Memory keeping in the smartphone age

by | Digital Photography Tips | 5 comments

Last night a group of enthusiastic scrapbookers gabbed about cell phone photos during our weekly chat. Today I wanted to recap some of the best tips and highlights from that discussion.

Our conversation covered four areas relating to phones and scrapbooking:

  1. Apps for smartphones (we mostly discussed iPhone, sorry)
  2. Transferring photos from phone to computer
  3. Editing phone photos (or not)
  4. Scrapbooking phone photos

Apps for Smartphones

One of the cool things about newer phones is the ability to use special applications (apps) in addition to the phone’s regular camera. Apps let you do a range of things, from adding vintage effects or fun borders to helping you share photos with friends. These are the (iPhone) apps that were mentioned during the chat:

Transferring Phone Photos

Six different approaches were identified for moving photos from phone to computer:

  1. Text to email (aka picture messaging or MMS)
  2. Email attachment
  3. Bluetooth (wireless transfer)
  4. USB cable (wired transfer)
  5. Memory card
  6. Upload to sharing site (e.g. Flickr) & download from there

One of the major Q&A issues raised pertained to decreases in quality during certain transfers. Sometimes the default phone setting is to reduce file sizes for ease of sending. However, this can prevent the scrapbooker from having an original size image to work with. Almost always, a good look through the manual and some tinkering can override this setting.

Editing Phone Photos

A majority of the participants d0n’t do any special computer editing to their photos. Jennifer Shocks said, in reference to not editing, “I kind of feel like it adds that ‘I had to catch this on the fly’ feel to it.” Those that do edit tend to mask major flaws, through conversion to black and white, use of vintage filters/presets or reduction of noise. The free community edition of the software Noiseware was mentioned as a good option.

Scrapbooking Phone Photos

Anxiety over the poorer quality of phone photos seems to affect some scrapbookers, but not others. This particular group had a very relaxed “let it be” approach about it. While most don’t try to use phone photos at 4×6 or larger, printing at 3×5 or smaller is common. It is also common for cell phone photos to simply be uploaded to Facebook or Flickr, but not otherwise scrapbooked. Creating a “photobooth” style strip was suggested as a fun way to celebrate the imperfection and spontaneity of cell phone pictures.

You can read the full transcript of the chat for 30 days.

Are phone photos part of your memory keeping? Do you treat them any differently than regular camera photos? Are there any apps you would recommend?

Did you find this post helpful?

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  1. cate

    yes! I always have my iphone with me, so it has become my camera of choice lately… I love the effects from hipstamatic, but always try to take one or two photos with the regular camera, so I can get a feel for the scene without the effects.

    I’ve also recently discovered “momento” for journaling – and it can also download your facebook/twitter feeds! It’s downloaded my facebook feeds back to June 2009!

  2. Becky

    Since I got my Android phone in December, I scrap my phone pics all the time! I always have it with me, it’s less bulky than my camera , and my phone has an 8 GB memory card. The picture quality is really quite good. 🙂

  3. Stephanie Medley-Rath

    Great post! All the apps look really cool. I have a few of them, but now I want them all!

  4. Carolyn

    I use my iPhone more than my point-and-shoot to take pictures. My phone is always with me so it’s easier to capture moments on the go.

  5. Lesa

    Most if not all of my pics I have been posting lately come from my Samsung Vibrant. It has a great little camera on it for taking pics in sunlight and it has a macro mode. I can’t use it though in dim conditions but I love how it’s always there and so accessible and most people don’t realize you are taking a picture sometimes which comes in handy. ; )


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