While we all use our smartphones to take the odd photo or two, Chad Keyes has been shooting almost exclusively with his iPhone for years:
In this video, Keyes shares how he got started, his inspiration, and the things that he most loves photographing. He even takes us on a short photo tour where he sort of walks-the-talk to show his technique first hand.
Keyes started out as a graphic designer, something that seems to have influenced his photography, as well as his ability to use simple elements and natural light to create strong compositions. He did have some experience in photography while at school. But it was not until he got his first smartphone about two years back, and after he downloaded Instagram, that he got hooked on smartphone photography. Interestingly, he mentions that he did not even use the camera on his smartphone until about three months after he bought it!
But when he finally gave it a try, he was sold:
“It changed everything. From that moment on I was like taking pictures all the time with my camera on my phone.”
Getting Hooked On iPhoneography
With Instagram, Keyes realized that he could share his pictures with everyone around the world. From there on the journey began. He acknowledges the fact that his training in graphic design helps him use the small frame of the iPhone and still include all the elements of designing such as color, composition, and communication. He also says that his experience in shooting film encourages him to replicate some of the typical effects that are possible with it: film grain, slow shutter speed, silhouettes, and working in different lighting.
When asked what drives him to create the images that he shares with his followers, Keyes replies,
“I have of course always wanted to put out a quality photo. Anything that I am creating I want it to be associated with something that I care about and that feels quality and that feels good.”
Smartphone Photography Tips
- Get a vibe for the place. Get an idea of the available light and what’s happening around you, even before you decide to take a shot.
- Use strong directional elements or strong directional light, if available.
- Plan your shots, but also take the ones that are ‘accidental’.
- Ask your subject to pose.
- Use the background for wider compositions (suitable for iPhones, which have a wider field of view).
- Shoot silhouettes.
- Use a low-angle, when possible.
- For steadier shots, use the volume button rather than tapping the shutter button on the screen.
- Shoot quality photos and share. Don’t think whether others are going to like your photos or hate them.
- Experiment with smart phone apps. Keyes uses apps such as Camera+, VSCO Cam, Snapz, AfterLight, Cross Process, Hipstamatic
“Shooting on the iPhone is no different. You are dealing with all the same elements, all the same lighting that you would with an SLR.”
Like This Article?
Don't Miss The Next One!
Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current: