Tag Archives: How To

How To Take Better Photos With Your Lumia

Nokia’s Lumia phones have some of the best cameras, and devices like the Lumia 925, 928 and the 920 also come with optical image stabilisation. While these devices do a reasonable job with the default settings, the cameras really come into their own if you are willing to play around the settings a little bit. On Nokia’s Lumia devices you cannot tap the screen to set the exposure, so if you are shooting against the sun or a bright light, things sometimes get a little challenging.

While there are lots of settings that you can change: ISO, Exposure, Scene Mode, White Balance, Aspect Ratio and Focus Assist Light – there are two that I want to concentrate on. Most people (including me) prefer shooting with the default options as its faster, and one couldn’t be bothered with fiddling around with the controls  everytime.

However, when you do have the extra second, I recommend you just keep two controls in mind while taking photos – Scene Mode and Exposure.

SCENE MODEBACKLIGHT

How To Take Better Photos With Your Lumia

While there are lots of screen modes, like close up, Night, Night Portrait, Sports and Backlight – in your everyday usage just keep ‘Backlight’ in mind. We all end up shooting against the light, sometimes its a bulb indoors, or the sun outdoors. If you shoot with the default settings, this is what you can expect.

Vaibhav Lumia 928_1

In this example there is no person present, so the photo doesn’t look so bad. However, if a person were standing you’d be hard pressed to make out his face. Enter the  backlight mode.

Vaibhav Lumia 928_1

As you can see, the difference is immense and the photos is much brighter overall.

EXPOSURE

How To Take Better Photos With Your Lumia

Moving onto exposure. If you have a OIS capable Lumia (eg. Lumia 920, 928), the device leaves the shutter open for longer when it senses that you’re shooting at night. This is usually a good thing, but when you are trying to photograph objects that have lights of their own, it can result it photos like this.

Vaibhav Lumia 928_1

But if you adjust the exposure manually, and drop it down by a notch or two (depending on the situation) you can get a much nicer looking result.

Vaibhav Lumia 928_1

This becomes even more important, when you’re trying to capture the Las Vegas skyline that’s packed with lights.

Vaibhav Lumia 928_1

A little tweaking of the exposure, and you get a photo that’s easily wallpaper material. There are very few non Nokia camera phones in the market (if any) that can give you a result as impressive as this.

Vaibhav Lumia 928_1

As you can see, just remembering to switch to the backlight scene mode and adjusting the exposure can make a big difference in the quality of photos. Both of these things take less than 5 seconds to change, and you’ll do well to remember these tweaks.

If you’re feelings slightly more adventurous, the ISO settings can help in low light situations – a higher ISO brings more light, but at the cost of noise. But since there is OIS in some models (shutter stays open for longer and brings more light), you can sometimes get away with using a low ISO (so as to reduce noise), to get that perfect zero noise low light shot.

The White Balance mode can usually be left at auto. Thus, the key to much better photos on your Lumias is two fold – remembering to use the backlight mode, and exposure control when shooting in low light.

Have any other tips? Let us know in the comments section!

How Use The HTC One To Create Video Highlights Of Pictures & Video Taken On Another Camera

One of the nicer features of the HTC One is its ability to create Video Highlights. Highlights are nothing but 30 second videos created from the pictures, Zoes and videos that you have shot on the HTC One. By default, a video highlight is created for each ‘Event’, and the HTC One automatically creates events based on the geo-tags of the photos and videos. But if you want to merge events, there’s also an option to do that, so you can have a single event spanning a week, which includes all your holiday photos.

I love these video highlights, they look great, have great animations and the best part is that they are automatic. If you don’t like the highlight that’s been created, just hit shuffle and the One creates another one. You can also choose from a bunch of themes. The result is videos like this or this.

Fortunately, you can use the HTC One to create Highlights from pictures and video that you have taken from other devices as well. For example, I created a Highlight from photos that I have taken from an iPhone in 2012. For good measure I also threw in a video taken on a Nokia N8. Here’s how:

  • Attach your HTC One to the computer in the ‘Mass Storage’ mode. (I’ve used AirDroid to connect wirelessly).

How Use The HTC One To Create Video Highlights Of Pictures & Video Taken On Another Camera

  • Navigate to the Pictures folder on the phone, and create a Folder. Name it whatever you want the name of the event to be. Copy the photos and videos into it. Note that only .mp4 files are supported. The Gallery doesn’t see .mov files.

How Use The HTC One To Create Video Highlights Of Pictures & Video Taken On Another Camera

  • On the phone, the photos and video will show up as an ‘Event’ in the Gallery app.

How Use The HTC One To Create Video Highlights Of Pictures & Video Taken On Another Camera

  • Open the event and the video highlights will be waiting for you. If you like what you see, you can directly share to HTC Share, YouTube or any other destination that you may like. If not, hit the shuffle button, play around with the themes etc. You can also save the video to the phone without sharing it to an online service. An average video highlight is 1280 x 720 and weighs in at 12-14 MB in size.

Enjoy.