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Pro Photography with Your Android Phone

written by: Daniel Kolobaric•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/3/2011

Your Android phone may not be the optimal device for taking photographs with. However, are you in a situation that deserves a good shot and you only have your Android phone with you? Read on for some tips on achieving your goal.

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    Improving Picture Quality on Android

    Your Android phone has a lot going for it but more often than not you will find the camera insufficient for your photography needs. As Android’s Achilles heal is undoubtedly the platform fragmentation, every Android phone cam is different. Nevertheless, there are some basic tips and tweaks that will somehow apply to everyone looking to improve their photography skills with their Android device.

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    Take Better Photographs by Improving the Conditions

    Although it may not always seem like it, you can reach a very acceptable and satisfying level of photography with your Android phone. There are a few basic rules that you need to follow to ensure the best preconditions:

    • Clean your lens or remove the back cover completely. Lens cleaning does not need any explanation here. However, Android phone manufacturers sometimes tend to provide a good camera but provide a plastic lens cover. In time it will collect scratches and smudges, making the quality of the lens itself almost redundant. If possible remove the back cover to ensure the optimal shooting conditions.
    • Be aware of lighting. With this I do not mean use your flash and if anything avoid using it altogether. Using a flash is only acceptable if you are taking a picture in daylight and you cannot avoid shooting into the natural light source. You have to accept that an Android phone is a daylight-only device and terrible for low-light photography and using the flash will not compensate for this. Android flashes are always too bright and entirely unsuitable for some serious photography.
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    Using the Android Phone Camera Settings or Alternative Apps

    Besides good conditions you can tweak the phone application a bit to get the most out of a ‘bad’ situation. Here are some tips:

    • In dim lighting conditions compensate by using a higher exposure. Although this will make the picture grainier, it will improve the overall look of the photo. Whatever the outcome it will always look better than using the onboard flash.
    • Oversaturate your photos a little. It is easy to get deceived by the Android screen after you take a photo with your device. In reality your photos will have come out lacking good coloring. Oversaturating the shot a bit will improve on this.
    • Play around with white balance settings. You should never trust what the phone thinks is best. For instance a ‘shadow’ setting may in a lot of cases make inside pictures look better than with the ‘indoors’ setting. Make multiple shots of the same subject and compare results. In general, just make a lot of shots for a good picture as your phone can probably save a lot of them.

    Although there are more ways to improve camera shots with your Android device, these should cover the basics. On the software side you can always opt for a better photo app, as there are plenty available in the Android Market. CameraZOOM FX, FxCamera and Camera360 all have their own qualities and tons of plugins to extend on functionality. In any case, a combination of these tips and a lot of common sense will take you a long way towards making better camera shots with your Android phone.

    Note. Have any tips yourself? Feel free to post them in the comment section!

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    References

    • CameraZOOM FX, http://www.androidslide.com/
    • FxCamera, http://stackrmobile.com/fxcamera.html
    • Camera360, http://blogen.52photo.com/
    • The authors own experience.