While camera phones have arrived, sharing the digital photos from a phone isn't the smoothest process yet. Most carriers charge a monthly fee for photo-messaging services, and you can send pics only to someone who has the same carrier as you.
If paying for picture messaging isn't your cup of tea, there's always e-mail, either from your phone or your computer (as long as you have a data plan for sending e-mail). For sending pictures to friends who don't subscribe to your carrier, don't have cell phones capable of accepting images, or--the horror--don't have a cell phone, e-mail is your only option.
The details will vary from phone to phone, but the basic concept is the same. To e-mail directly from your cell phone:
- Go to the picture gallery and select a picture to send.
- Click options, then click Send.
- If you previously saved the contact information, select the address from the phone book. Be sure to select the e-mail address from the contact information, not the phone number. Otherwise, you'll need to enter the e-mail address manually.
- Insert a text message or an audio clip (optional).
- Click Send.
Along with better images, megapixel phones offer more memory. You can store up to 200 high-resolution images on the Nokia 7610, which means you'll have plenty of room for all the pictures you took on a weekend trip, for example. But when it comes time to move those images to your PC, you'll find yourself staring at unruly filenames, such as pic150704_2.jpg.
Yes, you can rename your files in Windows, but this can be tedious if you're transferring dozens or even hundreds of pictures at a time.
Instead, change the default image name that the camera phone uses to store pictures. If you're going on a trip to New York and you know you'll be taking lots of pictures, you can change the camera's default image name to New York. Subsequent pictures will contain the filename New York 001, New York 002, and so forth. The following steps apply to the Nokia 7610, but the process is similar among other camera phones that offer this option:
- In camera mode, click Options, then Settings.
- Select Default Image Name.
- Enter a new name, then click OK.
One of the reasons people leave their pictures imprisoned in their camera phones is that they're disappointed with the shots they've taken. The images are too blurry or too washed out, or the perspective is distorted. In detecting details, film cameras and digital cameras are more limited than the human eye, and camera phones, in turn, are more limited than both film and digital cameras. For that reason, you not only need to apply basic photographic principles to get the best-looking pictures possible, you need to be aware of and know how to compensate for your camera phone's deficiencies. Framing your shot
The camera phone is a great way to capture a spontaneous or otherwise unexpected moment. With that in mind, many people attempt to snap a picture without thinking about the composition of the shot. That's the wrong approach if you actually want to display your pictures in some fashion. Use the entire frame
Any photographer will tell you that one of the most basic techniques is to use the whole frame. Many people tend to focus their attention on only the center of the frame or the main subject of the picture, while ignoring the rest of the scene. When you take the whole frame into account, you pay close attention to objects in the background or on the periphery of the image. Place subjects off-center
Another classic rule is to avoid placing the main subject in the center of the frame. Placing the subject slightly off-center gives a more interesting sense of space, as you can see in the difference between the two images below.
Adjusting for lighting conditions
Slightly off-center subjects makes this shot more appealing.
It would be nice if the lighting conditions for taking photographs were always optimal, but that's not the case. Many of those buttons and dials you find on traditional cameras deal specifically with this problem. Unlike 35mm-film cameras or digital cameras with manual settings, however, camera phones don't offer a wealth of user controls for manipulating the lens to adjust for lighting conditions. With that in mind, you'll have to do your own compensating for less than ideal lighting conditions. Avoid low light
Because they automatically make adjustments to the shutter speed based on the amount of light available, camera phones have difficulty capturing details in low-light environments. Taking pictures in bright environments provides a faster shutter speed and more depth of field. Therefore, the more light in your environment, the sharper the image. Even a unit with a built-in flash will provide minimal support since the range is only about 2 or 3 feet, compared with the 10- to 15-foot range you get with a midlevel digital camera. Adjust the brightness level
If the image on your display seems too dark or too light, try adjusting the brightness level before taking the picture. You'll be able to see the difference on the screen as you make the adjustment, especially when taking pictures of subjects that have light-colored elements. Adjust the white balance
In some cases, it's not so much a matter of having enough light as it is what kind of light you're dealing with. In these instances, adjustments to the white balance can improve your pictures. Experienced photographers use blank white or gray cards to help judge the white balance. Not everyone will have the time or the inclination to go through this procedure to take a quick snapshot. If that's the case, you can simply keep the white balance set at Auto. But if this setting doesn't properly compensate for lighting conditions and if you have a couple of minutes to spare, you can use the same technique the professionals use:
- Place a white card or sheet of paper in front of you.
- Go to picture-taking mode.
- Look at the white card through the screen.
- If the card appears off-color (too yellow or red, for example), go to your camera phone's white-balance settings and toggle through the selections until the card appears as close to white as possible.
Before snapping a picture, think about where your light source is coming from. When the light source is behind your subject, it will appear too dark, almost like a silhouette. Cameras with fill-flash options can compensate for this, but camera phones, even those with built-in flashes, have no such feature. Unless you want your subject to appear as a silhouette, it's best to stand with the light behind you, not your subject. Keep your subject close
Camera phones use fixed-focal-length lenses, and the focal length
--the distance between the optical center of the lens and the place where it focuses the image--is very short. The LG VX6000's
focal length, for example, is 3.3mm; for a 35mm-camera lens, 50mm is considered a normal focal length. That means the lens can capture details in a wide area but not a deep one. If your subject is too far away, it will appear very small. It's best if you keep your subject within 3 or 4 feet of the camera. Avoid zooming
Camera phone makers, like manufacturers of digital cameras, love to tout their products' digital zoom capabilities. Digital cameras at least have some optical zoom capabilities, which actually uses the optics of the lens to bring the subject closer, but camera phones are stuck with digital zoom options, if they have any at all. Given the limited focal range of camera phones, you may be tempted to use this feature to capture faraway objects. Not only will this degrade the image quality, but you may be able to use it only when the camera is set to take pictures in a lower-resolution setting, which will result in a smaller image.