Cellphone Photography 101

Been trying to figure out your cellphone camera while on vacation? Do you keep missing those once-in-a-lifetime photos? Well, there’s no need to.

It’s amazing how much more improved cellphone cameras are these days. If you’re after the kind of photos worth sharing, it pays to know some of the basics. Capturing all the ‘photo opps’ is way more fun, too.

Here are some great tips —

Lighting is #1 when it comes to any photography. Make sure that the focal point of your photo, such as your black cat, has enough light cast on it. Generally, the brighter the shot is, the more focused it tends to be, too.

Avoid using the flash whenever possible. Often, when you use a flash, the image won’t look natural or results in poorer quality. Your best bet is to shoot outdoors or near a window for more natural light.

Don’t use the zoom feature, but instead crop your photos on your computer or using a photo editing app. Just search “photo editor” in the App Store or Play Store, find a highly rated app and install it. Then, you’ll be able to crop the photo around the focal point, so the quality stays the same. Most of these apps also allow you to make a variety of adjustments to your image.

Clean that camera lens! Of course, a clean lens is essential, but it’s also easy to forget, maybe because we’re so focused on the thrill of the moment. Just take a dry cloth and gently clean the camera lens. Also, double-check to make sure there’s no plastic lens protector covering it.

Keep the camera still. Moving the camera while you’re using it? That could be the problem with the photo. Try placing your phone on a hard steady surface while taking the picture to see if that improves it.

Last but not least, don’t forget silly things like making sure your finger isn’t covering or shading the camera lens while taking the photo. It may be funny, but you also may have compromised the stellar shot from an epic Grand Canyon trip.

Many of these tips also apply to shooting video. Part of the fun in using your phone’s camera is just trying and seeing what works best for you.

And remember, your go-to place to learn all about your phone is the Manuals & Videos section on our Support Page. It’s where you’ll find videos and instructions specifically geared to your phone.

Now, using your camera will be a snap.

48 Thoughts on "Cellphone Photography 101"

  1. Sarah Gilbert says

    I’m trying every way possible to find out when my new iPhone will ship. It is my understanding it would ship 8/24/15. However, I have heard nothing. And, I know nothing. Meanwhile, I’m without a phone. Not good.

    reply to Sarah

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s certainly frustrating, Sarah! I was able to take a look at your account, and I see that Sharon, our customer service lead, was able to send you an email with the shipping information. Your phone is en route! We’re happy to help you with anything else you may need at this time, just give us a call at 888-345-5509. Thank you for commenting!

      reply to Ashley

  2. Donna says

    How can I transfer my photos to my computer?

    reply to Donna

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Donna. It’s important to transfer your photos every so often so you can protect those precious memories! I see that you are using our Moto G, which allows you to do this quite easily. First, use the charging cord that came with your phone, and disconnect the charger portion. You can use the USB end of the cord to connect your phone to your computer. Once your phone is plugged in, your computer will prompt you to view the files. From there, just move the photos to your computer. There are also a variety of apps you can use to back your photos up, and we’ve reviewed a few here on the blog. We’re happy to help you if you run into any issues, so give us a call at 888-345-5509 if we can assist you. Thank you for posting today!

      reply to Ashley

      • Donna SEars says

        I love your service very much it is a payment I can be comfortable with and have the text and calling time I need. ProbleM: I keep try to call you to talk to a respresentative and i have to wait long periods of time. This is very irritating. But I notice you dont have message chat. so you can message on line and get business done that way. You. also I forgot my payment was due and did not receive a notice of shut off in my email until just the day before shut off. Now I cannot not get a hold of anyone.

        reply to Donna

        • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

          Thank you for reaching out to us, Donna. I was able to take a look at your account, and I see that Candace from our support team was able to assist you and get the issue resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience while on hold, and please know that we are working to hire more representatives so that you can reach us sooner. If we can assist you with anything else, please feel free to give us a call at 888-345-5509. Thank you for commenting, and we hope you have a great day!

          reply to Ashley

    • Mary Jo Watson says

      Another thing I have done, “on the run”, is to email the photo to myself!

      reply to Mary

  3. Kenneth Lane says

    Good instructions not everyone has camera savvy.

    reply to Kenneth

  4. Dennis says

    Consumer Cellular’s Basic Text and Data plan provides for 300 text messages and 30 Mb of Data. I am more interested in the Data Plan limit. Assuming an occasional 1-2 photos per month sent out and viewing the Internet or using simple Apps for 15-30 min/day is the 30Mb data sufficient?

