How To Do Cell Phone Camera Photography

by -180 views

Every bit many of you lot probably know, having a camera with you at all times isn’t e’er possible. As much as you might try, there volition exist times when you lot want to have a photo and don’t take a photographic camera at manus. Or practise you? Pretty much everyone these days has a telephone in their purse or pocket that’s capable of taking photos. While you may dismiss your telephone’southward capabilities as a camera, don’t be so quick to judge. In this commodity, I volition not simply cover the basics of cell telephone photography, including the photographic camera basics and some of the differences betwixt a few available camera apps, but also get over the process of using apps to mail service-process the images that you capture.

Table of Contents

Capturing Images

A Photographic camera Is A Camera… Or Is It?

In many ways, it doesn’t thing whether you use a professional DSLR or a prison cell phone to capture an image… the basics of photography remain the same. You lot withal want to consider important factors that go into creating an epitome similar your subject and composition, besides as the quality of light you have to work with.

In many means though, cell phone photography requires you to be a little more aware of the equipment that you’re using. For example, on a cell phone yous’re pretty much stuck with the default lens. Information technology might have baloney and/or flare issues, likewise as smudges on the lens from using your phone as, well, a phone. You lot’ll likewise take a variety of apps that you can utilize to have pictures, all of which perform differently.

A Few Notes Earlier We Go Started

Showtime, a few assumptions. I’m going to assume everyone reading this has used the camera on their cell phone before, so I’chiliad going to skip over steps like downloading and installing apps, opening the photographic camera app and reviewing images. I’m likewise going to presume that most people are using a telephone or operating system that’southward adequately modern. I’m sure that there are some of you reading this who volition not have the features or capabilities that I mention, and I’thousand sorry that you’ll be somewhat excluded from the technical aspects of this conversation.

One last note… most of my screenshots and app suggestions volition be from my personal experience with an iPhone and my wife’s Samsung Galaxy Note5. I am not purposely excluding other Android or Blackberry users. Pretty much everything that I hash out volition utilise to photography using whatsoever cell telephone. Unfortunately, most Android devices volition have subtle differences in controls within the default camera app, so I detect it easiest to just refer to what I know (which is currently an iPhone vii+ running iOS x.2) and allow you lot translate for yourself depending on which phone and Bone you’re using.

The Basics Of Cell Phone Photography

Equally I already mentioned, the nuts of cell phone photography are simply those of photography, so I won’t be going into particular on those here. Permit’s discuss what makes using a prison cell phone for photography unique and what you lot need to know to get started. For this word, we’re going to assume you are using a phone with a touchscreen, rear camera and the ability to download and install apps. Nosotros’ll also assume you’re using the rear camera, non the front-facing camera.

In that location are some important things to know before you get started taking photos with a prison cell telephone. Everything is controlled through the touchscreen, and then it’southward best to familiarize yourself with the interface of your particular camera start. Almost cell phones volition only shoot in JPEG, although some manufacturers are starting to add RAW capabilities. Also, most cell phones simply have one non-interchangeable fixed focal length lens, although some manufacturers are starting to add dual lenses. In these dual-lens setups, one lens is a broad-angle while the other is a normal or telephoto (on the iPhone vii+, they have 28/56mm equivalent focal lengths).

Another matter that’s unique to cell telephone photography is the use of apps. All phones volition come with a basic camera app, simply you also have the ability to download and install more than avant-garde camera apps. Additionally, different social media apps also come with their own built-in photographic camera within the app. Which one should y’all use? I’ll get to that in a fleck. Offset, allow’s discuss how you actually create images with a cell phone.

Creating Images With A Cell Phone

Now it’due south time to catch your cell phone and open the camera app. On many phones, there is a shortcut you can use to admission the camera app without fifty-fifty unlocking your phone. I would highly advise learning this for your particular telephone then that you are able to chop-chop have photos without kickoff having to unlock your phone. In one case you’re in the camera app, y’all’ll see a variety of controls. Accept a look at the iPhone screenshot beneath. You lot’ll see a lot of different icons and the label I’ve added for each i.

