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Get the Most from Your Phone When Shooting Pictures for Your Utility

image credit: Photo 29828340 © Diana Eller |
Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
  • 1,003 items added with 507,106 views
  • Aug 4, 2021

My “day job” newspaper doesn’t employ a photographer, so we have to rely on provided photos from public relations agencies, as well as those solicited from the subjects we write about.

And that tends to be a huge problem because many of the pictures we get are terrible. Most people are clueless about what makes a good photo, so we get out-of-focus photos, pictures with people standing stiffly in a line, people at a distance from the lens, pictures of buildings and bad overall composition.

Granted, you probably have professional photographers who take photos of your executives and who are sent to your major events. But there are probably times when you need a quick photo, and all you have is your cellphone camera. Thankfully, utilities can offer some interesting photo subjects -- your equipment, linemen at work, etc. -- so you're ahead of a lot of businesses in one regard.

Here are some tips for better pictures.

  1. Get close to your subjects.
  2. Turn on your camera’s gridlines if you have them. This helps with composition.
  3. Focus on one thing. Note that phone cameras tend to focus on the foreground, but if there’s not an obvious subject, adjust where you want the lens to focus. If you tap the screen, an icon should appear, shifting the focus to that spot.
  4. Don’t be afraid of “negative space.” Make your subject stand out with a background that might include things like water or an empty field.
  5. Use symmetry.
  6. Remember that you can (and should) crop your photos.
  7. Look for patterns that add visual interest.
  8. It may seem obvious, but keep the phone lens clean. Take a look at your cellphone camera lens – when’s the last time you cleaned it?
  9. Take lots of pictures. These aren’t the old days when film was expensive and you wanted to get the most out of your roll of 24 or 36 exposures. It’s easy to delete bad shots and the more photos you take, the better your chances of taking a good one.
  10. Go easy on digital zoom because it can make the photos grainy. You can zoom in by cropping your photos
  11. Use natural light where possible.
Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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