    reply to Dennis

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Dennis! To give you some points of reference, an hour of browsing the internet will use around 15MB of data, and sending an email with a photo will require around 350KB. Downloading an app will use around 4MB. The best feature of our plans is the ability to change as often as you like, so you can always increase your plan if you need more data, then decrease it the next month if you don’t. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about data or our plans, just give us a call at 888-345-5509. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

      reply to Ashley

  5. David says

    I have a difficult time getting a signal on my Moto WX345 (though there is a tower located less than a mile from here). I’m told that the older phones (<3G) have this issue. Therefore, I am going to Target to buy a Moto LTE (4G). My question is will I need to get a new SIM Card for this phone and thus be able to get a strong signal? Thanks for your help.

    reply to David

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, David! The Moto E LTE available at Target will have a SIM card included with the phone, so you won’t need to worry about getting a new one. All you will need to do is call the activation number included with your new phone, and we’ll take care of transferring your service from your old phone. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have at 888-345-5509. The Moto E LTE is a great phone that you are sure to enjoy. We appreciate you taking the time to comment, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  6. Al Dotson says

    I have tried to transfer my pictures from my phone to my computer several times but no luck.

    reply to Al

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re sorry to hear that you’ve had issues transferring your photos, Al. If you’ve tried using a USB cord to connect your phone to your computer without any luck, another option is to use an app such as Shutterfly or Google Photos. These will allow you to save your pictures to cloud storage, and from there you should be able to save them to your computer via the internet. We’re happy to help you with this, just give us a call at 888-345-5509. Thank you for commenting today!

      reply to Ashley

  7. Deena Coomer says

    I have a Moto G EXT (2nd gen) that I bought at Target, I’m trying to get it set ad a Mobil hotspot. I like to give my grandkids my tablet and hook through my phone to use. My Samsung G2 did this on your network. I was told you had to configure my acct for this? Can you help? I don’t like giving my phone to a 2 yr old.

    reply to Deena

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We completely understand, Deena. We’re happy to take a look at your new phone and work with you on this issue. Hotspot services need to be activated on our end prior to using. We do caution you to use any tethering sparingly as it can result in high data usage. Can you give us a call at 888-345-5509? We’ll be ready to help you. Thank you for commenting today, and congratulations on your new Moto G EXT!

      reply to Ashley

  8. Donald says

    On August 19 I cancelled my service with Consumer Cellular. I had them on auto bank draft. So now they are saying that I am past due. They waited until the due date was past so they could send me a bill for $8.92 cents for late fees. I am so happy that I switched to Verizon !!!!!!!! I never thought they would cheat me like this.

    reply to Donald

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We appreciate your comment, Donald. Since we bill in arrears, most of our customers will receive a final invoice for the usage that fell between the last billing cycle and the date they changed service. We’re happy to discuss this with you and get it resolved if you give us a call at 888-345-5509. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion, and we look forward to getting this taken care of for you. Thank you!

      reply to Ashley

  9. James Thomas says

    I am VERY frustrated with your service. I purchased the sim card at Target, and had my own phone. The website DID NOT give me the option to where I wanted my new number to be from. It took my “current billing address” (which I did not want, since I am moving) and just gave me a number I did not ask for. After talking to your customer service rep “James”, he practically called me a liar, telling the the website does ask. I am traveling. and do not have time to have another sim card sent to me, so…now it’s going to take 5 days for your company to reformat my sim card, to receive the number and exchange I want, for my new address. This is the 21st century…get with the program!!!!! I have not had a good experience with CC at all. PLUS, where on the website does it say you’re checking my credit to give me a phone line? I’m paying with a credit card. Why are you checking my credit? I’m contacting the credit bureaus to advise I did not authorize these inquiries.

    PLUS, I’ve waited TWICE for more than 20 mins…waiting for a customer service rep. Why does it take so long on a Saturday afternoon?????

    reply to James

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We apologize for the long hold time, James. Thank you for your patience! I was able to take a look at your account and see that Spenser, our customer support team member, was able to get you a new phone number and activate your SIM card. As for the credit check, we do that to determine what type of billing will best fit the needs of our customers, or to see if EasyPay is available when applicable. We’re happy to discuss it with you at 888-345-5509. Once again, we apologize for the negative experience you had, and we appreciate the feedback. Thank you for taking the time to comment today!

      reply to Ashley

  10. Joanne says

    I am overseas and cannot use my cell phone. Trying to get a SIM card from another company, but it can’t be put in because phone is locked. Can you send me the code to unlock my phone. It is an I phone 6.

