Clean Your Cameraphone Lens

That’s not bokeh, it’s fingerprints.


If you are like me, you have some social media apps on your phone. Which means that you may have noticed about five years ago, they figured out that people react to faces and photos in their feeds much more than they react to anything else, so now every platform is also a photo sharing service. This means our phones come equipped with cameras three times more powerful than my first point-and-shoot digital camera built right into them at a fraction of the size, and it also means that, suddenly, everyone is an amateur photographer.

On the whole, this is tight. I love looking at pictures online—I learn a lot about both what my friends and the teens are up to that way. However, there is something I often find myself sighing about in private that I’d like to mention in a more proactive context now: everyone needs to be cleaning their lenses more often.

If your selfie looks like it was taken through a haze of Vaseline, or your landscape pic came out grainy and dull, it’s probably because your phone has been in your pocket all day and there are fingerprints or crumbs or some other schmutz on its one beautiful eyeball. And in the current state of my feed, most people are choosing to shoot photos through the schmutz and then overcorrecting any flaws with some wild filtering choices. As an alternate route, though, I would love to present the following system of steps for taking a phone picture:

  1. pull your sleeve down so that it’s covering your fingers
  2. in the opposite hand, hold your phone
  3. take your sleeve, and using one of your fingers (I’m a thumb girl myself), rub the crap off of your camera lens
  4. snap a photo

See how clear that thing is? 12 megapixels of extremely powerful, automatically calibrated light-understanding technology, capturing the same things your eyes are seeing to the best of their ability. Suddenly your sweaters might look more fibrous. The sidewalk, more textural. Who knew the sheen of fluorescent light off of pepperoni grease could seem so… poetic? I don’t know what you’re taking pics of in your free time, I just know they’ll look better and more whole the more information you allow your camera to take in. It’s like a brain that way.

And that’s it, really. Now that I’ve pointed it out maybe you’ll notice it in your own feed and find a not-obnoxious way to pay the pointer forward and we can all be taking crisper, more beautiful recreational photographs in 2017.

Cause nine times out of ten it’s not bokeh, dog. It’s your dirty camera.