Smartphone Photography | Lighting & Focus

Hey everyone. Today we’re going to teach you how to get crystal clear and perfectly sharp photos every time you shoot with your phone. I’m Leigh Loftus of We Are Loftus and I’m here to teach you all about using your cell phone and shooting your food in restaurants and hotels. If you’re into that, subscribe over here, click the bell and follow every Tuesday for our new videos.

Have you ever noticed that your photos might be way too bright, way too dark, or simply out of focus? By the end of this video, you’re going to know why that happens, how to change it and get the perfect shot every time. We teach this, every single time we train our clients and our friends on what to do, it blows their mind. And now it’s time to teach you. So whenever you pick up your phone to take a picture, you’re going to have a little yellow box that shows up on the screen. That’s your focal point. And our phones are always trying to solve for exactly what it is that you’re trying to shoot. And most of the time they’re pretty smart, and they get great photos but likely often you run into photos that aren’t exactly what you want them to be.

So you can actually take your finger and set your focus where you want it to be. So you can tap your phone. So if your dish is right there, tap the yellow box to be exactly where your dish is and where you want the focus to be. So once you’ve set your focus, you can actually press and hold that box until you see at the top of the screen where it says AE/AF lock. And that stands for auto focus auto exposure. And when you press and hold it, it’s going to actually lock in place. From there you can notice if any, either your background is too bright or your dish is too bright or anything’s too dark. You can take your finger where that little sunlight is and slide it up or down to change your exposure. And whenever you’re done setting it, it will stay locked in place. Mind freaking blown. That will solve all of your problems in the pictures being too bright or too dark.

You can see the screens a little bit bright. This bread is definitely blown out, so I’m going to press and hold and see up here it says AE/AF lock. Now I can slide my finger up or down to control the lights and wherever I lock that square, that’s where the focal point will stay until I tap it again, I can move it to any other location. Let’s say I wanted to focus on that clock. Not a great shot, but I’m showing it for the demo. Press and hold. AE/AF lock and then that’s a little bright, so you’d drag it down until the exposure’s great.

So now I’m going to talk to you a little bit about HDR. Typically, people equate that to architecture photography and not necessarily food photography. We’re going to walk you through in just a second how to go into your settings and turn that on. But if you’ve ever noticed, whenever you’re still changing, you’re changing your exposure like we just talked about, but they’re still way too blown lights. If you turn on your HDR setting and you take that exact same photograph, then the HDR is going to compensate. What it does is it takes three photos and composites them together to make the best exposure, which brings in those details from your white plates that usually get too blown out by not having the HDR turned on.

In our camera app, up here you see my HDR button. By default, that’s normally not turned on, so I’m going to have you open your settings, go into your camera again, camera and see at the very bottom where it says auto HDR, yours is probably turned on. I actually want you to turn that off and that allows you to decide when you want to use the HDR setting or not. Otherwise it’s running all of the time in the background and that’s not ideal because you don’t want every single photo to be HDR. It’s going to take up way more space on your phone, which obviously we don’t want that. And again, you want to be dictating whenever you use it. If the plates are too bright, if something, sometimes if you have HDR on for food, it’s going to be way too dramatic and add way too much color and contrast. So you’re in charge of your photos and you make the decisions on how you shoot them.

I’m going to actually use my second lens and back up so that we can address the [inaudible 00:04:15] that we talked about earlier. I’m going to set my focus here and right now you can see the rim of the bowl is way too bright. So you actually want to tend to shoot a little bit dark because just like whenever you guys are teaching your young chefs, if you have too much salt, you can’t remove it. Here, if you don’t have detail, you can’t add it. So I do still have a little bit of blown out here on the left hand side. I’m going to go ahead and leave it because I think it’s still a very strong shot and there’s enough detail around. I think that’s a great one. I’m going to come a little bit closer. Reset my focus. And this could also be a good time to play around with HDR.

You use HDR whenever things are too bright and too dark. The camera actually takes three photos and merges them together behind the scenes for you so that you can see a composite of the lightness and darkness. And since we’re struggling with the, let’s say bottom side of this image being too bright, I’m going to go ahead and turn on the HDR, set my exposure and focus, bring it down a little bit because it’s too bright and snap. And then let’s go look at the HDR one. It did exactly what it’s supposed to do. It got that plate to not be overblown, which is a huge issue that you guys could face when you’re using natural light. So that helps you solve it. We’re going to go through that again and again and again. So you get used to changing your settings.

Now you know how to set the perfect exposure and the perfect focus every time you take a photo. But knowing is not the same as doing. Just like if you were to learn how to make the perfect sauce, you’re not going to just know how to make the perfect sauce. You’re going to go practice making the perfect sauce. So I have a bonus assignment for you. Type bonus below if you’re interested in participating. We created a Facebook page specifically for you guys. I’m in charge of it, so we want you to take these photos, go there, use our hashtags, ask me for advice, ask me for feedback. I’m going to give you that. And then also the more of you that join, the more comments and critiques you can give one another and make your photos even better.

Thank you so much for watching this video like it below to let us know you like it. Comment helpful, if this was helpful to you and feel free to send them to your friends, other followers. We really want to help everybody start taking better photos with their phone because it’s the tool that we have.


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