Cell Phone Photography Tip: Override Dark Exposures

little boy with red hair crosses his arms, sitting in a little rocking chair in front of antique lace curtains

If you have ever tried to use your cell phone to take a picture of someone standing in front of a window, you likely noticed their face ended up being rather dark and underexposed. There are lots of ways to avoid this issue, many of which I described in more detail in my photo tip article on the Pittsburgh Moms Collective website (check it out!).

Make sure the light is on your subject’s face! Pay attention to where it is coming from… is the sun out? Overhead lights on? Is it bouncing off of a big white wall?

BUT if you end up with light behind your subject, you can work around it… One of the ways to do so is by overriding your camera’s automatic exposure just before you take the picture. Even if your camera of choice is your cell phone, this is easy to do!

Check out my quick tip below, to show you how to override dark exposures when taking pictures on your cell phone.


How is that for a simple trick! I’ve demonstrated the technique using my iPhone 8, but most cell phones’ native camera software should have similar capability. Or check into some other camera apps (like Camera+) that give you a bit more control over your camera’s exposure than the native app does.

And happy picture taking!