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4 Innovative Ways to Use Your Smartphone Camera

Go Beyond the Selfie to Be More Organized and Productive

When it comes to capturing each moment and sharing those photos with a few thousand of your closest friends, it's tough to beat the power of a smartphone. But you may not be using your smartphone to its full potential.

With all due respect to selfies and food pics, there are some fresh ways to make your mobile camera even more indispensable than before with a bit of creativity.

Here are four tips on getting the most out of your mobile device:

1. Create a Virtual Wallet

When Sonia Enderle is on the way to a meeting, she always knows the exact location of her smartphone. But her wallet? Not so much. "Honestly, I stopped counting the number of times that I've accidentally left that somewhere," she says. "But with my smartphone, I feel much more confident that I can replace the contents easily."

Enderle, a management consultant outside of Washington, D.C., says she has that assurance because she took photos of everything in her wallet, including the front and back of each card. Because she has security controls on her smartphone, she feels the tactic is a help, not a risk. For example, a few months ago, she left her auto-club card at home but was able to call for roadside assistance using the image of it on her phone.

2. Let It Remember For You

Another strategy for using digital photos is to turn your smartphone into a memory device. For example, take a photo of your car's location at a busy holiday shopping center, or snap an image of the label on the Cabernet you liked so much.

Carol Stevenson, a retired real estate executive near Minneapolis, is particularly fond of taking photos of the inside of her refrigerator and cupboards before she goes grocery shopping. "I'm a visual person," she says. "There is no way I could be so organized if I didn't use my camera to remember important things, like whether I have cinnamon or not."

Another tip for making your smartphone into a memory machine: Take pictures of coat-check receipts, dry-cleaning slips, prescription bottles, and anything else that will jog your memory if they go missing. Also, snap a pic of a cab number in case you leave anything behind.

3. Create a Virtual Map

Stevenson also uses her phone for another trick: taking images of landmarks along routes where cell service might be spotty. To unwind, she enjoys taking drives through Minnesota farmland. But reception isn't always great, so she can't depend on GPS to guide her back home. Taking photos as she stops along the route and referencing those later brings her to the starting point.

"When all you pass are cows and corn, you're going to want some kind of other visual landmark," she says, with a laugh. "It's like creating markers on a trail, by using digital images."

4. Keep Track of Business Contacts

Although many forms of business communication are going digital, the tried-and-true business card is still in force. But who has the time to input all those into a system, or flip through a stack when you're trying to recall someone's title?

Use your smartphone instead. There are several apps, like Evernote Scannable and World Card Mobile, that allow you to take a photo of a business card and let the software put the contact information into a handy, searchable database or into your contacts list. The information is editable, so you can type in notes or make changes later.

Use your smartphone as a kind of personal assistant and visual repository to help you stay organized, remember important details, and retain vital information. Of course, you should always use caution when submitting personal information through apps, especially if you are entering financial information, like passwords or credit card info.

Another innovative use for your camera is Chase QuickDepositSM on the Chase Mobile® App. To learn how you can easily master digital banking services, visit the Mastery site and follow Chase on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Chase Mobile® App is available for select mobile devices. Enroll in Chase OnlineSM and download the Chase Mobile® App. There is no charge from Chase, but message and data rules may apply.Chase QuickDepositSM is available for select mobile devices. Enroll in Chase Online and download the Chase Mobile® App. Message and data rates may apply. Subject to eligibility and further review. Deposits are subject to verification and not available for immediate withdrawal. Deposit limits and other restrictions apply. See chase.com/QuickDeposit for details and eligible mobile devices.

For everything your business needs in one place, from news and expert tips to valuable products and solutions, visit chase.com/forbusiness.

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