Todays notes below and emailed for future reference

Hidden features in your smartphone camera

  • Quick access your camera by swiping left to avoid logging in or up form the bottom. On most Androids, you can set up a quick access by double tapping the home button. Some smartphones can even activate the phone via voice command.
  • Tap the screen on the subject to take the camera off full auto mode and set where you want the camera to focus and make sharp in the image
  • Tapping the screen also tells the camera where to calculate the balance of light and dark (exposure). Have you taken photos where the background is either too dark or too bright? Whilst the little sun icon is displayed – you can swipe up or down and on some later model Android phones swipe left and right, to activate a light slider. You now have full creative control over how light or dark the image will be.
  • The volume minus button and the same button on your attached genuine earphones will actually take the photo.
  • Hold your finger on the shutter button to capture a series of photos (burst). The timer function on the iPhone automatically captures a burst of ten photos to avoid that one person having their eyes closed!

iPhone specific tips

  • Long press the screen, it will lock the focus and exposure. This is handy when you have moving objects between you and the subject or taking multiple images.
  • Activate the gridlines to access the level guides – two cross hairs to help hold the iPhone level and flat.
  • Ask Siri to open the magnifier to capture close up screenshots.

Quick smartphone specific techniques

  • Clean the lens – your phone is often placed in your pocket or handbag and can get quite dirty.
  • Stabilise the phone by holding it in two hands, if practical, keep your elbows close to your body, use a tripod or rest your hand against something stable. Use the volume button or timer shutter release to take the photo.
  • Consider what motivated you to take the photo and make sure that it is obvious in the image.
  • Check the background behind your subject for any unwanted or distracting elements.
  • Turn on the grid and gridlines to display the rule of thirds overlay. There are three main advantages:
    • Position the main subject off-centre – ideally on one of the four intersecting points
    • Assist you to capture a straight image
    • Position either the featured sky or foreground in two thirds of the image by placing the horizon on one of the horizontal lines
  • What is HDR? It is high dynamic range, not high definition resolution. All cameras struggle to effectively capture all the detail in the bright and dark areas of a scene. This camera mode automatically captures multiple images – blending the best of each and automatically creates one image that appears more life-like and what our eye naturally observes.

3 most important key take-away points

  1. Make the subject/story clear to the viewer
  2. Check the background for clutter – items sticking out of heads
  3. Tap and swipe your finger on the screen to adjust the brightness

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