Ok, so I’ve fallen behind with posting the 365 cellphone pics but that doesn’t mean that I have stopped taking them. Quite the opposite. I’ve been busy taking them in a variety of locations and it just took me a while to get them ready.
Night photography presents a special challenge with cellphone. Like everything else we’ve discussed, when the sensor lacks enough light to get a proper exposure, it compensates automatically by adjusting the shutter length and aperture. This typically results in blurred images, but when you anticipate this, you can use it to your advantage for taking stunning long exposure shots.
It took several shots on a busy nighttime street to get this photo to work out exactly how I wanted it. Basically I just kept waiting for cars to drive past and triggered the camera as they were entering the frame. The trick is to time the shot so that the camera starts recording as the car is entering the frame, as there is a delay between the fire button press and that actual activation of the digital shutter. With some practice however, this can be timed quite well.
As an additional tip. Since the length of the shutter can’t be directly controlled, it can artifically be manipulated by finding a location with enough background ambient lighting to give the camera the sense that the scene is not as dark as it really is. The lights from this grocery store provided that.
While the lens of most cellphones isn’t truly a macro lens, everyday objects can be seen from new and interesting lights by getting very close to them. The nice thing about this sort of photography is that you can gain greater camera stability by simply resting the cellphone on the same surface that the object is resting on, in this case a kitchen counter.
The key here is that since the camera has no macro lens you have to keep it far enough away from the object to actually get it to focus. To simulate an actual zoom effect, crops may be made in post production
As always, varying the angle of the object being photographed, rather than shooting it straight on can increase interest in the photo. Similarly, cropping the frame so that the object extends beyond it increases it’s sense of mass.
Sometimes a subject will be pre-lit and a lot of your work as a photographer is simply done for you. That was the case at this diner. The deserts in the display case are already lit to draw attention to them and entice the restaurant patron into buying a slice. As such. you merely need to find an interesting angle to showcase them for your shot.
It certainly isn’t perfect studio lighting, as display lighting isn’t generally as concerned with things such as fill lighting, however, you do get a nice even level of light across all the of pies and the result is a photo that certainly gets the point across to the viewer.
Cellphones are perfect for capturing things such as graffiti and murals and other urban art. Typically there is a vast array of color in the scene already and the urban grit is often highlighted by the shortcomings of the impoverished camera sensor.
If the photo is taken at a well lit time of day, things like aperture and shutter speed
aren’t really an issue. The primary difficulty for this shot was trying to get it while avoiding being run down by rush hour traffic.
Plan your shot ahead of time. Get used to visualizing how you want it to appear in your mind and where you need to be in order to acquire the proper framing. Once you have your photo set in your head, you can move into place and make simple quick adjustments to get the shot.
This landscape illustrates how good standard photography techniques can be applied to cellphone photography for similar results.
If subjects are backlit and properly exposed for the sky, then the subjects themselves tend to appear in silhouette since there isn’t enough light information coming from the front to allow details to appear.
As such, the key to a nice backlit scene such as this is to wait til exactly the right time of day. Right as the sun sets. Typically photographers will use “Golden Hour
” to take wonderful portraits as the light temperature
at the hour just before sunset (and just after sunrise) is perfect for capturing skin tones. As such, you can use this dusk lighting to capture some great portraits of human subjects and end your shooting day with a silhouetted shadow landscape such as this one.