Tag Archives: Tips

Can a smartphone really be a great camera?

The fact is that smartphone cameras are getting, well, smarter!  As an avid photographer, I own many different cameras, but over the last year or so I’ve found the iPhone 4 to be an awesome point and shoot camera- so much so that I’ve completely ditched my old point and shoot.

In all reality, the resolution (5 megapixels), the aperture (f2.8), the color saturation, the noise reduction, etc… in the iPhone 4 puts it on par with many great point and shoot cameras.  And now the iPhone 4S takes it up a notch adding 3 more megapixels and an extra half stop or so on the aperture.  This just means that more of us will soon be saying goodbye to our point and shoot cameras (good riddance).

Over the past year or so, I’ve carried my iPhone 4 with me just about everywhere and still do.  As a photographer, this has let me explore a new level of creativity because it means that wherever I see a photo opportunity, I have a great camera on me to take advantage of it.  The photo you see here in my post were taken with my iPhone 4, with no post editing.  I’m still blown away by the quality achieved with this multi-purpose tool.  It’s really going to change photography forever.

But what about enlargements?  I know that a lot of photographers out there are wondering if today’s best smartphones can take photos that have enough resolution and sharpness for 16”X20” and 24”X36” prints.  I can say without a doubt, “YES” you can make amazing enlargements with a smartphone.  Well, at least in my humble opinion. One of the primary reasons I take photos is to fill my home with memories that I’ve created.  And using Walgreens Photo, I’ve made multiple enlargements, including poster prints just from images that I’ve taken with my iPhone 4.  They look incredible, especially with a little matting and a glass frame.  Friends and family are shocked when I tell them that much of the art in my home was shot on an iPhone!  Even better, Walgreens is putting high-resolution poster printers in thousands of local stores across the country.  This means that I can get enlargements made in under an hour (and to think that I used to wait weeks for these to be printed).

1000memories.com recently mentioned on their blog that 10% of the world’s photos were taken in just the last year!  That’s amazing considering that photography  has been around for over 185 years!  But, I believe it.  Since making the iPhone 4 my primary camera, I’ve take more pictures than at any other time in my life.  I suspect many of you too have experienced this same phenomenon.  So go big, enlarge those photos, and enjoy!

By: Ben Weiss


**Photographers Tip!

When you’re uploading photos to photo.walgreens.com make sure you select full resolution in the upload settings.  This will ensure that the full resolution image gets sent to the store and that you get the most beautiful enlarged image possible.  If you choose to upload using the Walgreens app, your images will only be 1024x768px, enough resolution for a 4×6 print, but not adequate for any enlargements.  I encourage you to upload your photos on walgreens.com in full resolution for the best enlargements.

Choosing Glossy or Matte Photos

Glossy or Matte? It’s the question you face anytime you print digital images.  While ultimately it comes down to personal preference, there are some things to consider regarding each.

Glossy – one reason that glossy prints are so popular is because they show vibrant color well. Digital photos printed on glossy paper tend to appear crisper and sharper, while colors in matte prints tend to be more subdued. If you’re photographing something in nature or anything outdoor, a glossy finish might be the way to go.

Matte – if you’re taking pictures of architecture or monuments where clarity is crucial, then a matte finish will serve you well.  Black and white images, more formal shots and larger size pictures, such as 5×7 or 8×10 family portraits are typically produced on matte paper because of their attention to detail.

Are your photos going to be passed around a lot? If so, one advantage of matte photos is their ability to hide fingerprints and dust. This is because they have a slight texture to them. Glossy photos are shiny and tend to pick up smudges quicker. But keep in mind that fingerprints and smudges can be easily wiped away with a photo cloth.

Also, how will your photos be used? If you plan to frame them, one advantage of matte prints is that they are easier to view in all kinds of light. On the other hand, if you plan to use them in a scrapbook, the rich, deep colors of glossy photos may be a better fit.

Clearly, there are pros and cons to each type of photo paper. If you still can’t choose between glossy or matte, why not print off one set of each? Then you can compare them to see which look you prefer. After all, the type of photo finishing you choose will depend on what you like.

Do you prefer the look of glossy or matte photos?

What draws you to one or the other?

How have you used glossy and matte photos differently?

Photography Tips for Beginners, Part One – Start Experimenting!

There’s plenty to learn when you’re a beginning photographer. But the good news is that digital cameras make learning fun. Discover some of the tricks of the trade in our first post about beginner photography and check out additional posts in the series to come.

Woman Taking A Photo

First, learn about your camera. Many come with a multitude of features, settings and options that you can play with. For example, how do you focus? What can you adjust? Many cameras come complete with auto-correct for lighting, motion and contrast, but it’s in your best interest to learn how you can correct these things manually. The more you build your skills, the better.

Second, know your subject. Think about the object, setting, person, or place that you’re photographing. If you’re taking pictures of an event, make sure to check out the background, lighting and any restrictions that you need to be aware of. The more you can prepare your shot ahead of time the more freedom you will have to explore the composition and the more natural your pictures will look and feel.

Speaking of composition, have you heard of the rule of thirds? It comes in very handy in photography. Think of your picture as a rectangle that is divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically; then visualize the nine smaller rectangles and intersecting lines created. When you compose your picture – or arrange your subject –position it with these intersecting lines in mind. You want your subject or the most interesting element of your subject to be in the left or right third of the photo and centered in the lower or upper third horizontally. Your photograph is going to be more interesting if you align your subject so that the main point of interest is in one of the intersecting points of the grid. This principle done right helps to draw your audience into the picture. Once you’re aware of the rule, it’s easy to see it in professional photo prints.

There’s much more to consider about photography and many more tips to share, so stop back for the next post. In the meantime, start taking photographs and experimenting. As in anything, the more you try the more you learn. So, practice, practice, practice.

Share your favorite tips for fellow beginners!

What is your best tip for composition when shooting a group of people?