Tips for taking better arm’s length photos with your cell phone

Spontaneity is a hallmark of summer. Especially in Chicagoland. We are out, about, moving fast and soaking up the sun while we can. The season has only 91 days or, if you’re counting from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, you get 101 days this year. In any case, time is short, and a lot is happening.

Spontaneous photo opportunities abound, and wouldn’t you know it? I don’t have my camera.

But I have my cell phone, and the iPhone 4’s 5 megapixel camera takes fab pictures (the iPhone 4S is even better at 8 megapixel).

Last week, I ran across (not literally) this photo opp as he crossed my street:

It’s not every day one sees a moss-covered monster like this. And certainly not any days in the winter time. He was moving fast. For a turtle. And I wouldn’t have caught him if I didn’t have my cell phone with me.

One of my favorite photos from last summer is this one, taken spontaneously with my cell phone at a Twins game at Target Field:

I love my 17-year-old stepson’s expression of resignation (there’s a current of happiness running through there somewhere) and my husband’s sneaky appearance in the background. I liked it so much, I used it in my Christmas card.

Those arm’s length shots with your cell phone are sometimes the best shots. Here are a few tips for making the most of yours:

  • Clean your camera lens periodically. With as much as you handle your cell phone, who knows what’s clouding the field.
  • Step out. Natural lighting is most flattering, preferably with the sun in front of you or obscured.
  • Switch it up. Some cell phones allow users to turn the lens to front so you can see exactly what you’re framing. The symbol on an iPhone looks like this:
  • Look into the lens, not the display (especially if you switched the lens to the front of your phone).
  • Lift up. The most flattering angle is from slightly higher than eye level. No double chins.
  • Hold your breath for less chance of wiggle and blur.
  • Smile. Come on now, summer is fun!

Let the picture taking begin!

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5 comments on “Tips for taking better arm’s length photos with your cell phone

  1. Sherry says:

    I do love taking quick shots with my Iphone. And I can post them faster to FB. Using the zoom and cropping on the phone is something I have just started doing. Like doing that as well.

    • minnesotatransplant says:

      Thanks for commenting, Sherry! Good to hear from you. I haven’t tried cropping on my phone, but it’s a good tip. Can’t hurt to experiment. Thanks.

  2. Love the picture at the Twins game!! Thanks for the tips. I use my phone as a camera more and more these days!

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