How to Master SmartPhone Photography

We recently ran an article giving you tips on how to take good pictures of your kids, even though you’re well, not a photographer. Turn off the flash, don’t force a smile and the best time of day to get that money shot. All of that is great advice when you’re working with an actual camera, but something that I was thinking about the other day, (when I could have really used my good camera) was that I rarely have it with me. I’m willing to bet that most moms find themselves in that position 90% of the time.

An impromptu trip to the ice cream shop on the way home leads to an adorable photo op of a kid with ice cream on her nose. You need to capture the moment so you can facebook the cuteness to all of your friends, only all you have with you is your iphone/smartphone. How in the world can you expect to capture the full impact of the moment with just a shotty camera phone? Have no fear, BirminghamMommy is here and we’re sharing what we’ve learned!

1. Hold steady – hold your phone with 2 hands. The less shake you have the better your picture will be. Granted taking a picture of your kids being still is a whole other issue. Sometimes turning your camera sideways can help you control your shot a little more.

2. On an Iphone Press the “Camera” icon and hold it down while framing your shot. The picture does not actually take until you release your finger from that icon. This makes a huge difference in getting a good shot of a child before they duck out of the frame.

3. Spend a little money on a good camera app. A couple that we like for the iphone are Camerabag (see pics below) ,  Hipstamatic and Format 126 (see above pic) The cost is about $2.00 each and will make a huge difference in creating something really cool with some of the pictures you are able to snap. I absolutely love the Helga and 1964 features in the Camera bag. You can also add Photoshop or Photogene (which works like photoshop) to your phone allowing you to crop or tweak the images and play with the contrast. Both apps will save your updated version without losing the original.

I was able to take this picture (the original on left) and do a couple of cool features with those apps.

Using the Helga Feature

Using the 1964 feature (left)

A couple of other apps that are pretty cool for taking pictures are:

Photostamp: PhotoStamp “stamps” any image stored on your iPhone with a copyright line, URL to your Web site, your name, or any custom line of text, and then saves a copy of that image in your Camera Roll. Options include a custom stored text line, a button to make it easy to include a copyright symbol, and black or white text. Great for Moms who blog!

Project 365 Take a picture every day of the year, become a better photographer and never forget a day in your life. This application will allow you to easily create and update your own project 365 photo album. To add new photos use your iphone’s built in camera or choose from your photo album. You can share your photos using facebook, twitter or email.

Cameras on the Android keep getting better here are a few great apps for this smartphone:

Snap Photo Pro – This well-rounded photography app includes a timer, multi-shot bursts, stability mode, brightness and contrast adjustment, zoom features and photo filters. Some users with other devices say it beats built-in camera features by a mile. Cost 99 cents.

FX Camera – FxCamera lets users apply a bunch of fun, cool effects to photographs. Effects include ToyCam, Polandroid, Fisheye, SymmetriCam and Warhol. This app is equivalent to several popular iPhone camera apps like CameraBag, Picoli or PhotoBox and is a great (and free) cure for iPhone envy.

Have you mastered the art of SmartPhone photography? What tools/apps do you use to help you capture those precious moments?

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