Todd Philip Photography

Photographer Chase Jarvis famously said, ” The best camera you have is the one that’s on you.” For a lot of people, the camera that’s on them is the one on their phone. Jarvis published a book of photos taken from his iPhone and since then camera phone photography has gone from a novel add-on to the capabilities of a cell phone to big photography business. The camera on my cell phone has twice as many megapixels as the first DSLR camera I bought does – and that DSLR is still my backup camera. Use these tips to get the most out of your mobile photos:

Todd Philip Photography


   1) Lights, camera app, action! Make sure the light is working for you and not against you. I was professionally photographing a baby shower at a restaurant and the beautiful mom-to-be was graciously posing for her guests. She was standing in front of a brightly lit window and the guests were getting frustrated by their dark pictures that looked more like silhouettes. One guest asked me for help and I suggested everyone flip around. When the guests put the light behind them and mom-to-be faced them, the pictures came out perfectly. Consider the light when you take a picture. Put light behind you if you can, or adjust yourself as needed.


  2) Get down! Don’t look down at the things you shoot. The best photos of people, children, and pets are the ones where the camera is at eye level with the subject. Now imagine photos looking down on those things – not so good. When I photograph children and babies, I’m very likely sitting on the ground or even laying on my belly.


  3) Come a little closer! I try to minimize distractions in the photos I take by getting as close as possible to my subjects. There’s no reason you can’t do this with a cell phone camera. When taking pictures of people, find clean and simple backgrounds if possible and put people there.


4) There’s an app for that! Find the right camera app for you. I use the stock camera app on my on my Sony Xperia ion, but there are hundreds of free and paid camera apps that may perform certain functions better or different all together from the stock camera app. Some camera apps are good for taking panoramic photos and others are good because they may mimic features of more expensive DSLR cameras by modifying focus or simulating fancy effects. These camera apps can be a ton of fun to play with and they may even spark some creative energy!


5) Easy tiger! Don’t overdo the gimmicks. Sure it’s fun to throw a heavy vignette on an image. I’ve taken dozens of photos that I’ve later applied focus effects or old-timey filters to,  and I’ve had a blast doing it! Those photos are fun to play with, but they will not stand the test of time and those effects will only serve as a distraction from the subject of the image which is probably a person or pet you care very much about. I’m not trying to poop on anyone’s party! Go crazy and be silly with your photos, but consider saving the original unedited photo before tinkering with it, perhaps you’ll thank me later.


BONUS! #6) Use an automatic file backup/synchronizing app like Dropbox to automatically upload your images to the web for easy retrieval later. I use Dropbox – which is totally free – to automatically upload my photos so I can review them on any of my computers or tablets. It gives me better control over who to share which images with and acts as a backup of the images you take. Additionally, phones that have been stolen have been later recovered when thieves start taking pictures on stolen phones and they automatically upload to the Dropbox account. Oh hey, phone thief, you’re busted!


Follow these tips for better mobile photos. Do you have a favorite camera app or file backup app? Leave a message in the comments!


Thank You Todd Philip Photography for these great tips.

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October 9, 2012

Achieve Better Mobile Photos with These 5 tips!

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