Default iPhone Photographic camera App Controls

If you’re using an Android device, you might meet something similar this instead.

Cell Phone Photography Camera Controls-2
Samsung Galaxy Note5 Camera App Controls

Fortunately, you don’t really demand to business concern yourself with these controls. I’ve found that for the majority of the photography I do, I really don’t demand to change annihilation shown here. Occasionally I’ll plow on the wink if I’thousand photographing a person in a dark place. I also sometimes use the timer or switch to the forepart camera, but otherwise, I let the photographic camera decide when to use HDR in an prototype and never use Live Photos or in-camera filters.

Of class, at that place is more to cell telephone photography than just pressing the big circular button and letting the camera brand all of the decisions for you. One of the biggest things you tin can exercise to immediately improve most photos taken with your phone is to tell information technology where to meter. Here yous can see the default exposure for this scene:

Cell Phone Photography Camera Screenshots-1
Screenshot of default camera app with normal metering

You tin can adjust that exposure by touching the screen on the office of your image that you desire to be properly exposed (annotation: your phone will also focus in that aforementioned spot). Let’s say I want the shadowy side of the building to be properly exposed. If I touch the night building, the overall exposure of the paradigm increases. Notice that a square appeared on the edifice where I touched my screen:

Cell Phone Photography Camera Screenshots-2
Screenshot of default camera app with metering point selected

Unfortunately, I don’t think any default camera apps give you control over settings like shutter speed and ISO, but nigh do allow you to conform the exposure past dragging your finger up or down on the screen. Once you’ve touched an area of the screen and the exposure has adjusted, touch and hold your finger exterior of the square and drag information technology up to increase exposure or down to decrease exposure. This should give you more precise control over the exposure of your final image. One word of warning: this aligning typically resets each time you take a picture, then be prepared to adjust your exposure multiple times if you plan to take more than than one photo.

Cell Phone Photography Camera Screenshots-3
Screenshot of default camera app with increased exposure
Cell Phone Photography Camera Screenshots-4
Screenshot of default camera app with decreased exposure

If yous exercise desire to have the same exposure (and focus) for every photo y’all take, press and hold the screen until you see something similar this:

Cell Phone Photography Camera Screenshots-5
Screenshot of default camera app with AE/AF Lock enabled

When yous see AE/AF Lock, your phone has locked the focus and exposure and you can take multiple images without the settings changing. To render the focus and metering back to normal, only touch on anywhere on the screen once more.

Cell phones are likewise able to focus surprisingly close to subjects. This can make them great for photographing flowers and other small objects with a lot of particular. Again, you’ll want to frame your discipline, tap the screen where yous want the bespeak of focus to exist, adjust exposure and take the prototype. You’ll find, as with macro photography, whatever motility of the camera volition be amplified relative to your subject, and then if you lot’re photographing something very close upward, be prepared to take a few images before you go i that is properly focused.

Cell Phone Photography Closeup-1
iPhone half-dozen, four.15mm, ISO 40, 1/120, f/2.2

Using Advanced Camera Apps

For well-nigh people, the default camera app volition be enough for them to create images that they’re happy with. For those who desire more control over their camera settings or maybe just a different interface, there are many dissimilar third-party camera apps out at that place.

One of the first that I tried out when I started to get more serious about phone-ography is an iOS-only app, Camera+. I of the most bonny features of Camera+ is that information technology has a transmission style, giving you full command over shutter speed and ISO. If you make up one’s mind to shoot in Auto style, you can independently set up the focus and exposure points. Information technology also has adaptable white residue, which is a feature that I feel is sorely lacking in most default camera apps.

Cell Phone Photography CameraPlus-1
Photographic camera+ Manual Style Screenshot
Cell Phone Photography CameraPlus-2
Camera+ Dissimilar Focus and Exposure Points

One of the least obvious apps that’s available for both iOS and Android that offers full manual controls equally well as DNG capture is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for Mobile. It may not be a dedicated camera app, but the camera is full-featured and a smashing example of a jail cell phone camera done right.

