Today I am sharing photography tips for new FaceBook group I started called the Isolating at Home Cellphone Photo Challenge.The group was created simply to bring a little joy while we all self isolate at home during this pandemic. Every couple of days, a new cell phone photo challenge will be posted that can be done from home. My role is as administrator of the group and posting the challenges. The judging is done by the previous days winning photographers.

The creativity and variety of the photos have been nothing short of amazing. Below are the three winning photos of the challenge, “Create a photo that looks like an abstract painting”.

cell phone photo challenge

 Annie Damphousse: photo on left, Sarah O’Neil top right, and LyndaQuintero-Davids, bottom right.

Last weekend the challenge was to get creative using toilet paper as your muse. Watching the submissions roll in made being stuck at home a little less boring.

The winning photos

winning photos in toilet paper photo challenge
Laurie Laizure: Indulging in a toilet paper bath     Pamela Copeman: hand painted toilet paper hat    Elizabeth Ryan Benedict: The eye of the TP roll

Honorable mentions

There were so many excellent photos to choose from that the judges decided to give out honorable mentions as well

 toilet paper photo challenge

Robin Dodge Sears:Pigs shopping, Beau Stinnette:Lion in Winter inspired, Renee Rucci: .P. cake, Christine Morrison Kohut TP balancing Ozzy, Sarah Durnez: TP tree

Three Cell Phone Photography Tips:

Over the course of the week I have received several DM requests for some cell phone photography tips. In looking over all the submissions, I have noticed three common problems. 1. Photo is not properly exposed 2. Photo is not in sharp focus and 3. The photo has a distracting background.

Problem #1. Photo is too dark or too light

A photo can look one of three ways.

  1. Too dark or Underexposed which means not enough light was let in through the shutter to properly expose the image.
  2. properly exposed, the correct amount of light was allowed in through the shutter
  3. Too Light or Overexposed meaning too much light was allowed in through the shutter.

examples of different exposures

To get the correct exposure for your photos, you must over ride the in camera light meter and set the exposure manually. With the iPhone you simply hold your finger on the phone screen for a second or two and a yellow box with a sun will pop up. Then, by sliding your finger either up or down the screen you have the ability to lighten or darken the photo.

iphone sun icon

With the Android it is a similar action. Hold your finger on the screen until a large dot appears. Then by sliding your finger left and right you can darken or lighten the photo.

Problem #2 Photo is out of focus or not in sharp focus

I have noticed that some of the photos being submitted have not been in sharp focus. Having a photo out of focus is a common problem, especially when photographing something very close up. If the camera isn’t perfectly still, close ups will usually result in being “soft” or blurry. To correct this problem, it is similar action to setting the exposure manually. With the iphone hold your finger on the phone screen at the exact spot that you want in sharp focus. The yellow box will appear and start to blink. When the blinking stops it means the focus is now set and locked. Once the exposure is locked, slight movements of the phone will not affect the image quality.

Problem #3  Distracting Background

A distracting background will take your viewers eyes away from the subject. My tip is to take a look at the phone screen after you take your photo. Ask yourself if there is anything in the background that is not adding to the composition. A common mistake I have seen in photos that have been submitted is unnecessary clutter in the back ground. Usually moving either your subject or yourself a few inches will eliminate anything distracting and make for a stronger composition.

I promise if you follow these three tips, and you will greatly improve your photos. Also, If you’re not a member of the group I urge you to come and join in the fun! Everyone is so supportive and its a great way not only to brighten your self isolating days but also improve your cell phone photo skills at the same time.

FaceBook Group photo

Interested in joining? Just click HERE





Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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