Using Your Cell Phone to Take Pictures

To help promote our 2018 Calendar Photo Contest we’d like to provide our customers an opportunity to enter the contest without having a high end digital camera or a long background in photography.  It is my intention through this blog post to create better amateur photographers that have limited means and little time to fully immerse themselves into the endless info that surrounds photography.

Enter our 2018 Calendar Photo Contest by clicking HERE

If you have a smart phone purchased in the last 5 years or so you have a very powerful and intuitive camera always at you finger tips.  Many of us do not have the means to purchase even the low-end digital Camera but with the right knowledge, the camera in your phone can do what high end cameras just years ago accomplished.  The trick is knowing how to use it properly and what add on apps you can get for free that will allow the images to become truly worthy of sharing and even printing.

Learn your basic camera functions available on the most popular smart phones.

Now that you have an idea of the basic functions of your smart phone here’s some tips to go one step further.

Don’t use the zoom feature. Crop the photo afterwards instead.

The Zoom feature will leave photos looking grainy and somewhat blurry, negating the whole point of the zoom.  To get the best image quality crop it to the desired area you wanted to zoom in on.  You will be left with a much crisper image.

Do Not use the Flash.

The “Flash” in the camera on your phone is NOT an actual flash but a LED light that usually casts an ill-timed light at your subject. With the editing apps described below I have never had an issue getting darkened images lighter.  They may still be a bit dark but with a little adjustment to the “Shadow slider” in most photo apps, they will look way better than the yellow light and red eye we see on my co-worker Todd.

Clean your lens

Our smart phones are always being shuffled about in our hands picking up sweat, dirt and grime.  Not ideal for a clear image. Use an eye-glass cleaner or your soft cotton shirt in a pinch to clean the lens. Look at the above image of my joy filled co-worker Todd and you can see what a dirty lens will do to your photos.  See the whispy and blurry features especially around the light objects.  That’s what a dirty lens will do.

Learn the fundamentals of photography

This is the biggest one and I saved it for last. Click HERE and the linked blog post will go into depth on this necessary knowledge.

Go out and shoot

Now make some time to try out your camera before you are actually in the situation where you want to take that great picture. Practice an indoor shot of your kid or pet, go outside into the backyard and capture your blooming flowers, get to a place where you can have a wide expanse of mountains or water. The point is to experiment and become familiar with your camera, it’s settings and changing environments. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes. It’s how we all learn.

Photo Editing Apps for your Smart Phone Camera

A photo editing app is a program you download through your smartphone that will assist you in creating a better photo.

The number of apps for photography is truly mind boggling and trying to sort through them all can be frustrating and leave you abandoning the idea all together. Here are a few I have used that have turned mediocre photos into ones I really love.  I have purposely chosen ones that are free and easy to use for the beginner.  I usually just use the area of the apps that focus on being able to modify brightness, contrast, shadow, highlights, temperature and sharpness. Search the name in your phone apps provider or click on the links below from your smartphone and download.  Try them out and pick the one that best fits your style and experience level.

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4th annual 2018 Calendar Photography Contest!


We are excited to announce our 4th annual Calendar Photography Contest!

THIS YEAR’S THEME IS: The Great Northwest

Deadline for entries is September 15th.

2017 Calendar Cover Winner Mary Campbell

SUBMIT YOUR PHOTO(S) at the bottom of the post.

Here are the guidelines and details:

  • Photos must be taken by you.
  • Photos must be taken within the Northwest. (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia)
  • Photos must be JPEGs.
  • Horizontal pictures work best for the calendar.
  • Photos must be 300dpi and at a minimum of 11″ X 8.5″  ( 3300 dpi x 2550 dpi) Lower resolution photos will not be considered. So make sure your image settings are correct! If in doubt please submit the photo with sizing unaltered. Use the FREE Fotor photo editor HERE to resize you photo.
  • Please pick your best photos.  Multiples of the same shot will not be considered.
  • There is a 5 image submission limit per photographer.  So send us your very best!

The subject matter is wide open.  It could be in color, it could be in black and white. Subjects could range from the wild flowers in your yard, a bird on the shore, a lake on your favorite hike, a parade, the sunset, ect. It just needs to be from the Northwest.

We’ll choose at least 20 photos to use in the calendar and one amazing photo for the cover. If your photo is chosen for the cover, you’ll receive a $200 gift card to one of our stores!  A small reception will be held in honor of all the submitting photographers and all photographers chosen for the calendar will receive 5 calendars each.

When calendars are released, all submitting photographers will be notified. Calendars will be available free to the public at both Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply.

New to photography?  No problem!

We want everyone to be able to enter. Check out the links below for a bit of photography help.  Also be sure and follow our website blog and Facebook throughout the submission period for more photography help.

Here’s some tips!
The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners

Free Photo Editor!  Just click below, download a picture, edit as you wish, save and Viola!
Fotor Photo Editor

Check out our Blog Posts on Photography from last year by local photographer Chuck Rondeau.

By submitting your photo(s) to Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply’s 2017 Calendar Photo Contest, you grant Angeles Millwork and Hartnagel permission to reproduce, distribute, and publish your name and photographs in our calendar and promotional materials. You retain all other rights to your photography.

Entries should include:

  • Name of person who took the photo (REQUIRED)
  • Phone number (REQUIRED for internal use only)
  • Email address (REQUIRED for internal use only)
  • Title and Location of the photo (REQUIRED)

Your phone number and email address are for internal use only and will NOT be published in the calendar or used for solicitation.

Hurry our deadline is September 15!

Use the form below to submit your entry in our 2017 Calendar Photo Contest and Good Luck!

Name of the person who took the photo

Your phone number (for internal use only, but required)

Email (required) (for internal use only, you will not be added to any mailing list)

Upload at least one image (up to five)

Photo #1
Title of the image (required)

Location that the image was taken (required)

Image 1 (required):

Photo #2
Title of the image

Location that the image was taken

Image 2:

Photo #3
Title of the image

Location that the image was taken

Image 3:

Photo #4
Title of the image

Location that the image was taken

Image 4:

Photo #5
Title of the image

Location that the image was taken

Image 5: