Tag Archives: Mobile

A simple lighting technique with lovely light

The mobile phone light... soft and effective.

The mobile phone light… soft and effective.

Table-top photography works with soft light.

When you are doing still life shots you want soft, gentle light. Exposures can be longer so you can create lovely gentle shadow graduations. Your mobile phone provides an excellent light source for this. Here is how it is done.

White source image

The basic technique is to put a bright white image onto your mobile screen. When you display it on the mobile screen the illumination produces a white light. This is a wonderful, quite localised soft light for your shot. The steps in detail are…

  • Open your favourite image editor
  • Create a new image (approx size 800 pixels by 600 pixels)
  • Paint it brilliant (pure) white
  • If you are on your computer save the image then upload it to your phone
  • If you are on your mobile phone save the image to a known folder
  • When you want to use the light, display the image on screen

The white image on screen produces enough illumination to create the light you want for your table top image.

Other ways to use your mobile as a light source

Of course many mobiles are also capable cameras in their own right. So here are two other ways to use them:

Photographic light: Lots of mobiles have a “flashlight” app. This will allow you to use the camera flash as a photographic light onto your still life scene. Many on-camera (pop-up flash) flash units are very strong and have a harsh light. The flash on a mobile is often much softer and sometimes is coloured to be a similar colour to daylight (approx 5500 Kelvin). This ‘daylight balance’ is a great light and worth using if you have it. Prop your phone up with the flashlight app activated and start shooting.

Coloured light source: Traditionally coloured light is produced using colour gels. However, some apps on mobile phones can create both a white light or a range of other coloured lights. One such app for example is: Tiny flashlight + LED. This is an app. for Android phones, but there are other apps. for different operating systems. If you cannot find a suitable app. you can produce a colour image like the white one above. Store that on your phone and open the image when you want that colour light.


While the light from the screen of your phone might not be very strong, for a long exposure that is not too important. The light is wonderful and soft. As it comes from a wide source it creates lovely wrap-around shadows. These are just great for still life. Other features of phones can help with the lighting for your photography too. So, have a look at your mobile in a new light – see what you think.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

Your part in the amazing explosion of photography

Daily number of photos uploaded 2005-2013YTD

• Daily number of photos uploaded 2005-2013YTD •
Source: 2013 Internet Trends – KPCB
(2013 Source no longer available online. Latest version is shown as a slide show below).

Photography is about you and several billion other people.

The global phenomenon that is photography is growing at an incredible rate. Online posting of photographs is on-trend to double every year. In fact the number of photographs posted daily is literally mind-boggling.

Figures out

Published May 29, 2013, the “KPCB Internet Trends 2013 Report” by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers quotes some astonishing global figures for use of the Internet. The report publishes the graph above showing more than 500 million photographs are posted every day to just four online providers – Flickr, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. The figures are all derived from data published by the four companies.

Facebook the biggest photo-site

According to the report the biggest holder of photographs is Facebook. The social networking site handles more than 300 million photo  External link - opens new tab/page uploads per day. More than fifteen percent of the global population uses Facebook with more than sixty three percent of those using the site every month.

Despite the tsunami of photographs being posted online every day we must expect that many more photographs are not being uploaded. It would not be unreasonable to expect more than a billion photos are taken being taken worldwide everyday. Although the actual figure must remain speculation.

How many Internet devices are there in your house?

The KPCB Report gives figures for a wide range of global growth rates. Mobile Internet use and general mobile use has exploded too. Many families have more than ten Internet enabled devices in the home – computers, games machines, mobile phones, cars, televisions, tablets… the list goes on. Against that backdrop, photography is not an unusual growth case.


Another area of growth of interest to photographers is video. A few weeks ago YouTube topped 1 Billion viewing hours in a week. In some countries young people are watching more YouTube than TV these days. Calculations from figures in the KPCB report suggest that about 1,008,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each week. This is corroborated by the YouTube statistics page: YouTube Statistics page  External link - opens new tab/page. Certainly the video channel is becoming a global phenomenon as it appears to be taking on TV and winning  External link - opens new tab/page. However, there are also many other online video websites.

How many other photosharing sites are there?

There are thousands of photo-sharing and publishing sites globally. I personally publish photographs on seven different sites. How about you? One thing is for certain. The global growth industry that is photography has not yet peaked.

The KPCB report in full

The latest report is in slide form which I have included below for you.

KPCB Internet Trends is published annually by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

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