Slow it Down
Ambarin Afsar tells you how to make slightly crazy, slightly trippy long exposures using your good ol’ cellphone.
When light levels fall, the first thing you get worried about is the shaky pictures that your cellphone camera will end up making. Have you ever thought of using such slow shutterspeeds to your advantage?
Explore the Inbuilt Camera App
First things first, check whether the native camera app allows you to control the shutterspeed in any manner. Can you reduce the ISO value to base level? Doing so will give you a slow shutterspeed in low light. Does your phone have a specific Night exposure mode that either gives you a preset long exposure, or gives you control over long exposures? If it does, your battle is half won.
Look for Third Party Apps
Camera FV-5, a paid Android app, allows you to control variables like shutterspeed and ISO, while apps like Slow Shutter Cam (iOS), Lightbomber (iOS) are dedicated to long exposures. While a great number of these apps are paid, it is a nominal amount (Rs. 50–200, depending on whether you buy the app during discount season) and completely worth all the added control.
If you have trouble focusing, look for pinpricks of light in the landscape, or areas of the frame that are contrasty. Camera FV-5 will also allow you focus manually.
Looking for Subjects
Tangled shadows on the wall, traffic lights, neon signboards, slow sync flash at parties where people are dancing, fairy lights and other decorative fixtures at festival processions and weddings, are all examples of the kind of subjects you can choose to make long exposures of.