How to Capture Long Exposure Photos with Spectre Camera on iPhone


Spectre Camera, developed by Lux Optics LLC, takes computational photography on the next level on iOS devices. It recently received the iPhone App of the Year 2019 title from Apple because of its advanced photo capturing method and image processing capabilities.

Part of the reason why Spectre Camera can take such amazing photos is Apple’s powerful SoC chipset and Core ML (Machine Learning) API. It also uses Apple’s Metal framework for hardware-accelerated image rendering.

To create a long exposure effect, the app takes hundreds of photos in a span of a few seconds to create a composite image. In the processing, it uses AI as well to eliminate hand movement for an overall sharper result.

The first revision of the AI stabilization wasn’t available on older iPhone models, such as 6S, SE, and iPhone 7, due to limited hardware capabilities. However, they managed to accommodate enough processing power for AI stabilization by sacrificing the image resolution by a bit.

Spectre Camera also features tripod detection, automatic scene detection, and utilizes the DCI-P3 wide color gamut pipeline to generate color-accurate images.

If you take a lot of pictures with your iPhone, then you should take a look at our guide for capturing long exposure photos using the Spectre Camera app. Whether you have the iPhone 6S or the latest iPhone 11 Pro Max, Spectre Camera is compatible with all the iPhones released after 2015.

Capturing Long Exposure Photos using Spectre Camera

To take long exposure-style photos using Spectre Camera on your iPhone, here are a couple of things you should remember:

1. Keep your Device Steady

Comparison between a stabilized and unstabilized shot

In order to take long exposure photos, the first thing you have to do is to keep your device steady. As miniaturized image sensors on smartphones can’t capture as much light as compared to a DSLR, unsteady hand movements can result in a blurry picture.

To make it easier, you can also disable the automatic scene detection feature from the app interface. Simply click the lightbulb icon above the viewfinder and turn off light trails.

In case you keep capturing blurry photos, then you have no choice but to use a tripod or put your device on a flat surface.

2. Make Crowds and Moving Objects Fade Over

Removing Traffic from Photos

If you want to take a photo of a subject in a crowded area, then lower the exposure time to 3 or 5 seconds. Tell your subject to stand still and hit the shutter button.

The shutter speed makes the crowd fade over, but the subject stays in focus. Using the same technique, you can generate light trails and soft water streams.

If you are taking cityscapes, put the exposure time to 9 seconds to make the traffic disappear. Turn off light trails as well. Otherwise, you won’t get the same effect.

3. Adjust the Exposure

Adjusting Exposure Manually

If the environment is too dark or bright, adjusting the exposure manually results in a better shot. Simply swipe left or right (in horizontal mode) and up or down (in vertical mode) on the viewfinder to make the image brighter or darker to your preference.

This is super effective in low-light conditions, where the camera sensor struggles with artificial lights and captures the photo with an incorrect exposure.

4. Capture Live Photos

Live Photos was introduced way back in 2015 when Apple unveiled the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. It takes a series of photos to create a 1.5-second live clip.

Spectre Camera uses the Live Photos API to capture a Live Photo. If you are capturing blurry photos, then tap the gear icon below the viewfinder, tap Capture Settings, and toggle on Save Live Photo.

Every photo you take with Spectre Camera will now be saved as a Live Photo. You can then edit it, choose the sharpest keyframe, and save it as a regular photo.

Wrapping Up

That’s all you need to know for capturing long exposure photos on your iPhone using the Spectre Camera app. Despite being a powerful camera application, it is straightforward to use. It is available for download on the App Store for only ₹249 (USD 2.99).

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