    reply to Joanne

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for commenting, Joanne. Our customer service team will be contacting you via email to assist you with this. We appreciate you reaching out to us, and we hope you have a wonderful time overseas!

      reply to Ashley

  11. Edgar J. Hendrix says

    I have loaded the “Weather apps on my Moto G phine and use the 4Gbit dataplan but have not been able to make it run. Always indicats that im off Line ????

    reply to Edgar

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for reaching out to us, Edgar. I was able to take a look at your account, and I verified that your data plan is active and your phone currently has data enabled. I also synched the features, so please turn your phone off, then back on again. Once you’ve done that, try the app again. You may need to double check that data is enabled on your phone. You can confirm by going to Settings, then Data usage. Make sure the button is in the “On” position.

      If you can access the internet and use other apps but not this new weather app, it may not have installed correctly. Go to the Play Store and search for the app. You may be able to find an update that will resolve the issue. You can also try uninstalling it and reinstalling it again. Press on the app and hold. Then, drag the app to the Uninstall icon that will appear at the top of the screen. Confirm that you want to uninstall the app, then try to reinstall from the Play Store. We’re happy to help troubleshoot this issue for you at 888-345-5509. Just give us a call and we’ll be ready to help. Thank you for commenting!

      reply to Ashley

  12. Gloria Wolfe says

    I have a Moto G Ext — how can I connect my phone to my computer to upload photos?

    reply to Gloria

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Gloria! You can connect your phone to your computer with the mini-USB cord that came with your charger. With your phone on, connect it to your computer. A window should appear on your computer monitor, and follow the steps to save the photos from your phone to your hard drive or other files. If you run into any issues, please give us a call at 888-345-5509. We’ll be happy to help you! Thanks for reaching out to us today!

      reply to Ashley

      • Liz Bulasko says

        I tried this and I’m not getting a window on my monitor showing me the steps to save my pix from my Samsung phone to my laptop. The only thing I got was a message saying my PC was searching for the files needed to set up the device and then nothing else happened. It did say it might take a while. Did I not wait long enough? When I connect my camera to my computer, the photo files pop up right away. Anything else I can try? I have a new HP with Windows 10 but I doubt if that’s the problem. Thanks…

        reply to Liz

        • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

          Thank you for posting, Liz. It does sound like you need to give your computer a bit more time, especially if there are a lot of photos on your phone. You might also try saving your photos to an SD card, then inserting your SD card directly in your computer with a port or adapter. If you run into any issues, feel free to call us at 888-345-5509 and we will be happy to assist you. We appreciate you taking the time to post, and we hope you have a great day!

          reply to Ashley

  13. dotsonrox39@att.net says

    I had a Doro phone which seemed to have a magnet on it every time I put in purse & sank to bottom & by the time I got to it call was gone & constantly losing in house I finally decided to get a larger phone. I got the Moto G which is a good size for me but it is very confusing & harder to learn. I have R.A. which limits use of my fingers also a problem I have noticed remarks of people that had have had problems with C.C. one week end when I first got phone I did could not get thru to a person , after waiting quite a while left call back # waited 2 hours no call back left house when I returned I saw they had called .called back did not get passed machine.
    Called back on Sunday reached very nice young man who informed me a lot of new people had been hired which may have been the problem, I have had C.C. for quite a while now but new to a SMART phone which is smarter than I but people that know these phones say I got a very good deal on this phone & it has a lot more apps?? than theirs. I am not of the generation of these phone but my grand-daughter loves, this company is a GODSEND for us older people & I would think it would be even better for those of you that know your way around this mechanical world. PATIENCE is something that seems to be in demand & nobody has, this company has more people working for them than many others add that to the fact there are no contracts & you have a winning company that is giving our people jobs, nobody is perfect , but take care of those that try.
    Leigh

    reply to dotsonrox39@att.net

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We very much appreciate your kind words! Thank you for taking the time to share them with us. We’re sure you’ll get to know your new Moto G, and we’re always available to help you when you need it. It was wonderful of you to comment, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  14. Richard Coffing says

    I’m trying to make calls, even to Consumer hotline. It keeps reading “cellular network not available”. I checked to see if my bill was paid. Yes. What’s going on? When can I use my phone? Email appears to be my only option to report a problem.

