Mobility

How to handle exposure in your smartphone photography

Here's an easy tip on managing exposure when you shoot photographs with your iPhone or Android phone.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/rudall30

With the evolution of smartphone cameras over the years, the fundamental elements of photography have become easier to understand and manage. One of the basics of photography is understanding proper exposure. Today, the smartphone makes handling exposure super easy. A lot easier than a DSLR, in my opinion.

It's as easy as touching your screen

Today's smartphones include capacitive touchscreens to offer different functionality. When firing up your phone's camera app, you can just tap the shutter button to capture the shot. But that's for mere mortals. Instead, tap in other areas of your screen while the camera app is open to notice how exposure is handled like a photography pro!

SEE: How to take better photos of your business with 3 free apps from Google

In the image below, the scene is fairly bright because of the sunlight coming through the windows. The shot of my dog #KyloFinn was exposed for the bright spots, which made the rest of the image overly bright. It almost makes the scene look hazy.

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Ant Pruitt/TechRepublic

By tapping on my screen, I can tell my smartphone's camera to expose for the darker areas of the scene. This will allow the camera to try to even out the level of exposure and make the image less bright and appear properly lit. Tapping on #KyloFinn makes the camera think it's not exposed enough due to the darkness of his fur. So the camera attempts to bring up the exposure making the scene bright. Too bright, actually.

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Ant Pruitt/TechRepublic

Conversely, tapping on the sunlight coming through the window forces the camera to adjust exposure by trying to match the darker areas of the scene. Unfortunately, this is such a broad spectrum of dark to light in the scene and makes the end result too dark.

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Ant Pruitt/TechRepublic

Find the balance

The trick is finding the balance in exposure. This will force your smartphone to evenly expose the scene. Extremely dark zones are almost eliminated. The blown out bright spots are toned down and less painful on your retinas. For my example, I tapped on the carpet area between the window and my dog.

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Ant Pruitt/TechRepublic

Getting the proper exposure can make the final edits of your image much easier to manage. I'll share more about my favorite photography editing software options soon. In the meantime, grab your trusty smartphone (because I know it's close by) and fire up the camera app. Practice handling the exposure by snapping the scene right in front of you at this time. Share those photos with me on Twitter and Instagram. Make sure you follow TechRepublic, too! Let's see what you come up with.

More photo how-to's

Photo issues?

What kinds of problems have you encountered shooting photographs with your mobile device? Share your experiences and solutions with fellow TechRepublic members.

About Ant Pruitt

Ant Pruitt is an IT Support Professional with a passion for showing the non-geek how great technology can be. He writes for a variety of tech publications and hosts his own podcast. Ant is also an avid photographer and weight lifter.

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