Phonecams for Small Business Photography - Page 2

By Gerry Blackwell
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Lighting Issues

The ultimate solution to the motion blur problem is more light. In any photography, in fact, lighting is paramount. The better the light — the more there is of it and the better the quality of light — the better the picture will be.

More and more phonecams have flash units built in or even small floodlights. Again, don't be fooled. While phonecam lights might help in some situations, more often they will produce worse images. Avoid flash.

If the subject is portable — a small product, say — move it into better light. Even light from a window can improve image quality enormously. Turn all the lights on in the room. Move lamps closer (but not too close). When shooting people, move them outside or near a window.

The best light for most of the types of shooting you'll want to do for business is even, filtered daylight. Window light is often surprisingly effective. Cloudy bright conditions and tree shade are also good. For prettier pictures try to shoot early in the morning or late in the day.

If you're turning on lights or using flash, understand that they will have an impact on color reproduction. You may, probably will, end up with something that looks slightly off color-wise.

Some phonecams let you adjust white balance for different lighting sources. Experiment to see if you can correct color problems by using something other than the default or auto white balance setting. If you have a white balance control, it will likely allow you to choose between sunlight, cloudy, fluorescent, incandescent and night.


You can also correct color problems afterwards using photo editing software. Download pictures from the phonecam to a PC or Mac and use a program such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, or the software that came with your regular digital camera. Experiment with the color balance adjustment to correct color problems.

Photo editing software can also "fix" other problems with phonecam pictures. Try using the automatic picture correction command. It might improve the image, it might not. You can also manually correct pictures. Increasing contrast, for example, will often improve the image. Sharpness filters that increase the contrast between adjacent areas in a picture can also help compensate for the problems of using a fixed focus lens.

Other tricks to keep in mind? Use tried and true rules of composition to improve pictures,but don't follow them too slavishly. The rule of thirds, for example, says you should divide the frame into nine equal segments, superimposing an imaginary grid like an x's and o's board.

Centre your main subject or the most important element, a human subject's eye, for example, on one of the intersections at the top or bottom of the frame. It's surprising how often this type of composition produces the most pleasing result.

Take lots of photos of every subject, especially those you may not have a chance to re-shoot later. Try using different lighting, different angles. Then you can choose the best shot and throw the rest out. That's the beauty of digital photography.

A phonecam is never the best option for business photography. But it's a tool you'll almost always have available. Why not take advantage of it?

Based in London, Canada, Gerry Blackwell has been writing about information technology and telecommunications for a variety of print and online publications since the 1980s.

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This article was originally published on March 04, 2009
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