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SMARTPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY

The essential work flow
©Rob Layton

Image Capture Image Editing

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Choose a Camera App Choose an Editing App
Most native apps are fine but you will get better results from Like native camera apps, most native editors will do a decent
a dedicated app. Look for one that enables RAW, has manual job. But if you want better results try a dedicated editor. Start
control of focus, exposure, ISO, and shutter speed. Try Moment, with Adobe Lightroom for Mobile (free, subscription for certain
ProCam5, ProShot, ProCamera, Camera+, LightRoom. features) or Google Snapseed (free). This tutorial is for Lr.

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Bright Light and HDR Crop to Reveal the Picture
Smartphones have small sensors and limited dynamic range Get rid of uneccessary clutter around the edges. You can also
(exposure of shadows and highlights). High Dynamic Range set the aspect ratio (16:9 is standard). If your intent is social
takes multiple exposures (up to 100 in some apps) and merges media for mobile, 5:4 or 9:16 are most effective as they take
them. Keep the phone steady. Try Hydra or Pro HDR X. up most mobile real estate.

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Portrait Mode Adjust the Light Next
Computational photography uses digital computation rather Move Exposure up if it is a bit dark. Move the Highlights slider
than optical processes. Portrait mode does this if your phone down to reveal highlight details. Move Shadows slider up to
has two or more cameras. Be cautious of Lighting modes. Try reveal shadow detail. White slider up and Black slider down to
Focos app for absolute depth-of-field control. restore dynamic range lost in the previous step. Add contrast.

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Don’t Use Digital Zoom Then Colour Balance
Optical zoom enlarges a scene using a lens. Digital zoom en- All light has colour, known as ‘temperature’. Adjust this slider
larges a scene in the camera by expanding the pixels. It is the (or Tint) if whites don’t seem true (white balance). Saturation
same as cropping and will always degrade the image. Unless changes intensity of all colours together; Use Mix to adjust
you have a mutli-camera phone, don’t zoom in. individual colours; Luminance is how bright the colour is.

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Use the Rule of Thirds Finish With Effects
You can turn on a grid for your viewfinder at Settings » Cam- Move the Clarity slider up to bring out more details in the
era. The idea is to place the thing you want people first to look image. Dehaze reduces atmospheric haze. Move the Vignette
at in one of the spacial divisions, or where two lines intersect. slider down to darken the corners of your image. This can give
Also, place the horizon on the top or bottom line. greater emphasis to your subject.

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Set Focus, Exposure & ISO Selective for Isolated Editing
In the native app, press and hold to lock focus and exposure. If you have subscription, Selective has three modes. Brush (use
Run your finger up or down to adjust exposure. In a camera your finger to paint an area); Radial, for circular edits; and Lin-
app, fast shutter to avoid motion blur, low ISO for finer detail. ear to isolate areas such as bottom or top third of frame (eg, to
Higher ISO at night but this will produce noise (fuzzy pixels). enhance blue in the sky). Use all the regular edit tools.

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Low Light and Slow Shutter Explore the Presets
Use a low-light app to capture light trails, long exposures or Tap the Color drop-down to reveal a list of presets. This may
star trails. A tripod is essential. Use the volume button on your save you time but generally it is best to do your own editing.
headphones as a shutter release. Try NightCap or Slow Shutter Sometimes, however, selecting B&W (for example) can be the
apps. Use iOS Live » Long Exposure for smoky water effects. basis of your edit.

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Burst Mode for Action Shots Geometry
Press and hold the shutter release button in the native app for Use this if you need to adjust the geometry of your image. For
Burst mode. It will take multiple frames until you release your example, if you tilted up to photograph a building it may seem
finger. Press Select, scroll through the frames, tap the one you angled in your image. Use Geometry to correct this.
want to keep, the rest will delete.

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Pano Instead of Wide Angle A Word on File Types
Panos can be horizontal or vertical (eg, a tall building). Tap If you want highest quality images, use a camera app that allows
and hold to lock focus and exposure, otherwise exposure will RAW. These files need to be edited before publishing. Many
continually change and show in your image. A tripod will help smartphone manufacturers are opting for compressed file types,
keep vertical lines straight. such as HEIC. This is fine is your intent is web or mobile devices.