Cell Phone Photography LR Screenshot-1
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Mobile Photographic camera Screenshot

Of class, in that location are endless unlike camera apps out there, but ultimately they all more or less do the same thing. When choosing the best 1 for photography, I’d suggest you focus on a clean, easy to apply interface that lets you quickly create images that you’re happy with. For nearly users, including myself, this is going to exist the default camera app.

Using Cameras Inside Other Apps

Non all cameras are created equal. Just as some apps offer more controls than the default camera app, some besides offer fewer. Not only that, but some as well create photos of inferior quality. For example, photos taken with dedicated camera apps should employ your camera’southward total resolution and lower ISOs and JPEG pinch. Apps with congenital-in cameras (such as Facebook) volition typically use the resolution that works best for the app and higher ISOs to forestall motion blur.

Compare these two images. Ane was taken with the default iPhone photographic camera app while the other was taken and saved within Instagram Stories. Unfortunately, Stories does non record the camera settings, then I don’t know what ISO was used, but you should exist able to tell that it’southward definitely of lower epitome quality. Information technology’s also much lower resolution (4032×3024 vs 1280×720). While they didn’t look any different on the screen of my phone, they exercise look a lot dissimilar when seen on a computer screen. Exist certain to compare the detail in the wood grain and the cat itself.

Cell Phone Photography App Comparison-1
3D Printed Cat – Native iPhone App

Cell Phone Photography App Comparison-2
3D Printed Cat – Instagram Stories App

Many apps like Facebook and Instagram also have limited camera controls and frequently by default don’t relieve photos taken through them. Virtually all social media apps will allow you lot to post images that were taken outside of the app, so unless you lot only want to take a photo for quick sharing, I’d highly recommend using a defended photographic camera app.

Other Considerations

Image Organization:
In addition to deciding which app you plan to use for photography, you’ll as well need to proceed track of the images you’ve taken. Some apps create unique folders where they shop images, meaning you might not be able to view all of your images in the same place. Other apps won’t actually bear witness images that were taken with them until they are exported, meaning you might have taken a photo just won’t exist able to view it with the residue of your images until y’all export it out of the app.

Sensor Limitations:
The actual capabilities of a telephone’s sensor is another major consideration. Yous’ll never achieve the same results with a telephone that y’all will with a DSLR or mirrorless photographic camera, then don’t go in with the same expectations. The loftier ISO performance and dynamic range capabilities are non in the aforementioned league, only of class, this should be pretty obvious. I mean, it is a phone after all.

Add-On Lenses:
If you desire to use something besides the standard lens, you might wait into purchasing an add-on lens for your prison cell phone. They come in many different types, from macro to telephoto, so there’s surely something out there to fit your needs. But be certain to do your research and read some reviews earlier your buy anything, as the quality can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Speaking of lenses, be sure to keep your phone’s lens free of smudges. These can often degrade image quality, besides as add streaky lens flare if there are any bright light sources in the epitome. I’ll oft observe my lens covered in fingerprints, so I’ve made it a addiction to wipe it off before taking any images.

Lens Flare:
Lens flare tin also exist an result for cell phones. With no lens hood and the lens being flush with the exterior of the phone’south body, flare can occur quite often. Virtually of the fourth dimension you should be able to hold up one hand to prevent the sun from hitting the lens, just sometimes it’southward unavoidable. Also, due to the coatings and special materials that some lens covers are fabricated from, flare volition occasionally accept on a colour cast. Here’due south an extreme example from my iPhone 5 review.

iPhone 5 lens flare
iPhone 5 @ 4.13mm, ISO 50, 1/950, f/2.iv

Lens Distortion:
Near jail cell phones lenses tend to distort most the edges of the frame. This is particularly visible when yous’re photographing a person from a few anxiety away with the phone in portrait fashion. Be careful not to allow lens distortion to ruin an epitome.

