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.