IPL 2014: 5 tips to use your smartphones to click pictures in a stadium

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The IPL fever of the year is ON, and assuming that a lot of you might make it to the stadium, here are five simple tips on how to do some photography at the T20 matches, using your smartphone.

1). Optimum manual settings
If your camera phone supports manual settings, then there are a couple of things that you need to take care of. The ISO should be kept on the intermediate setting (somewhere in the region of  ISO 100-400 during daytime and 200-800 during the night), because lowering it could result in blurry photos (as the camera drops shutter speeds), while bumping the ISO will result in grainy pictures.

Newer smartphones come with better ISO capabilities, so you can experiment increasing it a little bit more to get the desired results.

Now, since IPL matches takes place both during day and night, White Balance or WB as it says on your phone, needs to be checked as well. While sticking to Auto is the easy way out, but tricky light conditions can result in off-colored results. So, during the day matches (as long its not cloudy), keep the WB to “sunny” and during night matches, setting it to “tungsten” makes sense.

2). HDR (High Dynamic Ranging)
Keep it simple here, and you’ll get better results. Using the HDR mode requires some dedication. While it brings out the shadows in photos, it takes away the processing power of the phone. That means, it takes some time for the phone to process the HDR image and save it. Instead you can switch it off, and not risk missing any moment on the field.

During day matches, a little exception can be made regarding HDR. The mode can be used to fill in light when the sun casts harsh shadows.

3). Placing the camera:
While limited space might not let you be in the right posture to keep the stability high, the phone should be kept on a stable surface, so that it there’s less blur in the photos. Use the guard-rail, the chair kept next to you, or maybe your friend’s head to keep the phone stable.

If your phone supports stabilization, it should be kept on, especially during the night matches, because that’s when the shutter speed is lowered, which increases the chances of blur.

4). Modes and Flash:
Since only a handful of phones offer manual control for the camera, it’s good to experiment a little before finalizing. If your smartphone has “Action” or “Sports” mode, choose that before you start capturing the action.

The reach of the phone’s flash is very limited, so don’t expect to light up the whole stadium with the little LED (or Xenon, for that matter) unit. Instead, keep the flash off, and rely on slightly bumped up ISO (keep it in the range of ISO 100-400 during the day and ISO 200-800 during the night) and high shutter speed to capture the action, during night matches. Also, since the flash has a small reach, it would end up lighting up the spectators’ heads in front of you, and the field dark.

It’s always nice to pay and spray in a situation like this. So, if you have burst mode on your camera phone, switch it ON, and click a multiple pictures instead of just one, thereby increasing the chance of getting better photos.

5). Digital Zoom
It’s understood that since you would be sitting among the spectators and at a sizable distance from the players, you would try to zoom in, to get a closer view of the game. But since the phones rely on digital zoom, the feature should be kept at a minimum, as more the digital zoom is used, hazier the pictures become.

Settings Day Night
ISO 100-400 200-800
WB Sunny Tungsten
HDR Off; Can be switched ON (for Harsh sunlight) Off
Flash Off Off