This morning, a lot of people are going to be taking a lot of photos in questionable lighting situations. There is an excellent chance you might even need to use the flash on your iPhone. Odds are a ton of those pictures will be made on iPhones, and most of those iPhones will be in cases. The chances that half of those photos will be ruined is rather high. Here is how to turn the odds in your favor:

The problem is not your iPhone, nor is it the lighting. This photo was snapped in an almost completely dark room. The problem was the case on the iPhone 5s. 

The issue is not necessarily the size of the cutout, but the fact that the cutout is clear plastic. When the flash engages, the light immediately bounces off the inner rim of the cutout, and right back into the lens. The result is a flash-soaked, washed-out image. Unusable! You don't want that to happen to your one of a kind, holiday moment. Nor does it have to.

This is the same picture, more or less, taken in the same situation by the same phone. The same cat is in the same, unbelievably awkward position. The only difference between the two photos is the case on the iPhone 5s. 

You can clearly see that the rim of the case surrounding the camera cutout is black. Instead of reflecting the flash back into the lens, it absorbs the light, producing a clear picture. Remember, the room is completely dark save for my computer monitor. It works exactly like grease paint athletes put under their eyes. The paint keeps reflections from bouncing off their shiny cheeks and into their eyes. A case with this modification will ensure that your flash photography is crisp and clean. 

The moral of this story is be mindful of the cheap case on your iPhone when taking low-light photography. It is a small detail that makes a big difference. If you take a lot of low-light photography, now you know what to look for in a case. If you are having trouble with flash photos and do not have an alternate case, just take the case off altogether. Your precious, one of a kind memories will thank you. And may the odds be ever in your favor. 

David Johnson