Inside the BlackBerry Community – User Spotlight

Mobile Apps

Welcome to our second installment of Inside the BlackBerry® Community, where we highlight the awesome things that Team BlackBerry does!

There’s one thing that we have started looking forward to every day and that’s #teamblackberry photography by @BB_photog. In August @BB_photog (aka Brian Lee), shared more than a dozen photos he’d taken with his BlackBerry® Curve™ 8900 smartphone.

Since that first introduction, Brian has sent through some truly gorgeous photography. We were able to catch up with Brian over email last week to learn more about the man behind the camera.

Brian’s passion for photography started from watching classic films such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “Casablanca.” Says Brian: “I became obsessed with ‘the vintage look’ of film and began collecting older 35mm film cameras from local pawn shops that could give a natural vignetting effect, which is a gradual transition from a brighter image center to darker corners. It was during this period that I taught myself the basic technicalities of photography through trial-and-error using film.”

Brian’s first foray into BlackBerry smartphone photography was with a BlackBerry® Pearl™ 8100 smartphone. “One of the many reasons why I started taking photos with this particular BlackBerry smartphone model was its ability to capture ‘film grain’ or image-noise similarly presented in traditional film. Photos from my BlackBerry Pearl 8100 smartphone were reminiscent of the classic Polaroid instant camera feel. Just as I did with my old film cameras, I could not stop taking photos with my BlackBerry Pearl.”

In 2009, Brian traded in his BlackBerry Pearl smartphone for the BlackBerry Curve 8900 smartphone. “This model enabled me to take more interesting photos due to its auto-focus lens. I especially liked the BlackBerry OS version on this model because it had some advanced camera features such as Black & White, Close-Up Mode, and White Balance.”

What are some of the tricks that Brian uses to take stellar photos?


“Under low-light conditions, it is important to keep the hand as steady as possible. Otherwise, it could result in shaky photos. I always like to take several shots under low light, usually starting with the flash off. At times, the BlackBerry smartphone camera can pick up enough image noise with its high ISO, giving off a film photo look. I also like to use flash under low light because a vignetting effect is common. But I think flash is a must when taking portraits of people in especially dark places, i.e. parties, clubs, etc.”


“For starters, Focus Indicator is the rectangle meter on the screen when the camera is turned on. When the camera button (the Convenience Key) is slightly pressed down, the rectangle turns green when the lens is done focusing. At times, because the length of time for focusing depends on light conditions, it requires some patience and practice. Waiting for the rectangle meter to turn green is the key to a sharp photo.”

Close-Up Mode

“Because the camera focuses on a particular point in the Close-up Mode, I take multiple shots to determine the appropriate distance from the object. I usually hold and release the Convenience Key until I am able to focus on my subject. Although it took me some time to get used this feature, the end result was satisfying.”

BlackBerry® Torch™ 9800 smartphone specific tips

I would first start by going to the camera menu and adjusting the Autofocus setup since the stock is set as “Continuous.” The focus meter will appear once it is set as “Single Shot.” I found the Scene Modes helpful but setting it as “Auto” captured a wide range of subjects without much trouble.

Other tips

“I also plug my earphones to mute the camera shutter sound in quiet areas. I initially became obsessed with taking photos with my BlackBerry smartphone because it is a ubiquitous device without being too intrusive when taking photos in public places.”

If you’re interested in Brian’s photos, check out his Tumblr® page and follow him on Twitter at @BB_photog!

About Becky Y.

As RIM's social media strategist, Becky spends much of her day following great online conversations about the BlackBerry® brand (and does some work here and there too). You will hear from her occasionally on Inside BlackBerry, but for the most part she will be behind the scenes, supporting our roster of experts in their blogging activities. Becky anticipates that she will have a lot of "Who Knew?!" moments, and hopes that our readers do too.

Join the conversation

Show comments Hide comments
+ -
blog comments powered by Disqus