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Mobile phone minifig photography tips
Because my phone is the only camera I have. Sometimes I can take a surprisingly great pic with little effort but often I find that I need to get perfect 'real' light and various other factors all have to fall into place for a good pic. Thought this would be a good place for those of us without SLR's or the skills to use them to share tips and tricks.
Has anyone used any Photoshop style apps on their phone for touching up or editing your minifig photos. This is something I have not really done before but would like to dabble with it a bit. I tried Photoshop express but it seems a bit flaky.
I don't take a lot of toy photos with my phone camera because I like the shallow depth of field and manual focus of my DSLR. But when I need to edit photos on my phone I also use snapseed.
That said, I still prefer to photos on a big screen once. It's easier to do it right away on a phone and then post it, but having to move it to a computer forces you to look at it on a larger screen.
But before even considering editing, lighting is the best way to progress. One of my most valuable lessons as a photographer has been to learn how to look at the light. In the long run, you start to understand why it doesn't look the same on a photo than with your eyes.
I started in toy photography with my phone and I did use several apps to help mimic the dslr. One of those is BigLens. I also swear by Snapseed to give mobile photos the punch they need for social sharing. One of the best items you can purchase to upgrade your mobile photography skills is a good portable light. One inexpensive portable light and a bounce card and you can make most any crappy lighting situation work. This is especially valuable on those grey days when there is no direct sunlight. I hope this helps!
@Shelly i am usually taking pics outside too because with my phone I really need natural light. Though some days it's a battle to not be in direct sunlight or too much shade ????. The light box was an attempt to get more indoor shots but I've not mastered it and I get a lot of grainy pics. Anyway, thanks for the info, I will check Anna's post too.
I exclusively use my phone and having upgraded to an iPhone XR last year I’m finding it easier to get some better pictures.
I can’t recommend Halide enough as it’s a camera app that gives you a lot more control over the settings. You learn a little bit more about these too since it’s one thing to read tips about what the settings do and another to actually see for yourself how they affect the picture.
The biggest problem I had previously was getting things in focus properly. The autofocus is not ideal for little things like Lego on many phones. Putting the camera a bit further away and zooming in slightly seemed to give best results but you lose a bit of resolution. With Halide you can control that much better. If you take pictures outside a lot, it doesn’t help with the fact that you’ll have to lay in the dirt quite a bit to both get the angle and see the screen properly to adjust the focus!
For editing, yes Snapseed is good for general tweaking. Photoshop Fix is good for removing stands, wires etc. I find Pixlr best for layering pictures and adding effects like sparks, snow, rain or dirt. All three do require some patience to learn how to use them semi-proficiently.
@guineapigpaul thanks so much for your thoughts. I'll give that camera app a try. Autofocus is a bit of a pain I agree. My S9 on board app is pretty good but a few things do annoy me
My S8 has a 'manual' mode which also kicks out RAW files so I might have to give this a go. In the meantime I'll have a look at Snapseed too.
Also been tempted with one of those Mobile Phone clamps that attach to tripods:
@neonspectres I bought a phone before just for the RAW shooting capabilities but yeech, it was really garbage. The sensor size is way too small on a phone to output anything usable, IMO.
Phone shots really need the firmware processing to output something nice.
@fourbrickstall yep, hardware is certainly the limiting factor here. One of my projects this year is to try and use my mobile for more LEGO photography so I'll have a lot of avenues to explore 🙂