By Mike Gast
By now, your smartphone has likely become a well-used extension of your hand when you travel. It can serve as your primary guidance tool, your email reader, and your device for browsing the Internet (likely for more hours than you want to admit). But it’s when your smartphone becomes your camera that it really shines.
Smartphone cameras have taken amazing leaps technologically in the past few years. The newer iPhones as well as several brands of Android devices sport multiple lenses and huge megapixel counts that make them rival the performance of some of the better high-end SLR cameras from Nikon and Canon.
Even if you have an older model smartphone, you might not know what it can really do. Each week, I’ll provide you with a brief tip that will help you take your smartphone photography to the next level.
These tips are simple to understand and easy to do. You’ll soon find yourself looking at your travels – and your entire world – a bit differently as you find better ways to compose your photos. Taking advantage of all that your amazing smartphone camera can do will open doors to creativity and fun.
Let’s get started.
Tip #1: Clean your lens
This first tip has nothing – yet everything – to do with taking better cellphone photos. Let me explain that contradictory statement.
If you have a large digital SLR camera that isn’t your cell phone, you know that nice Nikon or Canon came with an effective-but-often-misplaced lens cap that you were highly encouraged to keep on the front of the lens when the camera wasn’t in use in order to keep away grime and protect delicate lens glass from scratches.
Cellphone cameras don’t come with lens caps because they don’t need them. That’s a good thing, because we treat them horribly as they roll around with the keys and lint in the bottom of our pockets, or dive to the bottom of purses amongst the lotions and lipsticks. The end result is a smartphone camera lens covered with a lot of gunk, smears and other detritus that just doesn’t make for better photos.
The good news is that smartphone cameras are covered with a tough, extremely scratch-resistant industrial-grade sapphire glass. The glass that covers the actual lenses is nearly impossible to scratch.
The bad news is that most folks don’t make an effort to keep that glass covering clean. Hand lotions, oils, bits of dirt and just overall grime will affect the quality of your cellphone pictures. As good as your cell camera is, it can’t shoot well through the smeared remnants of last night’s fried chicken dinner.
The fix is pretty simple. Wipe off the glass that covers the lenses on the back of your phone (and don’t forget about the tiny front-facing camera lens you use for your selfies). You don’t need a high-end, dust-free microfiber cloth for the task. A clean corner of your T-shirt will do, and it won’t scratch the glass. Make cleaning that spot on your smartphone a habit, at least once a day.
NEXT WEEK’S TIP: I’ll show you where to find the useful “secret shutter.”
Mike Gast was the Vice President of Communications for Kampgrounds of America, Inc.for the past 20 years. Now, he’s on to new adventures, helping others tell their stories through his freelance company, ‘Imi Ola Group. You can reach Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.