Mobile Photography Apps – Average Camera Pro
It is with great pleasure that I (@Khali310) write in this blog as a guest, to share the things I have learned through this photo-taking journey. I have always wanted to share with others the little that I have learned in this adventure of Instagram Thanks to Dan (the dude) Lum, I finally get to help others and am forever grateful for such an opportunity.
Now to what you all came here for, the break down of this great app. There are a handful of apps that have really helped push the limits of the mobile photography scene. Average Camera Pro (AvgCamPro) is definitely one of those apps, one that has brought mobile photography to a whole new level. One of the main uses of the AvgCamPro app is to get the long exposure effect that many seem to look for when shooting with an iPhone or any kind of mobile phone, mostly to get that smooth look when dealing with water. It is important to note that this app extends beyond the use of making water look smooth or misty. We will go into some detail about the different uses for this app.
When you open up the app you will see the main screen, which is showing what you want to capture, then there is going to be two main settings that you can adjust – the number of pictures that can be taken and the timer that counts down when the shutter button is pressed. When I talk about the number of pictures it is the setting that can be adjusted on the bottom left and timer is located on the bottom right (as shown in the picture below). Another very important part of shooting with AvgCamPro is the need to have a tripod or gorilla pod in order to keep the phone as still as possible while the app shoots the multiple pictures in order to get a crisp shot. For more info on the essential hardware, Dan posted a blog about it, which explains everything.
There really isn’t anything out of the ordinary when trying to smooth out the water with AvgCamPro, what one mainly needs to do when trying to smooth out water is get the right spot to take the picture in order to capture everything you want—whether it is a pier or just a waterfall. Once you have found the right location and have set everything up, then it is time to choose the amount of pictures to be taken. Things that I take into consideration when choosing the amount of pictures is wind, which can at times make it hard to get a sharp photo—that is when I choose either 32 or 64 shots instead of the 128. BUT when I feel like I can get all 128 shots without any interruption I will mostly always go with 128, which makes the water really smooth and sharp. Another thing I take into consideration, especially when shooting a pier (like the one below). I will wait till the waves have rolled out and are as flat as possible, and then I will press the shutter button. Taking that in consideration I set the shutter countdown to at most 2 seconds, in order to not get a blur from pressing the shutter button.
Once I have timed it all out and the app starts snapping away, it will start developing the smooth look fairly close to where the phone is set up, giving it a smooth look from the very beginning to the sharp horizon (as shown in the averaged out picture below). You will also want to pay attention to detail like the reflection of the light off the sand or how far the waves are rolling out in order to avoid waves coming to where your tripod is stationed and eventually ruining your shot. As seen the final result is a sharp picture with smoothed out water and no pixilation from the low light—at times you can get some movement of the clouds within the frame. One last note about smoothing out water is that there are times when you don’t want the water to look completely smooth and want to have the misty look, and for that I would generally go with about 32 shots or 64. But essentially it all comes down to messing with the amount of shots and really getting the look YOU want—I go for the smooth sharp water, but everybody has different tastes.
Another of the main reasons I use this app is for its excellent capability in low light conditions, which for many night phone shooters is a big relief. Although, it is possible to get some pretty good shots at night without using the app, most of the time they end up being grainy and miss a lot of detail. For those of you who don’t have the time to set up and shoot a night shot with AvgCamPro, I suggest using the HDR on the iPhone and tapping the exposure on a source of light to make the shot come out dark and a lot less grainy (as shown in the picture below).
If you go out with the intent to shoot night photography then you can set it up and then choose the amount of pictures – which for night shots I usually go with 64 or 32 if it is windy. The end result is the picture below, which is a lot darker and sharp, but of course you can get more of the buildings just by tapping the screen in order to get a different exposure.
A clear example of how sometimes AvgCamPro can really help out in making the picture a lot crisper and sharp especially under low light conditions are the pictures below, first shot with the native camera and then with AvgCamPro.
There are times when you do not necessarily want to smooth out water or get a sharp picture in low light, but just want to show the movement that is going on around you. There is many ways to do this. Most of the time, it is all about being creative and finding different ways to do so, but here are examples of how to catch movement with AvgCamPro. The first shot is to show the cloud movement that was going on, which was set at 64 shots since the movement of the clouds was very apparent. The second shot is to capture the Ferris wheel movement that I always thought would be great to be able to capture in a photo, which I waited as it started moving at a constant speed and set it up at 64 shots to get a good amount of movement.
I go beyond what many would think this app is used for and I am still finding different ways to use this app to its complete limit. One of the ways I use AvgCamPro is to create a ghost town look to the picture, especially doing it in Los Angeles where there is always some kind of traffic. The settings for these kind of shots I usually set it to its max which is 128 in order to completely average out anything that may be moving within the picture and the end result are the shots below.
One way that I have used this app is to white out anything but the main object that I want to capture the viewers attention. In this case, I tap the screen to get the exposure to completely white out the sky—this can be done usually by tapping the lower part of the screen instead of the sky, which would make the picture darker. Then I use the “L” button next to the shutter button, which locks the exposure. Then I mess around with the amount of shots till I get the one that I like the most, usually will be either 64 or 128. One thing to take into consideration is to get the right exposure, because at times it can get over exposed and will come out too white, so before locking the exposure make sure you have one that is not over powering. The time of day can also help out with lighting, when the light outside is not too strong would be a pretty good time shoot these kind of shots. The first shot was shot when it was slightly overcast and just a bit of the sun was slightly coming out. Then second shot was taken during a sunset, which is why there is a slight blue and pink color on the smoothed out water/sand.
Lastly, there are times when the sole intent is not to get any of the above results, but just want a clear and as sharp as possible shot. I have noticed that AvgCamPro really brings the sharpness in a regular picture to one that many would think is not capable with a regular phone. In these kind of shots I usually go 128 in order to get the sharpest image possible. In the first shot I wasn’t aiming at getting the movements of the clouds, but just getting a clear picture of Downtown LA. In the second picture, I wanted to get a sharp depth of field and really bring out the detail in the wall that was in focus, in my opinion making it seem like it was shot with a non-iPhone camera.
I really hope most of the information given in the blog post is useful for many of you and really helps you all go out with some new things to try out on your photo taking adventures. If there is anything you have a question about or more importantly feel I left out, by all means leave a comment below. Just remember that this is an app that will above all require a bit of patience and just constant practice, which in the long run will definitely pay off.