There are some cool ways we can use the camera on our phone or tablet for something other than just taking pictures or recording a video. Next, we’ll discuss how the cameras can help us see better, how they help us read codes for additional information, how to deposit checks without needing to go to the bank, and how the cameras can help with foreign language translations. We’ll also talk about a few optional photography and videography accessories.a
As we age, for most, things get harder and harder to see. But there’s a trick to share with you! Open the camera app on your phone or tablet, point at the thing you’re struggling to see, and zoom in to get a better look. Add the flashlight to see even clearer! You can even take a picture to make it easier to study what you’re looking at.
The internet has opened up a world of information to us. There’s a way to share that information, even on printed signs! Companies or organizations may print a square, black and white image, called a QR or “quick response” code, to link you to more information.
For example, you might be shopping at a store. The product manufacturer wants to give you lots of information but doesn’t have enough room on the product to include all of it. They may use a QR code on their package so you can open their webpage to learn more. It may even include a video about how to use the product.
Or, you might be visiting a museum and see a QR code at the display. Scanning that code provides more information about that topic. It’s certainly a lot easier to let your phone find the page than to have to remember or type in a web address.
There are a couple ways to read QR codes. If you have a newer phone or tablet, just open your device’s camera and point it at the code. If your phone doesn’t already have this feature, there are apps called QR code readers that also use your camera to scan the code. To use a QR code reader app, unlock your device, open the app, then position your device so the camera sees the code. You’ll now have easy access to the information they wanted to share.
If you’re comfortable with banking using your phone or tablet, and have your bank’s app, you can use your smartphone to help you deposit checks from the comfort of your home! Follow the instructions specific to your app, but in general, you just line up the front of the check and take a picture when it says to. Then endorse the check and line up the back of the check to take the picture. You’ll confirm the amount of the check. The app will then confirm it has all the information you need and credit your account.
If you’re traveling abroad, or even just visiting a new ethnic restaurant in town, try Google Translate. With this app, you move your device’s camera lens to view signs or menus, for example, and it translates the words right there on screen.
Finally, let’s talk about additions to our phones and tablets to improve our photos and videos.
Because cameras inside a phone usually have a single lens option, having additional capabilities are nice to accomplish the look you need. For example, you can add a wide angle, fisheye, or macro lens. They typically just clip on to your mobile device, so you can use them on other phones or tablets.
For both photography and videography, consider purchasing a tripod. They’re great for ensuring you’re shooting a stable image, and of course necessary if you want to take slow motion or time-lapse videos. Tripods come in the tall size we’re used to seeing, but there are also desktop models, and even tripods with flexible legs that wrap around objects, like a tree branch. And do consider getting a “selfie stick,” which moves your camera farther away to get more of the background when you want to take a selfie, or be the host in your video.
Have you ever heard the joke, “I’m so old, when God said, ‘Let there be light!’ I flipped the switch?” If you want to add light to your photo or video shoots, you don’t even need a switch—you can just add a lighting device to a port on your phone or tablet which will be brighter than what the on-board flash can provide.