With camera phones becoming as good as point-and-shoot cameras, it’s a must to know the basics of taking album-worthy photographs. The first step would be to read the following tutorial and then, you can trial and error your way to picture-perfect photography.
If you are using the Galaxy Note for example, you could do the metering of the light in and around your subject, just like professional cameras. Essentially, there are three metering modes. Use Centre-weighted if you are shooting people, so the camera exposure is calculated more accurately. In most, this is also set as a default because it works for most scenes. However, I would suggest Matrix metering for landscapes and just about anything under the sun. Similarly, there is Spot metering, which is best if you are shooting jewelry or any small product that needs selective exposure. Spot metering also helps in creative photography and where your subject is back lit.
Any phone that has a front camera is perfect for self portrait. But there is also an option to disable the in-camera flash (in the Note’s case, the LED light) and also opt for different shooting modes like single shot, smile shot (press the shutter once to focus and press again to capture the smile), beauty, panorama, share shot (Wi-Fi Direct required to share your picture with a similar device), action shot (create panorama of a moving shot) and cartoon (turn your picture into a cartoon). As the names suggest, each setting has that feature embedded in them, like the panorama one for example.
In the Note, there are 13 modes to pick from. But if you are unsure or have no time to set your camera phone, you can go with the default option of ‘none’. But then, what’s a camera if you can’t make the most of it? For example, the ‘firework’ option lets you capture fireworks in the sky that the ‘none’ setting will never be able to pick up. Similarly, if your subject is back lit, you could opt for the ‘back lit’ option and still ensure that the camera captures your subject without a glare or over-exposure. Another useful option is the ‘text’ setting, which you can use to capture name boards, documents and the like.
Exposure values and other features
You can set the exposure compensation value from anywhere between -2 to +2 to either over-expose or under-expose a subject or scene. In the Note, you can even activate the ‘blink detection’ in your camera settings, in addition to ‘anti-shake’ and ‘gps tag’ features. You can even set the ISO from auto to 800, though I would recommend the ‘auto’ setting for more simplicity. However, if you are facing low-light situation, an ISO setting of 400 would work well, without any loss in clarity or noise. Similarly, you can set the white balance to ‘auto’ and there are even options like Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent and Fluorescent. You can also set the image resolution from the lowly 640×480 (0.3 MP) to as high as 3264×2448 (8MP) in the Galaxy Note, for example. What is also helpful is the focus mode that works beautifully when you are shooting close-up pictures of flowers or a group of people. In the Note, you can go to Settings/Focus Mode/Macro to shoot flower buds up close or opt for Face Detection if you are shooting groups.
All these features of the camera phone are only good for those who have a love for photography. For all the others, just the default setting would do. But do remember that though your camera phone can replace your point-and-shoot camera to some extent, nothing can take away from the supreme features offered by a professional camera. However, if you want to take baby steps into becoming a photographer, perhaps experimenting with a camera phone could be a good starting point. And for those who are pros, but don’t have a camera at hand, their smartphone could rescue them to capture some Kodak moments.
~Zahid H Javali