Alternate Shutter Buttons:
Virtually cell phones should also take a physical button that triggers the camera shutter when the camera app is open. For example, on an iPhone, the book buttons trigger the camera shutter. I find myself using this feature when I just take one hand available for taking photos or am holding the telephone in an unusual way.

Press Lightly:
Regardless of whether you use the simulated shutter push button within the app or a physical push on your phone, be careful of how hard you printing. Many people will “peck” at the screen with their finger, causing the telephone to move when an prototype is captured, thus creating a blurry image.

Capturing HDR Images:
I take my telephone set to auto-HDR way, which means that it will capture a scene in HDR if information technology needs to. I
take the setting turned on that saves a normal version of each epitome that is captured in HDR. I do this because sometimes I prefer the non-HDR image over the HDR image. I end up with two images, merely have made it a habit to review images at the end of the solar day and delete extras so I don’t fill my phone’south storage with indistinguishable photos.

Photographing Action:
Using the phone on your camera to photograph activity can be quite tricky, simply not impossible. If y’all’re in a depression light state of affairs, you lot tin can forget virtually it (unless you want blurry photos). If you have plenty of light to piece of work with, your best selection would be to shoot a outburst of images. Due to the significant “shutter lag” phones have, you probably won’t capture the superlative of the activity with a unmarried shot. By shooting a burst (just hold downwardly the shutter button), you greatly increment the chances of getting the shot you desire.

Optical vs. Digital Zoom:
Unless y’all have an optical zoom on your telephone (typically only available if your phone has more 1 lens), you should probably ignore the zoom option. Once you kickoff using digital zoom, image quality speedily deteriorates. For serious photography, you should refrain from using the digital zoom.

Low Calorie-free Photography:
Low light photography with your phone is difficult, just not incommunicable. Your phone volition usually gear up the shutter speed quite low, which means there’south a greater adventure of motion mistiness. Of class, if yous’re aware of this, you can compensate. Hither’s an prototype I created past panning with the streetcar as information technology rolled along the tracks of Market Street in San Francisco.

Cell Phone Photography Low Light-1
iPhone 7 Plus, ISO 100, 1/6, f/i.8

Capturing Images on a Smartphone: Summary

If you lot’ve been ignoring the camera feature on your jail cell phone because yous think it’south not capable of producing expert results, you should definitely give it some other try. Most modern cell phones take great cameras that tin can produce surprising results. Of grade, you have to realize that it does take limitations and not expect it to perform miracles. With a lilliputian practice, though, y’all might just start leaving your “real” camera at home one time in a while.

If y’all detect that the default photographic camera app doesn’t offer you plenty control over the camera settings, y’all might endeavor downloading an advanced camera app. These can offer a variety of different options that are missing from the default camera app, including full manual controls overexposure and RAW capture manner.

Regardless of if y’all choose to apply the default app or download something more avant-garde, brand certain you accept the time to familiarize yourself with it. Just similar with an expensive DSLR, yous won’t be able to create the all-time photos possible if you lot aren’t familiar with all of the options available and how to employ it.

If you prefer to employ a “real” camera, by all means, feel free. There’s no question that DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are superior to the cameras found on whatsoever cell phone today. But, if y’all don’t desire to be weighed down by conveying effectually a bunch of heavy and expensive gear, yous might try heading out one day armed with only your cell phone. Personally, I find a certain type of freedom when I’m out walking effectually with just a phone in my pocket. There are times I wish I had my DSLR with me, merely usually, I’chiliad completely content seeing what I can create with just a prison cell telephone.

