We advise on how to photograph with a smartphone after dark

Smartphones are really powerful tools today, often producing better effects than good digital cameras from a few years ago. All of them, however, have the same problem - if they cope well in the daytime , so in the dark, who does not take good pictures.

Buying a new phone today, we can be sure that if we only reach for the device from the middle or higher price range, it will take good pictures in good lighting conditions.

When the lights run out, the lottery begins. One smartphone then takes pictures of bad, other worse and only a few devices produce really great results after dark.

It is also true that many of our failed night photographs are answered by our authors. . Pictures come out agitated, because instead of holding the phone steady in two hands, we try to take a picture with one hand, to make matters worse with an unnatural position. We take pictures in complete darkness, where even professional SLRs would not be able to take good photographs, but for some reason we are deluded that the smartphone will succeed.

Why do not smartphones deal with nighttime photos and what can we do to get better photos after dark?


The miniaturization is the biggest enemy of night scenes.

When it comes to night photos, smartphones are in a lost position at the start. This is due to the size of matrices used in them.

For comparison: professional cameras with full frame sensors have a 36 x 23.9 mm matrix, which translates into an area of ​​8.6 cm2. The smallest matrices in professional cameras - in the Micro 4/3 system - have sensors with an area of ​​2.25 cm2.

Meanwhile, matrices used in smartphones usually have an area smaller than half a square centimeter.

And the smaller the matrix, the less light falls on it. To make matters worse, the majority of smartphone manufacturers stuff the huge number of pixels on these matrices to make the images larger and more detailed during the day. Unfortunately, at night, smaller pixel size means less light that can accumulate, which in turn translates into less detail and so-called. "Noise" in the picture.

However, these are limitations - at least for the moment - unbeatable. If you want to cram the camera in a compact phone, you need miniaturization. Manufacturers therefore cope with physical limitations by resorting to the computing power of smartphones and processing of images.

Since we already know what issues we should take a correction in terms of night photographs, let us now talk about how to avoid mistakes that "burn" the most beautiful frame. Here are three ways to get better night shots.

First of all: search for light sources.

The most common mistake that can be seen at every step in social media, where our friends throw fuzzy, ugly photos taken in the dark, is ... well. Making them in the dark.

Even the best camera will not take a good photo if there is not a bit of light falling on the sensor nearby. Ok, in the wilderness it may be difficult to get an additional source of light outside the moon and stars (though if we have a flashlight, it will even work). In the city, however, the night is not dark and full of fear, but it is usually glowing with countless sources of light: starting from streetlights, through the openings of premises and shops open to neon signs and advertising signs.

So if we want to take a picture of ourselves after dark, instead of trying to make it in complete darkness, it is worth looking around for the light. Sometimes it is enough to go a few steps and stand under a street lamp instead of, for example, in a shaded alley of the park. It's only a few steps, and the photo will be much better.

It is also worth paying attention to the quality of this light source. Streetlights, for example, in most cities still have a yellow light of old bulbs. More and more often, however, you can find streetlights with LEDs shining white or other light sources that do not highlight your face in yellow.

An example of such a source of light that each of us carries in our pocket is ... telephone. If a friend wants to take a picture of us after dark, but we have a face hidden in the shade, just light up the screen and bring it closer to the face to fill it with light a little.

Another trick that makes the picture taken at night look better, even if you do it in an ugly light, is to convert the photo to black and white in the application for processing. Even professionals take advantage of this tricycle, especially in concert photography, where the color palette effectively prevents even the nice colors of the skin. After converting the photo to black and white, the photo looks better and additionally takes on an artistic expression.

Second: use the night mode.

Currently, almost every new smartphone has a camera night mode in the application, used for taking photos after dark. This mode can also be found, for example, in Oppo Reno 10x Zoom - just select the "NIGHT" tab in the mode selection menu and the camera application adjusts the parameters to make the best photo in the dark.

