When it comes to taking photos on iPhones, everyone’s a skilled photographer. Seriously, those bad boys came on the market and redefined the term “point and shoot”.
Suddenly, with a few filters, crop tools and a humble brag, we were all dreaming about our lives as the next Annie Leibovitz.
But, there is a time of day at which the fun of mobile photography becomes a little bit less, well, fun. And one time of day where the photos turn out a little bit… crap.
We are of course talking about night time. The time at which your gorgeous selfies become grainy, blurry portraits of a woman with demon eyes, worthy of her own internet urban legend.
Let’s assume that you’ve already figured out your phone camera has a flash. What else can you do to maximise image quality in low light?
Here are six tips:
1. Do not use your zoom
When you zoom in on a mobile camera, thinks start to get grainy. Which is a particular problem at night time, when things are already grainy. To avoid a double grainbow (which is nowhere near as happy as a double rainbow), zoom by stepping closer to your subject, with your human feet (yes, this is one area where we humans still have the edge on technology).
2. Hold your camera steady
Would you hold an SLR with one hand, pressing the button with your thumb? No. Hold your phone with both hands, to make sure that your photo is as steady as possible. This will help it to focus in the dark, and also improve the overall quality of your photo.
You could also consider buying a tripod for your phone. If you think that sounds like overkills, that is because it most certainly is. But, hey, whatever works.
3. Set your exposure
Not many people know that you can set image exposure on the regular Camera app. You do so by framing the photo you wish to take on your screen, and then tapping a certain point to set the exposure for that point.
In night photography, you want to pick the brightest part of your proposed photo, and set the exposure for that point. This will mean that the camera sensor requires less light, ultimately giving you less grainy, sharper photos.
4. Invest in additional app
Here are a few good ones for adjusting light and getting rid of image noise caused by shooting in low light:
– Adobe Photoshop Express (Free)
– Night Camera (Free)
– ProCapture ($4.99)
5. Do a sneaky black and white edit
Converting your photos to black and white will help to mask a lot of the problems that normally occur when using your phone camera in low light. Black and white photos are also uber trendy, you hipster photographer, you.
6. …Uh, find some light?
This is going to sound stupid, but the easiest way to take nice photos in the dark is to make it less dark. Be creative – use someone else’s phone on flashlight mode, or even a car’s headlight. The key is to make sure that the light isn’t directly behind your subject, or directly behind you (you’ll cast a shadow); position it on an angle.
Do you struggle with taking iPhone photos at night? Have any tips?