Taking pictures at night with your Android smartphone can sometimes be a real challenge. You have to make sure you have enough light or that you don’t use your flash at the wrong time. Using your phone’s flash can do more harm that good, and you could end up ultimately ruining a picture taken at night.
Taking a good picture at night is possible. You just have to know when to use HDR, flash, and how to make use of backlighting. Getting great night pictures is easy, but make sure to remember the following tips when you’re ready to snap a still at night on an Android phone.
1. Turn on HDR Mode
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and it can tell you how different the darkest parts are from the brightest parts of the scene. Turn this option on when you’re taking pictures of landscapes, backlit/low-light scenes, and portraits with direct sunlight.
You should also turn on HDR Mode when you’re taking pictures in poorly-lit areas. With this feature your Android phone will take three pictures with distant exposures and show you the best one.
You can enable HDR Mode by opening your camera app and tapping “Mode.” Some Android devices have HDR visible as soon as you open the camera app. HDR Mode will make you look better, and isn’t that what you want anyway?
2. Use the Self-Timer
Using the self-timer at night or even during the day is always a good idea. Not only does it give you enough time to find the best angle, but it also helps to avoid blurry pictures. I recommend that you either use the five- or ten-second option. The more time you have to decide the better.
3. The Flash Isn’t Always the Solution
It makes sense that when taking a picture at night, you should always use your phone’s flash. The idea sounds logical, but it’s not always a good one. The person or object you’re taking a picture of will be too bright and the background too dark.
But what should you do instead? Try to use whatever light is at your disposal and move close to it. For example, if your friend is below a street light, choose an angle where you can use that light to your advantage.
4. It’s Called Pro for a Reason
When you access Mode on your phone’s camera, you’ll also see an option called “Pro.” Don’t let that option scare you since it can give you the best possible night pictures. You can adjust the settings and manually change the exposure. If you’re familiar with the basics of photography, you can apply what you’ve learned here.
5. Know When a Night Picture Is Possible
To take a great picture at night, there has to be a minimum amount of light. Try to take your pictures in an area where there is a good amount of street light, cars with the lights on, neon signs, etc.
These things will give you the light you need to take some great stills. If you’re in an area with very poor lighting, using the flash might work, but the photos won’t be ideal.
6. Increase the ISO to 400
ISO is a camera setting that sets the sensitivity level to available light. The higher you set the ISO, the brighter your image will be. For those phones that support changing the ISO settings, you can set the ISO to 400 to get a fantastic picture without having to use your phone’s flash.
Higher isn’t always better. If it’s set too high, for example 3200, your picture will come out grainy and blurry. To adjust the ISO on your Android device, open the camera app -> Mode -> Pro. The ISO option should be in the middle. Use the slider to adjust the ISO.
Is the ISO option grayed out? If so, it’s because you have the Anti-Shake and the HDR Mode on. Turn these options off, and you should be good.
With the right setting, you can take some incredible pictures at night. Keep these tips in mind when taking pictures the next time, and you’ll get the night pictures you’ve always wanted. How do you take great pictures at night? Share your tips with us in the comments.