Camera Phones Aren’t Just for Pretty Pictures

iPhone camera

It took me a while to switch to a smart phone.  I dug in my heels and insisted I didn’t need one.  My dumb phone was doing a fine job.  But finally I took the plunge.  I ditched my dumb phone for an iPhone 4S.  For the first time, I had a phone newer than my kids’ phones.  And let me tell you, it didn’t make them happy!  It was kind of fun for me, though.

But gloating aside, one of the biggest advantages I discovered with my smart phone was the camera.  I find new uses for that camera every single day!  I can’t imagine how I lived without it.

So if you’ve been thinking inside the box with your phone and just using it for pretty pictures, let me suggest some other ways you can use your phone.

1.   We recently replaced our ancient router/modem.  Not being incredibly computer savvy, we weren’t exactly sure what we had or what we needed.  So I took pictures of our existing equipment, including model numbers, and showed it to the salesman.  Once I showed him the photos, he knew exactly what we needed.

2.  Have you ever noticed a recipe on a box or bag and thought, “I’m going to come back later and either cut that out or copy it.”  But you forgot and the box disappeared?  I’ve done that SO many times.  I started to do it the other day but instead grabbed my phone and took a picture of the recipe.

3.  A while back I was sitting on the highway exit ramp when the person behind me rear-ended my car.  It wasn’t bad.  But I used my phone to take pictures of the cars and the license plate numbers.  A picture’s worth a thousand words, you know!

4.  I’m always misplacing my menu for the week.  It’s on the backside of my grocery list and somehow it ends up in multiple locations in my house.  I get tired of looking for it so this week I took a picture.  When I started my hunt for the menu, I remembered the picture.

5.  I’m always finding little bits of information or tips I want to remember but it’s not convenient to write them down.  So I’ve started taking pictures instead.

6.  When my husband and I went bedspread shopping a couple of months ago, I took photos of the bedroom wall color and the curtains.  When we found a bedspread we liked, we compared it to the photos.  The photos weren’t perfect but they helped us stay in the ballpark.  We did the same thing when we went shopping for curtains for the upstairs bedroom.  We took a photo of the bedspread we were trying to match.  We found some curtains we liked, held up the photo, and saw immediately that they weren’t a good match.  If we hadn’t had the photo, we would have bought the wrong curtains, and I HATE taking things back.

7.  I was shopping at Target last week and saw a quilt with really beautiful colors.  I wasn’t interested in the quilt but I loved the color combination.  I took a photo so I could duplicate those colors in my next quilt.

9.  Some bad people dumped trash in our neighborhood at the beginning of the summer.  I took a photo and e-mailed it to the city so they could see what had been dumped and send out a clean-up crew.

10.  We received a package that was damaged.  I took a picture of the damaged box in case the product was damaged, too.

11.  When I return something, I usually scan the shipping label but this time I just took a picture.  I saved the photo until the product was received by the company and then I deleted it.  It was so much easier than scanning or writing down the information.

12.  And, oh yeah – my bank lets me deposit checks by taking pictures of them instead of taking them to the bank.  This is one of my favorites!

These are just a few examples of the many ways you can use your smart phone’s camera.  I can’t imagine how I survived so long without this camera.  It has made a lot of things much easier! 

So how do you use your smart phone’s camera?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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10 thoughts on “Camera Phones Aren’t Just for Pretty Pictures

  1. I found this very interesting, Patty.

    1. Re taking photos if you are involved in a car accident, if you can do so without inviting aggression, it might come in handy if you can include in the photos the driver and any passengers, in the event of insurance scams.

    2. you haven’t included one of your recent suggestions, which was to start taking an inventory of the contents of your home by taking photographs, which would help in any insurance claim. Incidentally, there is a website for the UK called, I think,, whereby you can record on a database available to the police details, including photographs, of possessions, so that if they are stolen and subsequently recovered by the police, you stand a higher chance of getting them back if you have logged them on this website. I am sure there will be an equivalent website for the USA.

    1. That’s a great idea, Cath. Taking pictures of the people involved is genius. I would never have thought of that.

      Definitely take photos of your stuff in case of a break-in. I didn’t remember that one because I did that with my regular camera and I haven’t done it in a while. But it’s SO important to have photos of your stuff. I can’t tell you how helpful it can be. Thanks for reminding me of that one.

      I’ll have to look for a website like the one you mentioned. I bet you’re right about there being one.

  2. I don’t have a smart phone but your ideas sure make me want to put one on my next shopping list! I’ll have to remember all these great ideas if we ever get around to upgrading.

    1. I love my iPhone and am SO glad I got it! I definitely have a bigger cell phone bill now but it’s worth it. I love all the options I have with the iPhone. I didn’t think I’d care about any of that stuff but I surprised myself.

  3. There is an app called Evernote that you can organize all of your photos into if you want. I have it for recipes I find on Facebook and other places online. It will alphabetize it for you.

    1. I’ve played around with Evernote and my daughter uses it a LOT. I didn’t realize I could use it for iPhone photos. I’ll have to check it out.

  4. Hi! I use most of your tips already, I’m also relatively new to smartphones but I think it’s the only way to go around with a camera like that. Photography is a hobby of mine, so the smartphone camera is just too limiting (and crappy) for me. Here’s how else I’m using the camera and the smartphone:

    – I’m trying a product that is supposed to help with hair regrowth that is supposed to show results after at least a month of daily use, but usually only after 2,5 months (due to genetic and hormonal hair-loss) My sister is a farmacist and claims this one works for most people but how am I going to know in 2,5 months how it looked when I started? How do I know I won’t fool myself into thinking I actually see results? I take a picture of my scalp every week. 😉

    – Reminders for my ADHD medication, though I already have a pretty solid routine and rarely need to be reminded.

    – I have two e-mail accounts, one of which has a serious looking adress and is only needed when I apply to a job or when I very rarely change e-mails with the office of the company I work at. The word here is “Rarely” so having the smartphone rigged to warn me only when I get a message on that less used e-mail is awesome.

    – Flashlight. You know of the flashlight-app, right? Lifesaver!

    – WordPress-APP. I love having my wordpress reader on my smartphone and read other blogs on the way to work (takes one hour each way) and I also subscribed to a newspaper so I can read their online news. So I look like one of these zombies who only stare at their smartphones, which is sad, but I’m actually reading news and other people’s insights, so it’s great!

    And that’s the gist of it. 🙂

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