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Is there any software/ phone camera app that can give advice about composition while shooting an image? Or would it be possible develop an app for that?

For example, maybe giving advice about the positioning of subject while capturing a portrait, and advising setting aperture to wide, so that background will be blurred.

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I think of the "scene" modes already built into most consumer cameras as basically this. They do rely on the user to tell them what type of scene they are shooting, sports for example. But they advise by actually putting the camera into the proper AF mode, increasing the shutter speed, and using burst mode. The advise would also come in if the user would just look at the settings chosen on the LCD screen and ask questions such as "why is the shutter speed 2000?". –  dpollitt Apr 22 '13 at 0:27
    
I'm wondering why there is a down vote?Whoever did, probably can give a reason for it? –  Midhunlal G Apr 23 '13 at 5:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are plenty of iPhone and Android apps collecting photo tips, including composition. I think they're all pretty lame so I'm not going to link to any of them.

I don't think there's anything right now that actively analyzes a scene and gives advice, as if Scott Kelby were standing right next to you reading from the appropriate pages of one of his beginner's guide books.

An app that did recognize the scene and correlate with basic advice would be theoretically possible, but require a lot of intelligence and image processing. In many ways, this is similar to what automatic scene modes attempt to accomplish (as @dpollitt notes in a comment above), particularly in cameras which have what Pentax calls "Auto Pict" mode, where the camera selects which scene mode to use. There's several key differences, though: first, the heuristics used are very simple; second, if the mode chosen is wrong, eh, the picture may be messed up but there's no lesson mis-learned; and finally, the key point: these modes don't attempt to teach anything but rather completely remove the need to learn anything, which is easier because there's no need to explain decisions. (So, with those three points together: the decisions can be made based on something like "subject seems far away and it's dark", and it looks like the camera is making an intelligent decision to select Night Landscape, but really, it could just be misfocusing in a dark indoor party scene; the scene mode user probably doesn't even notice, but someone getting advice from an app designed to teach lessons would be confused by the message.)

To make an app that's better than that, it would take a lot of very careful coding and require many, many sample scenes. It would have to be able to quickly analyze the camera's live view for matches and provide the right advice, being careful to avoid giving mismatched suggestions. Overall, I don't think it'd be worth it. The effort to write that app would be many, many times the effort required of all interested people to just practice a bit, review their photographs carefully, and, just maybe, read a book or a website or two.

Overall, I think a smart photography app which balances programming effort with actual return would look something like this:

smart composition app

The genius of this particular design is that the instructive text doesn't need to be conditional on any actual image processing — it can just be on all the time. This results in a huge return on investment: minimal programming effort, and addresses 99% of composition errors in one fell swoop.

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Best camera app idea I've ever seen. –  TroyR Apr 21 '13 at 22:51
    
Read books! Ha! You are funny. –  dpollitt Apr 22 '13 at 0:25
    
Thanks mattdm. So It will be nearly impossible to develop app serving this purpose. :) –  Midhunlal G Apr 22 '13 at 6:32
    
@TroyR - Thanks man.:) –  Midhunlal G Apr 22 '13 at 9:35

Some picture styles attempt to do this (I believe sports prefers a high shutter speed, portrait maybe a wide aperture, etc) and the closest I think you'll get for composition is the placement of autofocus points (some are roughly rule-of-thirds).

"A technical instrument can never make a creative decision" -Joel Grimes

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I know some, You know some composition rules. But most of the people who uses camera doesn't have any idea about composition rules/settings. But I wish, If there is any app that can give some basic composition suggestions to the end user while capturing shots, that would be great, right? I also don't believe, a app never gonna make some complicated creative decisions :) –  Midhunlal G Apr 21 '13 at 14:46

Well, as you admitted… there is no sensible default because it's entirely subjective!

Some cameras may indeed have a preference by being able to display a grid in the finder and/or emphasize metering on the active AF point, but that's it.

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