Tips on mobile photography: hands-free phototaking

I’ve been taking a lot of photos lately, particularly for the shop and this blog. Most of the time now, I take photos with my phone because it’s just convenient to reach for, and easy to transfer photos to my computer wirelessly (a feature that my trusty camera unfortunately lacks). Sometimes I’ll use my iPad too, when my phone battery is low or when I can’t get the image to focus, but the idea is that using mobile devices is convenient for me.

I’ve encountered a problem when taking photos though. I don’t have steady hands, so I need both hands to steady my phone or iPad when taking photos, which means that I don’t have the extra finger to poke the screen of my device when I am ready to take the photo. That resulted in multiple attempts at shots, as images tend to get blurry the moment my hand leave the side or stretch to touch the capture button.

A while back, I discovered a solution to my problem while fiddling with the settings of the camera app on my phone – I can use voice control to command my phone to take photos, without having to sacrifice one hand I use for steadying! That has saved me lots of time and effort in taking photos, and eliminated a lot of the frustration.

Here’s a quick guide on how to activate voice control on your phone:

  1. Head to settings on your phone’s camera app.
  2. Make sure that your voice control is turned on. (Photos can be clicked on if you want to enlarge.)

    You might also need to head to the settings of your phone to activate the voice control function.
  3. To use voice command when you are taking a photo, just give the command that is indicated on your phone settings. Mine says either “capture”, “shoot”, “smile” or “cheese”. I like to say “shoot”, because it’s just one syllable, and my phone detects it quite well, so try different command to find one that works best for you and your phone.

As a reference, I’m using a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which is an Android phone. From what I can gather from the web, all Android phones have the voice command function in-built for the camera. Unfortunately, if you are an iPhone or iPad user, there is no such in-built function available. There are however, apps you can download from the app store that would provide the same function. I’m not particularly impressed with the apps I’ve found though, so I won’t be mentioning any. But you can search the web using search terms like “voice command iPhone camera” and a few apps will pop up that you can try out. I think it’s a shame that Apple devices are lacking this function, which would have been great, because admittedly, I find Apple cameras to be better.

I hope this tip/tutorial has been helpful. If you have any additional suggestions, or know of a good app for Apple devices, do share with us in the comments below (:

How to make your clear stamps cling again

Hi friends, today I have a quick tip to share with you, on how to get your clear stamps to cling again. I own quite a few clear stamps, because they come in a lot of designs and are much easier to store. Unfortunately, cling stamps have a tendency to lose their stickiness on the back, and doesn’t want to cling to the stamp block or the plastic backer sheet during storage. This can be problematic not only when you’re stamping, but you can also easily lose the stamps in storage, if they drop off without you noticing. I’ve lost a few tiny stamps this way and I’ve never been able to find them again! Even more troublesome if these are alphabet stamps – what to do with a alphabet stamp set that’s missing a vowel?

The problem has been sitting on my mind for a while so I set about trying to solve it the other day, and found a way to make them cling properly again!

Here’s what you need:

  • Your clear stamps
  • A rag (I use a microfibre cloth that I use all the time to clean my stamps)
  • Stamp cleaner, I use a homemade one using this recipe for years

Here’s what you have to do:

Step 1: Spray some stamp cleaner onto your rag.

Spray some stamp cleaner onto your rag.

Step 2: Place your stamp, cling side down onto the rag.

Place your stamp, cling side down onto the rag.

Step 3: Rub the stamp onto the rag a few times. You can also bring the rag to the stamp, if you feel like you want a little more control.

Rub the stamp onto the rag a few times. You can also bring the rag to the stamp, if you feel like you want a little more control.

And that’s all! The process is actually very similar to cleaning your stamps, because you are effectively cleaning off all the dust and dirt that have stuck to your stamp, which is what make it doesn’t cling anymore. Here’s a photo of how my stamp set look after I’ve cleaned the cling part, in contrast to the original. That was a couple of weeks back, and the stamps are still clinging well so this method definitely works!

I hope you enjoyed this little tip and tutorial and that you would give it try! Let me know what you think, or if you have other methods that you would like to share as well. Until next time.

 

Europe Travel Journal flipthrough

I’m back again, this time with a flipthrough of my Europe Travel Journal! I filmed this last month, but took a long time deciding if I want to put it out to the internet world, and to make some edits to the video. This is the first video that I’ve film and uploaded for everyone to see, so please be forgiving if the standards/quality isn’t very high. The original video quality is actually much better, but there was a drastic lost of quality after I rotated the video, something that couldn’t be avoided due to my filming setup. Will have to think of something so that I don’t have to rotate the video in the future!

And here’s the video:

Some basic information for my travel journal: The size is 7″ x 11″, which is a size I’ve gotten comfortable with over the years (my smashbooks are the same size). The covers are made from cereal boxes, and the inside pages are cut from a combination of mostly drawing paper and some scrapbook papers. I used a hole punch to punch six holes on the side and then bound them together with office binder rings.

Just to draw out some points that I mentioned in the video that would be helpful if you want to make your own travel journals:

  • When attaching tags with ribbons, I like to cut a small sheet of craft foam to prop up the tag. This helps the tag to lay flat and neat, as the foam offsets the bulk from the tied ribbon.
  • Have an idea of which parts of the map you want to display before folding the map to the same size as the journal.
  • You can include cut outs from travel guidebooks that you obtain during your trip, especially those free ones that gives tourist useful information and overview of the city. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of ephemera collected from certain places.

This is the first dedicated travel journal I had made, and I am very happy with how it turned out. To me, it’s just such a beautiful thing, and I love it so much. Hope you enjoy taking a look at this flipthrough and I hope you will let me know what you think of the video (:

Tips on mobile photography: exposure

On a roll with blog posting these couple of days. Attributing this to having lots of test and assignments due in school, as my brain shy away from thinking about all these stuff. Anyway, this post came about from the last post I did on pens review, as I was trying to take a good photo.

This is the first photo I took on my phone at normal settings (you can enlarge by clicking on it):

20151014_121801
Exposure: 0

It turned out darker than I like, considering that I was photographing in a brightly lit room. I tried to edit the photo’s brightness on my phone but didn’t quite like how it turned out. Plus, the editing isn’t very user friendly. So I took another photo and played with the exposure:

20151014_122103
Exposure: +2

I was a lot happier with how the photo turned out at exposure +2. The photo became much brighter, without any loss of actual colour or quality. After this, I thought I try it out at yet another exposure level:

20151014_122219
Exposure: +1

This is somewhere between the previous two photos, which turns out to be the actual photo I used for my previous post in the end. It wasn’t obvious to me when I looked at the photos through my phone, but once I transferred the photos to my computer and enlarge them, I could tell that at exposure +2 it was a little over-exposed, and reduced the contrast between the words and the white paper.

You can easily change the exposure on your phone camera by clicking on settings. Just remember that positive exposure makes your photo brighter and negative exposure makes your photos darker. I could adjust my exposure between -2 and +2 in increments of 0.5. Each camera phone might have different settings,  so play around with your phone settings and see for yourself which exposure level is the most appropriate.

I’m no expert at photography, so I experiment around with settings and see what work best for me. I use a Samsung phone (Note 3) which doesn’t have the best mobile camera around, so I just need to work with what I have. If you use an iPhone thought, Wilna Furstenberg just recently upload a video on how she uses iPhone to take good quality photos so you might want to head over and take a look. Her take is to edit the photos using the iPhone settings which I found it doesn’t help too much for my mobile photos, though that could most likely be because of a different phone. Admittedly, one thing I like about the iPhone is the great mobile camera.

Hope you like this quick tip on adjusting exposure with your mobile camera!