Smartphones have improved so much, people use it for everything from banking to entertainment, games and more. But one area where phones have drastically improved is the camera, which in some cases challenge the need for a DSLR. From the new iPhones to Pixels and more, we've seen some of the greatest camera smartphones this year. With Diwali just around the corner, why don't you make the best use of the camera you got on the phones?
We've worked with various high-end phones, including Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, Huawei P30 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, OnePlus 7 and 7T series, Google Pixel 3 XL and more. But these are all high-end phones commanding a high budget. Some phones from brands like Realme, Xiaomi, Oppo and others have been able to bring some decent camera phones too that will help you capture those special Diwali moments with family and friends.
Who doesn't love to capture the fireworks as they light up the sky during Diwali? They sure make for a good Instagram gallery. But getting that perfect shot to aptly justify what you see with your eyes isn't easy. To help you with that, we have some mobile photography tips that can help you capture the fireworks like a pro.
Let's assume you have one of the high-end phones. It's a shame Google didn't release its Pixel 4 series in India, which has a special feature for astrophotography. It would have been ideal to capture the decorated skies during Diwali, but alas, we must settle for what we have. Even then, there's no reason to be disappointed as the new iPhone 11 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, Huawei P30 Pro can do an excellent job.
In normal cases, capturing photos is as simple as point and shoot. The smartphones these days are really that good. But things get challenging while shooting in the dark, even with a capable smartphone. For that reason alone, we see a rise in how brands are giving importance to night mode, which drastically improves a photo shot in a dark environment.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro (& Max) have an excellent night mode, which is activated automatically upon detecting a low light area. You can turn it off, but there's no way to manually switch it on. But having tested the iPhone 11 Pro Max (Review), we don't see a need for manual intervention as it is pretty good at what it does.
Similarly, OnePlus 7 Pro (Review) and 7T series (Review) have Nightscape feature to capture a dimly-lit setting with high details and colours. Perfect for your fireworks. Huawei and Google with their P30 Pro (Review) and Pixel 3 XL (Review), respectively, are some of the best camera phones we've used and they have an excellent night mode. Finally, there's the Galaxy Note 10+ (Review), which does a decent job in the night. So if you have one of these phones this Diwali, you're in luck.
In case, you have a lower-end smartphone, which still supports night mode, you won't be left out of the fun. All you need to do is switch on the camera and toggle different camera modes until you see a dedicated Night mode. But do not expect the same results from all the phones as a lot of things like sensor type and computational photography bring out different results. But they are still bound to be great and unique in their own ways.
It's not the camera that takes a great picture, but it is the photographer.
That said, let's share some mobile photography tips on how to achieve better results while shooting in the night during the Festival of Lights.
Things you need:
- A good camera phone
- Tripod (if possible)
- A good vantage point
- A power bank or full charge on your phone
Once you have everything you need and the night is lit with fireworks, take out your phone and turn on the camera. Now it's important to know the different modes on your phone and when to use them. While the night mode is a good option to have, you can work without it sometimes, unless it is extremely dark.
Point the camera to the centre where most fireworks are lighting up. If you have a tripod, use it, the images are going to be great, especially with night mode as it would take long exposure shots and even a slight shake can ruin that perfect photograph. You can adjust the level of brightness from the viewfinder, so make the brightness is set to a level where the surroundings appear darker than the sky. Just tap to focus and use the vertical bar to adjust the brightness.
Explore with different camera modes. If you have a tripod, we strongly recommend you give the time-lapse mode a shot. You'll be truly impressed and all that patience is going to be well worth it. It takes longer than a normal video or a long exposure shot to capture a time-lapse video, so a tripod is recommended for best results.
Most of the smartphones have a portrait mode and what better time than Diwali to get your new DPs. Portraits work great not only with great light on the subject in focus but having a great background is just as important. During Diwali, all streets are lit and decked up, making for a great backdrop for your portrait shot. But make sure the light source is not behind the subject as it would be challenging for any phone to capture a portrait. The subject should always be pointing towards the brighter light source and put the dimmer light in the background. You are not working with DSLRs here, you see.
If you are familiar with manual controls, the Pro mode can do a much better job than any mode on your phone. To capture a long exposure shot on a phone, switch to Pro or Manual mode and set the phone on a tripod. Under the Pro mode, you can adjust the ISO, shutter speed, exposure and white balance settings to shoot perfectly in different lighting conditions.
Now switch to RAW or DNG photos and adjust the ISO to a low setting and the shutter speed depends on the lighting condition. Longer the exposure, more time the sensor is exposed to light, hence giving you a brighter image. The fireworks will present some great light trails, so use long exposure and low ISO for the perfect shot.
You can also switch to the good old video mode and capture everything as it happens. But with most high-end phones, you can capture 4K videos at 30fps or 60fps setting and use the footage to make some cool post-processing if you know your way around Adobe Premiere Pro.
This is not everyone's cup of tea, but a little bit of editing can give your photos life. Adjusting the contrast, brightness, vibrance, highlights and shadows can work like a charm, especially in the case of firework photos. The best app to use is Google's Snapseed, but you can also go for Adobe Photoshop on your phone. The levels of customisations offered in these editing apps are insane and you must check them out before you show your work to the world.