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Smart Tips For The Smart Phone Camera

Tech Talk Pi c

By Neal Hettinger

If you think the iPhone should be smart enough to work without having to read a manual to operate it—I agree. Even if you did read it, you would not find a lot information on the camera so here are a few tricks I use.

Focusing the camera on a particular spot is pretty easy — just tap the screen on the area you want to be in focus and a square frame will appear showing you the area of focus. This allows you to make sure the camera focuses on what you want instead of what is in the foreground or dead center.

Zooming is almost as easy. Pinch your pointer finger and thumb together and place just the tips on the camera screen and slowly spread them. This gesture will enlarge the area and an adjustable scroll bar will appear at the bottom, if you want to be exact. Watch out though, this digital zoom is enlarging the pixels. The image will look great for web viewing but not as well when printed.

STOP! Keep your gloves on! When you are outside in freezing weather and want to take a photograph with your iPhone, you do not need to remove your gloves to touch the screen button. If you have a steady hand, push a volume button on the side of the iPhone to take the photo. Of course, keep your fingers away from the lens. I have found that if the volume buttons are on top when I push, the camera is difficult to keep steady so I position the iPhone so the volumes buttons are on the button and I just push one with my thumb.

When the camera takes a normal photo, the typical exposure can have bright spots such as on someone’s face and the shadows may be very dark without any detail. You can improve your images with the HDR option. Select ‘HDR on’ before taking a photo by tapping it at the top of your camera screen.

The manual explains HDR (high dynamic range) by stating that it “helps you get great shots, even in high-contrast situations. The best parts of three quick shots, taken at different exposures (long, normal, and short), are blended together into a single photo.” What does ‘best parts’ mean?

Randy Anderson, photographer and professor at Oklahoma City Community College explains HDR a little better. “It takes 3 photos. One is over-exposed to bring out the areas in shadows, another is under-exposed to bring out the details of the bright areas, and the last is an average exposure. The three images are sandwiched together replacing the dark and light ares to create a photo with a better range of tones and details.”

However, do not always shoot in HDR. It is not the best option if you or your subject are moving, your hand is not steady, or if it’s very bright. You can choose to keep the normal photo and the HDR image in camera settings.

Neal Hettinger is the owner for the Hettinger Design Group and design websites, logos, ads, brochures, and contractors software programs.  405/475-0537

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