Night photography is challenging enough in SLR cameras. If you thought mobile phone cameras were not meant for shooting in low light, think again. If you are enamored by a frame in low light and still refuse to be burdened with an SLR, here are some tips to save your night, or twilight.
Do not flash it
Flashes on your mobile phones do not serve any purpose, really. So do not bother. Turn them off. If you are trying to shoot a long-range object, the flash will only serve to spoil the shot. However, you can use flash for a clearer view of a close enough object. This moth, for instance, has been shot in flashlight. If you were planning to shoot a skyline at night, this feeble light is of no use.
Do not use night mode
Night mode is the last resort. Try to play with the other available modes. If you are trying to take a picture of your friend, look for the available lights around. Try experimenting with light and shade. Or you could even light up a little using the torchlight on your friend’s phone.
ISO the secret ingredient
ISO is nothing but a measure of the light sensitivity of your camera. The ISO can be anywhere on a scale that goes from 100 and 200 to up to 1,400. Any ISO from 200 upwards will result in unwanted “noise” in the picture. Try to stick with 100 even if you are shooting at night. You may have to take extra care but the result will be rewarding, as in this night shot.
Note the time
The sky is most beautiful just after twilight. This is the time for great photos. You can shoot fantastic pictures of architecture and landscape in this failing light.
Trick of the tripod
Most of the night photographs are ruined by shaky hands. You cannot help it when you go for settings that are required for night shots. Try to fix your mobile phones somewhere. SLR cameras are generally mounted on tripods. You can give them a miss when you are shooting with a mobile phone because it is lighter. If you are not sure, look for something to prop your phone on. You can lean your phone on a wall and set the timer to click. You can even use the mobile holder on a selfie stick to fix the phone. If you can’t find anything else, keep your phone on the ground. That could give you a unique point of view. This shot from inside the Madurai temple was shot on a phone propped against a pillar.
Watch the light
No matter how high-end a phone you have, it cannot give you a good picture if you let the light fall directly into the lens. Keep the light sources out of your frame as much as possible. If you use an object to cover a light, you also succeed in creating a silhoutte effect around the object.
Try slow shutter shots
Slow shutter shots are the best way to record a city at night. Just look at the columns of tail lamps in a street for inspiration. Choose the manual mode. Some cameras only allow you to tinker with shutter speeds. Fix it at one second. Set the timer and keep the phone without moving. You can expect distinctly good pictures.