Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Adjust exposure, part of iPhone and iPad Photography for iOS 11.
- [Instructor] Camera light meters, including those in iPhones, don't know what you're photographing. They can only sense the amount of light that's being reflected back from a scene, so the ability to adjust the exposure to your liking before you take the shot is really essential for taking better photos with your mobile device. Let's check out how this works with the native Camera app in iOS 11. So the Camera app will automatically set the focus based on what it sees in the scene, and it will also choose an exposure setting based on the varying brightness levels in the scene.
The automatic exposure can be easily seen when you point the camera at either a very dark or a very bright subject. If the scene is very dark then the camera might tend to overexpose it, trying to let in more light. And if the scene is really bright the auto exposure setting may make it look too dark because the camera is trying to compensate for what it thinks is too much reflected light. When you tap on the touchscreen while you're framing your shot, that tells the camera to focus on that area. It also evaluates the reflective luminance or brightness of that area, and adjusts the exposure accordingly.
As you tap in different areas of the scene, you'll see the live view of the image get either lighter or darker depending on the brightness of the area where you tap. The area that's used to determine focus and exposure is shown by a yellow square. On one side of the square you'll see a small yellow sun. When you see this, simply drag up to brighten the exposure, or down to darken the exposure. You don't have to drag right on the little sun symbol. You can drag up or down anywhere on the screen where you see this.
Now on the iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus, or the iPhone 10, if you try to do this too close to the button for switching between the lenses on those cameras, it's really easy to start adjusting the zoom instead, so just be aware of that. The exposure adjustment control works in nearly every camera mode, including the video modes. The only mode where it doesn't work is panorama. You can still tap to set focus and basic exposure in panorama mode, you just can't fine tune the exposure before the shot, other than tapping somewhere else.
And you also can't reset the exposure once you've begun the panorama process. If you want to lock both the focus and the exposure, press and hold on an area for a few seconds, and then you'll see a yellow AE/AF Lock banner appear. You can still adjust the exposure to fine tune it after this is activated, but when this is turned on, both the focus and the exposure are set for that area and will not change even if conditions in the scene become lighter or darker. AF/AE Lock can be useful if you're photographing something where the lighting and the distance of the subject from the camera is consistent, and you want to be sure to use the same focus and exposure settings.
To turn this off just tap on the square again, or tap somewhere else on the screen. AE/AF Lock works in all of the camera modes, even in panorama. The ability to control the exposure before taking the shot is an essential feature in any camera. It gives you more creative control how you capture the image, letting you get the shot you want, rather than just settling for the camera's default interpretation.
- Shooting panorama photos
- Creating slow-motion videos
- Taking time-lapse videos
- Organizing photos
- Image editing with the Photos app
- Previewing and trimming videos
- Sharing photos
- Transferring photos to and from your device