You Don’t Have To Be A Professional Photographer To Take A Great Photo

This is an article that has been in ‘draft’ status for almost two years, so some of the models mentioned might have been updated or replaced, but I decided that the best way to get it out of the draft bin was to hit the ‘publish’ button.

If you go out and buy a $1,000 to $3,000 DSLR camera body, and then buy the required lenses, you could take fabulous pictures, in theory. These days, digital cameras come in much smaller packages. Take cell phones for example. Ten years ago, no one would dream of throwing away their point-and-shoot camera. Today, some smart phones are making a dedicated point-and-shoot camera obsolete. However, not all cell phones are created equal. While some phones can take pictures, they don’t all render them them same and the quality isn’t always up to snuff on these mobile devices. There are, however, some manufacturers that have done a very good job of replicating a dedicated camera.

Nokia N8

If you were to just look at the specs of the Nokia, you would think it’s the best camera phone on the market. It has a large resolution of 12Mp, which is great if you plan on printing large photos from your phone’s photo gallery. Nokia also uses Carl Zeiss optics and a xenon flash. HTC Incredible S HTC has been the prime mover behind mobile devices by creating one of the first smart phones. It should be no surprise that HTC is at the forefront when it comes to designing a smart phone with a camera that works. The HTC Incredible S comes loaded with an 8Mp camera. The camera also has an auto-focus feature and a duel-LED flash. Incredible can record video in 720 p resolution at a respectable 30 frames per second.

LG Optimus 3D

LG has equipped the Optimus 3D with not just one, but two 5 Mp cameras. While lower in resolution, don’t be scared off. A 5Mp phone is probably fine if you don’t plan on printing life-sized photos from your phone’s gallery. Optimus is capable of taking both 2D and 3D photos. With auto-focus, and an LED flash, 3D video capability in 720p or 2D video in 1080p, the phone gives you options. Don’t worry about getting funky glasses to watch videos or look at photos in 3D – they’re not needed since it has a stereoscopic screen.

iPhone 4s

The iPhone 4s breaks new ground in regards to the camera. Previous iterations of the iPhone were somewhat lacking in Mp quality. With the 4s, the phone gets a serious upgrade. Apple focused on building a killer camera, and it succeeded. With an 8Mp resolution, and a fifth lens, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this camera and a high-end point-and-shoot. Apple also increased the size of the aperture to let in more light. Now you can take better pictures in low-light conditions. This new iPhone can also record video in full HD and has some really great editing features built in so you can edit photos and video right on the phone. Samsung Galaxy S2 Samsung’s flagship phone comes with a really good 8Mp auto-focus camera, LED flash, and a lot of other goodies. For example, the Galaxy has geo-tagging, touch focus, and face and smile detection. The phone can record video in full HD (1080p resolution). This makes the phone an all-around great device for snapping photos or shooting video like a pro. OK, so not truly a pro, but it’s a pretty handing item — and now the iPhone5 is available.

Apps

Even with a great camera phone, camera apps can sometimes add that little extra to your photo and video capturing and editing efforts. Everyone has heard of Instagram for iPhone by now. But there are other really great apps on the market to help you kick things up a notch. Hipsmatic is another app that lets you “swap out lenses” on the phone. These software-based lenses give your photos a variety of different effects. For example, you can create pictures that look like old Polaroids. Camera Zoome FX, for Android devices, is billed as “the ultimate Android camera app.” It is the most feature-filled device out of all of the apps for Android devices.

I became an iPhone user in January, 2012.   By May, I had taken 1,000s of photos with it.  To be honest, I was a professional photographer for over 40 years, so capturing images is a little like breathing to me — I have to do it.  I live about a mile from the Huntington Beach, California pier, so it is often my daily walk destination (lost 30 lbs. since about the time I bought the iPhone)!!.  Without the iPhone, I rarely carried a full size camera, or even a point 7 shoot with me, and (sorry Blackberry) my previous cell phone just didn’t cut tit, as far as photography goes.

The apps for the iPhone are so good.  My favorite is Camera+.  Not only does it have separate reticules for focus and white balance, but it has some cool post production filters.  Often, I will walk to the pier, take some shot along the way, and run them through a filter, and publish them to Facebook, before I get to one of my favorite coffee spots, just off the pier.

An Example:

walking on huntington beach pier

Walking on the Huntington Beach Pier

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