Cell Phones For Animal Photography

This is a blog about using your cell for animal photography. So why am I starting it out with a scenic image? Read on and see…

Fall At Lake Erie

So here’s the biggest problem with cell phones. If you are a serious photographer shooting animals, then you are using an SLR camera for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest is that it has a viewfinder.

For the newbies that aren’t familiar with using a viewfinder, just know that it isn’t possible to make great photographs without one. Especially outside. Because most of the time you can’t see what is happening in front of the lens with the LCD screen outside. It’s too small, there’s glare, it’s difficult to move in on what you want to emphasize…in short, it doesn’t work for serious animal photography.

With camera phone images everything is small, so the animal subject ends up being a tiny, unrecognizable object in the distance. Unless you move in close. But if you fill up your viewfinder with your animal subject, it’s very difficult to make a photograph without blur because of shutter lag problems (the time between when you press the shutter and when the camera takes the shot can be a second or so). This means you need to hold the camera still a little longer to ensure it doesn’t take a shot as you’re lowering it away from the subject.

With a SLR camera, you can use your stance to steady your shots. Bracing your camera against your forehead works well. Not possible with a cell. Holding still is especially important in low light situations where the camera will select longer shutter speeds to compensate for the lack of light.

Ok. So what about zooming in on your subject with the digital zoom? As tempting as that might be, it will decrease the quality of your shot (you’ll end up with a more pixelated shot), and increase any blur problems.

Hey wait a minute. I was writing a blog about using your cell phone for animal photography. And here’s the message…stick to your SLR for animal work. If you want to capture spur of the moment images outside, especially when you don’t have your “real” camera, your cell will do the trick.

Good shooting!


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