You use your iPhone to talk, email, search, navigate, text and tweet, but do you realize it has the power to make you a better photographer? Just as a writer might jot spontaneous thoughts in a journal or an artist might draw loose marks in a sketchbook, making images with your iPhone can help you craft compositions in a more organic way, hone your instincts to anticipate magic moments, loosen up your traditional approach to photography and illuminate a path toward defining your unique vision. So what makes the iPhone camera such a powerful creative device for a photographer?
• You rarely go anywhere without it, which means you increase the odds of your ability to capture fleeting magic moments as you move through the day.
• Its slight size and weight make you less obtrusive and more agile. Because you’re not hiding behind an impressive SLR, it’s nearly impossible for your subjects to take you seriously as a photographer. This is good. People are more at ease in your presence and your images will be better.
• What you lack in fine-tuned shooting control (i.e., no aperture, shutter speed, nor ISO settings) you gain in image-processing flexibility and speed—freeing you up to focus on your subject and composition.
Now that you’re convinced of the creative potential of that camera disguised as a phone in your hand, here are three steps to get you started with the art of iPhoneography.
1. Loosen Up and Follow Your Instincts
Think of iPhoneography as a daily creative practice—a method to help you relax and let your instincts guide your lens. Unlike my professional documentary photography shot with a digital SLR, I take a much looser and more experimental approach with my iPhone.
While I’m still attracted to capturing people in their natural environments, with my iPhoneography I’m challenging myself to discover serendipitous compositions and to create abstractions in routine and mundane settings on a daily basis. Unlike the intense depth of focus I bring to a documentary assignment, my iPhoneography is lighter and more playful. It inspires me to be curious on a daily basis and to express my visual voice whenever I feel the impulse.
2. Craft Your Toolkit: Four Apps to Fuel Your Creativity
There’s a vast variety of iPhone camera apps growing in the App Store to help you express your vision. Download and experiment with these popular apps and others until you find the features and unique workflow that work best for you.
Photo fx from Tiffen (www.tiffen.com) offers a comprehensive set of image filter groups containing more than 850 presets that simulate popular Tiffen glass filters, specialized lenses, optical lab processes, film grain, color correction and photographic effects. Each preset "layer" gives you fine-tuned controls to increase or decrease settings, offering you complete creative processing control over your image.
Iris Photo Suite (www.ventessa.com) offers comprehensive manual control over color balance, amount and tonal range of shadows and highlights, histogram specifics, brightness and contrast, saturation and sepia and temperature, and image cropping and resizing. The app lets you create and manage multiple layers on a single image and add a variety of textures, including old paper, grunge and vintage canvas to expand your creativity. Hipstamatic
Hipstamatic(www.hipstamaticapp.com) mimics the unique style of vintage prints characterized by vignettes, blurring, textured edges and oversaturated colors created with the original analog plastic camera. Using a square-format viewfinder, the app let’s you switch "lenses", flash and "film" with the swipe of a finger. I often shoot with Hipstamatic because I like composing images in the square-format viewfinder and I like the creative constraint of choosing the "film" and "lens" before I shoot.
Adobe Photoshop Express (www.mobile.photoshop.com) offers simple editing tools to refine images shot with the native camera or any other app on your iPhone. While this app isn’t the best choice if you want to apply quick creative filters to change the look and feel of your image, it’s ideal for specific image- editing needs, such as cropping, straightening or flipping your composition, making manual adjustments for exposure, color saturation and contrast, or adding basic borders on your images.
3. Share Your View And Join The Community
True creative inspiration comes from within, but it’s often sparked by our visual experiences and fostered by an engaging community of creative souls. I first found my inspiration around iPhoneography through a burgeoning community of iPhoneographers on Twitter nearly two years ago. Here are two simple ways to establish your iPhoneography presence online and connect with the growing community of inspired individuals who have discovered the art of iPhoneography.
Create An Online Photo Journal Using Posterous Or Tumblr. Present and share your iPhoneography in an online space unique to you by setting up a simple online photo journal (or visual blog) using a free hosted-solution provider such as Posterous (www.posterous.com) or Tumblr (www.tumblr.com). With either solution, you quickly can publish an iPhone image by emailing it to your account or uploading it using the app on your iPhone. You even can set your online journal to auto-publish your images to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Create An Instagram Presence. Instagram (instagram) is a rapidly growing social network of iPhoneographers sharing images in real time. The Instagram app displays a chronological feed of photographs shared by users you choose to follow. You can use Instagram to shoot an image (or choose an image from your photo library), apply an image filter (or not) and quickly share the image with your followers. Instagram also can automate image sharing to your online journal, or your Twitter or Facebook accounts.
|SHUTTER SISTERS is a collaborative photo blog (www.shuttersisters.com) and a thriving community of women, passionate about photography. Photographer and writer Stephanie C. Roberts is a partner in and contributor to Shutter Sisters, and the author of The Art of iPhoneography: A Guide to Mobile Creativity (April 2011), www.artofiphoneogra