Roy Cirigliana is an instructional lab specialist at Richland College. Cirigliana was an advertising photographer in New York City prior to relocating to Dallas. As a 35-year veteran photography instructor at Dallas County Community College District’s Richland College, Cirigliana helps students blossom in their photographic ability.
Roy Cirigliana
Richland College
12800 Abrams Road
Dallas, TX 75243
(972) 238-6100
www.richlandcollege.eduRoy Cirigliana is known for his work in black and white infrared film-based photography as well as digital images in hand-forged metal frames. His images range from architectural and environmental portraits to social documentary. He uses a variety of cameras and now considers his iPhone as part of his photographic gear. Cirigliana offers these tips to help you take better photos with your camera phone.

Composition The biggest mistake that most people make is that they don’t get close enough to the subject. If the subject is too far away, people will not understand what is going on in the picture. You want to keep the basic subject matter down to one to two key elements in the picture. The best way to do that is to get in close. Use the rule of thirds. Use your grid in the viewfinder. In the rule of thirds, you put the important part of the subject where the lines intersect. You don’t want subject in the center of the photo. You want them a little higher or lower.

Hold Camera StillWhether you are shooting portrait or landscape, hold the camera phone steady. You want to avoid camera shake, which will produce a blurred picture. If you are shooting in low light, it is more important to hold the camera steady. The lower the light, the more tendencies for blur. Brace yourself against a wall, use your elbows to steady yourself on a table or keep your elbows close to your body.

Lighting Your camera phone is very sensitive to changes in light. Move yourself around the subject that you want to shoot or move the light around. Having less indirect light can make for a better picture. You must pay attention to the light around you. Avoid trying to shoot directly into bright light. Use the old tried and true rule that the sun or light source is on the subject but over your shoulder.

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SubjectDon’t forget that the camera phone can focus very closely. You can use it as a macro camera to shoot real close ups of small subjects, like flowers and insects. These can become great photos because you have your camera phone with you all the time ready to take pictures. When shooting fast moving objects, use the video mode and you can snap still photos while shooting video. If your camera doesn’t have the option to shoot stills while shooting video, then you can take the video and edit it to pull the still photos from the camera phone.

Explore Your PhoneIf you are going to use your camera phone a lot, make sure you invest in enough memory to hold the photos and a tripod. Try to avoid using the zoom function on your camera phone. All that does is crop down your photo. It is not an optical zoom, it is a digital zoom. Get closer to your subject instead of zooming in. Clean your camera lens. You carry your camera phone in your purse or pocket. Use a cotton-swab and clean the camera lens. If you are using your phone all the time to take pictures, make sure you keep the lens clean. It can affect picture quality. You can choose filters and alter an image after you have shot the image. Experiment with noir, fade, chrome, mono, tonal, process, transfer and instant. Some images look better in black and white. Also, explore Apps for editing your photos. There are free ones and some you can purchase.

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Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at