Within only a few years, the smartphone has penetrated our lives and replaced other gadgets in a way that was never seen before. We wake up to its alarm clock, use it to check our emails, listen to a podcast on the way to work, manage our calendar, hold video conferences, navigate to a client, remote control the TV, use it as a flashlight, and fall asleep to messages exchanged with friends. In a modern life, the smartphone is an omnipresent companion.
Likewise, smartphone cameras have become seriously useful. As the smartphone is slowly turning into an all-purpose tool, the camera adopts a large set of functions, which can be extremely handy in everyday life. Ready to find out the potential hidden within your smartphone camera?
Remembering Random Things
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It can also be worth a thousand seconds, if it keeps information at your fingertips that you are too forgetful to remember and too busy to write down. Rather than searching the parking garage deck or street name where you parked your car, the opening hours of a store that closed in front of your nose, or the phone number of that restaurant that’s always fully booked, just snap a picture.
Things a snapshot might help you remember:
- Contact information
- Location of things
- Documenting food consumption
- Logging medicine intake
- Product labels
Use It Like A Mirror
Mirrors or shiny surfaces are everywhere, but what if you’re out of luck? When you need to check your make-up, look underneath something, or inconspicuously see what is going on behind you, whip out your smartphone and let it do the looking for you.
Use It As A Magnifying Glass
Do you find it hard to read small prints? Good thing your smartphone camera also doubles up as a magnifying glass. Focus on the item in question, zoom in, and snap a picture. There are also apps like Magnificent Magnifier that can help you take a steady and zoomed in picture.
Capture A Computer Screen
Whenever we most need to capture a screen, the print screen feature is usually not available. So, use your smartphone camera instead. The added benefit is that you can instantly share the screenshot via your phone’s Internet connection.
Situations when you might want to capture a screen:
- Windows Blue Screen Of Death
- Error messages
- Broken display
- Ticket vending machine out of service
- Information displayed on a screen
Take Pictures When You Disassemble Something
Whenever you disassemble something that you have to put back together, take a photo of every step, so you can easily trace back your steps. The added advantage of taking such pictures with your smartphone camera is that the display is usually bigger than that of a regular camera and you can more easily share the photos with others. Imagine you move houses and your spouse has to set up a computer setup you took apart.
Disassemblies you might want to document:
- Computer hardware
- Unplugging of cables
Replace Your Scanner
That’s right, your smartphone camera can function as a mobile document scanner. You can simply take a picture or use an app like CamScanner. With the app you can process one or more images, turn them into multi-page documents, convert them to PDF, and instantly share them.
With an app like this, your smartphone becomes a tool with which you can ‘scan’ book covers, magazine articles, receipts, whiteboards, blackboards, billboards, posters, presentation slides, and anything else you would like to document.
Detect Colors In Real Life
Have you ever needed to figure out the color in a picture or on a website? There are plenty of tools to help you identify colors on your desktop! Now what about colors in the real world?
Install SwatchMatic on your Android [No longer available] and use the camera to detect & reuse colors. The app detects the color the camera is pointed at and creates a color palette to match it. The resulting selection is saved as an image, including color names and codes. Great tool for creatives and colorblind people.
A similar Android app is Color Grab.
Log Your Personal Transformation
Whether your are trying to lose weight, build up muscles, or change your style, documenting your transformation with photos can help you stay motivated or give you some chuckles a few years down the road. Just make sure you don’t accidentally share intimidating photos publicly. You can also use the camera to track your food intake with an app like Evernote Food.
Cover Your Ass
A photo can literally save your ass. Use your smartphone camera to capture the state of a car you are renting, document damage when you get into an accident, or take a photo of the license plate and email it to a friend before you accept a ride. Photos can increase your personal security and make insurance claims a lot easier.
Things you might want to document with a photo:
- Anything you rent
- Things you borrow
- Damage caused by you or others
- License plates
- People who might do you wrong
- The condition of any damaged packages before opening them
Use It As A Spy Tool
Since your phone is more than just a camera, it’s hard to tell when the camera is in use, unless shutter sounds and your posture give it away. With the right tools and a bit of practice, however, you can take photos without anyone noticing. Just don’t do anything creepy or illegal please!
Your smartphone camera is more useful than you thought! It can make your life easier in many different ways and maybe even track your health. I bet you can think of a few more.
I would love to hear how you use your smartphone camera! Have you found any unusual or creative uses that have changed your life? Please share!
Image credits: Urban Photographer via Shutterstock, Opening Hours via Shutterstock, Rear View via Shutterstock, Computer Cables via Shutterstock, Weight Loss Progress via Shutterstock, Insurance Claim Photo via Shutterstock