Recommend Apps for the Class…

Instagram, FREE: iPhone | Android

Fast Camera: iPhone. $1.99 | Android, $1.49

Camera+ iPhone, 99 cents
Camera360, Android, FREE

Hipstamatic, iPhone, $1.99, more lenses, etc., available as in-app purchases
Retro Camera, Android, FREE

Tadaa, iPhone, FREE

Camera Awesome, iPhone, FREE

Photosynth, iPhone FREE
Panorama 360, Android, FREE

Halftone, iPhone, 99 cents
Comics Camera, Android, free

Pocketbooth iPhone, 99 cents
Pocketbooth Android, Free

Snapseed: iPhone | Android. FREE

Smartphone Photography

Class Objective: Gain an understanding of how mini-format smartphone cameras work, how they see, and how to get the best results from them.

Week 1 – How Cameras Work, and How Smartphone Cameras Work

• The mini (phone) format vs. every other type of camera.

Don’t fall for the megapixel myth. Sensor quality is more important. A good shot from most smartphones is easily printable to 8×10 or higher.

The small size of the sensor and lens used gives you a tremendous amount of depth of field (what’s in focus). For example, the camera on an iPhone would be the 35mm equivalent of a 30mm lens working at f/22.

For the most part, EVERYTHING WILL BE IN FOCUS with your smartphone camera.

Your phone focused at four feet and beyond will have everything from 19 inches to infinity in focus.

As you focus in closer, your depth of field will still be substantial, but shrinks as you get closer.

The typical smartphone lens today has a fixed aperture, the camera adjusts shutter speed and ISO (light sensitivity) for exposure. For example, iPhone ranges are ISO 50-1000, Shutter speeds between 1/15 and 1/10055.

Zoom – zooming is using digital zoom only, so you’re basically cropping in, not a true zoom. Still good for convenience

Rolling Shutter problem – when photographing quickly moving subjects, you might see some distortion as the sensor scans the scene.

HDR – high dynamic range. Good for subjects in mixed light, balances light and dark areas, but doesn’t work with moving subjects.

Remember in backlit situations to tap on the subject’s face or another neutral tone in the shot.
White Balance – watch for dominant colors that will throw off the automatic white balance. with some phones you can set the white balance, which will help you get it perfect. Otherwise, you can fix the color cast in most photo editing programs by adding back the color that the camera filtered out (for example, in a green forest scene, add the green back in).

Flash – only works with close subjects

GPS/ Geo-tagging – remember that your phone may be recording your location information. Turn on or off as you see fit.


1. Take a lot of photos, especially in challenging situations or with moving subjects. You can’t take too many.

2. Get close to your subject.

3. Don’t expect perfection – the fun of smartphone photography is the unexpected.


Things to look for when trying out apps-
1. Will it work with your phone or version of Android?
2. Read some reviews / user comments.
3. Does it shoot in full resolution?

Cool Apps to try out-

You want a really fast camera, something lean and mean…
iPhone: Fast Camera. $1.99
Android: Fast Camera, $1.49

You want a camera with tons of features, modes, filters, etc…
iPhone: Camera+, 99 cents
Android: Camera360, FREE

You want the retro look, a toy camera look, or artistic look…
iPhone: Hipstamatic, $1.99, more lenses, etc., available as in-app purchases
Android: Retro Camera, FREE

You want to share your photos easily with a community of friends/photographers:
iPhone: Instagram
Android: Instagram, FREE

You want to edit your photos on the phone:

PhotoShop Express: iPhone Version | Android Version, both versions FREE

The free Google application we talked about for organizing your photos on your computer is called Picassa. Click here for more information and to download. FREE

Other cool apps:

Tadaa, FREE, is a great camera app with lots of unique filters and backgrounds. I love Tadaa for working on my photos, and the filters are better than Instagram’s.

Camera Awesome, FREE, by Smugmug is a great Camera+ competitor and a fun all-around camera app.

For panoramas:

Photosynth (iPhone)
Panorama 360 (Android). Both apps are FREE

Great comic book app: Halftone (iPhone), 99 cents

And this is really fun: Pocketbooth (iPhone), 99 cents

Week 3

Apps –

For editing and applying filters: Snapseed iPhone | Android. Both versions are FREE

PhotoShop Express – iPhone | Android
Both versions are FREE

Shutterfly – iPhone | Android


Try to have your archive in three places, including one cloud storage option

Cloud storage options –
Apple’s PhotoStream/iCloud uploads and saves your last 1,000 photos. Free for iPhone users. Recommended.

Google Picassa Web Albums. Very affordable storage option, Android phones can be set to upload photos automatically. Free gigabyte of storage, only $5 for another 20 gigabytes/year. Recommended.

Dropbox will give you two gigabytes of free storage that is very easy to use. You can upgrade for more space for around fifty bucks. I would recommend a free Dropbox account for any computer user. You can sign up for a free account by clicking here.

Flickr is a free photo sharing site owned by Yahoo. Pro accounts give more features/storage for $20/year.

PhotoShelter and Smugmug are online photo storage sites with plans of all sizes, some offering the ability to sell your photos online. These sites are recommended for professionals and serious amateurs.

Carbonite is one of many online backup programs that will backup your entire computer for about $5/month.