Cell Phone Photography Tips

When we travel, we may forget to pack our Digital SLR, or film camera. Worse yet we are traveling and we lose our camera while in amazement of the wonders, we reach for our camera but we seem to have misplaced it somewhere between the Vatican City and the Colosseum. After getting past the initial shock of the lose, we certainly do not want to lose any more moments, so we break out the backup; the cell phone.

While not the highest definition devices on the market, cell phones can pose as an adequate backup to a lost camera in any situation, but there are some tips you should know before going for the shot.

The picture to the left was taken at Saguaro National Monument East in Tucson, AZ with a cell phone. You wouldn't have known it if I hadn't told you and it was taken with no post editing.

The first thing you must remember when taking any picture with any camera is framing. Find what it is you want to take a picture of and then make sure it fits within the frame of your view finder the way you want to see it in a photo or on your wall.

Pay attention to lighting. Use natural lighting when at all possible. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for using natural lighting. When using a standard camera, you would place the sun behind your subject. This will make your subject more comfortable and reduce squinting. You would then use a fill flash to brighten your subject in the foreground. However, if we are using a cell phone camera it may not have a flash or a flash that will create an effective fill. In this case make sure that your light source is behind you at a 4 to 5 o'clock position. This allows for greatest contrast and minimizes shadows that can occur when lighting is at the six o'clock position. If light is behind the subject it will diffuse in the lens causing back lighting and darkening your subject to a mere silhouette. This is okay when you are taking sunset shots and intentionally want your subject silhouetted.

Stabilize your phone. There is nothing worse than a blurry picture when using a cell phone. Since most cell phones do not come equipped with built in stabilization we have to compensate for the camera. Try resting the phone on something stable, framing the picture and then snapping the shot. Remember, the lower the light, the longer the shutter will stay open to adjust for the proper exposure and the longer the shutter is open, the greater the chance the photo will blur if you move during the shot.