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November 11, 2013

Photographing light head-on, with Nokia Camera

One of the most challenging photos to take is one with a light source directly in front of you, as it can overload the sensor with too much light. With Nokia Camera on your Lumia, you can take control of that light.

Nokia Camera combines the best features of Nokia Pro Camera and Nokia Smart Camera. To take advantage of these professional photography tools scan the QR code on the right.

There are a couple of tactics you can use to photograph light sources, and they vary depending on the light source itself.


If you’re snapping away with the sun directly in front of you, you’ll probably need to think about your position. You can’t move the sun, or dial it down a bit; you’ll just have to work with it.

Position yourself so that the sun isn’t glaring wildly in the centre of your shot, but instead maybe off to the side, or obstructed slightly by something in the frame.

Take this photo, shot with a Nokia Lumia 925, for example.


I really liked the way the sun was beaming down the cobbled-stone street, but because the sun was low and bright I needed to position myself so that it was slightly obscured by another building. As you can see, the sun is still there, but only part of it. It’s also left a nice lens flare, too.

To reduce any massive whitewash that you can often get in scenarios like this, I used Nokia Camera to turn down the exposure level to -2.0, with an ISO of 100.

With a light source like the sun in front of you, you’re always going to have contrasting subjects of light and dark. However, this can sometimes create the most interesting shots.


One of our readers, Jills4824 in a previous Nokia Camera article asked how to take photos of candlelight. There is a way.

If you want to capture any detail of small light-emitting objects, such as candles, you’ll need to get in close. Not too close, though! Be careful not to burn yourself or your phone as you hover over the flame.


With Nokia Camera you can take control over the focus to capture anything from 15cm to infinity. Keeping the ISO levels low, between 100 and 300, might also be helpful here to get a nice clean, noise-free shot. It’ll also keep your photo from being too bright.

Position yourself about 15cm away from the flame and set the focus accordingly. A steady hand is needed here as any movement for such a close shot may give you some blur – especially when trying to capture an unpredictable flame.

The fun thing with manual focus is that you can keep the phone in the same position and adjust the focus on something else entirely in the background, leaving an out-of-focus flame in the foreground, to give a really nice bokeh effect.

Try these the next time you want to use light in your photos and don’t forget to share your photos with us, using the comments section below.