Camera phone love: Take better pictures with your camera phone (part 1)

I do love my camera phone! And you should to. It’s light weight and you usually have it everywhere you go! Have you heard the saying that the best camera is the one you’ve got! Well, it’s true! People often ask me what kind of camera do you have? And follow with “I want better pictures but I don’t have a great camera yet”. Sorry folks! If you’re waiting to take great photos with a great camera, you’ll be grossly disappointed. Most photographers will tell you it’s not all about the camera! Truly…It’s about the person taking the picture.

So today, I thought I’d help you…the person behind the camera with a few tips on how to take better pictures with your camera phone.  This is really a 3 part series on Camera phone love! First, i’ll be discussing the phone settings you can look at to help bring about better pictures with your camera phone.  Part 2 will discuss what the person taking the pictures needs to think about when taking pictures with a camera phone. And part 3 are the numerous apps available to you on your camera phone and ideas on what to do with all those pictures you’re accumulating.

So first things first, let’s make sure your camera phone is at its optimal settings for the best end result possible.

1. I suggest reading your phones manual. Usually the camera phone section is a very small section of the booklet and  so it won’t take much to look over but you’ll be surprised what you didn’t know about your camera. I couldn’t find my manual and so looked it up online. Nowadays, you should be able to look up any manual rather easily.

2. Make sure you are shooting at your camera’s highest resolution possible. This will make sure picture quality will be at its best.  Hopefully your camera phone allows you to modify the picture size and picture quality. My phone’s picture size goes up to 5M.  And the picture quality allows you to choose from normal, fine to superfine. If possible, go to the highest megapixels allowed and superfine quality.

photo from

3.  When possible, set your white balance. If you’re unsure which setting would be best, just go through the different options. Usually you’ll see your screen change accordingly as you change your white balance settings even if you haven’t taken a picture.  Of course, I do recommend taking a picture of the same thing at different white balance settings so you can see what each setting does to your photo.

Typically, if you are taking shots outside in an overall sunny day, you’ll want to use the sun (daylight) setting. Unless it’s cloudy and overcast, then you’ll want to use your cloudy setting.  The icon that looks like a upside down lightbulb is your tungsten setting and this is used for indoor shots with your incandescent light bulbs (your 60watt light bulbs).  This is the white balance setting that will usually get rid of that yellow tinge in your indoor shots.

4. Never use your flash! I’ve never seen a decent photo using the camera phone’s flash.  If you can choose your camera’s ISO setting…I would do it here. ISO settings on a camera phone usually go from 100 and possibly up to 1000. My phone doesn’t allow me to change any ISO settings but there a number of apps you can install on your phone that will allow you to do so. Or move to where more light is hitting your subjects.

5. If your camera has an exposure setting then use it! My camera allows you to modify the exposure setting from -2 to +2. Basically brightening or darkening your photo because (+) will help bring in more light and (-) will stop light from coming in. If you’re taking a picture and it looks like it could be a little brighter, you can easily just boost the exposure +1 or +2.

6. One last thing, you can make your camera a little quicker at taking that shot by setting focus mode to Infinity instead of Auto. Ty it! You’ll notice your camera will be a tad quicker at taking that picture in Infinity mode versus Auto mode.  This may not completely stop you from having the streaks or blurs because of low light conditions or moving objects or people but it won’t hurt and may actually help. This tip works best if you aren’t trying to take any real close up shots (less than 2.5 ft in front of you).  If you are doing extreme closeups you may want to return your setting to Auto mode. It will just focus better.

In the next post “Camera phone love: Taking better pictures (part 2) I’ll be discussing ways to compose your shots and what to think about being the person behind the camera.

Here’s a photo of a camera phone in one of my maternity sessions…

And finally, but not least, if you have the iphone and want to learn more about using your camera, check out this awesome 2 day FREE creative live workshop that begins tomorrow! Youtube video here (about the workshop).

Until next time…


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