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PHOTOGRAPHY

[Tips & Tricks] The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a POCOgrapher

2018-12-15 01:56:41
2844 13

Alright! if you are reading this, there is a good chance that you own a surprisingly affordable flagship phone which comes packed with insane processing speed and a good camera. In this post, I am going to spend some time on the camera of this phone. Rather than an in-depth technical review, my focus is more on the practical aspects of taking incredible shots using your new Pocophone F1. Hence this post includes details regarding various apps, gadgets, tips and tricks which will make you a great Pocographer. (#pocographer)

Camera highlights - Sony's IMX363 sensor 12 megapixels (f/1.9) + 5 megapixels on the back. The front camera is 20 megapixels (f/2.0) similar to the front-facing camera on the Mi 8.

Gear Up

With such premium specifications, Pocophone F1 helps take smartphone photography to the next level in any conditions. But if you want to go even further, you should consider buying the following gears. Well at least a few of them – Some of those could be replaced with “jugaad” or some app tricks – I will explain this in the “Techniques” section.

  • Smartphone tripod (Rs 150 to Rs 500): I can’t stress enough the importance of this small gadget when it comes to taking selfies by standing far away from the phone with a timer or for the long exposure shots especially during low light conditions. With manual camera mode in Pocophone F1, you can take beautiful long exposure (up to 32s) photo using a smartphone tripod. There are a lot of varieties of tripods (gorilla pods are more flexible) which wouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket and are quite durable. I personally have a smartphone tripod which I bought through Amazon for Rs 220, around one year back. However, these tripods are usually short and are not suitable for all conditions. If you own a bigger tripod which you use to take photos on a DSLR, the best solution is to buy a mobile holder attachment/phone tripod mount online and connect the same to your DSLR tripod.
  • Gimbal stabilizer – 3-axis (Rs 5000 – Rs 15000): The 4k videos from the Poco F1  are not shake-proof (No EIS yet). If you have already tested the 4k video, you would have noticed the shaky video with fabulous clarity. A Gimbal stabilizer is a great option to make your videos shake-proof. And once you buy one, make sure to try shooting a hyper-lapse video which is super easy to make with a Gimbal Stabilizer.
  • Lenses: Forget the expensive lenses used for DSLR cameras. The smartphone lenses these days are equally efficient and way cheaper. Following are the major types of lens available. Their costs start from Rs 1000 and can go up to Rs 10,000 for premium ones:
    Macro lens – There are multiple variants (10x or 15x or 20x or 30 x etc). I am planning to purchase a dedicated 30x lens soon.
    Wide angle lens – With some apps and some tips, you can get the similar functionality using only the Pocophone lenses. Hence, I am not shopping for this lens.
    Telephoto lens – There is no work around for this one. If you need to zoom without losing clarity, you need to get this lens.
    Fisheye lens – Install the google pixel 3 camera app in your poco device and then you can take beautiful fish eye photos. Hence, I wouldn’t be buying one of these.
    There are multiple options to buy these online. Apexel.in is a website which has a good collection of these. It is always preferred to buy the dedicated lens than the 3in1 or 5in1 combos.
  • Waterproof underwater pouch (Rs 100 – Rs 200): Start recording a video, put the phone in the pouch and lower the phone underwater. Shoot away.
  • Microfiber cloth – Respect the lens and treat it like the same way you do a DSLR camera. These cloths come free with lenses, smartphone skins etc. But if you don’t have one already, head to an optical shop or a camera shop and get one for about 30 Rs. Keep this with you all the time if possible and clean your Poco lens right before the photo session.
  • Selfie Stick – If you are into that kind of thing.


