Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Controlling focus and exposure, part of Mobile Photography Weekly.
- One of the most important things to do with any type of photography is being able to control the camera's exposure. Hi, I'm Sean and this week, we're going to explore ways that you can control the exposure on your camera phone, so you can get the shot that you want, rather than just settling for the shot that your camera gives you. So, if you learn nothing more from this series, this is probably one of the most important things that you can learn that is going to help you take better pictures. How to control the exposure in your shot. Of course, we're doing a lot more in this series.
You're going to learn a lot more stuff, but here's this most basic thing. When you point the camera at a subject, the meter just comes up with a basic exposure. That exposure is going to be based on the reflectance level of elements in the scene. How much light is being reflected back towards the camera. So, the camera can be thrown off by areas that are really bright or really dark. Now, in this scene here, I have... I'm shaded here under the trees, but I've got this light colored wall, dark grasses, and then a lighter area in the background where the sun is shining on the hillside.
In the default camera app that comes with the iPhone, what you can do is just tap on different areas and it will change the exposure. So, if I tap on the background there, you can see how it got a lot darker. That's because the background is, right now, much brighter. If I tap on the wall, it gets a little bit brighter. If I tap on the darker areas of the grass, it gets even a little bit brighter still. The other thing you can do is that when you tap there, what that does is that sets the focus and the exposure. So, obviously, I want to have maybe the lamp here in focus.
So, I'll tap on that, but that's brought in some of the exposure from the sky. So, then I can drag up or down on the screen to modify the exposure as I see fit. What I think will be good for the photograph that I want to take. So, this is a great way that you can control your exposure, again, to come home with the shot that you want, rather than the shot that the camera gives you. Now, this works differently on different apps. Let's just pop into a different iPhone app here for a second. I'm just going to go into Camera+, which is a really popular camera app for the iPhone.
Also a really good app. So, with Camera+, when you tap on the scene, again, it sets focus and exposure, but you can use two fingers to separate focus and exposure. So, here's focus and this is now exposure. So, I can come down here, it gets a lot brighter. I come up there, it gets a lot darker. So, that's kind of nice that you can modify exposure and focus that way. Plus, you also have a dial here that you can move and do exposure compensation. So, understanding how you can control the exposure is really key to making the pictures that you want to make.
Let's take a look at how this might look on an Android camera app. So, on the Android system, just as on iOS, there are many different types of camera apps. I'm going to be using a camera app called FV-5, which has a lot of almost DSLR-like controls. A lot of options for controlling the scene. With this, you have a slider down here that you can rotate to modify the exposure. So, again, it's working the same way as that slider in Camera+ on the iPhone, or in a way, same way as dragging up or down on the screen on the native camera app on the iPhone.
You can also tap on this little Exposure Compensation symbol right here and you can tap the minus or plus buttons to dial in the exposure that way. So, a lot of options. Again, the key thing is just knowing how you can control the exposure in the scene to get a good shot.