Basics of a Camera or Why NOT My Cell Phone


Basics of a Camera or Why NOT My Cell Phone!

Basics of a Camera or Why NOT My Cell Phone is the result of many of my cell phone image being out of focus! It is part of the series “The Value of Hiring a Professional Photographer“.

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Last year 2017 it was estimated by some that between 15 – 17 Trillion photos were taken. The minimum number everyone agreed on, was 1 and 1/4 Trillion mostly because of our cell phones. We use them for everything. We photograph the kids, the family, the baptisms, the anniversary, the meal at the restaurant, the party we go to, literally everything. unfortunately many of those images are out of focus, too dark, too light, to something but we have fun taking them. We then can put cat faces or whatever on them. Few of them are ever printed or enlarged for the wall however, they are just fun taking. The most they are used for is our post on Facebook.

But you are not alone. Frequently my cell phone images are out of focus too, especially if there is more than one person in the shot or the main person I want in focus is farther away than the foreground people. A couple of people I was recently talking with have the same problem. But no, I do NOT put cat faces on them!

If you can get good shots most of time I applaud you. I use them as well in certain instances but as a professional photographer I really would rather not. See the home page for some examples here.

In order to help the average person understand what and why a DSLR and not a cell phone I created the following video!

Basics of a Camera or Why NOT My Cell Phone

It should be noted here that whole books have been written on the subject of how a DSLR works. This is not a comprehensive study of the subject, just a basic understanding of how they work.

The main difference between your cell phone and a DSLR is CONTROL!

All Camera’s have three basic components that they use whether they’re your cell phone’s camera or a $45,000 Phase One camera. The three controls are ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture also called F-stop.

A. )           ISO adjust the camera to take photo’s in varying light conditions. The darker the room the higher the ISO number. But that comes at a cost which is grain to the photo. The newer and more expensive the camera, the grain is less, but will still be there. Grain is near to impossible to remove afterwords. But it will allow you to take photo’s without a flash in many instances. Most professionals in most instances will opt for a lower ISO and use flash to create the light.

B.)             Shutter Speed is the time the shutter is open allowing light into the camera. This can be used to create some interesting effect such as movement. Generally in order to have a sharp photo you need to be in a working range that can be hand-held without camera shake. That number is usually a 60th of a second or faster! It is impossible to hand hold a camera for say a minute exposure without camera shake being evident in the photo. So that is why most professionals use tripods. It allows for longer exposures with out camera shake showing up, allowing for much sharper photo’s.

C.)              Aperture creates the volume of light coming to the camera. The aperture along with the distance to subject and lens used creates the depth of field. A low Aperture number along with a long lens can create the out of focus look that is so popular where the subject is tak sharp but everything around it goes out of focus.  The aperture plays a major factor in flash photography.  Most professional in most instances will usually opt for a medium aperture of F8 – F11. 

In conclusion our cell phones will take a photo in most any condition but we have none or limited control over it, other than turning on the flash. So  you really don’t know what you are going to get. With a DSLR we can control the camera to acheive the look we are going for. A Professional Photographer must know how to create the look the client wants and EXPECTS! So you can see why Professional Photographers really only  use their cell phones to call on.

Basics of a Camera or Why NOT My Cell Phone! What do you think I would love to hear from you on the subject.

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