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Apps, techniques for great cellphone photos

File photo of the iPhone app Snapseed.
March 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The quality of cellphone cameras and their lenses has risen dramatically in recent years.

Jonathan Marks is a professional photographer who doesn't use a professional camera. Over the past few years, he's taken tens of thousands of snapshots with his iPhone 4, but he says other smartphones work well, too.

Using simple cropping and editing tools, along with free and inexpensive apps, ordinary cellphone photographs can be magically transformed into extraordinary works of art.

There are hundreds of photography apps to choose from. Marks recommends free ones like Snapseed, which can transform a snapshot into a vintage picture by swiping your finger across the image. Then there's PhotoWizard, which can marry two images together.

Marks also has advice on how to take photos.

One mistake people make when taking pictures of adults and children together is pointing the camera or cellphone down at the child.

"It's much more efficient to get at their level and then you're at their eye level, and you don't seem like an imposing figure over them," Marks says.

Another tip is to turn on the grid feature in the camera app. Marks says photos are best framed when the main subject is at the intersection of one of the grids, not in the middle of the frame.

"In photography, your eye is drawn more toward something that gives someone breathing room and not have them centered," he says.


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