So you just bought a new smartphone, and the sales person told you just how much more powerful the camera on this year’s model is over last year’s. Great! Now what do you do with it? Here are 10 ways to make good use of the camera on your latest smartphone.
1. Never Miss A Moment
Smartphone cameras aren’t close to matching the capabilities found in DSLRs, and you could still manage a better image using a cheap dedicated point-and-shoot, but both of these alternatives have one large weakness – they aren’t there when you need them. Sure, there’s a good chance you will remember to bring the camera along on a vacation or to your kid’s band performance, but what about those spontaneous moments you wish you could capture but didn’t plan ahead for? In those situations, a smartphone camera is much better than nothing.
2. Save Every Memory
To go even further, there are apps available that let you use your smartphone camera to create a visual diary. Consider 1 Second Everyday. This app will prompt you to take a picture once daily. You can then use it to remember all the great things that have happened this year, or even playback a six minute video of your entire previous year. All you need is your smartphone camera and enough commitment to see it through.
3. Scan Documents
Taking a photo of important documents and receipts is a great way to keep a record of them. This is especially useful for the latter, as they tend to fade over time. Having a picture of a purchase can especially help when the time comes to file taxes next year.
4. Edit On The Go
Traditional digital cameras may take pretty shots, and some even come with a basic selection of filters, but you will need to transfer those photos to a computer when it comes time to do any real editing. This isn’t the case with smartphones. Sure, you won’t be retiring your copy of Photoshop anytime soon, but you also won’t have to go to the computer for basic functionality such as rotating or cropping. You can also apply filters, touch ups, and doodles. Some camera apps have this functionality baked in, such as Camera ZOOM FX, but there are other dedicated apps that allow for more intensive edits, like Paper Artist.
5. Compare Products
You can turn your phone’s camera into a barcode scanner, allowing you to look up the prices of products and compare them with those found at other stores. Some places even provide barcodes that, once scanned with a smartphone, link consumers to a website with more information.
6. Capture The World Around You
Yes, you can always take pictures of scenery just as easily as you can people, and it doesn’t matter which camera you use to do so – but smartphone camera software keeps getting better, expanding on the ways you can show others more of the world around you. New enhancements make it easier to keep the phone steady as you take panorama shots, and Google’s Nexus devices allow users to take photo spheres, somewhat replicating what it’s like to stand in place and look around.
7. Stay Social
Taking pictures is typically a social experience, as we’re either taking pictures of others or capturing moments that we intend to share down the road. With a smartphone, it only takes a few clicks to get our photos in front of our friends, regardless of if we want to do this via email, text messages, or a social network.
8. Read Foreign Languages
Imagine a world where you can read any sign regardless of which language its in. That day is fast approaching. Already you can download an app such as Google Translate and have it take its best guess at what a billboard, packaging, or any other written text is saying.
9. Never Lose An Image
There are no shortage of cloud storage providers out there such as Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive – and the new trend among them is to automatically backup photos as we take them. For anyone who doesn’t have a problem with storing their images online, this takes the headache out of managing massive quantities of photos. They’re safe, even if you lose your phone and your computer, which is very good considering that, unlike those electronics, our photos are irreplaceable.
10. Make A Collage
Let your artistic side kick in and make a collage with those photos you’ve taken. This task traditionally required moving photos over to a computer or – if we allow ourselves to go back far enough – printing pictures out and gluing them to paper. Now you can arrange them in any number of patterns with the help of apps such as Pic Collage and Pic Stitch Collage Maker.
Smartphones are steadily evolving each day – but that’s just the beginning. Each generation of handsets brings better lenses, more capable software, innovative apps, and more reasons to start turning to that phone in your pocket for your picture-taking needs. This is our list of ten ideas, but if you have other uses for your smartphone’s camera, please share them with us in the comments below.
Image credit: Chinese New Year Smartphone