Taking night or low-light photos with your smartphone can be a real challenge, even with the multitude of improvements in technology. Accompanying the lack of natural light are too many variables, from using the flash at the wrong time or at the wrong distance, to having to stand very still to get a sharp image. In fact, it’s much easier to ruin a photo in these circumstances, where lack of light and camera noise can absolutely destroy a good image.
Fortunately, modern technology has caught up with larger image sensors, powerful AI to solve complex algorithms like pixel binning and oversampling, as well as dedicated night mode features on most flagship smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. But as impressive as your hardware is, here are some tips and tricks that can improve your overall low-light photography skills.
Even if no one can see you, the plan is to always capture the perfect moments in the dark.
Reduce exposure in the camera app
Sometimes night shots can look overexposed (too bright) and grainy, and this is a result of the camera trying to capture as much light as possible and compensating for it by increasing the exposure to make the image brighter. However, for a low-light image, that’s not what you’d want. To counteract this effect, we would like the blacks to appear black and grainless. All you need to do is reduce the exposure in the camera app before taking the photo.
You can start by tapping to set the focus on the subject you want sharp, and swipe down to darken the image. Once you’re happy with the level of exposure, take your picture and be amazed at the results.
Use professional mode
Professional mode may sound intimidating, but if you have some photography knowledge and experience, you can use all three pillars of exposure to your advantage. Auto can be a quick way to change images, but with Pro Mode, you’ll unlock better features like a slower shutter speed, opening up the aperture, and increasing the ISO. It’s a great way to master photography and get creative, and we urge you to try things out during the day, to get familiar with the settings, before trying it out at night!
The power of AI (night mode)
Night mode on the S22 Ultra is nothing short of extraordinary, using clever software to create sharp and often clean photos with incredible color and detail. The only caveat is that you’d have to stand still for a few seconds to get the cleanest images. But do not worry!
With improved Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), it reduces shake by up to 48% compared to the S21 Ultra, so you can be sure you don’t have to stay completely still while taking photos in low light.
let there be light
Low light does not necessarily mean no light, and you should try to use whatever light is available to you and get close to it. Perhaps under a streetlight, neon signs, or even cars with their lights on and pick an angle where you can use that light to your advantage.
Hold the standard lens
Although the S22 Ultra has excellent cameras, you have to stick to the main camera, in 1X mode. It has the largest 1/1.33” sensor and an f/1.8 aperture lens that allows the main camera to be a low-light beast with faster low-light focusing.
Use Expert RAW
Samsung introduced its Expert Raw app in late 2021 and while it’s aimed at the more serious photographer, you shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. The app lets you control manual exposure settings for all four rear cameras, but what’s more interesting is that it lets you capture multi-frame RAW files.
Simply put, Multi-frame RAW takes data from multiple frames and compiles it into a single file, giving you the benefit of post-processing work; this way you will have more freedom to adjust your levels like shadows, highlights and play. with the tones and colors maintaining a clean image.
go black and white
Let’s say you have an image that you really love, but it’s too grainy or noisy. Colors may come out muddy and you might consider throwing that file in the recycle bin. However, one trick that comes in handy is to shoot with the Black and White effect or edit it in post. Black and white photography helps remove any color distractions and helps the viewer focus on other aspects of the photo, such as the subject, textures, shapes, and patterns. It’s all about highlights and shadows and how they define the shapes in your composition. So go ahead and try it out!
Implement edits for the finishing touch
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just someone who captures photos to upload to your social media accounts. The process of creating an image does not end after pressing the shutter button.
In most cases, retouching a photo or adjusting levels can seem like a daunting task, but with mobile apps like Adobe Lightroom Mobile and VSCO, photo editing just got a whole lot easier. So don’t be afraid to play with levels, colors and exposure to enhance your images.
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