Monthly Archives: December 2015

iPhone Photography – Getting Started

Your phone is nearly always with you. Since all smart phones have cameras in them (and pretty good ones these days), most of the time you have a photography device with you. And it’s a wonderful thing. As Jay Maisel put it, “Always carry a camera. It’s tough to take a picture without one.”

Heriot Row, Edinburgh. Crossed processed film look, taken on iPhone

Edinburgh has some really interesting streets, such as Heriot Row. I took this pic with the Camera+ app on my iPhone. That app not only allows you to control exposure and focus, but comes with a number of tools to edit your photos. I used the filter that gives you a crossed processed film look, which I loved in my analog days.

I really liked that idea when I first got my iPhone 4, but was soon disappointed. The camera app is really easy to use, which is good. The flip side is that I found it didn’t give me enough control to take correctly exposed photographs in quite a number of situations. So I felt very frustrated and for a few years never thought again about taking pictures with my iPhone.

Lutton Place, Edinburgh. iPhone photography

This is Lutton Place, Edinburgh. Using another “film look” filter with Camera+ on my iPhone

But never say never, because a few things made me change my mind. First of all, I’m now on social media, and I’m sure, you, the reader are too. Posts with images create much more engagement on Facebook, and never mind Instagram, a social media platform that is primarily visual and created for mobile devices. While these platforms allow you to connect with people all over the world, you will have noticed that in order for social media to be effective, you need to feed the monster with fresh content on a regular basis.

Ray of light and blue door. Clarity filter in Camera+, Taken with iPhone.

One of the limitations of an iPhone camera relative to a DSLR is that since one shoots a jpg file directly, scenes with a lot of contrast are potentially problematic. But why not try? With a couple of applications of the clarity filter in Camera+, the iPhone camera can give you some interesting results when it’s not supposed to!

iPhone photography, or iPhoneography, even presents opportunities for professional photographers. Sports photographer Brad Mangin has developed quite a following on Instagram. He even published a book of his baseball iPhone pictures.

Cafe tables outdoors, with reflection. Grunge look, taken with iPhone

Another example of multiple applications of the Clarity filter in Camera+ to produce a grunge look to the image.

According to professional photographer Julian Caverley, clients are asking for some pictures to be shot on smart phones, to accompany a social media campaign. People like the look and feel you get from an iPhone camera.

Princes Street Mall, Edinburgh. Taken with iPhone

Princes Street Mall, Edinburgh. The elements of design such as lines, shapes and textures enhance your photographs, regardless of which camera you use.

I therefore decided to take an online class on iPhone photography offered by the Bryan Peterson School of Photography, taught by Holly Higbee-Jansen. It was a real eye opener, to say the least. The camera in your phone is a pretty powerful device, especially when complemented by a number of smart phone apps that allow you to better control your exposures and edit your pictures.