There are a few people out there who own iPhones, and as you may have guessed, that results in there being a lot of pictures being taken with the camera found on the phone. While the camera on any current cell phone is far more advanced than a pocket point and shoot camera from a few years ago, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get a great picture or that you should rely on it as a camera instead of having a camera as well.
If you insist on taking pictures with your iPhone, or you want to start taking pictures with it, hopefully I can help you take better pictures with the not-that-great camera that resides in your phone.
If you want crystal clear images with larger resolution for easier editing, you will want to use a DSLR or at least a real point and shoot digital camera instead of a phone. The allure of shooting with the iPhone and using apps to edit photos is the ability to create stylized and unique looking images of highly photographed locations and objects. If you want to experiment and get creative, this is a great way to go.
When using an iPhone it would seem as though every shot has the same shutter speed, etc. due to the sound made when you snap the shot. The truth is that if you examine the metadata of the images, they have different apertures and shutter speeds as well as white balances.
If you want to make as clear and sharp image possible, you will want to use a tripod mount adapter to hold your phone steady. If you’re doing HDR, low light, or stitched panorama shots, this is the way to go even though spontaneity may be sacrificed due to the time required to set up. When shooting outdoors in bright light, no tripod will be needed in most situations. No matter how bright or how steady the shot, it’s not going to rival a DSLR, so editing will always be required.
There are all sorts of apps available for iPhone photography, ranging from simple to very advanced. You can work with layer masks, overlay images and more. One of the most important things to look at when digging through the huge pile of apps available is to select ones that maintain the original file size. I emphasize this point because once you decrease the file size of the image you lose quality and you can never go back.
Hipstamatic: A very cool app that allows you to select different types of ‘lenses’ and ‘films’. You can see the effects created immediately and change your settings as you see fit. One popular combination is the John S lens paired with the Kodot film setting. Shots from Afghanistan with this setting combination have been shot on the iPhone and printed in The New York Times.
ProHDR: I’ve been trying to get good HDR photos from my $400 digital camera, and nothing has been as easy and cool as this on the iPhone. A tripod is recommended here, though not always required if you have a steady hand and plenty of light. Try using the Auto setting to combine two photos easily or Manual to choose either highlights or shadows. Using Library HDR you may combine any two images in your library.
Perfect Photo: A great app to help sharpen your images is Perfect Photo. You get a large split screen view of the before-and-after sharpening so that you may see the final result before it’s done and make adjustments. Even on the small screen, the adjustments are easy to see due to the view being zoomed in for detail.
Impression: Last but not least, you will want to put your name on your images if you’re uploading them to the web. Yes, people can crop or edit it out, but it’s worth the effort anyway. Impression allows you to control the font size, opacity and color as well as where it appears in the photo.
If you break, lose, or forget your camera, the iPhone could be there to save the day in a pinch. If you want to get creative, the iPhone is great for that too. Just remember, you will never get professional looking photos from an iPhone, but you can still get some pretty cool stuff you would otherwise miss because you don’t have a regular camera long for the ride.
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