more interesting.


Taking Pictures In Low Light 

In low-light situations, the best thing to do is hold your smartphone camera against a stable surface and gently touch the on-screen shutter button. At minimum, hold your camera with both hands and try your best to keep your camera steady. If you are taking a photo of someone or something that is relatively close, make sure the LED flash is turned on. Be aware that if the light is too low, the camera may not be able to focus.

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Settings On Your Smartphone Camera

These are settings on your smartphone camera that you should know about: If your smartphone camera has a LED flash, learn how to turn it off and on. Turn it on in low light and if the subject is close enough. Turn it off in bright light; Turn the camera from horizontal to vertical, noting where the buttons are and how they change depending on the orientation. This will help when you are trying to take a photo in bright light and can barely see the smartphone camera screen; Some smartphone cameras have a focusing square. When the area within the square is in focus, the square will turn a different color. Make sure to touch the area of your smartphone camera display where you want the photo to be in focus before snapping the photo.

Best Advice For Learning About Your Smartphone Camera

The best way to learn about your smartphone camera is to “play” with it! Take a sample photos to see how the settings work and how to adjust accordingly. There are a lot of camera applications for smartphones, both free and paid. Try out a few of the free ones and see if you find any you like better than the one that came with your smartphone.

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Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 41 years. In 2010 he retired from teaching after 36 years . He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at Examiner.com.