Your Phone Camera: A Guide

The best camera is the one you have on you, even if it's your phone camera. In this day and age we are very fortunate to have the technology that we do. Back in the 90’s, there was no such thing as pulling your camera out and taking a quick snap. If you wanted to document the moment you had to have a camera and film. No such thing as unlimited storage for 100’s of snapshots. You had 36 pictures per roll of film, you had to be smart and calculated. Not to mention the expense of film and developing it.

We have come a long way since then. We can do practically anything on our phones, they are portable multi-function systems. But they are only as good as long as we know how to utilize them to their fullest potential. I’m here to walk you through your camera's phone settings, so that you are familiar and feel more comfortable documenting yourself or your little personalities.

The Basics

  1. Make sure your lens is clean. We are always holding our phones, but not always are our fingers clean. If you are seeing any glare, take a microfiber cloth and wipe it down, that should do the trick. 
  2. Know where your light is coming from. If you are facing the sun, you will have harsh light and shadows. If the sun is behind you, you will get a nice backlight. The phone cannot expose for both you, and the background. Tip: If you want to capture the background, tap the area so the phone will know to expose for that. The subject of the photo might be a bit dark, but if you play around with editing the photo on your phone, you can fix that problem. 
  3. The settings: Here are some key words to know. 

1. Manual VS. Auto-These settings determine who is in control of the settings. Auto, your camera does all the work. If you set your camera to Manual, You gotta know what you are doing. 

2. Exposure- This Setting determines how light or dark your photo will be depending on what you tell your camera to focus on. If it's focusing on you, it is not focusing on the background and vice versa.

3. White Balance-The color temperature your photo is. If it is a cloudy day then your photo will be more blue, in this case you would want to adjust the white balance to add the warmth back to your photo.

4. Shutter Speed-How fast the shutter will click. This will determine how much movement is captured. Also, the lower the shutter, the more light it lets in. 

5. ISO-This will determine the quality of your light. When would you adjust the ISO? If you are taking a picture at night and want more light. This setting is a bit tricky, because as you add more light, you take away from the quality of the photo.

6. JPEG-This will determine the quality of the photo once it is saved. It is most common and definitely more storage friendly then saving the photo as a RAW file. 

In this photo you can see the camera settings set to manual mode.

In this photo you can see the settings that you can manually change.

You will notice that as you change your settings, it updates in real time. There is no need to change the setting, take the picture and then readjust.

Two things that will help you step up your game:

A Phone Tripod

If you wanna get in these photos, getting a tripod will definitely upgrade your experience.

A Phone Lens

Feel like you got the hang of all the technical stuff and like you're ready to take it to the next level? Investing in an attachable phone lens will definitely do the trick. If you're looking to purchase one, but don’t know where to get one, Moment is a great company that has quality products.

My advice to you, it's not as overwhelming and as stressful as you think. Sit down with a cup of tea and have fun with it. Experiment until you get it just the way you like, or you can sit back and let the camera do all the work.