Adventures in smartphone photography, v1.1

(Points to large new header) Nice, ey? šŸ™‚

I have a slight cold (sniff sniff) so I’ve spent the day wandering around the house in my pajamas, in some sort of vague consciousness. I really haven’t done a lot but sit and type and fanny around. I managed to sketch up a rough idea of theĀ logo (can’t summon up the motivation to do a proper one in P’Shop just yet) and add it to the header (changing the theme again as well, as you do).

I also wanted to try to do some promo shots, to see how good my HTC One would be trying to take pro-looking photos (I can hear all the Nikon DSLR photo snobs gasping in shock). I don’t think it’s a good ideaĀ at the moment to drop $1,000 on a camera that I don’t really know how to use.

(Sidestep: Anyone in Newcastle want to lean me their precious expensive camera? Anyone? Anyone?…)

So, anyways, below are some of the shots I took today using my HTC One (the version with the known and dreaded “purple haze” in low light conditions) and some quazi-professional set-up. As in, I had some white paper and a drink tray I used to reflect some light.


So here are the following photos I took, with some notes on the settings and where I took the photo. It was an absolutely stunning afternoon and I managed to squeeze it all in between showers. It immediately became cloudy when I was done.

First try, indoors with natural light, using the app FV-5 for Android. I was also using a white drink tray to reflect the light.
First try, indoors with natural light, using the app FV-5 for Android. I was also using a white drink tray to reflect the light (mostly because, poor). I don’t want you to ignore the dirty floor. I want you to feel it; stare at it; LIVE IT. And feel better about yourself that your floors aren’t that dirty.

Iso100, set for auto WB, F=0

Natural light, inside when it became slightly cloudy, with reflector, using FV-5 App and mucking around with settings
Second try, natural light, inside when it became slightly cloudy, with reflector, using FV-5 App and mucking around with settings. You can see the ‘purple haze’ around the edges of the photo. F*ck you, HTC.

Same settings as above.

Natural light, inside and using a piece of paper to stop the floor from reflecting, with reflector, using FV-5 App and mucking around with settings
Natural light, inside and using a piece of paper to stop the floor from messing up the photo (mostly because it was gross, ya’ll), with reflector, using FV-5 App and mucking around more with settings like a hyperactive monkey trying to use a typewriter.

Same settings as above.

Outside, natural light diffused by clear plastic deck covering, just using the stock standard HTC One camera settings.
Try four; outside, natural light diffused by clear plastic deck covering, just using the stock standard HTC One camera settings. Mildly amused. Had to break for 30 minutes to sit on the couch and blow my nose.

All auto settings on the camera.

Same as 4, but mucking around with moving the reflector to try to bounce the light underneath it and soften the shadows.
Same as Try 4, but mucking around with moving the reflector to try to bounce the light underneath it and soften the shadows. I’m still impressed at the quality of a SMARTPHONE camera.
Same as Try 5, just moved to a different position with the camera.
Same as Try 5, just moved to a different position with the camera to see if I could get closer.
Last and final one, the one Im happiest with even though its a bit "yellow".
Try 6; last and final one (because I got bored), the one I’m happiest with even though its a bit “yellow”.

So things I learned with my first psudo-intelligent photography session:

  1. Indirect, natural light is best. I didn’t try one with FULL ON sun because the layer of varnish was reflecting too much with even the indirect light.
  2. The hardware & software on my camera is fine to use stock standard. I think I need a bit more experience to use the full features of the FV-5 app, because I was seriously just mashing bushing with some recollection from high school art class what everything meant. The downside, specific to my phone, is the actual camera hardware in low light conditions, as it gets the purple haze effect. Apparently this is a hardware issue that I have to send to HTC for them to fix. Fffsss.
  3. Tripod. While the bent wire coathanger was okay to prop the phone and keep it in position, I may have to invest in a purpose-built one.
  4. Light box. I may bypass that alltogether and get a lightbox for smartphones/iPads (much like this oneĀ http://www.modahaus.com/; believe me I’ve tried to look for the plastic sheeting to cut my own, but that would have to be ordered online, so I’m already at $30 just for the sheet, then I have to cut it blah blah blah whinge firstworldproblems). It’s cheap insurance for even light. Still debating.

So that’s what I have for now in my 10 minutes worth of fiddling with my smartphone and a tripod made out of a coathanger. I’m going to knock up the best image in Photoshop and see if I can remember all the buttons…


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