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Smart Phone Photo Tips from Ben Hicks

The best camera for traveling is the one you “always have with you.”

When Traveling always have at least camera or two on me. Unfortunately, they aren’t always 100% accessible. Worse yet is when moving around and fumbling through my bag for the camera will give away my cover while sneaking up on a shot. But, I always have my cell phone in my pocket or very nearby. These days cameras on our phones are getting very near point and shoot quality.

Closer the Better
Get closer, unless of course you’re shooting a landscape! The closer you are to the subject you are attempting to shoot the better the camera can read the light for a better exposure.

Steady…
Steady hands. Most phone cameras have auto-focusing capabilities, but they still aren’t amazing. So, just like a real camera, keeping your camera steady will produce a sharper subject.

Never Use the Zoom
Avoid zooming at all costs. Zooming in with most of today’s smartphones usually results in a blurry image or poor lighting. This is because most phones don’t actually “zoom” like a regular lens. They might physically zoom you in a few feet closer, but after that, what actually happens is the camera crops the photo and blows it up. It might look nice on your little phone screen, but when you look at it on your computer or print them off, really zoomed in photos will look terribly pixelated.

This shouldn’t stop you completely from zooming, though! Sometimes it’s necessary, but try not to first and see how it looks.

Attachments?
Use wide angle attachments! There are all types of small lens attachments to get a wider angle. It might feel odd to put a lens on your phone, but trust me, it actually works.

Light is Your Friend
Good Light. Always shoot in good light. Darkness and phone cameras never mix well. You can tweak the settings all you like, but shooting with a phone camera in candlelight will either not work at all, or your picture will be so disgusting you will wish you had a real camera.

Don’t be Afraid of a Little Water
Take it in the water? Yes, you can! There are many housings out there to get your phone below the surface or around water! Once you find a good one, taking pictures at the beach or on a lake will never be the same.

Post Editing
Use an editing program. Just like the real world of shooting with SLR cameras where you edit the photos, there are many editing programs to touch up and improve your images right on your phone with hundreds of apps. Some key editing elements like cropping, leveling, along with adding saturation, sharpness, etc. can all be done on many apps and most are FREE!

The Selfie
Selfies = practice practice, practice. It is now a time honoured tradition for people around the world to take selfies, and lots of them! Nothing says you’ve been somewhere like a selfie. While you’re at it, grab some friends, snap pictures of those funny faces, and post them up for the world to see!

Backup Battery
I always carry a portable battery charger. Usually I can get 2 full charges out of one pack! Portable chargers are normally the best solution, but if your phone has an easily removable battery, keeping an extra charged one in your bag is never a bad idea.

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