Get Your Apps Together


  • Snapseed (from Google)
    My personal favourite, this app has a lot of editing options and has managed to keep the interface really clean and simple. The following comparison gives an idea of what you can do by tweaking a few parameters. In this image (the one on the right), I used the following options from Snapseed - HDR-scape, Curves, Details and Saturation.
  • Framelapse
    If you are planning to take a lot of time-lapse videos, this is a great app for you. As you can see from the interface, you have the freedom to input the frame interval that you want and the final video duration you desire. The app gives an idea on how much recording time would be required for this and even shows the speed.
  • Deepskycam
    This app is for taking photographs of the deep sky. Getting a beautiful shot of the milky way would be easier with this app. It works well if you are not in a metro area or small cities where there is a lot of light pollution. As I live in Bangalore and I got my Poco only recently, I still haven’t had a chance to travel away from all the light pollution. This is an image taken directly from the website related to the app. Check their website out for tutorials and tips. I can’t wait to experiment with this app to shoot some stars.
  • Zeotropic
    This is a rare gem of an app which converts a photo into a video. Yes, you heard that correct. This app is gaining popularity with an easy to use interface and quality results. The following sample is a shot I took during my latest trip to Bhutan. With the help of the app, I made the clouds move as if this was a real time-lapse video.



  • Pixel 3 Camera as an App
    Pocophone F1 has a truly remarkable camera. At the same time, there are certain features that cameras like Pixel 3 have, that can enhance the photography experience for the Poco user. If you are looking for some additional features,  there is an option to install the pixel 3 camera in your Pocophone. Search for the “pixel 3 camera apk for Pocophone”, download and install the apk with one click. It is that simple. I tried out few features like HDR+ mode, fisheye photos and photosphere. The following fish eye lens pic was taken from my balcony with my dog posing for the photo. As I have not updated to the latest beta version of MIUI, I do not have the night mode from Poco yet. I can't wait to try and compare the famous night sight mode from pixel 3 and the night mode from Poco.

  • Tiny Planet Maker
    Makes your landscape photos into beautiful tiny planets.

  • Camera zoom FX and Camera FV-5
    Both of these apps have a manual mode and various filters which are really useful when it comes to taking photos at a professional level. Exposure bracketing is a seriously kick-ass feature which helps in creating HDR where you can control the number of frames and exposure levels. However, this conversion is more efficient if you take these images into Photoshop or some other editing software to do post processing.
  • Resplash
    This is an app where you can download a bunch of amazing photos. The collection of photos is a true inspiration for all types of photographers.
  • Hypocam
    For all the B&W enthusiasts out there, Hypocam is by far the best app for B&W photography.
  • Afterlight
    I use this app a lot to add amazing lights, dusty textures and some cool filters to the photos. Take a snap, run it through afterlight and boom, you have your next Instagram-ready photo.
  • Google Carboard Camera
    360-degree photo, best results when viewed in VR devices.
  • Adobe Photoshop Fix and Adobe Lightroom CC
    Photoshop comes in two variants: Adobe Photoshop Fix and Adobe Photoshop Express. Former is more likely to be useful for editing smartphone photos and later is more aligned towards raw editing for DSLR. Both Photoshop and Lightroom feature a variety of tools for making your photos look great.
  • Bonus
    If you really like fancy and cool filters, you could check out the PicsArt Photo Studio – Collage Maker and Pic Editor.
    If you take a lot of selfies and you like a dedicated selfie photo editor packed with lots of filters, you should check out the following apps – Candy camera and Facetune.

Techniques

  • DIY smartphone tripod
    Take a medium to large sized paper cup, invert it, make a cut across the centre to keep your phone steady and upright. You could widen the gap to get the desired tilt.


    Another simple workaround involves a bottle and a rubber band.
  • Use real-life filters with Poco F1
               a) Use your sunshades as a cool filter for your photos
               b) Take a photo with a glass of water in the front
               c) Use a magnifying lens/DSLR lens as a filter
               d) Use neon lights as filters
               e) Spray water on glass and photograph the subject from the other side.

