Phoneography Series: Part III

While the definition of Phoneography slightly differs for each person, simply put, it is taking pictures with your phone. Some people take it a step further by saying Phoneography is shooting, editing, producing, and uploading multimedia content with only a smart phone or tablet. Either way, this series will help you take better pictures with your smartphone or tablet camera. We have already gotten familiar with the iPhone camera and composition. Today, we are talking about Lighting.


Good light is key in any type of photography.  If you want a good photo, you must have good light. Cell phone cameras have become very powerful, but they don’t handle bad lighting very well.  If you are shooting in a low-light environment, your smartphone knows and will adjust the exposure to let in as much light as possible. However, this usually creates a “noisy”, or grainy, picture.


When you have good lighting, it’s not only flattering, when you edit the photo, the colors will pop, no matter what app or filter you are using.


Even though it is not always available, the best lighting is the sun. If the sun is too harsh, you can take your pictures indoors by a window, or look for shade, which will cast softer shadows.


Don’t be afraid to play with exposure though. Knowing where to tap on your phone to get the results you want, and quickly, will help you become a better phoneographer. Tap on the dark area to brighten your subject. Tap on the light area to create a silhouette. Tap all around the screen to see the different exposures and find the one you want.



Remember: tap on dark=bright; tap on light=dark

Lighting Your Subject

Straight On: The sun, or your light source, is behind you but facing you subject. This gives you an even plane of sunlight.


At An Angle: The sun, or your light source, is coming from either side, or diagonally, which creates dramatic shadows.


Backlit: The sun, or your light source, is behind your subject, facing you. This creates a soft cast across the picture. Make sure to tap the screen where your subject is located to capture all of the details.



Low-Light Setting Tip: If you are shooting in low-light environments, the most important thing to remember is to keep the camera steady, otherwise your photo will have motion blur.  You can use the volume button on your iPhone headphones to snap the picture without even holding your phone, or you can prop your camera on a flat surface and set the self-timer, creating an instant tripod. Both options will help keep your phone steady and still to help prevent blurring.

Part 4 of the phoneography series will focus on editing pictures. If you have any questions or want to know something specific, leave a comment below.