5 issues to attempt along with your cellphone’s digital camera once you’re bored

5 things to try with your phone's camera when you're bored

It isn’t as exhausting as you may suppose.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Making an attempt new inventive challenges can’t solely assist hold your thoughts targeted, however it might additionally educate you new abilities you need to use in a while. And what higher instrument to get these inventive juices flowing than your trusty cellphone? Whether or not you are making an attempt to get impressed after months of lockdown otherwise you’re simply after a enjoyable undertaking to attempt at dwelling with the household, there are a great deal of methods your cellphone — particularly, your cellphone’s digital camera — can assist you get these mind cells firing on all cylinders. And the nice factor is you do not even want to go away the home. 

These picture methods work on the brand new iPhone 13 ProfessionalGalaxy S21 Extremely, Pixel 6 and different, older telephones. If nothing else, these pictures challenges may simply stave off boredom a bit longer and will even provide some enjoyable weekend actions to attempt with the youngsters this winter.

Remember to take a look at our cellphone pictures 101 part for extra pictures ideas and methods, in addition to my roundup of the greatest picture enhancing apps for each iPhone and Android. 


Composite pictures may take some time, nevertheless it’s value your time.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

1. Make a inventive composite

Composite pictures means mixing totally different photographic components from a number of photos into one completed shot. At a primary degree, it may be used to easily exchange a sky on a panorama picture, however with some experimentation it might provide countless alternatives for creativity. 

In my occasion, I wished to composite myself into the identical scene a number of instances — virtually as if it is exhibiting all of the various things I may very well be as much as all through the day in a single picture. 

Placing it collectively was fairly simple. Here is how:

1. Put the cellphone on a tripod.

2. Body your shot as required utilizing the lens choices, if obtainable.

3. Both set your cellphone on a 10-second timer, or use a Bluetooth distant.

4. Get into your scene and take a picture.

5. Transfer into a number of positions, taking a picture every time. Be sure that the digital camera would not transfer in any respect between pictures.

6. Mix the pictures collectively in Photoshop by layering them on prime of one another and erasing the areas you don’t need.


I took this selfie with the iPhone 11 Professional’s front-facing digital camera, in portrait mode, proper up in opposition to my front room window to create the mirrored impact. I edited in Lightroom cell.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

2. Observe portraits

Whether or not you are taking a photograph of a associate, a member of the family, a flatmate, and even your pet, taking portraits generally is a nice inventive outlet. Reside alone? No drawback, flip that digital camera and use the selfie mode, and even put your cellphone on a tripod when you’ve got one and begin mugging for the digital camera.

Go searching your own home and see the place you suppose may make for an fascinating scene. Maybe you have got an previous leather-based chair that somebody may pose in. Possibly you have got an uncommon rug that you may have your topic lie on so you’ll be able to shoot from above. It’s also possible to attempt some pictures wanting wistfully out of the window.

Experiment with the lighting too. Pure gentle coming in from home windows is your greatest guess, so doing pictures close to them is an efficient place to start out. However possibly there is a cool lamp you may use as a single, moody gentle supply to lend some creative drama to the shot. You can additionally seize an LED gentle panel from Amazon and check out including your personal lighting.


Okay, it is not the best picture of meals on the planet, however I am fairly restricted in what I can cook dinner proper now and this omelette was at the least extra enticing than the baked beans I had yesterday. I put the plate on a horny tabletop close to a window and shot immediately down with my iPhone.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

3. Nonetheless life scenes

Nonetheless life may embody numerous several types of pictures — from vibrant and ethereal top-down pictures of a stunning salad or freezer meal you have made, to product photographs of your laptop computer, video games controller, new footwear or certainly something you suppose may {photograph} properly. You can even simply seize a pleasant number of issues from round your own home that, when artfully organized, may make for a pleasant picture.

The lighting rules are a lot the identical as along with your portraits. Use home windows the place attainable as these probably present the largest, brightest gentle sources in your own home. Meals photographers often use pure gentle of their imagery to maintain that sensible life-style look to their pictures. Mess around with the place you are positioning your topics and check out capturing from totally different angles to get the sunshine in simply the proper place. 

4. Make a brief movie

Making a brief movie might be nice enjoyable as you need to take into consideration a number of totally different components of manufacturing. First, in fact, is what your movie needs to be about. Possibly you need to attempt to movie a gritty crime drama with your loved ones because the solid. Maybe it is about your pet cat and the issues they stand up to throughout the day. 

My brief movie was all in regards to the course of of constructing a stunning cup of tea. After deciding on what movie I wished to make, I then considered what steps can be concerned in filming the method. To your crime drama, this might be once you’re writing a script and understanding what pictures you could get to place all of it collectively. 

Making a cup of tea is a really formulaic course of, so realizing what to movie was simple: filling the kettle with water, ready for it to boil, pouring the water and so forth. I added some additional scene-setting footage at the start and an ending shot of me having fun with the tea I would made.

It was shot completely on my iPhone 11 Professional, utilizing an Edelkrone slider that allows you to create clean, sliding movement to your pictures and an anamorphic lens by Second, to provide that cinematic broad side ratio look. I edited it in Adobe Premiere on my MacBook Professional ($689 at Amazon), however you may simply edit your personal movie in iMovie immediately in your iPhone or utilizing Adobe Premiere Rush in your Android cellphone.

I actually loved the method because it compelled me to suppose not solely about angles and lighting as I’d in my regular pictures, but additionally about tips on how to visually inform a narrative that made sense to somebody watching. It was nice enjoyable making an attempt to be extra experimental with my capturing and enhancing type, too, so it was positively a good way to spend a couple of hours at dwelling on a quiet afternoon. 


The unedited shot (left), subsequent to the ultimate model (proper). I used the iPhone’s lengthy publicity mode to blur the water, then used varied coloration instruments in Lightroom cell to create the look you see right here.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

5. Work in your enhancing

You may not be capable to exit and shoot a complete collection of latest photos, however that does not imply you’ll be able to’t make nice use of photos you have already taken. 

Each the Android and iOS app shops are stuffed with apps that supply a wealth of inventive enhancing choices to your photos, with a seemingly infinite variety of filters, frames and funky aptitude you’ll be able to apply. 

Snapseed is a favourite of mine and it is free on each platforms. It has a wide range of coloration filters obtainable (together with ones that give your scene a punchy “HDR” look in addition to extra classic tone choices) nevertheless it additionally supplies extra in-depth enhancing instruments resembling the flexibility to selectively paint brightness into simply the areas you need. It’s also possible to get extra inventive with apps like Photofox and Bazaart, each of which I used to create the self portrait on the prime of this text. 

My recommendation is to have a flick thru your gallery in your cellphone, wanting again on the weeks, months or years of pictures you have taken. Mark those that actually stand out as your favorites, then cool down onto your couch along with your drink of alternative, fireplace up some enhancing apps and go to city in your pictures. 

Not solely may you breathe some inventive new life into photographs you’d lengthy since forgotten about, however you might also study some beneficial new methods to place into motion once you’re lastly capable of get out capturing once more.

Learn extra: 5 Masterclass courses to turn out to be a filmmaker: Be taught from Martin Scorsese, Jodie Foster and extra  

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