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Metering your Smartphone’s camera

When out taking pictures, you want to get the best shit you can. If you’re finding lighting to be an issue, here’s a trick that might make your shot a little bit better.

Up until the last 10-15 years, photographers have had to use a light meter to gauge the amount of light coming into a picture. It was a small handheld unit that had a bulb-looking apparatus on the end that the photographer used to collect the light in a given shot. He then used that data to set his camera accordingly.

Fast forward to the Smartphone age.

Just like being able to have Pac Man or Tetris in the palm of your hand, Smartphone developers have included light meters in their phones as the cameras you carry as an add-on to your communications device get as good as regular cameras. And if you sue them right, you can get some amazing shots.

Once you’ve launched your phone’s camera and you point it at your subject, tap the screen at whatever you’re shooting. You’ll see the screen likely change slightly. If it doesn’t, tap one side or the other or try one of the darker or lighter areas. The phone will adjust its settings to get the best picture to highlight the area you indicated.

In the two pictures provided of Rattler Gulch near Drummond, Montana, you can see the areas used for metering the images. In one image we used the road (a lighter color) and in the other we used the trees (darker in color).

The difference is subtle to be sure. But little tricks like that can make the difference in getting a great shot for special occasions down the road.

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