Hey Creative Friend, today, let’s chat about creative uses for your cellphone cameras.
First – story time 🙂 When I was a child, on numerous occasions, I remember seeing my dad step off an airplane from his business trips with a camera slung around his neck. That image of him is so vivid in my mind’s eye today as if it were just yesterday. Without fail, he’d return from his travels with tons of photos of the places he’d visited. And for me, that was certainly one of the highlights of his return home.
It’s no wonder I love cameras – actually, I love all things electronic.
I use my camera quite often and with the abundance of smart phone usage, there’s no reason to be caught without a camera. As an artist or a creative person, there are a ton of creative ways to use your cellphone camera and today, I want to share how I use mine with you:
1. The Bigger Picture
When working on a piece, it’s sometimes hard to get a good sense of how the piece is coming together while my nose is buried right there in the work. Taking a photo and viewing the work on a smaller scale on my cellphone gives me a better view of the big picture.
2. Portable Gallery
I take photos of my designs with my cellphone’s camera so I can easily have access to my designs when I’m away from my studio. This also allows me to start conversations about my work and show my work to others who are interested. In effect, I carry a portable gallery with me wherever I go.
3. Auditioning Color Choices
One of the nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up over the years is to “make visual decisions, visually“. Don’t try to think of a visual decision, try to look at it and then decide. So, when trying to decide on specific colors or any other design issue for that matter, the camera is a very useful tool. Photograph each of your color choices. Then review the images on your camera and make your choice. Do this, instead of just thinking and then making the decision.
Good critiques help us create stronger and better work. Your camera allows you to examine your work with a critical eye. It’s also easy to get feedback and critique from others when your work is easily accessible from your phone. Sometimes, I show my work in process photos on my phone to family and friends for their feedback.
5. Extend Your Studio Time
I take a photo of what I’m working on before I leave my studio. If I happen to be waiting to be attended to somewhere (doctor’s office etc), I’ll pull out my phone, not to play a game, but to stare at the photo of my work. Then, I write notes on how I want to proceed the next time I go back to my studio. I probably spend almost as much time working out of the studio as I spend in it, by using this trick.
6. Record Work Process
Create a photo journal of your work process on your phone. Visually seeing the process by which you created a piece can be very helpful in learning what’s working and what’s not. It can also serve as a record for defining your process and making it repeatable. Also, you can use it for your own future reference or for teaching others.
7. Catch Problems Early
Work in progress photos can help you catch problems in your work early. Before I started using my camera this way, I’ll go too far in the process before noticing a problem. Then I’ll have to agonize over whether to correct the problem or not. However, when I have work in process photos on my cellphone cameras and review the photos, I’m able to catch problem areas early in the process.
8. Value Studies
Okay, here’s a saying I coined to help me stay grounded when I’m doing color and design work. Want to hear it?
“Color” is seductive. But “Value” is loyal.
Let me explain. We all love color and very often we get attracted to using different colors without making sure that they’re working well together in our work. A quick and easy way to make sure that the colors in your work are playing nice with each other is to have a good distribution of values (lightness or darkness) in your colors. Most cellphone cameras have the feature to turn a photo into greyscale or black and white. When you do that you can clearly see the values and how well they’re distributed and if they’re working together.
9. Inspiration Album
Create an Inspiration Album by taking photos of things you will like to create or depict in your work. Do this by collecting online photos of different images which are related together or take your own photos with you cellphone. Then, put all the photos in an album on your cellphone. Review and take notes of what you like about each photo. You’ll end up with a unique description of a design concept that you can implement to create a wonderful piece. Beware of and adhere to copyright laws when collecting online photos.
10. Crop Tool
Composition is a major part of creating great work. One way to enhance your composition is zoom in to the interesting parts of your work and leave out what’s not eye catching. Using the crop tool on your cellphone, you can edit a photo of your work to zoom in just on the right parts of the work which will make the biggest impact. Then, crop out the unnecessary stuff, thus enhancing your composition.
11. Tracking Your Project Time
Another creative way to use your cell phone camera is by using it to track how much time you spend on your projects. Since the photos you take from the start of your work till you complete are date stamped, you can use those dates to easily determine how long it took for you to complete a project.
So there you have it – 11 creative uses of your cellphone cameras. What are your favorite creative uses of cameras?
Let’s continue the conversation in the comments section below.