Monday, June 4, 2012
iPhone Photography Tips—06/04/12
How to make the most of the ultimate go-everywhere pocket camera.
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
- It's always with you, so be sure it's always with you. Your iPhone can take pictures no other camera can. How? Simple: because, if you're like many Americans, you've always got your iPhone with you. So don't be afraid to harness that iPhone to make great pictures. Whip it out and get to shooting, and never miss an opportunity for a great picture again. But you've really got to carry the thing with you all the time. Otherwise it's just like your other cameras—only not as good.
- Try using with a specialized photo app. Consider one that functions as a fancy filter, like Hipstamatic and Instagram, for special effects that add instant interest to even the most bland photos. Add a border, shift the color, add some grain, emulate a Polaroid… iPhone photo apps are robust and really do a great job of making pictures fun again.
- Share your pictures easily, instantly. Many iPhone photo apps have social media sharing aspects built in, such as Instagram's online community. Don't forget you can harness your Facebook or Twitter apps to easily send pictures out there into the world too. If you don't think it has power, just ask Stefanie Gordon, the photographer who found her iPhone photo of the final Space Shuttle launch spreading virally mere hours after uploading it from her in-flight window seat. Sharing photos instantly is bound to be built into our D-SLRs and compact cameras eventually. You can get a head start on the future with your iPhone today.
- Enjoy extra features, like geo-tagging. If you're a traveler, the iPhone has got to come in handy for a number of things. But one of the most handy for travel photographers is the automatic geo-tagging of every picture. You can then search your iPhone to find all the photos made in Turkey or Taos or Topeka, and the phone will sort and deliver them automatically. And when shared via certain apps (such as Facebook and Google Maps) those pictures will automatically be correlated to actual physical map locations—making it easy to see where you've been and why you just might want to go back.
- Use two hands for stability. Sure, the camera is about as light as they come, but it's still hard to steady a phone/cam with one hand. Use two hands and rely on your traditional photographic training: easy breathing and a firm foundation make a steady foundation for taking pictures. If at all possible, rely on something solid—like a tripod with an attachment—or just lean against a fence or railing to increase the odds of a sharp shot. If you can brace your iPhone in a hands-free situation, you can even use your headphones as a cable release. Talk about smart.
- Get close. The iPhone does pretty darn well with close-up photography, and it helps minimize boring compositions that can occur when using this wide-angle lens for middle-ground images. Lack of shallow depth of field on wide shots won't help your cause, so get really close to subjects for simplified compositions and less "snapshotty" iPhone photos. (If you'd like to invest in an accessory, a close-up filter might be ideal to really get into macro iPhone photography.)
- Tweak the focus. Though it feels like a point-and-shoot, the iPhone actually allows you to gain some interesting manual control over your pictures. For instance, you can tap on an area of the screen to focus on that spot. A second finger allows you to adjust the focus incrementally to exert fine control over depth of field and sharpness of your image.
- Try interesting angles. The benefit of a tiny little handheld camera that can go almost anywhere is that it is a tiny little handheld camera that can literally go almost anywhere! So try putting your camera in unique places—up high, down low, or wherever it may be hard to place a normal point-and-shoot or D-SLR—in an effort to create unique compositions and more inherently interesting pictures. Just don't drop the thing; it isn't the most ergonomically designed of cameras, and it doesn't even have a wrist strap.
- Accessories are available, but don't overdo it. The real benefit of the iPhone is that you're bound to carry it with you all the time. So before you go strapping on a D-SLR lens via an innovative little adapter, consider the fact that you might just be defeating the purpose on both counts. But if you're interested and willing to try, there are a variety of add-ons to make your iPhone camera even more photographically unique. From lenses to gels, wide angles to zooms. You name it, someone probably makes it for the iPhone.