    reply to Richard

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re sorry to hear that, Richard. I was able to take a look at your account, and I confirmed that your account is active and I don’t see any outages in your area. Please turn your phone off, then back on again. This will allow your phone to connect to the nearest tower with the strongest signal. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, please give us a call at 888-345-5509 with another phone, or we can assist you via email at Service@ConsumerCellular.com. We’ll get this resolved for you as quickly as possible. Thank you for reaching out to us!

      reply to Ashley

  15. Zoe W Dana says

    My Doro phone has stopped working. What do I do? I have no other phone.

    reply to Zoe

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re sorry to hear that, Zoe! I was able to take a look and confirm that there don’t appear to be any outages in your area. Please turn your phone off, then turn it back on again. This should allow your phone to make a new, stronger connection to the towers. If your phone still isn’t working, please try to call us from another phone if possible. The best number to call us at is 888-345-5509. You can also send us an email at Service@ConsumerCellular.com and we can assist you that way. We’ll do our best to get your Doro back up and running in no time. We apologize for the inconvenience, and look forward to helping you. Thank you for letting us know!

      reply to Ashley

  16. pedro gonzalez says

    I dont agre with de charge month to month because Idont use the telephone like to you say and if I dont receive a satisfactory aclration i will cancell my service thanks in advance for your prompt replay

    reply to pedro

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for commenting, Pedro. We apologize for any confusion regarding your usage. We’re happy to go over your invoice with you and work with you to find a resolution. Please give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we will be ready to help you. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

      reply to Ashley

  17. Phyllis says

    I would like to mention that I am not a “techie” but I recently learned how to sent photos to my computer (while I was in a Wifi area so as not to use up data) and it has worked fine.
    Now if I can only find time to learn how to set up my voice mail. LOL

    reply to Phyllis

  18. lee davis says

    I need to print out my usage info for June 2015 but when I hit control plus P I get nothing. I need to access this info???????

    reply to lee

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Lee. You may need to try to highlight the information with your mouse, then copy and paste it to a word processing program. That may make it easier to print out the usage. You can also try doing a “print screen” while you’re on the usage page. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us, and let us know if that doesn’t work. Thank you!

      reply to Ashley

  19. James says

    I’m having issues with the same # calling with a recording stating a # to call back but when I do it’s always busy, how can I block this # as it is wasting minutes

    reply to James

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      How frustrating, James! With the Doro 618, the best way to be aware is to save this number in your contacts so that you know who it is when they call. Also, be sure to report the phone number to the FCC Do Not Call list so that they know about it. If we can assist you further, please feel free to give us a call at 888-345-5509. Thank you for posting!

      reply to Ashley

  20. Angie says

    I have tried to transfer photos from phone to computer and I get a symbol on computer like it is locked. My phone also tells me “sd card is unmounted or not present. my phone is Huawei vision.

    reply to Angie

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Angie. First, make sure that your SD card is pushed all the way in on your phone, then try again. If that doesn’t fix the problem, please give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we’ll work with you to get that resolved. There are a number of apps you can try as well, such as Shutterfly or Google Photos. That way, you can ensure that your precious memories are safe. Thank you again for commenting!

      reply to Ashley

  21. Freeman Eaton says

    I sure like CC ,so far service is great and economical. The size of my bill sure is refreshing to see. No dread here! My previous carrier started out with $18 activation fee and all at once it went to $36,wow! Here at CC, F R E E, my favorite 4 letter word.

    reply to Freeman

  22. Jim says

    How do I save photos I received on a text to my cell phone to I can forward to another person?

    reply to Jim

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Jim! I see that you have the Moto G EXT. To save a picture, open the text message conversation containing the photo, then tap the photo. This should make the photo bigger. Tap it again and you should see a “save” icon at the top of the screen. Select that, then save your photo to your Gallery or other spot on your phone. Then you’ll be able to send it via email or text message just as you would one of your other pictures. If you run into any issues, we’re happy to walk you through it at 888-345-5509 if you like. Thank you for commenting today!

      reply to Ashley

  23. ginger says

    I have the red doro flip phone. How do i transfer my photos from phone to computer?

    reply to ginger

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      I’m happy to help you with that, Ginger. The easiest option is to use an SD card. You can insert an SD card into your phone, then transfer your pictures to that SD card. Once your photos have been transferred, you can insert the SD card into your computer or a reader, whichever you have on hand. If you aren’t sure where your SD card slot is on your Doro, you can check out our How-To video here. And of course, we can always walk you through it over the phone at 888-345-5509. Thank you for reaching out to us, and we hope you enjoy taking a look at those photos!

      reply to Ashley

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