25 Cameraphone Problems And How to Solve Them!

 
Phones are ideal for spontaneous images, when removing a ‘camera’ would take time and scare the subject away Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

Phones are ideal for spontaneous images, when removing a ‘camera’ would take time and scare the subject away Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

There is no real excuse to get a bad picture. Raj Lalwani tells you practical, easy solutions to the most common problems faced by cellphone shooters.

How many times have you seen a sloppily shot group picture at a party? One where the expressions are happy, but faces blurry? And those unique, quirky moments that are not done justice to, in the final photograph? We all tend to blame equipment. It is just a cellphone camera, we say. But only if you know your cameraphone’s limitations, will you know how to get around them.

1. I Sometimes See Flare, Sometimes Don’t
It could be a fingerprint at work! Our fingers tend to rub against phone lenses all the time, so clean the lens with a soft cloth.

2. My Picture is Too Dark
Cellphones are not good at low light shooting, so choose your camera angles wisely. Shoot into the light or request your friend to move closer to the light.

3. The Camera Shook!
Give your friend an advance warning about the exact moment you plan to click, and take the support of any wall, table or even a plate that may be around.

4. Why is Everything So Pixellated?
A common mistake that most cameraphone users make is to pinch and zoom into a scene. This only spoils image quality. Walk closer, instead or crop after shooing.

Almost everything is sharp while shooting with a phone, which can work to your advantage if you have strong elements in both the foreground and background Shot with: Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

Almost everything is sharp while shooting with a phone, which can work to your advantage if you have strong elements in both the foreground and background Shot with: Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

5. The Bright Areas Look Ugly
The dynamic range of phone sensors is not great and highlights tend to burn out really quickly. Use the +/- button judiciously.

6. Everything Seems to Be in Focus
Cellphone sensors do not have great control over DOF, so you would rather take advantage of that and play with subjects in the extreme foreground and background to create perspective tricks. If you do want shallow depth, there are apps that simulate background blur, both while shooting and also in post.

7. The Composition is Weak
With no zoom and a wide lens, it is not easy to get composition perfect with a phone. Get as close to the subject as possible and watch the corners carefully, to ensure that you are not wasting them.

8. Flash Didn’t Help!
The flash in a phone has a very limited range, just a few feet. If your subject is far away, you would rather turn it off.

Graphic photos are easy to get right, but choice of colour palette and the app effect chosen become key in such photos. Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

Graphic photos are easy to get right, but choice of colour palette and the app effect chosen become key in such photos. Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

9. Too Many Distractions
If you are in the mood for getting the moment, Facebook and even Instagram can wait. Better still, switch to the Airplane mode.

10. Being Happy Too Easily
The fancy AMOLED screens make our pictures so eyecatching that even bad pictures look attractive. Review your pictures on a computer and try to go beyond the standard pretty shot.

11. Being Too Serious
While working hard to improve your pictures, don’t forget to have fun. Apart from being serious creative tools, the effects and sharing capabilities of a cameraphone are something you should enjoy.

12. The Moment Has Gone
Anticipation and previsualisation are key. Tap the screen, keep the image in focus and release just before you want the picture made.

The multitude of apps available is almost like a large variety of film stock, each of which can help define your individual style. Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

The multitude of apps available is almost like a large variety of film stock, each of which can help define your individual style. Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

13. No one Takes Me Seriously
There are plenty of photographers who are doing serious work with their phones and constantly pushing the envelope, but there are plenty of skeptics even today who may refuse to appreciate cellphone photography. Let that not discourage you.

14. The Battery Runs Out Too Fast
Minimise apps running in the background and if you are making pictures, switch off Auto Sync and 3G. Better still, invest in an extra battery or a power booster.

15. High Resolution? What’s That?
A common mistake that Instagram addicts make is to forget the image after they have uploaded it and sometimes even delete the original file. Do not do that!

16. Pictures are Unexpectedly Bright
Did you focus on a person’s face that is in shadow? Cameraphones tend to meter from the focusing area. Override exposure or change the AF area.

Phones deal best with frames that do not have too much detail. And then, simple compositions always look good! Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

Phones deal best with frames that do not have too much detail. And then, simple compositions always look good! Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

17. No Control Over Shutterspeed
Apps like Lightbomber (iOS) let you use long exposures and get deliberate blurs with phones, as long as you keep the phone steady.

18. My Cameraphone Has Gone Slow
Are there too many photos on your phone or card’s memory? A clogged gallery slows down the performance of the camera app.

19. Fingers in the Way
Remember that this is the most common problem, of the lens or flash getting covered by one’s hand.

20. How Much is Too Much?
Less is more. When using apps like VSCOCam and Instagram, avoid overdoing the effect so much that it distracts from the picture.

The success of Instagram and Hipstamatic is actually helping us see in squares, something that a lot of us had forgotten courtesy 35mm cameras. Shot with: Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

The success of Instagram and Hipstamatic is actually helping us see in squares, something that a lot of us had forgotten courtesy 35mm cameras. Shot with: Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

21. Too Many Apps, Too Many Choices
Figure out which apps work as per your style, use only those and perfect them.

22. The Colours are Faded
Lenses pick up flare from the oddest of reflections and mute down the colours. Change the shooting angle slightly.

23. Not Using it Enough
Considering that your cameraphone is always on you, there is no real excuse to not be using it to its fullest. The quality not being as good as a dedicated camera is no reason to not get the picture in the first place. Also, since it is so handy, it will open your eyes to photo opportunities you may never have thought of.

24. Or Getting Flippant
But then again, in the process of having fun, have a strong recognition of what is casual and for personal enjoyment, and what is serious from an artistic point of view.

Cameraphones are not only less obtrusive, they also tend to help you connect with the people and scene better, something that is ideal for travel photography. Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

Cameraphones are not only less obtrusive, they also tend to help you connect with the people and scene better, something that is ideal for travel photography. Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

25. Shooting the Same Old Things
Everyone is shooting their meal. Selfies are all around. If you indulge in the cliche, try to give it your own spin. Also, follow the right people on Instagram to see the kind of crazy brilliance that some masters manage with their phones. Be inspired, and you may well be on your way there.

Tags: 25 Cameraphone problems, cellphone photography, Cellphone technique, may 2014, Raj Lalwani, Shooting Technique