Philip’s Tips and Recommendations

What is Mobile Photography?

Mobile Photography is about capturing images with a mobile device. This includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • Cellular phones
  • Tablets

What is My Primary Camera?

The camera I have on hand. Usually:

  • My iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • Others
    • Nikon D700
    • Nikon D800
    • Nikon D5100
    • Canon Something-or-the-other

Assignment (Yes There’s Homework)

Using only your mobile device capture and edit any 4 of the following:

  • A Selfie
  • A Portrait of Someone
  • City Scene
  • Street Photography
  • Urban Art
  • Nature
  • Having Fun!
  • Sneak a photo without anyone knowing!

Photos must be taken between December 3, 2019 and January 21, 2020. [Extended to include the Holidays].

email your favorite images 4 to Philip Thomas (see reminder email for email address) by Sunday, January 19, 2020 for Show & Tell. Be sure to indicate the category and the name name of the corresponding photo.


Tip #1: What’s the Best Camera?

The camera that you have with you… right there in the moment

  • Sometimes it’s the “big camera”
  • Sometimes it’s your cell phone… (if you don’t leave it at home)
  • What’s the best phone? “The one you have with you!”

Tip #2: Light, Light, Light, Light, Light!

  • Every camera works on the principle of controlled exposure.
  • The more light you have, the better the control you have over the final image.
  • Mobile Camera’s may not be as powerful as their DSLR cousins, but with the right light you can get some pretty amazing results.

Tip #3: Turn Off the Flash

  • Camera lighting is usually small and inadequate in just about every circumstance.
  • Adequate ambient or continuous lighting is preferred.
  • Turn ON OTHER PEOPLE’S THE PHONE FLASHES and use them as impromptu “ambient” lighting.

Tip #4: Touch the Screen to Set the Focus & Adjust the Lighting Settings

  • On most mobile devices, touching anywhere on the image will set up auto focus and allow you to adjust the lighting settings.
  • Use this to adjust the exposure.
  • This feature will depend on you devices make and model.

Tip #5: Shoot in Raw

  • If supported by your phone take advantage of being able capture images in RAW mode.
  • Applications (like Google’s Snapseed and Adobe’s Lightroom CC) can edit images with minimal destruction to the final image.
  • Google Snapseed; Adobe’s Lightroom CC.

Tip #6: No Raw Support? Use the Default Camera App

  • The default camera application is designed to take the best advantage of your phone.
  • Other, non-raw editing applications may capture a reduced size and/or quality image.
  • It’s better to capture at the highest resolution possible and then “tinker” with the settings later.

Tip #7: Just Take the Picture

  • Camera Sensor and new Artificial Intelligence technology in newer devices allow you to simply enjoy the thrill of taking a photo without the “complexities” of having remember a bunch of settings and formulas.
  • Photography Styles: Street, News, Portraiture, Travel, Architecture & CItyscapes, Nature, Still Life.

Tip #8: Composition Rules Apply – Turn on the Grid Feature

  • The default camera app on most phones have the “Rule of 3rds” Grid feature.
  • This may vary from model to model.

Tip #9: No Digital Zoom

  • Digital Zooming is similar to resizing a photo beyond the natural resolution.
  • Expect to see pixilation.
  • New mobile devices attempt to compensate for it.
  • Nothing like optical zoom!
  • Newer phones offer 1x, 2x and 0.5x zoom.
  • Depends on the make and model of the phone.

Tip #10: Portrait Mode

  • Available on mode new phones.
  • Depends on the make and model
  • Simulates a graduated depth of field.
  • Depth of Field can usually be changed AFTER the picture is taken.

Tip #11: It’s Okay to be Selfie

  • Don’t be afraid to take self-portraits.
  • The “kids” call it selfies (that’s so 2010).
  • Experiment with lighting, different angles, and number of people.
  • Take pictures from a 450 angle above. Slimming effect.
  • Use a selfie-stick to get some distance from the face forward camera for some added depth or for larger groups of people. (Note: I WILL laugh at you and your “stick”)

Tip #12: Change Your Perspective – Turn that Phone Upside Down

  • Do you need to capture a weird or hard to reach low angle? Well turn that phone upside down!
  • Get the camera a couple inches to the surface to get a new perspective/composition on a photo.

Tip #13: Excuse Me Sir/Madam, Please Put Down That Tablet

  • Fact: Tablets have cameras
  • Fact: Those cameras aren’t the greatest.
  • Fact: You’ll look like you’re taking a picture/video with a cookie sheet!
  • Fact: I will make fun of you!

