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Smartphone cameras are becoming more powerful than they've ever been. Thanks to smartphones, the digital camera is getting a serious run for its money. With a smartphone camera you can look forward to features like plenty of megapixels, image stabilization, and improved low-light photo capability. Videos are also better than they've ever been.

Below are some useful ways to use smartphone cameras


1. Instant Notes—Use a smartphone camera to snap clear pictures of lecture notes for later reference.

2. Digital Storytelling—Stories come alive using digital photography. Smartphone cameras can take excellent storybook shots you can add effects to later on.

3. Video Docs—Shooting a documentary-style project with a smartphone is an edgy and artistic way to tell your story. You can also try shooting an ad or commercial for a media studies class using the same technique.

4. Video Podcasts—Use your camera's video to take footage while recording using smartphone or video cast episodes.

5. Tutorial Making—This is a great way to check for understanding of a certain topic. Have students create either a step-by-step visual guide or video tutorial using their smartphone cameras.


6. Science in Motion—Objects in motion make a great video project idea for science class. You can also use it for dissection projects, where the camera needs to get a nice quick zoom on key stages of the process.

7. Story Chains—This is a visual take on the classic chain story exercise. One student begins with a photograph (either real or staged) and places a caption underneath it. The next student adds a new picture and caption to keep the impromptu story going, and so on.

8. Photo Collages—Art classes can become platforms for digital image display.

9. Scanning Documents—The camera of a smartphone can be used as a scanner. It's not the same quality as a full-size scanner, but it does the job.

10. Visual Diaries—Use images to create a visual record of a personal or academic journey of your choice. Check out the Chase Jarvis book The Best Camera is The One That's With You for inspiration.


11. Portfolio Additions—Using smartphone cameras is a great way to piece together special sections for a student's portfolio. This is a great way for students to exercise their organizational skills.

12. Photo Research—Using smartphone cameras to take archival photos and footage can greatly enhance research projects.

13. Photo Editing—The photo enhancement capabilities on smartphone cameras are getting just as impressive as the cameras themselves. Photography classes can feature great lessons on in-camera photo editing projects.

14. Presentations—Use your smartphone camera for making great presentations. They can be staged, or completely off the cuff (e.g. on a filed trip somewhere).

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Photography Masterclass


It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a high-end DSLR photographer. These top 10 photo tips are timeless, tried and true—from framing to focus, from perspective to panning.


TIP 1: Get Closer

Get closer and fill the frame with your subject right off the bat.

TIP 2: What Lurks in the Back(ground)

Distracting lines, too much clutter, reflections, objects coming out of your subject’s head—any of these can turn a great photo into one that’s not so great, or one that may require retouching. Before you press the shutter, scan all areas of the frame. Spy something you do not want? Reposition yourself, or the subject, until you get an even better frame-up.

TIP 3: Focus, Lock, Then Recompose

All Nikon cameras have the ability to lock focus on a subject. To use: frame your image, focus on your subject, then press the shutter release halfway down and hold it there. Now you may reframe your shot (reposition your camera) to create a more interesting composition while preserving focus on your subject (provided that subject has not moved).


TIP 4: A One and a Two and a Rule of Thirds

Do a little test: pick a stationary subject that’s set against a clean background. While looking through the viewfinder, mentally divide your framed scene into thirds, or take advantage of the camera’s vertical and horizontal compositional gridlines. Take your first photo by placing your subject dead center.

Next, slightly move the camera to position your subject where the lines intersect at the upper left hand corner, then take a photo. For a third capture, move the camera to place your subject in the lower right hand section of the frame where the lines meet.

Now look at each shot on the LCD. What emotion does each image evoke? As a general rule, dividing your scene into thirds, then placing a subject where the points intersect, will make a more pleasing image. A photo where the subject lands dead center of the frame is seldom interesting.

Select your subject, use the camera’s Focus Lock, then re-frame by moving the camera to reposition your subject to one of the intersection points.

TIP 5: Steady Girl

Seems obvious, but it’s worth a mention—holding a camera properly helps ensure sharper images because you can minimize camera shake. If your camera has a lens that sits out from the body, use your left hand to support that lens from underneath. Then firmly grip the camera body with the right hand, placing the index finger on the shutter. For point and shoot cameras, make sure you have a firm grip. Use the wrist strap as an added security against dropping the camera.

TIP 6: Look Into My Eyes

Unless you’re going after the David and Goliath vibe with your photos, consider taking things down a level. Small subjects? Sight things up to their eye-level.

To photograph children at their level, use your camera’s vari-angle LCD, or position yourself so you’re at their height.

Not only will your image have a more pleasing and realistic head-to-toe balance, but the grins will look wider and you gain more control over what lands as a background.

To photograph children at their level, use your camera’s Vari-angle LCD, or position yourself so you’re at their height. Another benefit to dropping to a new level—noticing that poor lighting or shadows are falling into the frame may be easier to detect and correct.


TIP 7: Peter Knows About Panning

Never, never tried panning? This is a simple effect that adds drama and movement to a still image. It works best when photographing motion that will pass in front of the camera, for example, a horse race or a merry-go-round.

Set the camera to Shutter Priority (S) mode, then choose a slow shutter speed such as 1/15 second. Then, while holding down the shutter release, follow your subject by moving your camera in the same direction. Experiment with different shutter speeds to alter the effect. It may take a few tries to dial-in a favorable look.

TIP 8: See the Light

More light is a good thing. While it may seem contradictory, using a flash with your outdoor photography can often improve things. Why? Even though it’s usually bright outside, the source of most light, the sun, most often comes from high overhead; this often yields shadows on faces.

Set your camera to use the flash by either popping up the flash or enabling the flash feature in the menu. What this does is provide fill-flash; the light from your flash “fills” in the shadows. After you take a photo, view the resulting image. You may wish to take a few shots by repositioning the camera ever so slightly. You’ll notice subtle differences, and will have a few more photos from which to choose.

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TIP 9: Be Ready

How many times have you said it? “I wish I had my camera.”

Just think of all the additional great images your portfolio, social media profile or art wall may have. Get into a routine whereby the camera is with you all the time–ready to capture those unexpected moments.

Don’t forget to keep the batteries charged and a memory card at the ready.

TIP 10: The Power of Practice

Shoot every day. Make a photo journal. Give yourself assignments. Invent your own themed Photo a Day challenge and make it a ritual to post to social media. Once your family and friends notice that you’re sharing an image each day they’ll become your biggest fans. Nothing like a thumbs up and a positive comment to keep you inspired.

Give yourself photo assignments and practice, practice, practice—you will find your skills growing with every picture you take.

Another nice thing—after 365 days of shooting and posting, look back and see how your skills have improved. Heed these top 10 photo tips for taking better photos, and you’ll be well on your way to stardom and the admiration of family and friends. Be sure to post what you create; a social media upload every few days never hurts.

Be sure to check back again for more inspiration, tips and tricks.

Want To Shoot Video With Your Camera??

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