Smartphones: How to Get the Most Photo Potential from Your Mobile Device

When smartphones started taking pictures, the results were often mediocre, not to say bad, when compared to real digital SLR cameras.

Indoor photos were ugly or erased when there was insufficient light. Main weakness, the too small size of the lenses which struggled to pass the light.

But these limitations have not deterred smartphone manufacturers who have largely compensated for them by adding powerful software processing to your photos.

As a result, the images have as much quality and panache as with the best consumer SLR cameras. Commercially and on the street, you hardly see any more digital cameras, but only smartphones.

Missing a photo these days is quite difficult because of the powerful processors and digital image processing, even in low light and without flash. All you have to do is fit in and you’re done.

Two or three optical zooms

The back of recent smartphones now has two or even three ultra wide-angle, wide-angle and 2x telephoto sensors. Take a few seconds to choose the right lens for the scene. When there is only one lens, magnifying with digital zoom degrades the photo – capturing the image on an increasingly smaller portion of the sensor.

In low light

Still thanks to the powerful image processing, photos at night or in low light can be surprisingly successful.

Recent iPhone and Android Galaxy or Pixel devices, to name a few, have quite powerful night modes.

For example, the iPhone 11 running iOS 13.2 or newer have machine learning technology (Deep Fusion) which takes and analyzes up to nine versions of a backlit image to merge the best elements into one photo. . Deep Fusion works automatically in almost any situation with the telephoto and in medium or low light with the wide angle, except in burst mode and with the ultra wide-angle lens. The final fusion is instantaneous in a photo without digital noise or polluted with unwanted pixels in dark areas.

Expect computer processing of images like Deep Fusion does in mainstream smartphones.

For its Pixel 4, 3a and 3 smartphones, Google also has its night mode called Night Vision Mode described on this link. Very simple, the procedure makes it possible to capture the night sky by stabilizing the telephone.

Keep your favorite settings

You don’t have to use your photo app’s default settings. For example, the iOS Camera app constantly returns to its 4: 3 format settings, Live Photo, auto flash, etc. Note that the Live function produces heavier files, which therefore occupy more storage in your phone.

In my case, I prefer the 16: 9 format and Live disabled. Here is the procedure to keep your preferred settings on an iOS device by default:

  1. Launch the Camera app;
  2. In the app interface, choose your preferred settings – in my case it’s Photo, Live Photo off, 16: 9 format and the rest remains automatic;
  3. Leave the Camera app, return to the home screen;
  4. Open Settings and go to Camera> Keep settings. From there, you’ll find three options: Camera Mode, Creative Controls, and Live Photo. In my case, all three are checked to keep the Camera function, the 16: 9 format and Live Photo in its current state, here deactivated;
  5. Exit the Settings and Camera apps. Your preferred settings will be saved each time you restart it.

Fit horizontally

Finally, the most common mistake is too frequent use of portrait framing, probably because you usually hold your camera vertically in almost all other situations or applications.

Not only our ocular vision, but also all our screens (televisions, monitors) are in landscape or panoramic formats. By getting into the habit of flipping your phone horizontally, you will frame more content. And only reserve the vertical format for close-up portraits or self-portraits.

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