What you can Learn from your Camera Phone - Digital Photography School

What you can Learn from your Camera Phone

Text and images by: Jammie Graves.

First let me say that I am NOT advocating that you ditch your main camera. I am suggesting a self assignment to learn more about photography and yourself. Let’s discuss some advantages of having a camera phone.

It’s convenient! A small compact package that is easy to carry with that instant feedback package known as a digital screen. Camera phones go places many other cameras are not allowed but be sure to understand the rules where you are going to shooting!

Having a camera phone will teach you about keeping batteries charged and lenses clean because if you don’t you won’t be happy with the results. None of us would let our phones die would we?

Your camera phone will allow you to learn all the controls well, since they are simple and few, then experiment with different settings. This will be the same methodology you can follow to learn to use your main camera. Reading the book, learning the controls, taking bad pictures, and then creating great pictures. You will learn what effects the different ISO’s produce, how white balance settings can create different color palettes, which ultimately will let you anticipate which settings you want to use for that next great image.

White Bal 1.jpg

White Bal 2.jpg

I like to take my camera phone to places that are tough to photograph such as night scenes, twilight, or indoor settings.

Night.jpg

Twilight.jpg

Indoors.jpg
Having mastered the controls, I can focus on composition. By using the large preview screen I can see how moving the main subject from one grid point to another in the rule of thirds changes my outcome. I can anticipate my final lighting as the changes are automatically shown in the preview screen and then I can analyze the results once I create the image.

Lighting1.jpg

lighting2.jpg

Oh, I guess you want to know what camera phone I use – HTC EVO 4G. This a high definition camera phone but any camera phone will work for this self assignment. I have used a Motorola Razr and small disposable phones as well. So drop that call and snap more pictures!

Jammie Graves write: an engineer and part time pro photographer. I started my photographic journey in college through industrial photography. My website is http://www.jamkat59.smugmug.com.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Trevon

    I recently used my iPhone 4′s camera to photography my visit to gatorland because I didn’t want to lug around my big canon eos 5D.

    Here’s an example: http://TrevonDonoho.deviantart.com/art/Pathway-to-another-Dimension-271025324?qo=0&catpath=gallery:trevondonoho:30051486&order=0&offset=0

    The only editing I did was straighten the picture.

  • http://sdphotographie.wordpress.com/ dok

    Wow, even though I’m really not a photophone fan, I have to admit the first two photos are awesome, very dreamy.

  • http://www.buildmyelectricguitar.com Guitar Builder

    It amazes me when I post my pics up on Facebook, and people think I am using my “real” camera, when in fact I am using my terrible 2 Megapixel LG cell phone camera.

    Like this one:
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150509506465100&set=a.45543360099.79163.686430099&type=1&theater

  • http://www.phogropathy.com John

    Every Sunday I post a new photo taken with my iPhone 4S

    This one is probably my favorite to date – http://www.phogropathy.com/iphone-photo-sunday-the-roots/

    But of course there’s a lot that the iPhone can do as well as all the various editing apps like Camera+, Instagram and Snapseed

  • http://www.facebook.com/matejslezakphotography matabum

    i’m huge fan of cameraphones… i’m using my old sony ericsson K800i and i’m really amazed by quality of this old cameraphone all the time.

    this is a portrait a took few days ago during the night on the street: http://www.flickr.com/photos/matabum/6483556811
    and here’s one older portrait (natural light): http://www.flickr.com/photos/matabum/6014874877/

  • http://thisisbjaysblog.blogspot.com/ Bharat Justa

    I got interested in photography due to my cameraphone. And I still capture pictures with it. The only problem is that it does not have autofocus, flash and is only 2MP, but that dosen’t stop innivation and creativity and only helps in learning more.
    This is one of the good pictures taken by this camera http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjay101/6312218505/

  • http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/ Mridula

    I used to have a 5 megapixel camera in my phone but the phone i gone. It was very handy to use in unexpected situations.

