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Author Topic: Things I've learned after a year of being a "serious" mobile photographer.  (Read 6137 times)

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Offline Cypocalypse

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Photos taken with Nokia N8 Belle OS.

1. Mobile phones cameras will always have restrictions. Therefore, learn to "fight back" with these restrictions in mind. Therefore, learn composition. A well composed image will offset a crappy cam phone quality, but a good settings on a DSLR will not necessarily show good composition if you don't know anything about it.



2. If you can't remember all the rules, then understand principles.
E.g., You have that rule-of-thirds rule to isolate foreground relative to the background. Doesn't matter if they completely align with the grid, but still have that sense of depth in mind.



3. One major advantage of mobile phone is that you can always "toy around" with the angles. You're not carrying a heavy device, you might as well be really really playful with your angle choices.



4. If what you have is a mobile phone camera with a wide-angled lens, use it to your advantage. Be daring enough to make your camera cover a wide area  worth seeing.



5. Mobile phone cameras suck in low light. Be aware of all the light sources present. All light sources. They spell the difference between a crappy shot and something that may look really really good.



6. Adjust exposure level if night shot jpeg noise annoys you.



7. Use black and white mode to emphasize contrast.



8. Disregard flash if ambient lighting is good.



9. If your mobile camera has a built in filter, you might as well be gutsy enough to take a shot at the sun.



10. If your eyes tell you that what you see is beautiful, it probably is. Take a shot. You can concentrate on the trivial details later (e.g., composition). Your mobile phone has lots of memory in it, you can ignore memory space.



11. Night shots significantly slows down shutter speed, and thus most likely to have motion blur. Keep your cam as steady as possible if you don't have a tripod.



12. Subjects that move need optimized shutter speed (even if this may sacrifice light absorption).



13. You can crop if there are really unwanted areas on your image. If it's a wide-angled lens, you're likely to have those. Though personally, I don't do lots of cropping.





14. Focus point need not be just one entity.



15. In certain cases, mobile phone cams aren't far behind from DSLRs.

Canon EOS 650D


Nokia N8

Offline sliver

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Great tips kabayan! But may I beg to differ on some? here's mine:

#7: Not really against B&W or any effect on that matter. For me is to "Keep shooting, edit later". Just shoot, shoot and shoot. Then select the best image, and edit later.

Other than that, it's a great list!  :Thumbs

Offline Cypocalypse

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7. The original shot is colored, by the way. I was just thinking that maybe a B&W edit will give the pic a better justice. Same here, I just shoot and shoot and shoot. :D

Offline fis

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Great post Cypocalypse !  :Thumbs

Offline Jonas

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  • Great tips and tricks!  :Thumbs

    Thanks for taking the time to write them here.  I really enjoyed reading them.  As for tip number 7, I agree that B&W photos add an extra drama to the photo and make "regular" photo into a special one.

    Offline Cypocalypse

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    Some note to add (I don't want to make this number 15, so I'm posting it here).

    A lot of pics on the web are crap. For a lot of reasons. For example, the camera phone is really outdated. And if it's a point-and-shoot that people have, it can also be outdated. People don't really replace their point-and-shoot cameras on a 2-3 year cycle like you would on a celphone.

    Chances are, your Iphone 4s or Galaxy S3 may even take better day shots than your 5 old year point-and-shoot.

    And if people do tend to buy DSLRs, a significant percentage of them wouldn't even know how to use it at the onset. And if they start to get an idea, they'll watermark it, or post the pics on a bad image hosting site, further degrading the quality of the jpeg (a lot of them may not even know jpeg compression yet).

    Basically, if you get to make mobile phone photography a serious habit, you'll probably be able to post a better pic than 75% of what is posted on the web in less than a year's time. Probably even less than that.

    Offline Jonas

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  • @Cypocalypse
    Very true mate! Also, many mobile photographers make themselves as excellent photographers when the truth is that their photos only look good by applying lots of filters (not confuse with true digital artwork that has his own value) or on low resolution sites like the so well known Instagram. One of the reasons for me to bring this site up was to see the photos from mobile photos with a good resolution.

    Offline Cypocalypse

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    This is a bit of an advanced stuff.
    DSLRs typically have a good dynamic range and resolved detail, way better than any phone camera.

    When taking pictures of humans with an intention of having a more glamor feel, you can desaturate colors. This will give emphasis to texture, especially if the model wants to emphasize her skin.

    You can then edit HIGHLIGHTS, then reduce BRIGHTNESS. Using CONTRAST may affect midtones badly.

    Seriously, I'm not even sure if I'm doing this right. LOL!

    Raw


    Post processed


    In this case, the face of the vocalist if the brightest area. Highlights can be adjusted to give her face more glow.

    Offline batibot

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    Wow nice tips there. ^_^

    I always thought that camera phones has limited functionality, but then all you have to do is expand your imagination and shot as many photos as you can.

    Proud Pinoy here :)

    Offline Jonas

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  • @Cypocalypse
    Liked your editing there. Subtle but kind of gave a special look to it. The loss of the red on the guitar and drums was a pity as it gave more color to the photo but I must agree that the singer became the star of that photo, so good job.

    Offline Cypocalypse

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    Something to ponder about. I find this recent discovery really really important.

    I was looking for a camera that can outdo the Pureview 808. I prefer compact camera because the feel of a DSLR is very different. For one, there are too many things adjustable on a DSLR, that it can affect your concentration in composition. Not to mention that it's bulky. When you consider all of those things, you'll feel a lot of restrictions at the onset.

    Sony RX100 is getting rave reviews, and is considered to be the best compact camera of 2012.

    Here's the catch. It's above $600.

    The cost of entry level DSLR is about the same price as that.

    The cost of Canon 550D (which is older than the Nokia N8, to which it has been compared with) is still around $600.

    This made me realize just now that cameras don't price-drop as much as smartphones, and if Canon 550D stayed in that price range for almost 3 years, the Sony will probably stay also. I'm not sure though if compact cameras have the same turnover rate as DSLRs.

    Pureview 808 will probably stay at 350-450 by next year, assuming that it still has stocks by next year.

    The thing is, if you're looking for a cheap dedicated compact camera that can outdo your expensive iphone 4S or Galaxy S3's camera for you to train with, I probably won't bet on that.

    Actually, 4S's and S3's cam are good a daytime, but they're never advertised to be camera centric.

    ____________________________

    Personally, learning composition, knowing the limitations of my N8, knowing the proper settings to use, etc. took me a year of practice to get the fundamentals. And this is quite a a level of geekiness here. I'm involved in a music band, and my lifestyle requires a cam that's readily available.

    For one to develop the skills, a person needs to have an expendable cam, and you don't want to falsely buy that expensive camera immediately if you don't know what you're doing yet (that one year of learning curve is not short).

    I'm seriously thinking that 808, at it's current price range, is a very good deal, if you think of it as a camera over a smartphone. It will not serve your android or IOS needs app-wise, but it's a really really good starter camera.

     

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