More Image Samples

In the next section, I volition cover a few of the unlike apps that are available for editing photos. For now, here are a few images that I’ve taken (and edited) with my prison cell phone. Hopefully they demonstrate that modern phones are indeed capable cameras that should non be dismissed as unusable for personal photography:

Cell Phone Photography-1
iPhone 5, 4.12mm, ISO 100, 1/20, f/2.4
Cell Phone Photography-2
iPhone v, 4.12mm, ISO 50, 1/460, f/2.4
Cell Phone Photography-3
iPhone five, 4.12mm, ISO 50, 1/40, f/2.4
Cell Phone Photography-5
iPhone 5, 4.12mm, ISO 50, 1/370, f/two.four
Cell Phone Photography-6
iPhone 5 @ four.13mm, ISO l, 1/25, f/2.iv
Cell Phone Photography-7
iPhone six, iv.15mm, ISO 32, ane/720, f/ii.2
Cell Phone Photography-8
iPhone six, iv.15mm, ISO 32, 1/320, f/two.2
Cell Phone Photography-9
iPhone vii Plus, iii.99mm, ISO twenty, 1/1500, f/1.8
Cell Phone Photography-10
iPhone 6 , 4.15mm, ISO 32, 1/250, f/ii.2

Editing Images on a Smartphone

In this section, I want to go over how you can edit photos with different apps on your phone. Of course, yous can e’er import photos from your phone onto your computer and edit them with your software of selection, but if you program to share images on social media and desire to upload them directly from your phone, you can relieve a few steps by doing everything on your phone.

For the purposes of this department, I’m going to assume that you have feel editing photos on a computer. I’g not going to comprehend the basics of photo editing and what all of the different controls exercise (if y’all need more information on editing nuts, this is a smashing place to start).

Why Edit Images?

If y’all’re used to using your DSLR or mirrorless camera for photography and typically shoot JPEG, the images probably come out of the photographic camera looking pretty good. Of grade, almost whatsoever image tin can benefit from a few adjustments in post-processing, but this is especially true with telephone photos. The lenses on cell phones don’t have the same quality glass and special coatings every bit the lenses for your camera, and so you’ll ofttimes find the images you capture with your telephone need edited before you’re happy with them.

If you followed my advice in the concluding section, your images should exist properly exposed, only in that location’s more to a good image than proper exposure. At the very to the lowest degree, almost every phone epitome can do good from a boost in contrast and saturation. You might as well need to suit the tint and white balance a chip. Finally, editing images is an opportunity to put your personal impact an prototype and arrive your own.

Throughout this post, I’grand going to use the same image and edit information technology in unlike apps. Hopefully, this will evidence that they’re all pretty like in the results they can produce. Of course, the more than editing options an app has, the more complicated your edit can exist.

Image Editing App Choices

In one case you lot first looking for an app that you lot tin can utilise to edit photos, the first thing y’all’ll notice is that there are a lot of them out at that place. How do y’all decide which to employ? I’yard going to become over a few of the virtually popular options out there, every bit well as offer up my personal opinions almost each 1. Almost are free, and then there’s actually no reason not to endeavour out a few different ones and encounter which y’all like best.

I matter to proceed in mind is that y’all are editing JPEG images. Images that y’all’ve captured with your cell telephone camera are always going to be JPEGs (unless yous specifically used a phone and app that can shoot in DNG), then expect some limitations on how far you tin push things.

In that location are going to be some differences in which apps are available for iOS and which are bachelor for Android. All of the apps that I discuss in this post are available for both (with the exception of Photographic camera+). Most every default camera app will have some basic editing capabilities built-in. Since all different builds and brands of Android phones will have a dissimilar default camera app, I can’t hope that the one that y’all’re using will be able to edit photos. Besides, they’re all going to have dissimilar options, so I suggest exploring the options within your phone’s camera app and deciding if information technology will work for yous or if you need to download something that gives you more control over the final wait of your image.

