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Sydney Opera House during Vivid

How to take great photos of Sydney Vivid with your smartphone

28 May 2016
Mariah - amaysim blogger


amaysim's content guru

Whether you’re heading down to the event for a solo YOLO or a night out with your squad, you’ll to want to take some snaps of the spectacular lights. We’ve got a few tips to help you take the best photo possible.

Winter is here and so is Vivid. If you’re out of the loop, Vivid is one of the biggest celebrations of light and sound in the world. Last year 1.7 million people came to iconic venues in Sydney like Circular Quay, Taronga Zoo, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Darling Harbour and Martin Place to check out 80 epic light installations.

Whether you’re heading down to the event for a solo YOLO or a night out with your squad, you’ll to want to take some snaps of the spectacular lights. But with the bright lights, dark night and hundreds of other spectators, it can be difficult to snap a really good pic. We’ve got a few tips to help you take the best photo possible.

Don’t Zoom

Vivid is busy, so it can be hard to get right next to your favourite light installation. But whatever you do, don’t use the zoom on your smartphone! Only amateurs with their first phone use the zoom – you should know better. Keep the quality of your image high by moving closer to the feature you want to capture or by cropping your image after you’ve taken the photo.

It’s all about “Location, Location, Location”

Choose your locations wisely and decide what it is you actually want to capture. Do you want to take a photo of the Opera House lit up like a Christmas Tree, or are you more interested in the bustling atmosphere of the event? Make sure you try and get the same shot from different angles and don’t forget to get creative. Try visiting different and lesser-known vantage points like the MCA rooftop, The Glenmore Hotel, Luna Park, Hickson Road or Bradfield Park.

If you don’t want crowds in your photos, head down midweek or when everyone has left – but don’t forget that the lights go off at 11pm.

Don’t twist and Shake

One of the most important things to remember when capturing the lights of Vivid is that you are shooting in low light, so it’s important to keep your camera as still as possible. The best way to keep a camera still is to take it out of your hands.

Don’t want to join the selfie stick army or carry a mini tripod around? Resting your phone on something like a seat, rail or your takeaway coffee cup can be just as effective. You can also reduce any extra shake by finding an alternative to pushing the shutter button on the screen – set a timer or use the volume up button works for most phones.

Don’t over expose

Your exposure is really important when you’re shooting bright lights. Luckily with smartphones, adjusting the exposure is easy - just tap the brightest spot in the frame and voila! You’ve taken the exposure off the brightest object with one tap.

Put a Filter on it

When all else fails, there’s always a filter. Play around with your photos after you’ve taken them using different apps like Instagram, Snapseed or VSCO cam. Most photo editing apps will allow you to play with contrast, saturation, brightness, shadows, warmth, and sharpness. Whatever photo editing app you use, get familiar with it before you go to Vivid so you can edit on the fly.

Avoid getting flashy

Seriously, don’t even think about touching that flash. The flash on your phone isn't like a real camera flash – it’s more like a torch so it will change the exposure of your photo (and not for the better). There should be enough of a light source from the Vivid installations to light your photo, but if you’re not sure then just double up – take one photo with the flash and one without.Or, get down to Circular Quay at twilight to take advantage of the remaining natural light.

That’s it, my tips on how to get the best pictures from the 2016 Vivid Festival. I’d love to hear some of your tips and trick about shooting for Vivid, or even like to sneak a peek at some of your best piccies. Comment below!

Mariah – amaysim's content gal


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Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5: Everything we know so far

13 Aug 2020

Fresh on the heels of the Pixel 4A being announced, the hype train for the Google Pixel 5 is now well and truly underway.

After months of speculation about whether the Pixel 5 launch would be pushed back, Google put much of this chatter to rest by providing a sneak peak of the Pixel 5 during the recent launch of the Pixel 4A.

Last years flagship device, the Pixel 4, was a phone full of potential. As we've come to expect from the Pixel series, it featured an incredibly powerful camera, however its average battery life, held it back from being a serious contender for phone of the year.

