Sunday, May 20, 2012

HDR Close up photography on Galaxy S2 Camera

Below is an example of closeup photography using the Galaxy S2. For this image, I've taken a photo in full resolution, cropped the area I wanted to get a close-up, and post-processed in Photoshop using HDR settings to subtly enhance the colour.

As previously discussed, you will often have better results if you take a photo from further back, and crop, instead of using close up photography with Macro Settings.

Botanic Gardens Sydney.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tips & examples for close up photography using the Galaxy S2 Camera pt2

Below are the first attempts at close up photography I've tried using the Galaxy S2 Camera that have been post-processed using Photoshop. Admittably, I have some way to go!!! Both images have been cropped to tighten the shot, and the images have been colour adjusted. For example, you can see that we can get a sharper image of the daisies by taking a further away shot with better focus, and blowing up the subject. We can also use colour adjustments on 'shadow', 'highlights' and 'midtones' to bring out the desired detail.

Some general tips for Close up shots that I most definately need to apply in future are to: 1. rest or clamp the camera to something if at all possible to avoid blur and increase focus. 2. Play around with the 'Exposure value' and 'ISO' settings for each intended shot. 3. Take the shot further back in the highest resolution. 4. Get the lighting right by using an A4 white sheet. 5. Don't be afraid to take far more shots then I think I'll need.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tips & examples for close up photography using the Galaxy S2 Camera pt1

When taking extremely close up shots with the Galaxy S2 you will likely want to choose 'Macro' setting, or opt to manually focus. In my experience Macro works well, and requires you tap where on the screen you want superfine focus.

When taking outdoor shots in bright settings, it will help to select 'Outdoor Visibility' from the camera settings menu. 'Outdoor Visibility' will illuminate your screen to make it easier to see what you are shooting, though bare in mind that what you see on screen will not correspond to the luminance of the actual photograph taken. Below are some examples of close up shots I've taken using macro. These shots were not cropped and represent the original distance from the subject.

As you can see from the latter shots, even though I used 'macro' and pressed on screen the focal subject for focusing, the images are not as sharp as I would of liked. Instead the background seems to be sharper than the foreground subject. A recommendation in future would be to take the shot from slightly further back, so as to sharply focus the foreground subject, and crop the image in post-processing.

Some general close up photography advice would be firstly to use a white sheet or black sheet to increase or reduce illuminance on the subject.

Another trick I've heard of but have yet to try, is to choose a low ISO setting, and turn on the flash. This means that you can be left with sharper and more illuminating photos.

For each image below, you can click on them for full resolution:

Day shot - Macro - 'Mushroom'

Day shot - with Flash - 'Mushroom'

Day shot - Macro - 'Mushroom'

Day shot - with Flash - 'Mushroom'

Day shot - Macro - 'Daisies'

Day shot - Macro - 'Daisy'

Day shot - Macro - 'Daisy'

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tilt shift video on the Galaxy S2 Camera report on extraordinary results using post processing of footage shot with a Samsung Galaxy S2 Camera:

Tilt Shift Lincoln UK - from Stu Kennedy on Vimeo.

According to Stu Kennedy; "Tilt-shift is a technique often used in small and medium-format cameras that use tilt for selective focus. However, in the case of the Galaxy S2 camera, the tilt-shift effect was added afterwards with After Effects 5.5. Kennedy used the Time Line feature in After Effects and reduced each clip to 27 percent of its original time. The camera was at 30 fps and he edited it in Vegas 10." (, 2011) Catch the full article at:

Quickly snap a photo using a widget from the homescreen of the Galaxy S2 Camera: A comparison

Capturing an event, a scene, or action shot, as it happens, is one of the most useful things to be able to accomplish. Having a good quality camera phone (that you are sure to have on hand) can help.  I've looked at android applications for taking a rapid burst of images in a previous post. Here I look at 3 applications available that allow you to almost instantly take a photograph by pressing an icon on your homescreen. This is particularly revelevant for the Galaxy S2, as it does not have a dedicated camera button.

You'll notice that these apps are marketed as spy apps, as they emphasis silent shutter shooting. However, it is equally useful to be able to effortlessly capture a photo by pressing an icon on your homescreen, rather than launching the camera app and taking a photo.

One Shot Silent Camera

One Shot Silent Camera
A nice widget that takes a third of a homescreen image, with a button to take a photo, preview shots, and snap a photo. In settings you can choose 'Shot Count' as well as 'Brightness' and 'Timer'. My issue with this app is that it shoots in low resolution 480x640, and doesn't have options for 'Flash' or 'Focus'. The paid option has enhanced features for 'Shot Count' and 'Brightness' etc.

Camera Widget

'Camera Widget' allows you to place a small icon on your homescreen (you can choose from a range of icons). You can choose whether to autofocus or otherwise. Upon pressing the icon, it takes a photo within a few seconds, and displays a preview window (from a range of choices) as it does so. I like that this Camera app will take photos at full resolution but like the previous widget, it does not have flash option.

Snap Camera Pro

'Snap Camera Pro' is a fully featured camera app which also as a 'quick snap' widget. The widget takes I res photos but does not take flash photos. However, once you take a photo with the widget it quickly previews the photo and launches into full camera mode, which is almost as useful. This costs just 70 cent in the market and has filter settings as well as 'multi shot' feature. Because of this, this would be my winner out of the three apps reviewed!

Galaxy S2 Camera Pictures Live Wallpaper

As you begin to take better pictures with your Galaxy S2 phone, you might want to create a collage of the latest photos. This useful app, called 'Camera Pictures Live Wallpaper' which is free from the Android App Market, creates a floating slide of the images in your DCIM folder, and it works well on the Samsung Galaxy S2.

Galaxy S2 Homescreen

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Must have Photo and Video Apps for your Android Samsung Galaxy S2 phone

The following at 4 tested apps on my Galaxy S2 Camera, that I consider essential, and which work very well:

'Little Camera'  (free) - A highly rated android photo app. From the app, it links you to your native camera app to take a photo, then allows you easily experiment with over 70 different filters and tools on the photo you've taken. You can layer different effects on each photo and it has a nice interface!

'Ultra Burst Camera' (paid) - Take up to 40 black & White photos per second with this tailored app. The app can take between 10 to 40 photos per second in black & white, depending on how high the resolution is set.

'Fast Burst Camera' (Free and Paid) - Can take up to 100 photos instantly, and can shoot 5 to 10 photos per second at 800x480. The paid version has 'Focus' and 'Flash' feature, so probably worth the 4 euro investment.

'IP Webcam' (Free) - Turns your phone into a wireless webcam for your computer or laptop. Can shoot at 640x480 resolution in landcape or portrait, and can use rear or front casing phone camera. Can enable audio too! Very useful!