  • Wide angle shots without using any gear

    Both these shots are taken from the same location using my Poco F1. The first shot is taken in landscape orientation under the normal photo mode. The second shot is taken in portrait orientation in panorama mode. The trick is not to finish the panning of the camera. Stop taking the photo mid-way through the panorama and get beautiful wide-angle shots. This works well for taking photos of landscapes involving objects which are at a distance from the camera.

    This is a sample shot I took using the same technique
  • Pocophone F1 Manual Mode
    a) Take low light photos with increased exposure time (Poco F1 has till 32s) – Keep the phone static (either a tripod or something to support the phone for 32s)


    b) Take shots of blurred lights by changing the F-number in manual mode to less than 10 and take photos of lights.


    c) Create light painting
                  i)  Get someone to move the lights or
                  ii) Take photos of moving lights like tail lights of vehicles  or
                  iii) Focus on the lights (reduce the ISO and increase the exposure time) and move the phone around to create some abstract shots of lights



How POCO Team Can Help Pocographers

  • Custom options for long exposure shots (Star trails, light painting etc).

    These are the shots one might think would be possible using the manual mode in Pocophone, which true for the most part. Let me explain with an example. The following image is a 25 min shot of star trails taken from my terrace in a different smartphone (worth Rs 11,000). In all the recent smartphones, the shutter speed is mostly up to 32s. The subject gets too bright at higher exposures. Hence it is impossible to shoot a 25 min shot of star trails just like that. This has to be done by setting a reasonable base exposure for the image, take the shot and superimpose the parts which are moving in the frame without letting in more light into the sensor – Pocophone development team, please help.
  • AR video kit – Just for making some fun and creative videos.
  • 4K 60 fps and Electrical Image Stabilisation (EIS) – This is a dream, please make this a reality. (Although Gimbal users would have to turn the image stabilisation off as it might interfere adversely with the gimbal adjustments)

I will keep posting similar posts on photography which I believe would be helpful for Pocophone owners who want their smartphone photography to stand out. And, I will keep posting my Poco shots on Instagram (@instgrapher89).

If you have read till now, I really appreciate your patience. Do come back to read more awesome stuff.

Thanks,
Faheem

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2018-12-15 01:56:41
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Moderator

s25 |

#1

WOW. Excellent thread mate! I'm sure this is a very detailed guide for POCOgraphy.
2018-12-19 20:59:37

Top Cat

MostlyUnusual Author | from mobile

#2

s25
WOW. Excellent thread mate! I'm sure this is a very detailed guide for POCOgraphy.

Thanks. I hope this thread is helpful to the smartphone photography enthusiasts out there. Will keep posting similar articles for Pocographers.
2018-12-20 10:39:14

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1683498473 | from mobile

#3

Great info.
2018-12-29 12:55:51

Top Cat

MostlyUnusual Author |

#4


Thanks for your comment.
2019-01-02 08:26:07
No doubts, photoshop is a good program for editing images but I prefer another photoshop plugins. As a plugin I use Luminar. It combines advanced editing tools with an understandable interface. Moreover, it boasts Photoshop-like features at a much more affordable price. What’s important in your case it’s compatible with any laptop, so there would be no headache which laptop to choose.
2019-01-11 14:43:42

Top Cat

MostlyUnusual Author |

#6

NicoleT replied at 2019-01-11 14:43:42
No doubts, photoshop is a good program for editing images but I prefer another photoshop plugins. As ...

Hey that is a really good tip. Should try it out.
2019-01-12 10:20:40
Quality thread bruuuu.. Great job :D
2019-01-15 09:15:19

Top Cat

MostlyUnusual Author |

#8

MasterOfSpeed replied at 2019-01-15 09:15:19
Quality thread bruuuu.. Great job :D

Thanks for your comment :)
2019-01-22 21:57:02

Top Cat

AnkurSharma | from mobile

#9

Thank for sharing
2019-01-22 23:11:21
Ankur Sharma

Top Cat

MostlyUnusual Author |

#10


Welcome :)
2019-01-23 19:43:13
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