In this particular case, the smartphone uses the traditional bracketing technique used in digital cameras - it takes three shots, each with a different level of exposure and combines them into one, obtaining a detailed image in both shadows and x-rays.

Night mode usually brings one catch, which you have to remember: the photos come out brighter, but it happens by extending the time of exposure, i.e. the time needed to take a picture. From a practical point of view, this means nothing more or less, that if we want to get a blur in this mode, we must stand still and stable with the smartphone, preferably in two hands, pressing the elbows to the sides to reduce the possible vibrations as much as possible.

Modern smartphones come here to help us, usually offering advanced optical image stabilization for the main camera - but it is good to help the equipment as much as possible while maintaining a stable position.

The effects, however, are worth the effort. Night modes, combining longer exposure times and more aggressive image processing usually result in much nicer shots than those taken in normal camera mode.

Specifically, it is about more details preserved, less amount of noise in the picture, clear details in shadows and x-rays. Software algorithms combined with powerful processors of modern smartphones such as Oppo Reno 10x Zoom can really extract amazing results from these tiny dies.

Thirdly: why not use a tripod?

If you do not have a steady hand, or you want to use an additional smartphone lens at night, which may be deprived of optical image stabilization, it is worth reaching for a tripod.

Accessory, it would seem, reserved only for the field of professional photography can sometimes be a great addition also for a smartphone.

And you just need a pair of gold-plated adapter to place the phone on a tripod and make much better night shots. If we have a professional mode in the application of the camera, we can even try to create artistic shots with a long exposure time, eg by blurring the lights of passing cars.

Even without the professional mode, the tripod can come in handy, because when the smartphone is stable, the camera's application recognizes itself that the photo can be exposed for a long time to focus more on the sensor.

A good practice in this situation, commonly used in professional photography, is the use of self-timer. So what if we put the phone on a tripod, if we move it by pressing the virtual shutter button?

It's good to use the self-timer, even if you do not take pictures of yourself and the landscapes. A delay of two seconds is enough to make the photograph unmasked by the touch of the screen itself. A small thing that makes a big difference.

And what about the flash?

Some readers probably will not agree with this opinion, but it's nothing - the flash on your smartphone is not used. Just.

It has nothing to do with a real flash in a professional camera that gives a soft, scattered light (of course, depending on the accessories used), which can be reflected from another surface by turning the lamp.

In smartphones we deal with tiny LEDs that glow with a sharp low-quality light ideally straight ahead, highlighting all the shortcomings of our faces and making people look like they are cut out of cardboard.

I'm not saying that it's impossible to take a good photo using the smartphone's flash, but it requires skills that go far beyond "aiming and pressing the shutter button". The average user will be better off not using this supplement, because instead of improving the quality of night photos, it will only make them worse.

If you really need to "brighten up" by taking a photo after dark, a much better choice will be to use a trick with the backlight of the smartphone screen.

Night shots by phone? No problem!

Modern smartphones, especially those from the top shelf, are getting better with photos after dark. As long as we are aware of their physical limitations and help with a little technology, using the right techniques of photography, we can get really good results.


* The material was created in cooperation with the Oppo brand.

We advise on how to photograph with a smartphone after dark


Popular posts from this blog

What is VoLTE and how can you activate it on your Xiaomi

So you can check the battery status of your Xiaomi smartphone and how many cycles you have performed

How to exit the FASTBOOT mode of your Xiaomi if you have entered accidentally

Does your Xiaomi charge slowly or intermittently? So you can fix it

Problems with Android Auto and your Xiaomi? So you can fix it

If your Xiaomi disconnects only from the WiFi it may be because of that MIUI setting

How to change the font in MIUI and thus further customize your Xiaomi: so you can change the type, color and size of the letters of MIUI

What is the Safe Mode of your Xiaomi, what is it for and how can you activate it

Improve and amplify the volume of your Xiaomi and / or headphones with these simple adjustments

How to activate the second space if your Xiaomi does not have this option