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There's a better way than smartphone flash

Smartphones’ small sensors are a blessing and a curse: a blessing for their ubiquity, and a curse for their terrible low light capabilities. Unless you’re absolutely desperate, you’re best to avoid your smartphone’s flash. They tend to be harsh LED lights and they’re located so close to the lens that it’s a sure-fire way to get evil red-eye. However, if you requisition the help of a friend and another smartphone, you can do something about their poor late night performance.

Sometimes, flash can be useful, though. For example when you want to make alien-like strawberries.
Sometimes, flash can be useful, though. For example when you want to make alien-like strawberries.

For some shoots, a professional photographers might want to make sure that their subject is perfectly lit, using a serious megawattage of external flash or lighting that can be moved and manipulated to get the precise look they want. You can do the same thing—at least in principle if not scale—with your friend and her smartphone.

Download one of the thousands of light and torch apps onto your friend’s smartphone, fire it up, and experiment! Two friends with two smartphone lights will mean double the fun!
Flash iv
Flash v
Now you get to direct your friends, or ‘assistants,’ to move their lights so that you get the effect you want. Try closer and farther away, vary your angles, and look at the different shadows the lights cast. You can go for soft, gentle lighting, or try creating stark, dramatic shadows.
Social Photography is Daniela Bowker’s fresh new guide to smartphone photography. It tells you everything you need to know to get the most of your smartphone camera: all the tricks of composing a great photo – and the pitfalls to avoid. Find the best platform for sharing your photos, discover the apps that will expand your creative horizons, and be inspired by fabulous examples from masters of smartphone photography.
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Social-Photography-cover-200pxSocial Photography by Daniela Bowker
£5.99, Download the PDF now!

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