iPhoneography – take better iPhone photos

iPhoneography — take better iPhone photos
Quick Mac Tip, 12 June 2011

Back in May 2011 I wrote Learn how to take expert photos with your iPhone, which was a review of the book Create Great iPhone Photos, by Alan Hoffman. Then I passed the book along to Jo Fothergill, and asked for her opinions. Here’s what Jo has to say.

This guest commentary is written by Jo Fothergill.

I’m firmly of the opinion, coined by someone else, that the best camera you have is the one you have in your pocket — in other words the one you’ve got on you — not the one in your car or briefcase or at home.

For me this is my iPhone 3GS, which is always with me.

Jo Fothergill. Jo Fothergill is a primary school teacher working with 8 & 9 year old students in New Zealand. Having spent the last 30 years playing with computers, Jo has spent the last 8 years exploring all that is Mac.

My actual camera is small enough to live in my pocket as well but I prefer to use my iPhone for a number of reasons:

  • I can take faster photos (making multiple photos of action a dream to take)
  • I can take better photos (the touch screen allows me to adjust the focal point of the photo which results in better light)
  • I can do all my photo processing on my iPhone instead of having to download and process on my computer
  • Whatever I want to do to the image — there’s an app for it!

I’ve recently acquired the book Create Great iPhone Photos by Allan Hoffman. I can see it’s going to be a well-thumbed and bookmarked addition to my bookshelf.

The book starts exactly where it should — with the basic camera app that comes with the iPhone. I thought I had a good understanding of what & how the camera app works and the photo browser but I learnt a couple of new tricks — a good sign not to skip over chapters when you think you know it all!

It was also great to learn some new tricks for apps I’ve been using for a while.

Here are my highlights of the book

  • Scattered through various chapters are little ‘how-to’ boxes — these are indicated in the index with an asterisk and bold print
  • Each chapter deals with specifics such as ‘Filters, Effects, and Recipes’ or ‘The Retro Look’
  • Once you’ve read through the book you can quickly find a specific piece of information via the chapter headings and subtopics in the index
  • Lots of screenshots — I’ve picked it up several times now to look for a specific screenshot that I remembered seeing — while there are lots of them they all serve a purpose
  • Over 30 apps listed with their particular assets listed (both free and paid apps with a ‘current at publishing’ price listed for the paid apps)
  • There’s enough info given about the apps to help you decide whether it’s worth you paying for or not
  • There’s a chapter on setting up a photo blog
  • And a final chapter simply called “For Inspiration” with examples of photos taken by professionals that were taken, edited and uploaded to websites with an iPhone

My most used apps

  • Camera Genius — I suffer from the dreaded shake — this saves a lot of my photos from being too blurry. See Miraz’s Tip about Camera Genius: How to take better iPhone photos.
  • Flickr app — brilliant app — does a simple job to get my photos uploaded to Flickr — I can tag/title etc from within the app as well
  • FX Photo Studio — love the different filters in this app — and as a bonus you can upload to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr
  • Photo FX — my favourite part of this is the mosaic tool — handy for me as sometimes I have to block out parts of kids faces before uploading — this makes it easy for me to do, as well as using it simply for effect
  • Pro HDR — I’ve taken some simply gorgeous photos using this app which would have totally failed without it

I keep discovering more apps — many have free versions so you can try before you buy.

The real key to iPhone photography is simply that — take, edit and upload your photos — no need to use anything else.

If you’re into iPhone photography then I highly recommend this book.

Do you use your iPhone for photos? What are your favourite techniques? Tell us about your experiences in the Comments. Could you write a guest MacTip? If so, contact me.

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