While the Pixel 4 had its flaws, it was still a really good phone overall, and it will interesting to see how this years model, stacks up against other flagship models from 2020 such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 12.

With all this said, we wouldn't count Google out from delivering something special and with such a positive early response to the Pixel 4A, perhaps 2020 will prove to be the year of the Pixel.

To help bring you up to speed on what Google has in-store with this years flagship Pixel device, here's everything we know so far about the Pixel 5.

at a glance: rumoured Google Pixel 5 features

  • Expected October release
  • 5G connectivity
  • Android 11
  • New camera features; Adjustable Flash, Motion Blur & Audio Zoom
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

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    Expect 5G

    It's widely expected the Pixel 5 will include 5Gconnectivity.

    The feature was all but confirmed in early August with the announcement of the Pixel 4A, where Google teased two new 5G devices, the Pixel 5 and a 5G version of the Pixel 4A, both of which are set to be released during the final quarter of 2020.

    Release Date

    Since the phone’s inception back in 2016, Google has remained incredibly consistent with their release schedule for the flagship Pixel series, with all previous launches taking place in October. This trend is set to continue, after a leak surfaced from a Google affiliated website in France, claiming the Pixel 5 will be available for pre-order from October 8.

    Android 11

    This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since a beta version of Android 11 is already available for public download, however it’s expected the Pixel 5 will be the first device to don the latest Android software straight out the box.

    Some of the expected improvements and features of Android 11 include a new media player widget, easier ways to control smart home devices using your phone, a new power button menu and refinements to the messaging system and conversation bubbles.

    Pixel 5 Render
    Image Credit: Google

    Design & Display

    Last year Google teased images of the Pixel 4 in the months leading up to its official launch. This time round, the only confirmed sighting of the Pixel 5 has been the side image (seen above) which Google teased during the launch of the Pixel 4A.

    Outside of this image, there have been a number of different leaks floating about which have helped paint a picture of what this years phone might look like.

    Like the Pixel 4, it's expected the Pixel 5 will feature an OLED panel, with a matte glass finish on the back and full HD/QHD resolution. According to Front Page Tech who gained access to an early Pixel 5 prototype, a forehead bezel on the front side of the device is also expected to remain.

    In terms of refresh rate, last year we got to enjoy a smooth 90Hz experience with the Pixel 4. However with Samsung (and others) already making the jump to 120Hz and Apple reportedly looking to do the same with the iPhone 12, it will be interesting to see if Google sees this as an important feature upgrade and whether they'll look to roll out a 120Hz refresh rate with the Pixel 5.

    A Mighty Fine Camera

    While earlier leaks suggested the Pixel 5 would include a triple-lens camera on the rear of the device, more recent leaks suggest Google will once again opt for a two camera setup on the back.

    The quality of images with the Pixel 4 were outstanding, so it's not as if this should be a concern. For some though, the added flexibility of a third, wide angle lens, would of been the cherry on top, for a camera that many consider one of the top-tier mobile phone cameras.

    With that said, Google doesn't appear to be standing still, instead opting to fine-tune the Pixel's two-camera setup by adding new features.

    Expected new features include an adjustable camera flash, a new motion blur feature and the introduction of audio zoom, which will allow you to zoom in when recording video to help you capture audio more precisely.

    Long story short, it looks like we're in for a treat with this years camera setup.

    Under The Hood

    In the past, Pixel devices have typically featured the best Qualcomm chip available, which this year would be the Snapdragon 865 Plus. With the Pixel 5, this might not be case, with an inside scoop from 9to5Google suggesting the phone may be shipped with a Snapdragon 765G processor.

    The Snapdragon 765 is more of a mid-range chip, unlike the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 which powers the latest Samsung phones. This would suggest slightly less processing power than some of its competitors. With that said, the 765 is obviously no slouch and will still pack a solid punch in terms of performance.

    In terms of RAM, while it hasn't been a huge strength of the Pixel series in the past, there should be improvements on this front, with the Pixel 5 set to include 8GB of RAM in comparison to last years 6GB.