Okay, so now you have a better camera app on your phone – what’s next in your pursuit of better phone photos?
Where your phone lags behind your more professional camera is definitely in the lighting department. Your camera will have a wider ISO range, probably a much better sensor – camera phone photos usually end up looking like total garbage in low light.
They look grainy, and the LED light on your phone looks so flat and the color is terrible. In most cases, it’s just not good. Yes, I know there are some phones out there that react better in low light, BUT, wouldn’t it be nice if you could CONTROL your light more like you do with your regular camera and an off camera flash?
You might be thinking, “If I have to carry around a portable light, why not just bring my big camera?”
Well, the lighting solutions we’re going to discuss here will fit right in your pocket or a small bag – and aren’t as heavy as a speedlite!
The Lume Cube is a great little light for your smartphone, action camera, or drone. Unlike a lot of similar lights, it has a tripod mount built into the housing. I’ve even used it as an impromptu video light for my DSLR. The 1.5 inch cube produces up to 1500 lumens of light and is adjustable by 10 steps of brightness.
It can be controlled manually or synced via Bluetooth with the Lume Cube app. When synced you can choose to use it as a constant light source, a synced flash or a strobe. You can also connect multiple Lume Cubes wirelessly.
It’s sturdy – with a tough aluminum housing that is waterproof up to 100 feet (30 meters). The enclosed battery is recharged via USB (takes a little over an hour to charge from an outlet) and provides up to 2 and a half hours of light at 50% power.
Each Lume Cube carries a price tag of about $80 (and you can get $10 off if you order a two pack)
This tiny little light will fit right in your pocket. It provides steady even light for your phone. It can be clipped directly on to your phone (on either side) for taking better pictures for Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or Pinterest.
The LEDM32’s brightness can be adjusted manually using the buttons on the housing and it is recharged via USB. On a full charge, it can provide up to 45 minutes of light.
At just $25, it is an affordable, easily transportable option for getting better light for your phone photos.
Godox A1 Smartphone Flash
If you really want to take more professional photos with your phone, look into this Godox A1 smartphone flash. This is a full on flash for your phone (it can also work with regular cameras with the proper trigger)
- It can be used on Auto Mode or Manual Power Mode
- Offers a constant light source from modeling light as well as flash
- 2.5s Recycle Time
- 700 Full Power Flashes on a single charge (takes just under an hour to charge via USB)
- 5 Steps of Power Output from 1/1 to 1/16
And, the true game changer for photo professionals, the A1 flash can Serve as a transmitter to control other Godox flashes, and you can wirelessly adjust flash power level. Since your phone’s sync speed is pretty slow, this is best for stationary objects. Still, that opens up a whole different world for portraits, product photography, food photography, still lifes, and more.
At $69, it’s a little less expensive than the Lume Cube (though slightly larger) and it adds the option for adding more professional lighting equipment to your phone photos.
While these devices have opened up the world of phone photography, there is a drawback.
To use these lights as a synced flash via Bluetooth connection, you will have to use the proprietary camera app that syncs to the device. And, I’ve found, most of the camera apps these companies use are not very good.
I know. I know. I was just telling you in the last article to get a better camera app to take better photos. But you have two options here:
- Use these lights as a constant light source. You’ll be able to actually ‘see’ how the light is hitting on your subject as opposed to having to guess how it will come out and you can use any camera app you want. Or….
- Use the proprietary app that comes with the device, and EDIT the photos in a different app.
Editing, you say? YES! And that’s what we’ll discuss in part three of this series.