Default Camera App

Let’due south first out by roofing the default editing capabilities that come up with your phone. I shoot with an iPhone 7+ (running iOS ten.2), then that’southward what I’k going to comprehend first. The editing options aren’t really found inside the camera app, but tin can be found when you’re reviewing images. View an epitome that you lot took (either in the camera app or inside Photos) and at the bottom you lot’ll encounter three lines that expect like sliders. This gives you access to the editing options.

iPhone Editing Screen
iPhone Editing Screen

If you merely desire a quick ready, you lot can press the magic wand in the upper-right corner and some quick adjustments are fabricated to the epitome. If you want more than control, you’ll need to go through the icons on the edge of the screen. From hither yous can ingather and straighten, add filters, suit image backdrop like exposure, contrast, highlights/shadows, color and even have control over properties of B&Westward conversions similar intensity and grain.

JPEG image edited with iPhone default app
iPhone vii Plus @ 3.99mm, ISO twenty, 1/180, f/one.viii – JPEG image edited with iPhone default app

As for Android, the only example I take is my wife’s Samsung Galaxy Note5. I was not at all impressed with the editing options on her phone. They were very basic and had foreign names that don’t really relate to most editing software. If you accept a different telephone or even a different version of the operating system, you might have different options, but I personally would not utilise the default editing app on her telephone.

Regardless of what phone yous’re using, the editing options that are role of the default camera app are basic and capable of some quick prototype corrections. If you accept a little image editing experience, you should exist able to take a photo from irksome to polished without much trouble.


I of the virtually pop photo editing apps around is VSCO (pronounced “vis-co”, stands for Visual Supply Visitor). I of the reasons for it’s popularity is that it has presets that can speedily and dramatically change the look of your images. If you apply a preset simply want to personalize it, you can tweak it until yous’re happy with the look of your image. Unfortunately, when y’all utilise a preset you can’t see what changes were actually fabricated to the epitome, and so it’due south tough to adjust one specific aspect of a preset. Sometimes you’re stuck with the changes that were made. For example, if the preset y’all like adds also much fade, yous tin can’t reduce the amount of fade, you tin can only increase information technology. On the other manus, if it cools off the image too much, you can e’er warm it up by adjusting the white rest.

VSCO Editing Screen
VSCO Editing Screen

If you’re non a fan of presets, you tin can also edit your images with transmission controls. You’ll notice the tools aren’t named, which ways there is a bit of a learning curve as to what each one does. Y’all’ll have to take my word for it that a lot of the adjustments in VSCO are the same ones that can be plant in the default editing app. In addition to those, you too take options like perspective command, skin tone, vignetting, and even split toning. VSCO is my go-to app for photo editing. I’ve used information technology to create both make clean, but edited images and circuitous, moody images.

JPEG image edited with VSCO
iPhone 7 Plus @ 3.99mm, ISO xx, 1/180, f/i.viii – JPEG prototype edited with VSCO

VSCO is free to download and comes with some basic presets. Additional presets are available, both for free and for purchase.


Many people who use their jail cell phones for photography too choose to share their images on Instagram. By default, Instagram comes with capable photo editing tools. If you want to share images on Instagram and don’t want the extra pace of editing your photos in a different app, here’s what you tin can await to notice when y’all open information technology up.

Instagram Editing Screen
Instagram Editing Screen

Instagram’s first claim to photo-editing fame was the ability to add together filters to images. When it was first released, information technology didn’t even have the option to edit images. The only way y’all could change the manner a photo looked was to add a filter. Over time, Instagram became more than sophisticated and eventually offered basic editing capabilities. All of the usual suspects are here (effulgence, contrast, color, etc…), including one of the original tools that fabricated Instagram unique: a fake tilt-shift event.

JPEG image edited with Instagram
iPhone seven Plus @ 3.99mm, ISO 20, 1/180, f/ane.8 – JPEG image edited with Instagram

One word of warning about using Instagram to edit your photos. Once you edit an paradigm using the Instagram app, you have to somehow share it within the app to get the edited image to appear with the residuum of the images on your phone. You tin not directly export it for personal use. For this reason, I would advise only using Instagram for photos you program to share with the app.

You can download Instagram here. You tin as well have a look at my Instagram page, which is strictly cell phone photography (although I mainly employ VSCO for editing my images).

