Smart Smartphone Photography

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I remember years ago being at a Halloween party with my Minolta film camera. I’d studied photography, I knew about depth of field, shutter speed, f-stop and I was ready to get some great night shots. It didn’t happen. Scenes that I wanted came and went before I adjusted my settings and I ended up with nothing except the photos I took in auto mode. To make matters worse, some of the auto images were out of focus. It took awhile but I finally realized that I needed a digital camera – one that was quick, light, and has manual settings. Fast forward to the present. My camera of choice is the smart phone with manual options. They’re light and fast — simple as that. Even when I’m not still they take great pictures. Camera phones have come a long way in the past ten years. The camera light meter, maybe not so much. I’m told the meter (in auto mode) creates settings based on the light that it senses at any given moment but what if there is no light as the case might be at night – say in a dark theater? Supposedly the meter takes a guess at the settings so if it’s wrong, pics might be out of focus or they might not have enough flash light. Here is what I do at night. In the dark your eyes will do a better job focusing than the light meter. I turn on the phone/camera and adjust the zoom. The camera is in auto mode. I bring up manual mode and set only the focus – leave everything else on auto. Now take your pictures. Set the focus as needed for each shot. Now check the photo. If there is not enough light in the photo go to manual mode and set the aperture(open the aperture a little more than what auto focus is using). Not every night shot is too dark. If there is very little or no light this might be a good time to manipulate manual focus and on a smart phone that has manual options you can really fine tune it.

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