To use your mobile for taking pictures, don’t need to be hard!

I will over two article give you ten tips how to taking pictures in low light with your mobile phone.

Technical primer: Understanding exposure

Before we begin, you should understand the two main variables affect exposure (how bright the image appears) on your phone: shutter speed and ISO.

The shutter controls how long light hits the sensor. The longer the shutter is open, the brighter an image will be. However, you run the risk of blurring the image due to movement.

The ISO value, on the other hand, determines the sensor’s electronic sensitivity to light. Higher ISOs allow you to brighten an image without changing the shutter speed, but always at the expense of a noisier image.

1) Expose correctly from the start

Make sure you tap on the subject on your phone’s screen, so the camera sets the proper exposure (and focus).

If you need to, use the exposure compensation tools on your phone to get things just right; low light photos are less malleable for edits later, so make sure your subject is properly illuminated from the get-go.

2) Go manual

If you want to get the most of your images, learn to manually adjust settings such as the shutter speed and ISO.

Many Android and Windows phones have a manual mode option built-in, whereas there are a plethora of apps on iOS (VSCO, Manual, and Obscura are some good ones) that let you do the same.

3) Keep your shutter open as long as reasonable

Since the ISO value directly determines how noisy an image is and apertures are fixed on smartphones, leaving the shutter open longer is your only option for getting cleaner images at a given exposure.

The longer the shutter speed, however, the more movement will be blurred, so this technique is best for static subjects – unless you want motion blur for artistic effect.

Theoretically, a long enough shutter speed could result in nighttime photos as noise-free as those taken during the day. In fact, extending the shutter period is precisely how optical image stabilisation works, which brings us to the next point.

4) Stabilise your shot

Lean on a stable surface to stabilise your shot whenever possible. Even if your phone already has optical image stabilisation, this allows it to use an even longer shutter speed and/or lower ISO settings without your hand’s shakiness interfering.

If you want to be serious, carry a small phone tripod for phones in your bag. If you’re shooting in manual mode, you can even set the shutter speed long enough for cool light trails.

5) Use environmental light to your advantage

Small lighting changes can make a big difference in your final image. When taking photos in low light, use whatever light that is available to illuminate your subjects.

Brighter objects show less noise, so if photographing people, make sure the light is hitting their face, not their backs – it can be as simple as asking someone to turn their body slightly to the side.

Read tips 6-10 here