Getting creative with mobile phone photography

I am intensely jealous of anyone whose cellphone has a camera capable of taking even halfway-decent images! My mobile (a Motorola XT615) has the worst camera I’ve ever seen on a phone.

That doesn’t mean I can’t take some interesting shots with it, though. I just have to get a little more creative!

The local coffee

It was a typically steamy Saigon day, and I’d stopped into Highlands coffee for one of their crispy chicken rolls for lunch. As commonly happens here during the wet season, a sudden downpour appeared out of nowhere, leaving me stuck in the cafe. Riding a scooter in this kind of weather with the city’s poor drainage systems is not fun!

So I decided to play around with my phone’s camera. I have an app called HDR Pro which takes multiple shots and combines them as an HDR photo as well as it can. I’m not a fan of HDR generally, but I thought this might give me the chance to play around with things in a creative way.

So I took a series of shots, but instead of holding the camera as still as possible, I actually shifted the angle with each shot the camera took. When it tried to combine the images into a cohesive whole, the image above was the result. I then applied an Instagram filter which bumped up the saturation and contrast.

I love using things in ways they’re not designed for – usually the results are more interesting than if you try to use it according to the manual!

Sadly, the low picture quality means that I will never take “regular” shots with my current camera phone, but it’s fun to find ways to work around that!

Here’s a post I wrote last year about another time I tried to get creative in working around my cameraphone’s limitations when I was still living in China: Embrace It!.

What are your thoughts on cell phone photography? Any great shots you’ve taken that you’d like the share?

I’d love to explore more, but I need a phone with a better camera – anyone got a recommendation for a mobile with a good camera?