Smartphone photography – why is grandma blurry?

Updated 7/31/2017

Smartphones are literally in the hands of almost every human being on the earth today – 70% to be exact. So it should be no surprise that smartphone photography has overtaken the market in photography as the preferred method for taking photos. They are definitely the tool of choice for taking those family pictures, sports, kids and vacation memories. With so many people using phones as cameras, I thought some tips for the older generation might be in order. I like to help seniors with quick tips in technology.

They say “the best camera, is the one you have with you at the time”



 “70% of people have a smartphone in the world today”

While today’s smartphones have become fairly complex and feature-laden, taking pictures is not quite as labor intensive as creating a new contact on your phone. Once you have identified the camera app, put the icon on your home screen. You will use it more than you think. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but there are some easy tips to remember so you can get the clearest shot of grandma as possible.
 

1. Clean Your Lens!

Sounds simple but most people forget to do this often enough. Your phone is in your pocket, in your purses, in your hands and other places we don’t want to know about. It’s common sense that a clean, clear lens is going to take better images than a dirty one. Even if you don’t see smudges, they could be affecting your camera images.

It’s a good idea – and good camera hygiene – to regularly wipe your smartphone camera lens with a soft, clean cloth or a damp lens or screen wipe.

 

2. Know your settings – AUTO?

paul kaiser

Forget all the other settings and keep it on AUTO. If you don’t know what the setting are, don’t touch them. The good news is that “Auto” on every smartphone does a pretty phenomenal job of taking all your images. The best tip I can give you to override here is the flash. 90% of your photos should be taken with out the flash. Smartphone cameras are very good with low light. Use the flash when your on the beach, or a situation where it can be used as fill in flash. Flash photos produce very harsh shadows and show wrinkles – so I’ll say no more.
 
paul kaiser


3. Tap to Focus before you shoot

cameraYour smartphone knows how to focus but you can help it decide where. Tapping your screen to focus your shot is a no brainer once you get in the habit of it, and it can make all the difference. Just click on the portion of the shot you want in focus.
Just as important, tapping to focus adjusts the light meter of the subject that you’re actually shooting instead of just averaging the exposure across the entire shot. This can make for a disappointing picture as seen below.

 

4. Lighting is Everything

This is when you use your flash. Your smartphone does a great many things right, but even the best smartphone or any cameras for that matter, struggles with proper exposure. Don’t shoot directly into backlit scenes unless it’s unavoidable. Try to position your shot so that the light is facing your subject. Avoid taking a shot that has both very dark and very well-lit areas. While it might sound counter intuitive, avoid flash in dark settings unless you’re a fan of that “still out at the bar at 3 a.m.” ambiance. Natural light always looks better when there is enough of it.

 
5. To Filter or not to Filter

Use filters, but mindfully
: There’s no harm in editing your shots with filters. Instagram has some great ones and there are loads of other apps with more options. But don’t apply a filter effect for the sake of it, only if it helps tell your story.


Finally I leave you with a video review much of what is above. Happy shooting.



 “70% of people have a smartphone in the world today”

While today’s smartphones have become fairly complex and feature-laden, taking pictures is not quite as labor intensive as creating a new contact on your phone. Once you have identified the camera app, put the icon on your home screen. You will use it more than you think. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but there are some easy tips to remember so you can get the clearest shot of grandma as possible.
 

1. Clean Your Lens!

Sounds simple but most people forget to do this often enough. Your phone is in your pocket, in your purses, in your hands and other places we don’t want to know about. It’s common sense that a clean, clear lens is going to take better images than a dirty one. Even if you don’t see smudges, they could be affecting your camera images.

It’s a good idea – and good camera hygiene – to regularly wipe your smartphone camera lens with a soft, clean cloth or a damp lens or screen wipe.

 

2. Know your settings – AUTO?

Forget all the other settings and keep it on AUTO. If you don’t know what the setting are, don’t touch them. The good news is that “Auto” on every smartphone does a pretty phenomenal job of taking all your images. The best tip I can give you to override here is the flash. 90% of your photos should be taken with out the flash. Smartphone cameras are very good with low light. Use the flash when your on the beach, or a situation where it can be used as fill in flash. Flash photos produce very harsh shadows and show wrinkles – so I’ll say no more.
paul kaiser
 
paul kaiser


3. Tap to Focus before you shoot

cameraYour smartphone knows how to focus but you can help it decide where. Tapping your screen to focus your shot is a no brainer once you get in the habit of it, and it can make all the difference. Just click on the portion of the shot you want in focus.
Just as important, tapping to focus adjusts the light meter of the subject that you’re actually shooting instead of just averaging the exposure across the entire shot. This can make for a disappointing picture as seen below.

 

4. Lighting is EverythingThis is when you use your flash. Your smartphone does a great many things right, but even the best smartphone or any cameras for that matter, struggles with proper exposure. Don’t shoot directly into backlit scenes unless it’s unavoidable. Try to position your shot so that the light is facing your subject. Avoid taking a shot that has both very dark and very well-lit areas. While it might sound counter intuitive, avoid flash in dark settings unless you’re a fan of that “still out at the bar at 3 a.m.” ambiance. Natural light always looks better when there is enough of it.


5. To Filter or not to Filter

Use filters, but mindfully
: There’s no harm in editing your shots with filters. Instagram has some great ones and there are loads of other apps with more options. But don’t apply a filter effect for the sake of it, only if it helps tell your story.


Finally I leave you with a video review much of what is above. Happy shooting.

About the author

An experienced and innovative digital marketer that has an outstanding background in all facets of multi-channel marketing that ranges from strategic planning, brand marketing, social media enthusiast to digital consulting for business.