It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Diwali is one of the most popular festivals in the country. Celebrated as the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, every year, people clean up, decorate and light up their homes as well as offices, take part in Lakshmi Puja, and follow that up by bursting crackers. But amidst all this, our smartphones fail to capture the best moments and memories in low light. That doesn’t mean, however, that you need to opt for an expensive professional camera to capture photos during the festival of lights. If you follow some basic tips, then you can get amazing shots of lights and fireworks. And that’s what we’ll be discussing today. Let’s begin.
Use the available light to your advantage
If you intend to click Diwali lights or even get the shots of fireworks, then the first tip is to ensure that you use the available lighting to allow the phone’s sensor to gather as much information as possible. But that doesn’t mean that you click a scene in front of a direct light, since that would overexpose the picture and in turn, you’ll get a bright image with lesser details. Instead, position the smartphone as such that you can use the light as a source and then capture the required subject. On the flipside though, you shouldn’t use a really strong light such as a halogen lamp or street light, since that’ll wash the scene in their own colours, resulting in an artificial output.
Don’t use flash
We know. We know. Turning on the flash is the most obvious action we opt for whenever we have to shoot something in dim lighting. But in case of capturing lights or diyas, that becomes counter-intuitive. That’s because, the flash will awash the scene with light and more often than not, you’ll get weird aura around the lights. So as mentioned above, try to use the actual light as a source instead of using the artificial illumination. Having said that, if you’re capturing something in the indoors, and there’s no light, then flash definitely will come in handy.
Don’t get too close to the subject
While it’s always good to get closer to a subject to capture it properly, it won’t be a good idea when you’re trying to click light or firecrackers (of course, we wouldn’t suggest that for safety reasons as well). In poorly-lit environments, the smartphone camera isn’t able to lock the focus in short distances, but if you try capturing the same scene from a distance, not only you’ll be able to focus, you can also make sure that there’s no flair in the flame of the diyas or around the Diwali lights. Another tip here would be to anticipate your shot in advance as that’ll ensure that you’ve already lined up your phone’s camera accordingly and all you need is to press the shutter button to capture the shot.
Use your phone’s camera features to the fullest
As much as following the above-mentioned tips and tricks are important, it’s also necessary to know the capabilities of your smartphone. This can let you exploit some specific features to enhance your Diwali photographs. Motorola’s first dual camera-toting phone in India for instance, the Moto G5s Plus offers tons of modes that will help you in capturing lights. Its camera app comes with a dedicated low-light mode, which promises better details and colours in bad lighting.
Add to it the fact that the 13+13MP dual-camera setup on the G5s Plus captures RGB and monochrome info, which helps in reproducing accurate colours. The dual cameras offer numerous capabilities, but honestly, they’re so interesting that we’d discuss them in a separate post. While talking about features of the camera viewfinder on a phone, manual mode is a treasure chest, which brings us to the next point…
When in doubt, turn to the manual mode
As the name suggests, enabling this mode gives you the entire control as to how you want to capture the scene. While it’s not available on all smartphones, recent devices such as the Moto G5s Plus offer it and refer to it as the Professional mode. Inside this option, the smartphone gives you the ability to manually play with various settings such as focus, whitebalance, shutter speed, ISO and exposure levels. If you’ve some time at your disposal, then this mode unlocks a new potential As a thumb rule, you can follow these principles for low-light photography:
- You can increase the ISO up to 400 to ensure that the shot has more light, but if you go beyond that, then there will visible grains in the picture, which will spoil it
- Increase the shutter speed to ensure that the sensor is open for a longer time to accept more light. But don’t increase it too much as it might turn the entire photo white and you’ll need to keep your hands stable for that long
- Usually, you can keep the whitebalance on auto, but in case you’re capturing multi-colour lights and their colour isn’t coming accurately, then you can tweak the whitebalance accordingly
- As far as the focus is concerned, if you’re trying to click fireworks in the sky, then we’d suggest you choose the infinite focus
- For exposure, you can choose the negative levels, since that would mean better contrast and less flair around the lights
That brings us to an end of this post. We’re sure if you start applying the suggestions mentioned above, you’ll be able to capture splendid memories this Diwali.
The Motographs series is brought to you by in partnership with Motorola and aims to help you capture the best memories from your smartphone camera this Diwali.