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2010/09/traffic-stoppers.html

  • raghavendra

    This article is inspiring and motivating me.
    I have been taking pictures from my mobile for more than a year.

    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/

    There are few tips to be covered like avoid zoom, to know your mobile well, white light options
    for more
    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/2010/07/basics-and-tips.html

  • raghavendra

    This article is inspiring and motivating me.
    I have been taking pictures from my mobile for more than a year.

    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.keivanzavari.com/Photography/ Keivan Zavari

    I use my ipod’s camera from time to time, shooting some small things.
    It was nice to read this post. thanks.

  • Maximo Almonte

    I love Taking pictures with Phones. This is a very true and inspiring article.
    I took these pictures a year ago with my camera phone. I had the 1st iphone that came out and installed an app called camera + and another called tilt-shift. these two apps help me create this 3 pictures. Enjoy.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/malmontephotography/6505101283/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/malmontephotography/6505101481/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/malmontephotography/6505101117/

  • Tiffany

    I love using my cameraphone. It has come in handy when I don’t have my Nikon with me.

  • http://thephotographerblog.com Mandy

    My phone is the camera that I always have with me.

    It’s a Nokia 6700 Slide so I don’t have a lot of settings to change but that takes the distractions away and makes me look at my composition.

    It gets to places other cameras cannot reach!

    It’s a new way to explore photography

  • Mike

    Great thing about the iPhone, which lacks ISO settings, is that it forces me to focus on composition.

  • http://williamburnettgalleries.com William Burnett
  • http://www.betweenfriendsfour.com Sarah

    On our most recent anniversary, I was given an iphone.
    It was so I could play… with Hipstamatic! Love the app, lenses and film effects… so many choices.

  • http://www.jamkat59.smugmug.com Jammie

    Thanks everyone for the great comments! I am impressed by everyone’s images too. I will be submitting more articles in the future if you liked this one.

    Jammie

  • Del

    I love my camera phone. I have a 3.2 MP Nokia 5530 and it works great. Noise is the only problem i encounter. Here are my clicks.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/66046610@N02/?saved=1.

  • http://scottpacaldo365.tumblr.com Scott Pacaldo

    I use my ipodtouch4-(0.7mp)
    perhaps the lowest of megapixels of its kind XD
    the great thing with mobile photography is that you can concentrate on your composition alone rather having to adjust aperture, shutter, iso, etc.

    Until I can finally afford a “decent” camera, I’ll stick to this one and hone my composition skills.
    After all, “The best camera is the one always with you.”

  • http://www.whitepetal.co.uk PaulB

    Good to recon with a camera phone, then if you like it….. pop back with the DSLR? I know it’s not always that simple lol

Some older comments

  • PaulB

    January 13, 2012 03:15 am

    Good to recon with a camera phone, then if you like it..... pop back with the DSLR? I know it's not always that simple lol

  • Scott Pacaldo

    December 24, 2011 08:23 pm

    I use my ipodtouch4-(0.7mp)
    perhaps the lowest of megapixels of its kind XD
    the great thing with mobile photography is that you can concentrate on your composition alone rather having to adjust aperture, shutter, iso, etc.

    Until I can finally afford a "decent" camera, I'll stick to this one and hone my composition skills.
    After all, "The best camera is the one always with you."

  • Del

    December 21, 2011 02:13 am

    I love my camera phone. I have a 3.2 MP Nokia 5530 and it works great. Noise is the only problem i encounter. Here are my clicks.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/66046610@N02/?saved=1.

  • Jammie

    December 19, 2011 11:10 am

    Thanks everyone for the great comments! I am impressed by everyone's images too. I will be submitting more articles in the future if you liked this one.

    Jammie

  • Sarah

    December 16, 2011 12:41 pm

    On our most recent anniversary, I was given an iphone.
    It was so I could play... with Hipstamatic! Love the app, lenses and film effects... so many choices.