Lightroom Mobile

If you’re used to using Lightroom on your computer, Lightroom Mobile will be very familiar. Of all the different apps I’ve tried, this one is definitely the most professional and lensman-friendly. In addition to the expected filters and bones adjustments, in that location are lens correction and even curves adjustments available! Of form, the more than advanced controls that are available to you in the calculator version of Lightroom aren’t available on the mobile version, but it’due south withal one of the most feature-rich apps effectually.

Lightroom Mobile Editing Screen
Lightroom Mobile Editing Screen

If yous take a phone that can shoot in DNG, this is a smashing app to use both for capturing and editing images. Keeping everything inside 1 app definitely helps with photo organization. If y’all decide non to use the camera function of Lightroom Mobile, you can nonetheless employ it to edit JPEGs y’all take in other apps (although you lot can’t apply it to edit DNGs taken in other apps unless y’all’re an Adobe CC subscriber).

JPEG image edited with Lightroom Mobile
iPhone 7 Plus @ 3.99mm, ISO 20, i/180, f/1.8 – JPEG image edited with Lightroom Mobile

You can download Lightroom Mobile here.


Ane of the near well-rounded image editing apps around today is Snapseed. It includes a prepare of filters and just about every tool y’all could want, including curves adjustments, spot healing and even a castor tool. If the corporeality of options sounds overwhelming, you have no need to fear… Snapseed even includes tutorials on how to utilize it’s more advanced features! Hither’s a look at the primary editing screen.

Snapseed Editing Screen
Snapseed Editing Screen

One thing that I found to be dissimilar than other editing apps is the fact that once you brand an edit to the image (say a +10 Contrast aligning) and click the checkmark to utilize the adjustment, if you lot go back to adapt the contrast again, the slider is reset to 0. The previous adjustment is still practical, just y’all tin’t run into what adjustments y’all’ve fabricated to the epitome without going to a divide section to view edits. It’s a small thing that doesn’t actually affect the performance of the app, simply I find it slightly annoying that I can’t see if I’ve already adjusted something in an image while I’m editing.

iPhone 7 Plus @ 3.99mm, ISO 20, 1/180, f/1.8 - JPEG Image Edited With Snapseed
iPhone seven Plus @ iii.99mm, ISO 20, ane/180, f/1.eight – JPEG Paradigm Edited With Snapseed

Here are the links where you can download Snapseed for iPhone or Snapseed for Android.

Editing DNG Cell Telephone Images

Is it worth it to use an app that can shoot DNG images on your jail cell telephone? How much more dynamic range is available to you? Do all of the traditional reasons for shooting DNG apply? Practise the images look amend without the default camera’southward JPEG pinch? Let’s accept a look.

Here are two images that I took at roughly the same time. The commencement is a JPEG that was taken and edited with the default photographic camera app on my iPhone 7+, while the second is a DNG that was taken and edited with the Lightroom Mobile app. Delight ignore the differences in color temperature, equally I edited them separately and didn’t match them perfectly.

JPEG image shot and edited with default camera app
iPhone seven Plus @ three.99mm, ISO twenty, 1/1500, f/one.8 – JPEG image shot and edited with default photographic camera app
DNG image shot and edited with Lightroom Mobile
iPhone + iPhone vii @ 3.99mm, ISO xx, 1/1250, f/ane.8 – DNG paradigm shot and edited with Lightroom Mobile

Is in that location a deviation between the two images? Permit’southward zoom in to 100% in the same expanse and encounter how things look.

100-percent crop of iPhone JPEG
100-percent crop of iPhone JPEG
100-percent crop of iPhone DNG
100-percent crop of iPhone DNG

As you lot can come across, at that place actually isn’t much of a difference. Y’all tin’t meet more detail in the DNG compared to the JPEG and it looks like there’due south the same amount of shadow information.

