The Great Glasshouse – Contrast in iPhonography

More photos from my iPhone using both the phone’s Camera app and PureShot.

Controlling exposure and white balance can be difficult in certain situations, most especially when there is significant contrast in light within the frame. One way to adjust this with the Camera app is to try out different angles and points of focus until you find a reasonable compromise and then make further adjustment to shadows and highlights in post processing with an app like Adobe Photoshop (the phone version) or Lightroom on your computer.

PureShot allows easy adjustment on screen of the area within the frame that is sensitive to the light when taking your shot. This means that it is much easier to use the angle and composition that you want with little compromise to white balance and contrast. And of course further tweaking is possible in post production. I like the mobile Photoshop app for post production on the phone but another good app I use is SnapSeed.

The first photo (of The Great Glasshouse at NBGW) was taken with the Camera app. Although there was significant contrast between the light coming through the glass roof and the “landscape” inside, it was easy to adjust the angle satisfactorily to allow a good distribution of light or white balance.

The second and third shots were both taken with PureShot as TIFFs, with its exposure control making it possible to handle the contrast between sky and land and inside the glasshouse, “table” and darker plants surrounding it. For detailed info on using either app, I refer people to Emil Pakarklis’ iPhone Photography School.

Botanic Gardens



Memorial to the project architect of the Great Glasshouse

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White Balance in Phone Photography

Continuing with the idea of producing a StillWalks video entirely from photos and sound recorded on my iPhone, one of the difficulties with doing this is the lack of control you have of white balance with the phone camera.

It is possible to get some degree of balance of  light by trying different angles for a shot and avoiding, where possible, extreme differences of light. Other than that, you have to take pretty much what you get and do what you can in post processing. Zooming can help in some circumstances but I try not to use this much as it loses what crispness there is in a shot as the zoom is digital rather than optical.

You can buy all sorts of add-ons for phone cameras these days, such as zoom or macro lenses, tripods, etc., but my aim is to find out how, if at all practical it is to produce a StillWalks video with the basic iPhone and free apps.

Having said that, I am using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to make the adjustments necessary for video production. The images below are the same shot but with  different adjustments made but I am not going to go into the details of this now – I am keeping that for another day (or blog).

Suffice it to say that there is more work involved in the post processing of images taken on my phone than there is for those taken on my camera, so what I have saved in not having to lug heavy kit around with me, I have lost in the time needed afterwards in preparing the images for use. Hopefully this may be less the case with the sound recording!

Forest Walk, Fforest

Forest Walk, Fforest