I’m a believer!
After reading an article on-line (National Geographic’s site) on iPhone photography, I knew this was something pretty big. Seriously, this was National Geographic, the pinnacle of the photography world. When I was in my early twenties, I dreamt of being a photographer for National Geographic. Traveling the world, taking pictures, and getting paid for it! Every month for four years a new magazine would come to my door. I loved looking at the pictures, they always had a story to tell. Not being the biggest fan of the written word, it was perfect.
I never thought I would ever use my phone to take pictures, but in all honesty, I have been really enjoying this little feature. I know this is not a new concept, but it is for me. Why should I use my phone, when I have invested thousands of dollars in camera equipment? I know the quality of the picture doesn’t even come close, so why would I want to take a subpar picture. Well, the answer is quite simple, it’s so easy.
When my husband upgraded our phones, he was looking into the iphone. He was so excited at the thought of owning one. I on the other hand was indifferent. Will it make a phone call? That was really the only feature I was interested in. I have always owned the most simple phones. I never texted or surfed the web. I actually kept my new phone in the box for about two weeks before I used it. I could use the excuse, that I was so busy, I just couldn’t find the time. When, in reality, I was a little intimidated. I mean, this was a smart phone and I wasn’t sure if I was smart enough to use it.
Once, I faced my fears, it was an easy transition. I actually had a keypad to text, so that was 10 times faster and getting on-line whenever I wanted was so convenient. However, the thought of using the camera made me cringe. I can’t even count how many times I told my sister-in-law, “Put the phone down and pick up a real camera”. Then I started seeing some pretty cool things. Amazing photos and extraordinary apps really peeked my interest. Maybe I was going about this all the wrong way. I didn’t have to replace my camera equipment with my phone, it could just supplement my gear.
I downloaded my first app, Instagram. I loved the thought of taking a picture, adding a special effect, if I so desired, and then sending it off to Facebook or Twitter. I could share my creativity with others, instantaneously. This was awesome! Though I would never even begin to compare the quality of images from my Canon 5D Mark II to my iPhone, you can’t beat the convenience. I don’t always have my camera with me, but I always have my phone.
When it comes to photo apps, there is a lot to choose from. There are currently well over 200 iPhone photography apps available in iTunes. I know I will be checking out a few more in the next couple weeks. I might just have to write about which ones I like the most. I found a great link that lists the top 10 apps for photos. The best part is that half of the apps listed are either free or $.99. Those will probably be the first ones I try. Go figure, I’ll spend over $1000 on a lens, but heaven forbid I spend $1.99 for an app.
Just as there is no lack of photo apps for your phone, there is no lack of people wanting to share their photos. There is currently over 16,000 iPhone groups on Flickr. The most popular group has over 11,000 members. Check out their work.
So here are just a few tips for iPhoneography
1. Use two hands when taking as picture. Yes it is a phone first, but lets pretend it’s a real camera. Let’s not forget the fundamentals.
2. Now going along with tip #1, not only use two hands, but if feasible, try to rest your hands (or arms) on something, in order to keep the camera steady. Blurry pictures, unless going for that look, are not very eye pleasing. I know, at times they make me nauseous.
3. You can actually use your ‘volume up button’ as the shutter button. You no longer have to fumble around trying to tap on that little camera icon to take the picture. You can even connect your earphones and use the “volume up’ button to take the picture. A perfect way to take a picture with minimal camera shake.
4. Get close. You will get better results if you move in for a shot. That being said, be sure that moving in for the shot, in no way endangers your life. Let’s be smart, with the smart phone!
5. Know your phone’s, I mean camera’s limitations. Minimal light situations or trying to capture high speed action will result in some pretty bad pictures. You can try it, but your best bet is to keep it simple.
6. Look for something interesting to photograph. Reflections are always fascinating. Find different angles, get high, get low, don’t be afraid to experiment. I took this one yesterday, the east side of the Art Institute of Chicago.
7. Shoot the same thing, more than once. It’s digital, don’t be afraid to ensure a good shot.
8. Keep your iPhone dry. Water is not the friend of any electrical device. However, some are more sensitive then others and the iPhone is one of those devices. Even a little dampness can be troubling. A little tip for you, if your iPhone does get wet, try burying it in a bowl of dry rice (brown or white). The rice absorbs the water. My husband proved that it really works.
9. Keep the lens clean. Sounds like a no brainer, but this is something I haven’t thought about. In my mind, it’s still a phone first and only a camera at my beck and call. It’s hard to get in the train of thought of treating it like a camera, even when it comes to its maintenance.
10. Have fun and be safe. I will admit I have taken a few pictures in the car while driving. Not smart! This is actually a technique I will no longer be practicing. Photography is an important part of my life, but living is even more important to me.
So, once a doubter and camera snob, I have come to the realization that no matter what device you might use in capturing moments in your life, it is an expression of your uniqueness and beauty. So get out there and preserve your memories!
I am a believer!