How to shoot professional photos on the ZenFone 4
If you’re looking to take your photos to the next level, we have a few tips to make your shots on the ZenFone 4 look incredible.
The first step to taking full control of your photos is by using pro mode in the native ASUS Camera app. This lets you adjust ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and more. By default, you can enable Pro mode from a quick switch button next to the shutter key. If you’re just starting out, you should take a look at the camera app’s basic features before moving on to the advanced ones here.
You’ll need to know some of the basics of these settings before you start playing with them. By default, everything is set to adjust automatically, and if you change things too much, you can always tap the reset button.
At the top of the menu options is White Balance. This informs the camera software what color to identify as true white, and sets the other colors accordingly. This is displayed as a kind of temperature, ranging from warm (where whites are redder) and cool (where whites are bluer). If subjects are coming out as a little warm, you can dial the white balance down to a cooler temperature, and conversely, if subjects appear on the bluish side, you can turn up the temperature to add in more red.
The next icon is EV. This is exposure compensation, which helps determine how big the aperture gets when you’re taking a picture at a given shutter speed. The bigger the EV, the more open the aperture will be, the more light you’ll let in, and the brighter your picture will be. The ZenFone 4 will typically figure this out on its own, but you may want to bump this up in dark situations, or down where there’s too much light.
Another way to lighten an image is by increasing the ISO value. This represents the sensor’s sensitivity to light. Generally this also means increasing the amount of visual noise in an image, so only adjust the ISO as a last resort when trying to let as much light in as possible.
The mountain icon just beside the shutter key will indicate whether you’re shooting from the primary camera or the second wide angle lens. In general, you’ll want to stick with the primary camera, as it enjoys better light sensitivity and higher resolution. You can tell which lens is active by checking the indicator in the top-left.
Next is Shutter speed. This is effectively how quickly the lens “blinks” when taking a picture. The longer it stays open, the more light gets let in, and the brighter your photo becomes. The catch here is that the image will streak if anything in the photo moves. That said, you’ll want a short shutter speed to capture fast-moving subjects. The ZenFone 4 include optical image stabilization, which helps offset natural hand shake for shutter speeds up to 1/4 of a second. For those times you want to let in a ton of light, you can take exposures of up to 32 seconds. For that sort of thing, you’ll need a tripod. For night photography, you can enjoy some really amazing results.
The next icon lets you manually adjust focus. Typically, you can simply tap on the screen where you want the camera to focus on, or press and hold to make sure the focus point doesn’t change even if you or your subject moves. Manually taking control of focus is good if you’re not sure when your subject will come into view, but you’re confident in the distance they’ll be passing in front of you.
A few of the settings along the other side provide important utilities too. In the top-left, there’s a toggle for the flash. Don’t be shy to turn it on when you need it; low light can ruin a good shot. On the flip side, there’s no point in the flash firing if you’re taking a picture of a performance on stage. The light won’t help at that range.
A timer will let you prepare a shot without having to hold the phone. Use this when propping up the ZenFone 4 on something so you can get in the shot, or just to avoid camera shake for longer exposures.
The HDR icon stands for High Dynamic Range. This will combine images shot at different exposures so light areas aren’t blown out and completely white, and dark areas are properly illuminated. This tends to be really helpful to have on when taking a picture of a backlit subject (such as someone standing in front of a sunset), though you may want to turn it off if there’s a particular effect you’d like to achieve.
Finally, the gear icon lets you dive deeper into the ZenFone 4 camera settings. There’s one in particular that’s worth tweaking. Under Camera Resolution, scroll down to the bottom and select JPEG + RAW. This will save two copies of a photo whenever you shoot. The RAW version is what you’ll want to work on editing later using a desktop editing application like Photoshop. It has more detail in it, and allows for more editing options later, such as adjusting exposure.
While you’re in settings, you may also want to turn on guidelines. This helps you line up the Rule of Thirds in your shots. For day-to-day composition, it’s very helpful to make sure that focal points of the image are at the intersections of the lines, or that they follow closely along the guidelines.
That should help you get around Pro mode on the ZenFone 4. By knowing how and when to use each of the adjustments at hand, you’ll be able to capture life’s precious memories with skill and finesse. Visit the ZenFone 4 product page to learn more about what this great phone can do for you.