Taking pictures in low light with your phone: 13 tips for shooting like a pro

Though phones vary in quality and features significantly, there are still some general tricks – both technical and common sense – you can pick up on to maximize image quality in low light.

Technical primer: Understanding exposure

Before we begin, you should understand the two main variables affect exposure (how bright the image appears) on your phone: shutter speed and ISO.

The shutter controls how long light hits the sensor. The longer the shutter is open, the brighter an image will be. However, you run the risk of blurring the image due to movement.

The ISO value, on the other hand, determines the sensor’s electronic sensitivity to light. Higher ISOs allow you to brighten an image without changing the shutter speed, but always at the expense of a noisier image.

Got that? Lets get started.

1) Expose correctly from the start

Make sure you actually tap on the subject on your phone’s screen so the camera sets the proper exposure (and focus).

If you need to, use the exposure compensation tools on your phone to get things just right; low light photos are less malleable for edits later, so make sure your subject is properly illuminated from the get-go.

2) Go manual

If you really want to get the most of your images, learn to manually adjust settings such as the aforementioned shutter speed and ISO.

3) Keep your shutter open as long as reasonable

Since the ISO value directly determines how noisy an image is and apertures are fixed on smartphones, leaving the shutter open longer is your only option for getting cleaner images at a given exposure.

The longer the shutter speed, however, the more movement will be blurred, so this technique is best for static subjects – unless you want motion blur for artistic effect.

Theoretically, a long enough shutter shutter speed could result in nighttime photos as noise-free as those taken during the day. In fact, extending the shutter period is exactly how optical image stabilization works, which brings us to the next point…

4) Stabilize your shot

Lean on a stable surface to stabilize your shot whenever possible. Even if your phone already has optical image stabilization, this allows it to use an even longer shutter speed and/or lower ISO settings without your hand’s shakiness interfering.

 

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See full story at thenextweb.com

Reasons your photos are blurry (and what you can do about it)

Do you sometimes get blurred photos from your DSLR but don’t know why? The chances are it’s not the camera – it’s you! Our friends at the Nikon magazine N-Photo came up with top ten tips for banishing blur.

Take the effective focal length of your lens and divide it into 1 to get the minimum safe handheld shutter speed you should use. For example, with a 200mm equivalent lens, you shouldn’t shoot any slower than 1/200sec or you risk camera shake. You might even get some shake at 1/500sec.

By: Jeff Meyer

See full story at www.techradar.com

Google’s new Sprayscape app is purposely imperfect

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With Android Experiments, Google is giving itself the freedom to experiment with quirky little apps that show off some interesting technologies but don’t really have any other real purpose. The latest of these experimental projects is Sprayscape, a VR camera app for Android that is probably not quite what you expect when you read the words “VR camera app.”

See full Story at techcrunch.com

The SMOVE stabilizes and charges your phone for steady video shoots

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When unmanned aerial vehicle makers and gimbal engineers get together they like to have a few beers and make something like the SMOVE. Designed to connect to a regular smartphone the SMOVE is basically a steadicam for your iOS or Android device, allowing you to take steady shots in rough conditions, follow faces in front of the camera, and even take seamless panoramas. The SMOVE team… Read More

See full Story at techcrunch.com

How to Capture High Quality Product Photos With Your SmartPhone

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You may be thinking that using your smartphone for product photography sounds a bit crazy, but with today’s advances in technology, it’s absolutely feasible to create great product images by utilizing your smartphone’s advanced camera features and a tripod. This option is both budget and user-friendly – not to mention convenient!

Here’s a step-by-step guide showing you exactly which tools and apps you’ll need.

Step One: Preparation

The equipment that we use in this tutorial is all pictured here.

After gathering all of your accessories and applications, it’s time to use your smartphone to capture your images. For this tutorial, we will be photographing a pair of earrings with an iPhone 5S smartphone, a Joby Grip Tight mount attached to a Vivitar mini flexible tripod, and Photojojo lenses. We will shoot the images using the Camera+ app, edit the images with Photoshop Express, and store and organize the images using Dropbox.

The foam board to the left bounces available light onto the “dark” side of the earrings.

1. Perfect your lighting.

First, consider your lighting situation and choose to set up your studio in an area with ample available light. We have utilized a large window to let soft natural light into our frame, as well as a small white foam board backdrop to bounce light onto the “dark” side of the earrings, as pictured above.

2. Set up your table and background.

After perfecting your lighting, it’s time to set up your table and white backdrop so that you have something to place your product and tripod on. We are using white seamless rolled paper for our backdrop, since earrings can very easily be displayed in a flattering manner by hanging them from the paper, as depicted below.

3. Stabilize and position your smartphone.

Next, mount your smartphone and position it at the proper distance from your product in order to center your product in the frame, as shown above. Because our earrings are small, we have placed our tripod and smartphone roughly one foot away from our product, as pictured in the image above. By using a Photojojo telephoto lens, we will be able to zoom close enough to capture the earrings at an optimal crop from this distance.

Note: Fill the frame with your product but leave enough space on all sides in case you need to crop the image.

For more details on setting up a small photo studio in your home or workplace, read our first DIY post here (How to build your own photo studio on a boot strapped budget).

4. Take care of the extra details.

Before you begin shooting, make sure that your product is pristinely clean and that all price tags and strings have been removed. Dust and minor damage can be fixed in post production, but removing as many imperfections as possible before you photograph your product will save you a good deal of time later.

Step Two: Capturing

1. Adjust the app settings.

Now that your setup and product have been meticulously prepared, you need to properly adjust your camera’s settings to ensure that you receive the best results.

The settings circled with red are the ones we recommend adjusting.