Tip #14: X Marks the Spot

  • See a really good shot and want to come back with your “big” camera?
    • Take a photo with your smart phone!
    • If geotagging is turned ON it will remember the date/time and the physical location the picture was taken
  • Use the maps feature on your phone to retrace your steps later!

Tip #15: Panoramas

Use this feature in your phone stitch multiple images into one long (or tall) image.

Tip #16: Don’t Fear the Water

  • Newer phones are water resistant, many of them up to 30 minutes at several feet.
  • Get in the pool, go to the beach and get in the water WITH YOUR PHONE!
  • WARNING: Each model is different. Be sure to consult your model’s manual for how much water exposure it can tolerate!

Get a Waterproof Case

  • There are many options for water proof cases on the market.
  • Remember that the extra layer of plastic in front of your lens will affect your image.
  • Be sure to do your research to make sure it’s right for you. Buy from reputable sites/stores. Be sure to read the reviews.

Tip #17: Slow Things Down

  • Newer phones have slo-mo options.
  • Video is recorded at a higher frame rate (example: 240 frames per second).
  • When played back a normal speed things appear to slowdown dramatically.

Tip #18: Speed Things Up – Time-Lapse

  • Many smartphones phones have a time-lapse option.
  • Takes a lot of patience and steady hand (tripod is best).
  • Video is recorded at a slower frame rate (example: 1 frame per second).
  • When played back at a normal speed things appear to speed up dramatically.

Tip #19: When They Tell You To Put Your Camera Away…

  • You’re a photographer… and you have a cell phone… Right?
  • … unless it’s illegal for you to do so … don’t get into trouble! (example: US Customs at the Border)
  • Of course, use common sense.

Tip #20: Use Filters (Sparingly)

  • Use default camera app and third party apps to apply filters to make photos more interesting. Make them “POP!”
  • Just don’t over do it though!

Tip #21: Back Up Photos to the Cloud

  • Always have a back up of your photos.
  • Leverage “The Cloud” for manual or automatic uploads of your camera roll.
  • My Favorites
    • Apple iCloud Photos
    • Google Photos

Tip #22: Share Those Photos

  • iPhone use AirDrop
  • Messenger
    • Apple Messages
    • WhatsApp
  • Cross-Platform Album Sharing:
    • Google Photos (favorite; formerly Picasa; has privacy concerns)
    • iCloud Photos

Tip #23: Share Those Photos (Get Social!)

  • Instagram
    • Dedicated to Sharing Photos
    • Offers Editing (Filters/Manual)
    • Stores Edited Photo in Camera Roll
  • Facebook
    • Dedicated to Sharing Experiences
    • Offers Limited Editing
  • WPCC’s Website
    • Images from WPCC IG Account are Automatically posted to our Facebook page and Website.

Tip #24: Philip’s Favorite Photo Apps (2019)

  • Capturing Photos
    • Built-in Camera App – Free
  • Editing
    • SnapSeed (Google) – Free
    • Adobe Lightroom – Free to Download; Paid for Premium
    • Adobe Photoshop for iPad – Free to Download; Paid for Premium
    • Instagram – Free
    • PictFrame – Collages – Free
    • Prisma – Free to Download; Paid for Premium
  • Storage
    • Google Photos – Free (Paid for Larger Size and >15GB high resolution photos)
    • DropBox/Box – Free Initially (Paid for Larger Space) and offers Camera Upload for Backup
  • Video Composition & Editing
    • Filmr
    • iMovie – Free for iOS and iPadOS devices
  • Misc.
    • Investigator – View EXIF Image Information

Tip #25: But Most Importantly… HAVE FUN!

Who Wants to See Some Sample Mobile Photos?

  • Yes. I am shamelessly showing off my travel photos.
  • Photos were taken between 2017 and 2019.
  • Phone Models Include
    • iPhone 7+
    • iPhone X
    • iPhone XS Max
    • iPhone 11 Pro

Tip #26: Traveling? It’s Easier to Lug a Phone

  • How much does your travel camera and equipment weight?
  • I bet you still have your cell phone with you even when you travel abroad!
  • USE IT!
  • In dark settings it pays to have…
    • Steady hands
    • Some thing to lean on.
    • Or… well.. I guess not in this case!

Mobile Photography 2019

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