I'm not ready to buy a camera yet! (Cell phone tips)

Last time we talked about the exposure triangle to help you take quality images. You'll need to remember those three things (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO) as most cell phones will allow you to modify 2 of them via apps (most cell phones have a fixed aperture, so you won't be able to change that). While your cell phone isn't on par with a $2,000 mirrorless or DSLR, it can still get you usable images for Facebook and Instagram. The key here, is you really need to understand how to properly expose (and probably need to do some editing in post).

Download Lightroom from your phone's app store. In addition, I'd recommend Polarr for editing in post and maybe VSCO if you like the look of film (more vintage look) like I do. 

Now that you have LR, you'll be able to change the shutter speed and ISO of your phone. Taking pictures with the stock camera app doesn't allow for you to control shutter speed, so all of your action shots will be blurry. To access these features open the app, click the camera icon, and then to the left of the button that takes the picture you'll see the word "Automatic". Click it and scroll down one to "Professional" (yeah, you're a pro!). You will have 4 tools you can use there (from left to right):

  • Exp (Exposure Compensation) - This will bring up (make brighter) or down (that's right, you guessed it, darker) the exposure of your image. This will only be an option if you leave ISO on Auto, which I wouldn't suggest.
  • Sec (Shutter Speed) - The smaller the fraction, the shorter the shutter speed. A fast shutter is what you need to stop action so the picture isn't blurry. While no settings will be universally correct, use a base shutter speed of 1/320 (on my DSLR) which is fast enough to stop motion in almost any CrossFit movement. Adjust faster or slower as needed for what movement you're shooting. If it is something slow (maybe a Deadlift at 90% 1RM) then you can pick a slower shutter speed to let more light in). Most likely 1/320th is going to make your exposure pretty dark. That's ok. We can fix it.
  • ISO - The bigger the number, the brighter the exposure will be. The downside is the picture will have more "noise" in it the higher you crank that up. So we want the lowest ISO we can use to get the exposure we want. 
  • WB (White Balance) - This controls the "temperature" of the image. My suggestion is to not mess with it (leave it on AWB) and to learn to fix it in post. If you want fix it in post, you should go to the top of the screen and click the box that says "JPG" and then move the slider to "DNG". Without over complicating this difference, JPG is a more "finished" picture and some information will be tough to change in post. DNG is "raw" and can be edited more easily.
  • [ + ] (Focus) - Leave this on auto and tap the screen where you want to focus. There's really no reason to manually focus but if you really want to, you can with this tool.

Once you find the combination of values for shutter speed and ISO that work for you, take some pictures. You can export them to your camera roll and then import them into an editing app if you'd like (like I said before, I suggest Polarr if you want to edit or VSCO if you want a film look and want it to be more of a "one button press" kind of deal). Editing is a personal thing. I love vintage film, so my edits reflect that. I spend time editing the images and love the way our feed looks because of it. Maybe you don't want to deal with that. No worries, just import into Instagram (and edit there or not) and then publish that sucker. You can link your Facebook page to where it auto-posts the image there for you once you've posted it to Instagram if you'd like. 

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Cell Phone Pics

I took this today with my iPhone 7 (not plus) at about 5:20am, so lighting doesn't get worse than this!

 

[Pro-Tip: I use pictures that are good but not as good as I would like, on the Instagram story each day. I save the pictures I like most and post one a day on the account.]

If you have questions, let me know! Check out our Instagram (www.instagram.com/crossfitransom) or my personal page (www.instagram.com/rap77oh) to see what a few minutes of work in post and trying to get the best exposure you can while taking the picture can look like. There are iPhone, DSLR, and Drone shots on both pages, which might give you ideas or show you what kind of image you can get with each device (I am not saying I am producing the best image you can with these things, just saying you can see the differences and make a decision to see if the camera is worth spending some $ on).