Camera how-tos

Camera tips

  • Clean the lens!
  • Picture size – Use the highest resolution possible for your camera model.
  • Focusing – Always use the touch screen function to focus.
  • Stabilization – Steady the phone with two hands or, even better, a tripod.
  • Snapping photos – Headphones make a great shutter release. You can also use the volume control buttons.
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) – Use for shots of things that have a lot of contrast (bright & shady spots).
  • Composition – Use the rule of thirds to set up your shot. It is your way of making sure the viewers focus on what you want them to.

Camera Don'ts

  • Don't use the digital Zoom. Instead, move closer to the subject.
  • Don't use the flash. The flash on your phone won’t give you the results you need. If you need more light, get it from your other light sources. Add a bounce card, increase the power on artificial lights, move closer to the window, etc.
  • Don’t use photo filters. This isn’t the time to use the fun filters in your camera app. Keep things as natural as possible so the photos are an accurate representation of the product

Camera tips for smart phone photographers

Move closer to your subject instead of zooming

Why? The zoom feature doesn’t work in the same way as the zoom on a DSLR camera. Rather than zooming optically with the camera’s lens, it uses “digital zoom.”

Digital zoom basically means that the camera uses built-in software to crop away the edges of the original image to get a closer view on a certain portion of the photo.

Without getting too technical, this affects the pixels in the image which makes them appear “blocky.” The resulting image is likely to appear blurred and dramatically reduced in quality.

What is HDR?

HDR (high dynamic range) imaging is commonly done by taking three photos of the same scene, each at different shutter speeds. The result is a bright, medium, and dark photo, based on the amount of light that got through the lens. A software process then combines all the photos to bring details to the shadows and highlights both. This helps to achieve the same task in the final photograph that the human eye can accomplish on the scene.

Set the focus point manually

All you need to do is tap the screen where you want the focus to be set. A little square will appear at that point, and when you press the shutter to take the photo, the focus will be set on that part of the scene.

This is especially important when shooting close-up subjects because the closer the subject is to the camera, the shallower the depth of field will be.

A shallow depth of field means that only a small portion of the image will be in focus, while the rest of the scene will appear blurred.

Shutter release

Your camera has the typical SR on the screen. But did you know that your +volume works as a SR as well. If you have headphones with volume controls, you also have a cable release that will snap a photo. Great for using when the camera is mounted to a tripod and you do not want to shake the camera.

Don’t miss the action

iPhones and Samsung Galaxies cameras can be activated without entering your passcode. For iPhones: Press home/power button on your iPhone to power up the screen (if it's idle/sleeping). Hold on the camera grabber icon (lower right corner) and swipe up.  For Galaxy S6 and higher: double tap the home button.

Rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is one of the most basic composition guidelines in photography, making use of a natural tendency for the human eye to be drawn toward certain parts of an image. As a photographer, it is your way of making sure the viewers focus on what you want them to.

The rule of thirds is an imaginary tic-tac-toe board that is drawn across an image to break it into nine equal squares. The four points where these lines intersect are the strongest focal points. The lines themselves are the second strongest focal points.

Turning on gridlines will place lines on your screen based on the rule of thirds, a composition principle which states a photograph should be broken down into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. According to the rule of thirds, if you line up your subject along the lines or at an intersection your shot will seem more balanced and pleasing to the eye.