  • William Burnett

    December 16, 2011 09:49 am

    www.cellphonephoto365.com

  • Mike

    December 16, 2011 09:15 am

    Great thing about the iPhone, which lacks ISO settings, is that it forces me to focus on composition.

  • Mandy

    December 15, 2011 10:59 pm

    My phone is the camera that I always have with me.

    It's a Nokia 6700 Slide so I don't have a lot of settings to change but that takes the distractions away and makes me look at my composition.

    It gets to places other cameras cannot reach!

    It's a new way to explore photography

  • Tiffany

    December 15, 2011 05:59 am

    I love using my cameraphone. It has come in handy when I don't have my Nikon with me.

  • Maximo Almonte

    December 14, 2011 12:58 am

    I love Taking pictures with Phones. This is a very true and inspiring article.
    I took these pictures a year ago with my camera phone. I had the 1st iphone that came out and installed an app called camera + and another called tilt-shift. these two apps help me create this 3 pictures. Enjoy.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/malmontephotography/6505101283/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/malmontephotography/6505101481/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/malmontephotography/6505101117/

  • Keivan Zavari

    December 13, 2011 07:26 pm

    I use my ipod's camera from time to time, shooting some small things.
    It was nice to read this post. thanks.

  • raghavendra

    December 13, 2011 04:02 pm

    This article is inspiring and motivating me.
    I have been taking pictures from my mobile for more than a year.

    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/

  • raghavendra

    December 13, 2011 03:54 pm

    This article is inspiring and motivating me.
    I have been taking pictures from my mobile for more than a year.

    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/

    There are few tips to be covered like avoid zoom, to know your mobile well, white light options
    for more
    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/2010/07/basics-and-tips.html

  • Mridula

    December 13, 2011 03:32 pm

    I used to have a 5 megapixel camera in my phone but the phone i gone. It was very handy to use in unexpected situations.

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2010/09/traffic-stoppers.html

  • Bharat Justa

    December 13, 2011 02:56 pm

    I got interested in photography due to my cameraphone. And I still capture pictures with it. The only problem is that it does not have autofocus, flash and is only 2MP, but that dosen't stop innivation and creativity and only helps in learning more.
    This is one of the good pictures taken by this camera http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjay101/6312218505/

  • matabum

    December 13, 2011 01:35 pm

    i'm huge fan of cameraphones... i'm using my old sony ericsson K800i and i'm really amazed by quality of this old cameraphone all the time.

    this is a portrait a took few days ago during the night on the street: http://www.flickr.com/photos/matabum/6483556811
    and here's one older portrait (natural light): http://www.flickr.com/photos/matabum/6014874877/

  • John

    December 13, 2011 07:56 am

    Every Sunday I post a new photo taken with my iPhone 4S

    This one is probably my favorite to date - http://www.phogropathy.com/iphone-photo-sunday-the-roots/

    But of course there's a lot that the iPhone can do as well as all the various editing apps like Camera+, Instagram and Snapseed

  • Guitar Builder

    December 13, 2011 07:25 am

    It amazes me when I post my pics up on Facebook, and people think I am using my "real" camera, when in fact I am using my terrible 2 Megapixel LG cell phone camera.

    Like this one:
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150509506465100&set=a.45543360099.79163.686430099&type=1&theater

  • dok

    December 13, 2011 07:09 am

    Wow, even though I'm really not a photophone fan, I have to admit the first two photos are awesome, very dreamy.

  • Trevon

    December 13, 2011 06:32 am

    I recently used my iPhone 4's camera to photography my visit to gatorland because I didn't want to lug around my big canon eos 5D.

    Here's an example: http://TrevonDonoho.deviantart.com/art/Pathway-to-another-Dimension-271025324?qo=0&catpath=gallery:trevondonoho:30051486&order=0&offset=0

    The only editing I did was straighten the picture.

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