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Smartphone Photography Hack: How To Light Portraits With Just A Smartphone

Learn how your smartphone can be used as a simple lighting tool for creating dynamic portraits.

| Portraits and People


What's the one thing the majority of us always have on us nowadays? The answers got to me a smartphone so with this in mind, what better device to use as a go-to lighting accessory when you need to shine more light on your subject or, alternatively, want to have a bit of fun with dynamic backgrounds. 


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To show you just how versatile a smartphone can be as a lighting tool, Youtuber Run N Gun has put a great tutorial together that walks you through a smartphone light hack he uses for a lot of his low light portrait shoots. 

"What many people don't realize, is how your phone light can be used as a tool when you're stuck in a tricky lighting situation," says Run N Gun. 

When we say 'smartphone light' we don't mean the 'torch' most smartphones have on the rear. Instead, you'll be using your smartphone's screen to illuminate your subject as this creates a larger and softer light than the rear light is capable of. Run N Gun also recommends you download an app called 'colour screen' which allows you to cycle through colours and adjust the hue/saturation so you can shine coloured light on your subject, too. 

As well as a static light, you can also use your smartphone to 'paint in' light on specific areas when shooting long exposures or, indeed, introduce different sections of colour. 

It's a cool trick and it's certainly one we didn't think of! 

Want to see more on smartphones and portraits? Have a read of our 'leading smartphones portrait mode comparison' where we put several smartphones to the test, capturing portraits of our resident model Lucy. 

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