Editing, Phone Photography, Photography

Phone Camera Settings

Don’t be lazy, learn to step out of auto mode

Read the manual and make sure you’re using your phone in the most efficient circumstances. The more control you take of the process the more you will be able to express your artistic judgement and the more likely you are to get outstanding pictures.Photography is all about light, so these different settings on a camera help us manipulate light to achieve the photo we want. Each setting represents a compromise, and finding a balance between all of these settings is often where you’ll land your favorite shots.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is primarily used to either freeze motion with a fast shutter speed, or blur motion with a slow shutter speed

Shutter speed is measured either in fractions of a second (1/8) or whole seconds (8) and simply refers to how long the lens is allowing light to pass through for a given exposure.One way to adjust the amount of light falling on the sensor is deciding how long the shutter is left open. If it’s open longer, more light will fall – less time, less light.

The math on shutter speed is pretty easy to handle. Cut the shutter speed in half, and you cut the light in half. Doble the length of time the shutter stays open, and you’ll double the brightness of the photo, all other settings being equal.


Iso Speed

ISO is just the sensor’s sensitivity to light.

Higher ISO numbers, more than 800, are very sensitivity to light and are great in lower light situations.

Low ISO numbers, such as 100, require more light but offer a higher quality, smoother looking photograph.

The higher the ISO, the grainier your image will be. Try shooting at the lowest ISO setting whenever you can, and increase the ISO speed if you can’t achieve a proper exposure otherwise.



Your phone has the ability to scan the scene you’re trying to shoot, and it makes a decision based on that scan to determine how bright or dark the photo should be. Most smartphones tend to overexpose (make the scene too bright) when left to their own devices. Exposure controls are where you can adjust the output before taking the photo.

If you focus on a really bright object for example, the rest of your photo might be too dark. You can adjust the exposure brighter to compensate for that. Likewise, if you focus on a dark object, the camera might try too hard to expose it brightly, which might blow out other brighter areas of the scene. Sliding your exposure lover can help fix that.


White Balance

Light can radically affect color. Sunlight changes throughout the day, different kinds of light bulbs will have warmer or cooler output. How different colored eye sees looking at that subject. With white balance, you can adjust for some of those differences in color.

Auto White Balance works pretty well under most situations. Start there and adjust as necessary.

There are several options to try that work equally well in the condition they were meant for: daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten light, fluorescent light, and flash.



Sometimes you want to be in the picture. Maybe your phone is on a stand and you don’t want to shake it when you hit the shutter button. Setting a timer will delay the picture long enough for you to get in front of the lens, or to ease the vibration of you pushing the shutter.



The main difference is that with RAW images, you can change certain decisions like white balance in Photoshop after the fact , whereas you don’t that freedom with JPEG. You may also need special software to edit RAW photos.



Even under the best of conditions, with a comprehensive knowledge of our camera, we still might need to edit a photo to draw out the qualities we care about.

We can adjust the color of a photo, the brightness, or crop our photo. And we can do it from the phone we used to snap the picture.
The HDR setting takes a series of pics, changing the exposure brighter and darker with each individual image, and then the camera will merge them together to pull detail out of shadows and bright areas. It can be a helpful effect in high contrast situations where there are big differences between dark and bright sections of your frame.HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range”. Our eyes can adjust between dark and light situation fairly quickly, allowing us to easily shift between seeing details in bright areas of a scene and dark areas. This happen so quickly, we often take it for granted. Photos don’t work this way. If your subject is really bright, you might lose detail in shadow areas. If it’s really dark, you might lose detail in bright areas of the shot. HDR can help blend more information in highlights and shadows together which often produces more vivid colors.


Image Stabilization

We have a difficult time holding perfectly still. The longer you hold open the shutter on a camera, the more susceptible it is to blurring your output from hand movement.

Image Stabilization helps us address problems with movement, and aid us in delivering clearer photos and smoother video.


Manual Focus

This does exactly what the name sounds like. All cameras will shoot full auto focus. That means when you hit the shutter, camera will automatically focus on an object for you before taking the picture. It might not always pick the correct subject, but it will try to focus on something, usually the closest definable object in front of the lens.

You can also tap on the screen to try and force the camera to focus on a specific object. Modern smartphone autofocus is actually really good at locking on a specific object at your command.

Sometimes though, we need more control than tap to focus, and manual focus will give that to you. From as close as you can get to the lens, or reaching out for infinity, you tell the camera the specific distance you want. Anything at that distance from the lens will be in focus.


Ultra Wide Angle and Macro

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