Monday, March 20, 2017

Picture Practice - Low Light

Day 20 - Low Light

Using your phone to take great photo when there is little light can be a bit tricky. Here are a few things to try when the lighting conditions are less than optimal:

*  If you are going to be outdoors at night and want to capture a good picture, consider using a light from another source, such as a flashlight or headlight to shine on the subject.  Campfires also can light the face of a subject if they are positioned correctly. You may remember this photo from a previous lesson--Ron was wearing a headlight that we pointed at Toddler D to get this photo.
Sometimes, you can even find a street-light or something like that to use as a light source. The quality of the photo below is quite grainy, but I was glad to capture the moment and it didn't look nearly as bad on a tiny Instagram screen.
*  Try shooting during the golden hour--either an hour before sunset or an hour after sunrise. At this time, the light is low, but warm and not as intense as the middle of the day. Because the sun is low in the sky, you can often capture something that is not normally well-lit, such as under a roof-line or umbrella.

*  Shoot in burst mode for things like fireworks. The rapid series of shots provide a better chance that you will catch a great shot as the lights shoot across the sky.
*  Pay attention to focus and exposure. Be sure to allow time for your phone's camera to focus before shooting (I sometimes get in a hurry and end up with a blurry shot), but also experiment with the exposure by tapping various spots on your screen. When you tap to focus, the camera also adjusts the exposure, letting in more or less light as indicated by the spot your are tapping. If you tap on a darker portion of the scene, your camera will adjust by adding more light into the picture.
*  Ron's phone (a Galaxy 7edge) has a "Pro Mode" that allows you to actually manually adjust the exposure even more. I don't know if all Android phones have this option or not, but it is worth looking for on your phone. This is such a neat feature!
Once you access Pro Mode, this is what his screen looks like:
The ISO and Aperture buttons are the main ones to adjust for various lighting conditions. Practice sliding them back and forth to get an idea of what the adjustments will look like.

*  You can purchase an app that allows you to manually adjust these same settings. My favorite is Camera+, and can be found in both iTunes and the Google Play Store.  It allows the user to adjust the light levels, the white balance and even manually focus. Using this app, tapping the screen allows you to adjust the exposure (lightness/darkness), but if you place 2 fingers on the screen, it opens the other options as well.  You can actually focus in one area and adjust the exposure based on another area of the photo. (for example: you can adjust the exposure by locking it on the darkest area, then lock your focus on the actual subject).  I am sure there are many other options out there, but I really like Camera+ and thing that the purchase has been well worth it to me.

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