The Brownwood Arts Association hopes its upcoming photography course shows citizens their smartphone can do more than take selfies and play Candy Crush.

As cellphone technology improves, the gap between professional cameras and those commonly found in smartphones continues to decline and Brownwood Arts Association Photography Instructor Roger Levesque believes his upcoming course can inspire citizens to create art with something they rarely leave the home without.

“What is the best camera? The best camera is the one you have with you,” Levesque said. “On that premise, most people have their phones. A cellphone maybe not be a high-end DSLR (camera), but it’s as good as any point and shoot camera that is available today … One of the main things that determines the quality of the picture you get is how much data does the phone of camera actually capture. These phones today are pretty sophisticated. Even the iPhone 5S compared so some of these point and shoot cameras, the phone is better.”

Levesque said the idea for a cellphone photography class came about after noticing three teenagers involved in photography groups at the arts association exclusively used their cellphones. He began with the concept of creating a course to teach how artists can use cellphones to improve or enhance their work. When the arts association needed an instructor for a monthly art class, Levesque jumped at the opportunity.

“When people say, it’s a phone and it doesn’t take good pictures, the reason it doesn’t take good pictures is because you’re not doing it right,” Levesque said. “Phones have the ability to take excellent pictures. In fact, I have photographs (from a cellphone) that have been in competitions that have won. There are competitions designed specifically for people who just use smartphones. It’s come a long way.”

Along with teaching basic photography skills that are also applicable to cellphones, Levesque said he would also show attendees the applications to use while shooting. Although most smartphones have camera systems already programmed into them out of the box, Levesque said some apps allow users to quickly make adjustments that were only available in high-end DSLR cameras.

“We’re going to talk about the kinds of phones available and the fact each phone has a built in camera, but you can get different types of cameras in different apps,” Levesque said. “I don’t know how many are available, but I have four on my phone … You can control shutter speed, aperture, the focus and brightness. Each camera application has the ability to do different things that are over and above the design of the phone itself.”

Another component to next Saturday’s courses will be what to do with the photo once it’s captured. Using Google’s free application, Snapseed, Levesque said much of the photo editing software is similar to those used by professional photographers with Photoshop, except Snapseed is free and does not require a monthly subscription.

“On a computer, you have Photoshop and Lightroom, but you have them on your phone also,” Levesque said. “There are applications you can use to do that. There is an app you can get for Lightroom and Photoshop. One of the main apps I’m going to be showing is Snapseed. It’s a free application that does about 50 percent of what Photoshop does, on your phone.”

With virtually the entire population carrying smartphones, Levesque believes everyone has the ability to become a professional photographer without serious monetary investment. Even citizens with cellphones two or three generations old can shoot like a professional.

“The mission of the arts association is to educate people in the arts,” Levesque said. “Anything we can do to help an artist further their ability is what our goal is … That’s what we’re hear for, as well as exposing the public to what art is. The photo group is also part of the art association and our mission is the same – teach an artistic endeavor that primarily involves photography.”

Levesque estimated the course, set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 14 inside the Art Center on Fisk Avenue, will take approximately two hours. For more information regarding the course, contact Levesque at (325) 998-3025 or go online to find the arts association website and Facebook page.