Assignments

Best practices — & an assignment — for cell phone pics

12 Sep , 2015  

We’ve all taken a ton of photos with our cell phones–some beautiful like postcards and  others so bad we hope no one ever sees them. In 2015 it’s expected that worldwide we’ll take a trillion…with a T!…photos with our cell and smart phones.

There’s also a debated stat out there that 90% of people have only EVER taken a photo with a camera phone, as opposed to a real phone. (Not sure I’m buying that.)

This outlines some best practices…and an assignment…for taking better cell and smart phone pics. After this not only will you be ready to take some great pictures connected to the UCI Worlds, but what you post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter will get more traffic…no kidding!

You (and your phone) can take a great pic

It’s no surprise that people use their phones when with others. According to the Pew Research Center, almost 90% of cellphone owners (and that’s more than 9 out of 10 of us) used their phone during a recent social gathering, with close to half of those folks using their phone to post a pic of that get together.

© Turi (Salvatore) Calafato Winner, Italy, Mobile Phone Award, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

© Turi (Salvatore) Calafato Winner, Italy, Mobile Phone Award, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

 

 

If you don’t believe you can take amazing pics with your phone, check this out from Huffington Post: These Are 20 Of The World’s Best Photos Taken With Cell Phones. They’re from the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards, Mobile Phone category. Here’s the first place winner.

Tech Tips

We’ll start with a video segment from c|net, one of the leading online sources for all things tech: “The Fix – How to take incredible pictures with your phone.” This 10 minute video  talks some tech regarding picture resolution (megapixels), advanced tips for operating your camera phone and how you create a tripod mount for your phone.

Rule of Thirds

You’ve probably heard of the Rule of Thirds–it’s a way of composing a picture for maximum impact and aesthetic appeal. It’s pretty straight forward and can make a HUGE difference in how people consider the quality of your photo.

Here’s another cool video (well, pretty cool), this one from Professional Photography Tips, “The Rule of Thirds – Improve Your Photography Composition.” (I appreciate that he’s trying to make it interesting.)

Finally, take a look at this from National Geographic: “Photo Gallery: How to Take Camera Phone Pictures“. It has 13  photos and accompanying tips on taking great pics, including using backlight, Rule of Thirds and anticipating shutter lag (and what your subject will do). Here’s their example for landscapes and using Rule of Thirds:

National_Geographic_rule_of_thirds

From National Geographic, “Photo Gallery: How to Take Camera Phone Pictures”

(Not required: If you want to know more about great photography, especially photojournalism, check out the free and self-directed online  course “Language of the Image” from Poytner’s News University.)

Tell the story with the caption

A caption…known as a cutline in the journalism business…gives specifics about what’s going on in the photo. To do this you have to have specific facts, like names, places, etc. It’s important to note that a good cutline doesn’t describe the photo, but explains it. Here’s a photo from the Associated Press Image site and the accompanying cutline. At the end it’s typical to give a credit to the photographer.

A member of the Secret Service watches as Marine One, with President Barack Obama aboard, lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House toward the Washington Monument in Washington, Tuesday, July 14, 2015, for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. before traveling to Philadelphia to speak at the NAACP's 106th national convention. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A member of the Secret Service watches as Marine One, with President Barack Obama aboard, lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House toward the Washington Monument in Washington, Tuesday, July 14, 2015, for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. before traveling to Philadelphia to speak at the NAACP’s 106th national convention. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Take a look at these suggestions from News College, “10 tips for better cutlines,” including “don’t insult your readers,” “who’s who” and “write like it’s happening now.”

OK, now the assignment

By Thursday, Sept. 17 please have on your RamPages site (all in one post)…

  • At least 10 total pictures that you’ve taken with your cell phone, with…
  • At least three of them should be of people doing something (and not looking at the lens)
  • At least two of them should be people looking at the lens (portrait shots)
  • At least two of them are landscape shots
  • All of them correctly using Rule of Thirds
  • All of them with a cutline that adequately explains what’s going on in the photo.

Give this post a cool title, not just “photo assignment.” (Remember that they all show up on our class RamPages site, so a little creativity goes a long way.)

The easiest way to get pics off your phone and onto a computer (to insert into a web page, for example) is to email them to yourself. I always make sure I’m connected to wi-fi when I do this so I don’t eat up my cell phone data.

Get more info about inserting media (like photos) into posts and pages on WordPress.

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