5 issues to strive together with your cellphone’s digicam while you’re bored

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

It is not as arduous as you may suppose.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Attempting new artistic challenges can’t solely assist preserve your thoughts centered, however it could possibly additionally train you new expertise you should use afterward. And what higher software to get these artistic juices flowing than your trusty cellphone? Whether or not you are attempting to get impressed after months of lockdown otherwise you’re simply after a enjoyable mission to strive at house with the household, there are a great deal of methods your cellphone — particularly, your cellphone’s digicam — might help you get these mind cells firing on all cylinders. And the good factor is you do not even want to depart 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 images challenges may simply stave off boredom a bit longer and will even provide some enjoyable weekend actions to strive with the youngsters this winter.

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


Composite images may take some time, however it’s value your time.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

1. Make a artistic composite

Composite images means mixing completely different photographic parts from a number of photos into one completed shot. At a fundamental degree, it may be used to easily change a sky on a panorama picture, however with some experimentation it could possibly provide limitless alternatives for creativity. 

In my occasion, I needed to composite myself into the identical scene a number of occasions — virtually as if it is displaying 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 out there.

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. Ensure the digicam does 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 do not need.


I took this selfie with the iPhone 11 Professional’s front-facing digicam, 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. Follow portraits

Whether or not you take a photograph of a associate, a member of the family, a flatmate, and even your pet, taking portraits generally is a nice artistic outlet. Reside alone? No drawback, flip that digicam and use the selfie mode, and even put your cellphone on a tripod you probably have one and begin mugging for the digicam.

Go searching your home and see the place you suppose might make for an attention-grabbing scene. Maybe you will have an outdated leather-based chair that somebody might pose in. Perhaps you will have an uncommon rug that you may have your topic lie on so you’ll be able to shoot from above. You may also strive some pictures trying wistfully out of the window.

Experiment with the lighting too. Pure mild coming in from home windows is your greatest wager, so doing pictures close to them is an effective place to begin. However perhaps there is a cool lamp you may use as a single, moody mild supply to lend some inventive drama to the shot. You could possibly additionally seize an LED mild panel from Amazon and take a look at including your personal lighting.


Okay, it isn’t the best picture of meals on the earth, however I am fairly restricted in what I can cook dinner proper now and this omelette was at the very least extra engaging than the baked beans I had yesterday. I put the plate on a horny tabletop close to a window and shot instantly down with my iPhone.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

3. Nonetheless life scenes

Nonetheless life might embody a lot of various kinds of pictures — from shiny and ethereal top-down pictures of a stunning salad or freezer meal you’ve got made, to product images of your laptop computer, video games controller, new footwear or certainly something you suppose might {photograph} properly. You could possibly even simply seize a pleasant number of issues from round your home that, when artfully organized, might make for a pleasant picture.

The lighting ideas are a lot the identical as together with your portraits. Use home windows the place doable as these possible present the most important, brightest mild sources in your home. Meals photographers often use pure mild of their imagery to maintain that practical life-style look to their pictures. Mess around with the place you are positioning your topics and take a look at capturing from completely different angles to get the sunshine in simply the appropriate place. 

4. Make a brief movie

Making a brief movie will be nice enjoyable as you need to take into consideration a number of completely different parts of manufacturing. First, after all, is what your movie needs to be about. Perhaps you wish 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 through the day. 

My quick movie was all in regards to the course of of creating a stunning cup of tea. After deciding on what movie I needed to make, I then thought of what steps could be concerned in filming the method. To your crime drama, this might be while you’re writing a script and understanding what pictures it’s worthwhile to get to place all of it collectively. 

Making a cup of tea is a really formulaic course of, so figuring out 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 first and an ending shot of me having fun with the tea I would made.

It was shot solely on my iPhone 11 Professional, utilizing an Edelkrone slider that allows you to create easy, sliding movement to your pictures and an anamorphic lens by Second, to offer 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 instantly in your iPhone or utilizing Adobe Premiere Rush in your Android cellphone.

I actually loved the method because it pressured me to suppose not solely about angles and lighting as I’d in my regular images, but in addition about find out how to visually inform a narrative that made sense to somebody watching. It was nice enjoyable attempting to be extra experimental with my capturing and modifying type, too, so it was undoubtedly a good way to spend a couple of hours at house 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 shade instruments in Lightroom cell to create the look you see right here.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

5. Work in your modifying

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

Each the Android and iOS app shops are stuffed with apps that supply a wealth of artistic modifying 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 shade filters out there (together with ones that give your scene a punchy “HDR” look in addition to extra classic tone choices) however it additionally offers extra in-depth modifying instruments corresponding to the power to selectively paint brightness into simply the areas you need. You may also get extra artistic 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, trying again on the weeks, months or years of pictures you’ve got taken. Mark those that actually stand out as your favorites, then quiet down onto your couch together with your drink of selection, hearth up some modifying apps and go to city in your pictures. 

Not solely may you breathe some artistic new life into images you’d lengthy since forgotten about, however you might also study some priceless new methods to place into motion while you’re lastly in a position to get out capturing once more.

Learn extra: 5 Masterclass lessons to develop into a filmmaker: Be taught from Martin Scorsese, Jodie Foster and extra  

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