Lumia Tip: Use “Backlight” Scene as an HDR Mode

| May 22, 2013 | 14 Replies

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 12.56.54 PM

For some reason or the other Nokia have always insisted on NOT including “HDR” in pretty much all their phones, the 808 has “bracketing mode” but that’s about it. Of course HDR is kind of useful sometimes, and sometimes people have no idea what it is, but constantly have it set to on, on their iPhones. Well it turns out theirs actually a setting in your Lumia’s camera that should get the job done, selecting “Backlight” under the scenes option in the camera settings will get you some pretty good results in those tricky lighting shots.

Sure it’s not true HDR (where three different pictures are taken at different exposure levels) but it is close enough; in terms of every day performance; with the added benefit that you can use it directly from the camera without the need for a 3rd part app/lens. The image above was taken on the Lumia 720, the right one obviously being Auto mode, while the left was backlight; and the difference is huge (don’t ask why auto mode doesn’t adjust to the sun/shade). True the background in the left picture does look nicer with more accurate and deeper colors, but the tradeoff being that I was reduced to a silhouette.  On the other hand the right picture taken with backlight mode did some magic with the exposures and got an acceptable outcome (minus my horrible smile and squinty eyes of course).


The two photos below were also taken once in auto mode (the first image) and once in backlight (both with the physical camera button, to avoid changing the focus area).The difference once again is obvious, and although the backlight one’s screen is horribly washed out you can see the difference in the background detail.

Hopefully Nokia will add a full auto-HDR mode soon (perhaps in the smart camera app?) but for now backlight mode is a useful trick to keep in mind.

Ali's 920_20130522_011Ali's 920_20130522_010


Category: Lumia, Nokia, Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hey, my name's Ali- Currently a fifth (and final) year Dental Student from Chicago; studying in Jordan. I love all sorts of gadgets almost as much as I love my cookies! Be sure to follow my Twitter handle @AliQudsi and Subcribe to my Youtube for the latest videos - no pressure. Thanks.
  • Krisztian

    Backlit is the last scene (after the sport)?

    • Aliqudsi

      Yeah, sorry didn’t notice that it’s actually Backlight. thanks 😀

  • Andrew_b

    This just results in the lighter parts of the scene being over-exposed. It’s not an HDR ‘substitute’, it’s a way of taking photos where the subject is backlit at the expense of over-exposing the background – which is what the mode is intended for.

    • RED


      also that HDR is dependent depth if i am right, depth is something we r not controlling until we can change ‘f-stop’ and also the focus !!!

      So nokia stays true to the art and the devices!!!
      (cut your suit acc. to the cloth)

    • Marc Aurel

      Yes, it’s basically just positive exposure compensation. The bright parts of the image end up a completely burnt through, although as a portrait it is still better of course. Similar but better result could be achieved by forcing the flash on, in other words using fill flash. Even a LED flash does help a little when fill flash is needed, although for good results a Xenon flash is needed.

    • Banderpop
  • sbw44

    How do you get low light shots on the 920 like sites use to get? I keep trying but cant get that amazing low light shots?

    • Andrew_b

      Turn the flash off.

      • Tony

        Flash off iso 800…keep hand steady….amazing low light shots only from 920…… 😛 :O B-) :-)

  • swain

    Use the camera(yes, that’s what they call that thing) of a Lumia to take photos !!! Nice joke 😀

    Here is a comparison you may be amazed to read:

  • lumiangry
  • Lumia920Dude

    Use the camera in auto mode, bump up the exposure by .3 or .7 then after use autofix.

    • Puhelimellanikin

      Sounds incredibly handy.