I wanted to see if editing the DNG on a computer version of Lightroom fabricated any difference. I figured the compression on consign might be less noticeable and show a chip more than detail. Unfortunately, before I ever got started I ran into a snag. Plain, if you lot use Lightroom Mobile to shoot images in DNG, they are stuck within the Adobe ecosystem. It prevents y’all from exporting or downloading the DNG images from your phone (unless you sync Lightroom Mobile to Lightroom CC). Fortunately, you don’t have to use Lightroom Mobile to shoot in DNG.

To work around this brake (since I’yard non a Lightroom CC user), I had to go out and shoot some new images. This time I used Camera+, an app that’s only available for iPhone. With Camera+, I was able to shoot in DNG and then download the images to my computer to edit in Lightroom.

DNG Image Edited In VSCO App
iPhone 7 Plus @ iii.99mm, ISO xx, one/1500, f/ane.8 – DNG Prototype Edited In VSCO App
DNG Image Edited In Lightroom On A Computer
iPhone seven Plus @ 3.99mm, ISO 20, ane/1500, f/1.8 – DNG Image Edited In Lightroom On A Reckoner

Hither are the 100% crop side-past-side results of an edited DNG. One edit was done on my computer in Lightroom, the other on my telephone using VSCO.

100-percent crop of DNG edited in Lightroom in VSCO
100-percent ingather of DNG edited in VSCO app
100-percent crop of DNG edited in Lightroom on a computer
100-percentage ingather of DNG edited in Lightroom on a computer

You tin see that I was able to recover more of the highlight and shadow detail when I edited the aforementioned DNG file in Lightroom instead of VSCO. What really surprised me was how much noise is present in the image that was candy in Lightroom. Fifty-fifty though it says it was taken at ISO 20, in that location is a lot of noise in the shadow areas and even some in the sky. I guess this is why images processed in apps look then soft… it’s not the JPEG pinch, but the noise reduction that gets applied.

Other Considerations

Non-Subversive Editing:
Ane very important affair to note is that many apps like VSCO and Lightroom Mobile are non-destructive editing tools. The edits you make in them do not actually alter your original image. On the other hand, if you edit your image with the default editing app, chances are your original image will actually be altered. On my phone, the edits made with the default app are saved and can exist reverted, but this might not be the case on all phone models. Equally a rule of pollex, if you have to import your image into the app, it should exist non-destructive.

Spot/Blemish Removal:
If y’all usually edit images on a reckoner, you’re probably used to having access to spot removal tools. Unfortunately, other than Snapseed, very few image editing apps have such tools. The only other app I’ve found that includes total editing capabilities, besides as a spot healing tool, is Photoshop Express. They are very express capabilities, but in a pinch can be useful.

Other Apps:
The apps I’ve mentioned are past no means the only ones out there, they are simply the ones that I find myself using the most. Hither are a few others I’ve used in the past that you lot might try out: Afterlight and Priime.

Editing Images on a Smartphone: Summary

In that location are a lot of different apps available for yous to employ to edit images on a prison cell phone. Your telephone should include basic editing capabilities inside the default camera app itself. If you desire something a little more advanced, Lightroom Mobile is a great choice if you’re used to using Lightroom on your reckoner, or VSCO is a great option if yous like creating images with a bit more mood and toning to them. For a well-rounded editing app, you tin can’t go incorrect with Snapseed.

If you plan to shoot in DNG, unless you’re a Lightroom CC subscriber, I’d highly suggest that you use an app besides Lightroom Mobile. To be honest, I don’t know if there’south fifty-fifty a need to shoot in DNG. I’thou using the latest phone out there and at that place is so much noise in the images, even at ISO xx, you lot’ll need to add together so much noise reduction your images will look nearly the same equally if you’d just shot and edited a JPEG. While you might get better highlight and shadow recovery, I personally don’t think it’s worth it.

Regardless of whether yous choose to shoot in JPEG or DNG, if you decide to edit images on your phone yous’ll take a lot of unlike editing apps to cull from. Be sure to download a few dissimilar ones and try them out, equally they all have something different to offer.


Posted by: