Part one of this post was all about selecting a custom focus and exposure point for an image and how this is one of the best ways to improve your phoneography. Selecting a good focus and exposure point depends on your lighting conditions and artistic vision. Continuing from where yesterday’s post left off, part two of this feature contains a second example of selecting a custom exposure point.
Which Point Should You Choose?
The series of photos below was taken in my living room on a cloudy day. The images feature a palm plant sitting in front of an east facing window. Just out the window you can see my neighbour’s house.
Option One: Selecting a Lighter Spot for Focus and Exposure
For this particular image, I chose a focal point just to the left of the neighbours window at the top of the image. When I select this spot, the iPhone camera is trying to maintain the exposure and focus on this point. As a result, you can clearly make out the neighbour’s house. Because the camera is focused on exposing the house, the plant looks dark and we lose a lot of the leafy details in the shadows. In photography, the term clipping is used to describe when detail is lost in the shadows.
Looking at this image, it’s obvious this isn’t an ideal spot for focus and exposure. The neighbour’s house is a major distraction in this image. To make matters worse, the plant is clipped and overall the photo lacks a sense of focus.
Option Two: Selecting a Darker Spot for Focus and Exposure
For option 2, I selected a darker spot. I choose to set my focus and exposure on the dark green palm leaves in the bottom left hand corner. When I clicked on the spot, my iPhone camera made the entire image lighter in an attempt to preserve the details of the dark green leaves.
In the process of capturing the dark green palm leaves, we lose the distracting details of my neighbour’s house and the background. Although it is great to lose the distractions, some of the plant’s leaves have become over exposed. Despite the over exposure, this image is a better choice for post processing than the first one.
Although my selected exposure and focus point results in some over exposure, this is where the photographer’s artistic vision comes into play. In this case, I think loss of detail works. To me, the loss of detail helps this palm tree look like it is outside in a misty rain forest rather than a house plant next to a window.
Comparing the two photos shows how selecting a custom exposure and focus point can have a dramatic impact on the overall outcome of an image. The point that you choose will depend on a variety of factors including available light and your own artistic vision. Have some fun, play around and see what a difference this simple step can make in your phoneography journey!