Zoom: Make sure that you have the zoom feature turned “ON” so that the zoom feature is easily accessible to you if you need it.

Grid: We recommend leaving the Grid function “ON” because it will help you to easily align your product in the middle of the frame.

Live Exposure: Live exposure mode will allow you to read your camera’s auto exposure settings as the camera adjusts it. It is good to take note of your exposure settings just in case you need to change them later.

AutoSave: This feature will allow you to specify where images are saved onto your smartphone as you capture them. The default is that images will be saved to the “Lightbox” contained within the Camera+ app, but you can change the destination if you would rather the images be sent somewhere else.

iCloud Lightbox sync: You can also sync your iCloud to your Camera+ Lightbox so that every image that you shoot will automatically be backed up into your iCloud.

Quality: It is very important that you set your image quality to High so that your smartphone can help you create the best images possible.

Sharing: If you utilize Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr, try setting up this service to facilitate easy sharing after you’ve edited your images.

2. Adjust the camera settings.

Now that you’ve properly adjusted your application settings, it’s time to work on changing the camera’s manual exposure settings to capture the best light within your frame.

The settings circled with red are the ones we recommend adjusting.

Zoom: Pull the zoom slider at the top of the screen to adjust the frame around your product. Make sure that all of the product fits inside the frame and make sure to leave enough room on all sides so that you can crop the image if necessary in post processing.

White Balance: To properly set the white balance according to the light temperature in your setup, touch the WB button and then touch the white background.

Exposure: Touch the circular Exposure button and then touch your product so that the camera knows to properly expose the product.

Focus: Touch the circular Focus button and then touch your product so that the camera knows to properly focus on the product.

LOCK: When you are finished adjusting each of these settings, make sure to tap each one again to lock the settings in place. This will keep the camera from auto-adjusting the settings while you are taking images.

By: Mark Macdonald

See full story at www.shopify.com

Five tips for taking professional looking photos with your smartphone

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The smartphone has become the camera that everyone has on hand. And it is a very capable camera. But the following tips will help you take your photography to the next level.

Ditch the stock app

The stock photography app that comes with the iPhone and Android handsets it good, but choosing a better app will – usually – result in better photos.

For Android, an app worth taking a look at is Open Camera. Not only does this offer a wide range of pro features, it’s also free, open source, and feels no ads.

HDR can really help

Most photography apps have a feature called HDR – which stands for High Dynamic Range. It can help pull out detail in certain situations. For example:

  • Landscape photos
  • Low-light situations
  • Backlit scenes
  • Portraits taken in sunlight

Try it. Most apps offer the ability to take an HDR and a regular photo, so you can choose the best and learn when HDR helps and when it doesn’t.

See full story at www.zdnet.com

How To Remove Background From Any Image In Android Smartphone

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There may be times when picture you have clicked from your Android smartphone is amazing, but background is not. Or, imagine a beautiful selfie of yours, which is photo-bombed by your friend in the background. You want to retain these pictures but not with their background. So, what do you do?

Don’t you worry Android smartphone users, as now you can remove the background from your device. All you need to do is download an Android app and follow the simple steps to remove background from any of your desired image.

Just follow the simple steps as discussed below.

See Full Story at www.techworm.net

How to Take Photos of Fireworks That Don’t Completely Suck

fireworks2-androidabilityYou know what’s great about the Fourth of July? Flooding your Instagram feed with pictures of fireworks.

But snapping shots of those glittery spectacles is harder than it looks. They may be huge and colorful, but taking a photo of light at night is a tricky feat.

Don’t fret — there are plenty of ways to optimize your phone or camera settings. We rounded up some tips on how to take the best shot, from experimenting with different camera features to trying out advanced mobile apps.

1. All-around pro tips

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IMAGE: FLICKR, ROBERT STERN

Here are some general things you should know before you take your Instagram-worthy photos:

    • First things first, don’t wait too long to take pictures. Once the fireworks get going, the sky starts to get smoky, which will cloud up your photograph, Mashable‘s photo staff says.
    • Turn off your flash, and don’t bother zooming in. That diminishes your photo’s quality.
    • Get a good spot. Make sure you’re as close to the show as you can be. Then, scope out the landscape. You don’t want anything blocking you from the full breadth of the light show.
    • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different positions. Photographer Dave Krugman, who has more than 93,000 Instagram followers, tells Mashable that including spectators and contextual elements can tell more of a story than an straight on shot. Here’s one of his examples.
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Photographer Dave Krugman opts for unique angles when snapping fireworks.
  • Don’t use HDR on your smartphone. The feature will just slow you down, because it takes long-exposure photos.
  • Bring a tripod. Whether you’re using a phone or a professional camera, you’re going to need a steady shot. If you don’t have one, make sure to grip your phone or camera with two hands and lean against something, like a tree, for support.

2. iPhone

Thailand Fireworks

A photo of fireworks taken with an iPhone 5.

IMAGE: FLICKR, SHERWOOD411

If you’re running iOS 5 or higher on your device, you can lock your phone’s focus and exposure.

Once your camera is open, tap the screen and hold it until a blue box appears. Remove your finger, and an “AE/AF Lock” message will appear at the top of the screen. This feature is helpful because it focuses in on fireworks and balances out their bright color and constant motion.

Next, test out an app. For $1.99, download Camera+, which offers all kinds of filters and features, including exposure, enhanced zoom and iCloud syncing capabilities.

Another app worth trying is Slow Shutter. It enables users to take longer exposures than normal, Krugman says. The app is 99 cents and has an exposure lock and a self-timer.

 by Yohana Desta

See Full Story on mashable.com