An Overview of What Phone Cameras Can Do ( Part 1)

It seems to me that not many years ago the world was still dominated by point-and-shoot cameras.  With their relatively lightweight bodies and sleek design, they had been (at least in travelers’ hands) very common-place. If those used to be their advantages, though, they have fallen behind technology trends. Lighter phones with more fashionable designs have caused even the Time Magazine to acknowledge the end of an era (Fitzpatrick).

Today, basic cellphone cameras can do all that a regular camera was expected to do seven years ago. The knowledge of functions of the camera on a phone is the foundation to phone photography. Because of that, in the next two weeks, I will take you through the functions of an ordinary phone camera, from the default modes to auxiliary effects. I will use Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime as an example in the blog, but really, such functions should be present in most phones. Below are the two main camera modes on the Grand Prime, along with their built-in explanations:


Do not underestimate the Auto mode. Did you notice that the description for it tells you it “[takes] the best possible pictures”? According to the source “How does a camera in an automatic mode choose what exposure, aperture and ISO to use,” Auto modes work by analyzing the image before the camera, and predicting what the user tries to accomplish. The camera then chooses the appropriate mode. For example, when filming fast-moving objects, most cameras automatically assume that a clear view of the object is required.  It is the starting point for all would-be photographers. It is straightforward and easy to use; most importantly, it is the default mode of your camera. This means you often have to deal with it if you suddenly find yourself having to capture a moment in a short time.

The Pro mode may be called something else, depending on your phone. Most basically, it allows you to adjust some or all of the following: focus, exposure, ISO, and white balance. We will look into each of the these in detail in a later post. If you have an iPhone and have no idea where the equivalence of this mode is, don’t panic. The iPhone allows you to adjust the focus and the exposure: tap on the intended focal point on the screen to change the focus. In effect, it makes that point to appear least blurry on the image.  The exposure, which controls the brightness on the image (there is actually more to that , but we will get there later) can be adjusted on sliding the sun slider on an iPhone, as shown below.



Now that we have overviewed two of the most useful modes on main smartphones, I will also give a preview to what we will cover in later posts. Meanwhile, play around with Auto and Pro modes in your phone and be surprised at all that they can do.


Stay tuned!



The people and the scenes around you matter

If the god of art history takes its tour around modern timeline, he will notice a shift in around the era of the 21st century. Paintings like Van Gogh’s are no longer easy to make, and more powerful media of art–photography–has become widespread. The trend is accompanied by another movement–the rise of smartphones. I feel these two trends combine to form unique opportunities for everyone to immerse ourselves in the making of art.

That is what this blog is about.

It is unlikely that a teenager carries a bulky professional camera to school every day, but it is rare they go without a phone in 2017. I, for example, have a Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime, a semi-outdated device that can take good pictures nevertheless.

Join me as I post pictures of those worthy scenes and people — all seen through the lens of cellphone cameras — and learn the stories behind them. Join me in the discussion about interesting places in the city, and feel free to comment, suggest, and advice. Blog post ideas are always welcome!

I have no professional photography experience, so there will be crude pictures, but I hope this blog will make me grow. If it makes you smile, that’s even better!