Getting Exposure Right In Smartphone Portraiture


Nokia have published an interesting article on their blog describing how to maximize the use of exposure with their 808 PureView smartphone, (we have one of these in our lab actually and it really does take some great images). The blog explains how in the ‘creative mode’ on the 808 PureView, you can manually adjust the exposure, deliberately under exposing or over exposing the photograph. Of course this is ‘standard’ photography and these tips can be applied to whichever smartphone you have (within reason).






Above are two images one showing the cameras ‘correct’ exposure and the other deliberately ‘under’ exposed.



If you bracket the exposure, allowing the camera to take three or five exposures spanning the ‘correct’ exposure with increments in either direction, this will give you a great learning tool.

The above shots show three images that have been bracketed, one over, one ‘correct’ and one under.


Of course, flash plays a key part in photography and you may find your smartphone trying to fire the flash and fill-in when you don’t actually want that effect. Just turn it off and the camera will under expose, if your subject is backlit, this will result in a silhouette portrait which to many is considered an ‘error’.

To my mind and many others, there is not necessarily a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ photograph, once you have mastered the essentials and fully understand what your camera is doing, then don’t be afraid to override it and experiment.

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at:

One Comment

  • Carlos

    The model used for this article on the Nokia blog looks like she was dragged in for these images. “Deer in the headlights” expression on her face, term we use here in Texas. On their blog there are some images of her on a balcony with snow in the background. Her expression “seems” to say…hurry up…I am freezing out here! LOL-could be Adam’s girlfriend or wife. Heheheh.
    My wife is not crazy when I use her as a model and has “delete” rights after the test shots.