Take the perfect birthday photo

The candles have been lit, lights in the room switched off; the singing has commenced. Which gives you about 20 seconds to capture this once-a-year moment. Although candles are a tricky light source for photographers, that doesn’t mean you can’t snap a crisp birthday shot. A few simple adjustments make a huge difference.

Shoot it right

Locking your camera’s focus and exposure to the candlelight ensures a sharper photo with a warm glow.

When you’re framing the shot on your screen, tap the candles rather than the subject’s face to lock focus and exposure to the brighter part of the image. This will darken the scene overall, but because your camera’s shutter won’t open as long, you’ll capture a sharper photo.

Once the singing starts, keep snapping with burst mode: Hold down the shutter button to capture a series of full-resolution photos in quick succession.

And make sure your flash is turned off well before the big moment.

Fine-tune later

Snapseed allows you to adjust just a certain part of your photo.

After the big event, review your photos and pick your favourites to edit in Snapseed.

The app’s Selective editing tool is especially helpful for candlelit shots. You can use it to brighten the face of your subject without affecting the rest of the image. Go to Tools > Selective, then tap anywhere on the subject’s face.

At this point, a circle will appear where you tapped. Swipe up or down elsewhere on the screen to choose an editing parameter—Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, or Structure. Then swipe left to right to make adjustments.

In this case, you’ll want to gradually increase the brightness. (Don't overdo it or your subject’s face will look washed out.)

Last tip: Go to Tools > Saturation and try bringing that up to accentuate the warm glow.