Making the most of your camera phone

Camera phones can make a great impact to your organisation's advocacy work - whether it is part of a People's media programme or as a means of capturing and documenting the everyday work of your organisation. This quick guide will help you make the most of your camera phone.

 Choosing a camera phone

Buying a mobile phone with a camera can represent a significant part of the technology costs for a mobile phone advocacy project so before you go ahead its worth asking a few questions.When considering the purchase of a mobile phone for your organisation, spend some time looking at the features offered to ensure it has the functionality and capacity needed for your organisation. There are many online databases which will allow you to search for features on mobile phones and do the research you need before going to buy a phone.

  • Number of pixels

A 2 megapixel camera will allow you to take an image which will print out a fair to good image quality (150 pixels per inch), for a picture size of 8” by 10”. A 3 or 4 megapixel camera on your phone will significantly increase the image quality, allowing you to print a much higher quality image. Most camera fuctions on mobile phones will allow you to take pictures of good enough quality to use in screen format on a blog or a website if you are intending to use small images.

  • Response time

If you are going to be using your phone in situations which require a quick response check that the phone you are buying has a camera that can take pictures instantly and that it has a quick shutter release after you press the button.

  • Type of zoom

Digital zooms aren't particularly useful to have since they can decrease the quality of a picture but optical zoom can be useful.

  • Communication

There are several ways to send photos to your computer; by Bluetooth, cable or Infrared. Check which of these the phone has and whether that is compatible with your computer.

  • Memory Check how big the internal memory of the phone is and whether it can take a separate memory card? If your camera phone can take 3.2 Mp pictures each picture will be approximately 1 megabyte in size.


 Getting the best performance from your camera phone

  • Shoot quickly; the shutter release delay on your phone can take a while to take a picture after you press the button. Try and anticipate and shoot early rather than lose the picture.
  • Keep the lens clean.
  • Don't shoot in brightly lit conditions since most camera phones don't work well in this type of light; instead look for partially cloudy or shady conditions if you are outside.
  • Use the flash only when necessary and if your subject is very close.
  • Set your camera phone to use the highest resolution possible to get the best picture quality.