How to Adjust the Exposure on Your Smartphone

30 Days of Smartphone Photography in Portland Day 3

If you want to improve your smartphone photography, one really easy things you can do is learn to use the exposure shortcut in your camera menu.

Today I visited the St. Johns Bridge in Portland and got some snaps of this impressive bridge.  It was overcast but still really bright so it was difficult to get a shot where the sky wasn't completely overexposed. The photos below aren't great, the main reason being the bright white sky in the background, and obviously in the first image you can't really see anything!

Most camera phones won't be able to handle this kind of light very well, but today I just wanted to demonstarte how much detail is lost when the exposure is too low. If you overexpose a little you can get some details back, but underexposed images are very difficult to salvage.

The first image on the left was taken with my camera as is, and the one beside it is the same photo with the exposure adjusted to +2 in Lightroom. As you can see it just washes it out and leaves the dark areas just as dark, with the sky completely blown out.

You can see with the second image that even though I have adjusted the exposure way too high for the rest of the image there is still a lot of extra detail in the tree leaves which I couldn't get in the first underexposed image.

Just something to consider next time you take a snap with your phone camera.

a (1 of 1) b (1 of 1)
1 (1 of 1) 2 (1 of 1)

Here's the higher exposure shot after some edits in Lightroom. Instead of trying to make the sky into something its never going to be on my camera phone I went for a different angle and cut it out completely in post editing. Camera phones are great for this type of photo where you don't really have to follow the rules.

b3 (1 of 1)