When we launched What’s App Wednesdays we wanted to look at some of the apps out there that helped photographers edit their smart phone images. What we forgot to do is start with the basics. So this quick 5 tip post is designed for those who are just starting out with their iphones or want to capture better images.
As with any type of photography, you need to know your camera. In this case, it’s your iphone.
1. Learn Composition
According the Wikipedia, the rule of thirds was first jotted down in 1797 by John Thomas Smith. The rule of thirds is the basic guideline to use when composing your shot. On your iphone, when you click on your camera icon hit the “options” button at the top in the middle. This will give you two options, Grid and HDR. Turn the grid on. You will now see a grid appear when you are composing your shots. Do not worry, this will not show up in your pictures, it’s merely there to help you compose and straighten your images.
Instead of just tapping on the camera icon and letting your iphone do the thinking, try using the focus button and show it exactly where you want the focus located on your image. If you tap on the screen lightly, a small blue box will appear. This is your focus button, you can move this anywhere you like on your image and your phone will focus on that area. You should also note, this will adjust your exposure. The point where the iphone is focused, is also where the phone will read for its exposure.
3. Stand Still
This goes with regular cameras as well. I was intrigued by a young man who was rollerblading in a park. The amazing flips and heights he reached were unbelievable. I wanted to catch it on my iphone and it took me about 5 tries, but I finally got it. First, I set the focus point to the ramp where I knew he would jump. Then each time he reached that area, I would hold my breath, steady the phone, rest my elbows on my chest and take the picture. I finally caught the image I wanted but it took a few practices.
4. Find the Light
I found one of my favorite trees, a magnolia tree was in bloom. Be still my heart! I started snapping away and yes, I admit I did not look for the light. On the left, you see my first attempts, very dark and murky. The image on the right, I moved my camera up and towards the light, even straight out of iphone it looks heaps better than the first image. This is true with regular cameras as well, always find the light and work with it.
5. Know your Flash
Your flash is attached to your camera, so it will not be the most flattering since it’s not diffused in any way. Since it’s attached, you should know that the flash has a range on it. The results are varied but most reports tend to agree that anything more than 15 feet away will have poor results. So using your iphone and flash at concerts will not give you the desired effect you desire. Also, turn the flash off when you are photographing reflective subjects such as mirrors and windows. The flash can also be harsh when photographing people at night. So you’ll just need to practice in various set ups and situations to see what works best for you.
These are 5 very basic tips to help you get started on iphoneography. Over the course of time, we will continue to review apps and hardware that help you on your way.
So have the rules changed now that smartphones are capturing more photos a day than dslrs? As a photographer you’re generally concerned with all the details, button and dials to make everything work and create an image. However with the smartphone, we get to take a step back and simplify things a bit.
Guest Blogger, Kate Hailey is a freelance portrait photographer in Seattle and an avid iPhoneographer. I noticed her work a few years ago and instantly was intrigued by the way she photographed with her smartphone. Over the past four years, she’s thoroughly enjoyed her photographic journey via the iPhone. She shares with us some tips on composition with the smartphone.
While simplicity is fabulous and many individuals use their smart phones to document their day to day lives by taking snapshots, I always make the effort compose my images with care.
I thought I’d share some of my best tips to master composition, “in camera” with your smartphone.
1. Rule of Thirds
There’s a long standing rule of not having your main subject, smack dab in the middle of your image. Envision a grid (pictured below), you have 9 segments in that grid, your main subject should be placed along the right third, left third, top third or bottom third. Whichever strikes your fancy, this is generally considered more visually pleasing. This concept also applies to painting and filmmaking.
2. Leading Lines
When we look at a photograph, our eyes are drawn along lines, pulled in, led left, reaching right etc… with leading lines we can direct the viewers eye.
3. Symmetry + Patterns
There’s something rather appealing about symmetry and something intriguing about patterns. Look for a scene that has balance and symmetry. Or to change things up, seek out repetition.
4. Point of View
We’re all different heights, so we all see the world a little different. If a scene looks interesting to you, but you feel like the angle is just not right, even after trying a couple of snaps. Stand up on something, sit down on something, or even lay on the ground. You never know how changing your perspective this way, might be just pay off!
Is the background of your image adding to or distracting from your main subject. If it’s distracting, then move your subject, if you can’t move your subject, then move yourself to a different spot where hopefully you can better capture your main subject.
I hope these tips help you out. All of these images were captured and edited on an iPhone4s. – Kate
When TJ got into a rhythm of taking a photo a day, he noticed that he became more aware of the world around him. He said, “The 365 project challenged me pay closer attention to the world around me and pay attention to the light and subject to photograph. Over the year, I began to look at light and events during the day to be photo op. I am now looking for things to take photos of all the time. I think it will make me a better photographer to continue this project for 2014.”
Did you know there’s over 10,000 photography related apps in the Apple App store? WOW, that’s a lot. So how do you choose what you should use? It can be a daunting task. Guest Blogger and iPhoneography enthusiast, Kate Hailey helps us sort through these apps to get to the best of the best.
In 2009, i got my first iPhone and with that I began a journey of exploration in imagery and apps. Between 2010, 2011 and 2012, I completed three, 365 iPhone Photo a Day projects and this year I’m doing it again! Throughout these projects I’ve experimented with a variety of apps and tools on the iPhone.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve settled on these apps as my absolute “go-to” apps.
1. Hipstamatic – $1.99 in App store + In-App purchase options
My love of photography started at an early age and included lots of film. I never lost my love of film and alternative processes. One of my early finds as an iPhoneographer was Hipstamatic, it’s a fun, analogue styled camera replacement app. The initial version includes a few types of “film” and “lenses” plus at least one flash option. You can mix and match, create fave combos and have lots of fun. They also offer additional packs, sometimes these are free sometimes they are $0.99.
2. Snapseed - Free in the iTunes App Store
An all round fabulous editor that allows you to control the overall scene or selected points within an image. Along with that there are vintage filters, grunge filters, a tilt-shift option and even borders. Be sure to really explore this app, as there is more to meets the eye! It packs a powerful punch!
3. VSCOcam - Free + in-app purchase options
VSCO is becoming more and more popular currently. They offer a full toolset of presets that can plug into Apple Aperture, Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. Their iPhone app offers a sampling of what these bigger programs can do, giving you an analogue feel. You can adjust the amount of the filter presets, as well make other edits to images like controlling: contrast, brightness, tints, etc… I believe to get “all” of the current presets there’s an in-app purchase price of $5.99, but the base app is free to download, and there are a couple of freebie in app upgrades as well.
4.Mextures – $1.99 in the app store
Mextures has different filter options, some colour gradients, textures and event a little grit and grain. Want to get a little dirt on your iPhone images and make it appear as if the image was created years ago, this is a fun option to play with. Like Picfx you can stack effects on top of one another. You can also use different blending modes, like “Overlay, Screen, Multiply… ” sounds like Photoshop doesn’t it?!
5. Picfx - $1.99 in the App Store
If you love the analogue look and feel you’ll dig this app, with at least 80 filter options, textures, light leaks, and frames, it’s a lot of fun. You can stack effects on top of one another, as well control the amount of the effect.
One last tip, when you share these images, via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc… I’d suggest tagging them either by their handle or a hashtag, most of these folks are good at sharing work out by folks who are using their tools.
Have fun, experiment and enjoy!