10 Golden Rules For iPhone Photography
Apple lovers have been singing the iPhone’s praises since we care to remember. But it wasn’t until we saw how easy it was to snap everything from sunrise to sunset on its camera, that we became team iPhone all the way…
We asked Egypt-based iPhone photography master and serial globetrotter Allie Astell, of Allie’s Eye, to share her golden rules for taking great iPhone pics, here’s what she had to say…
When you go on holiday, you’ll want to cherish the memories long after you get back. You might have bought souvenirs to remind you of your travels, but the most important thing of all is to take great photographs, which you can then share with your friends or place on the desk at work to cure the Monday blues.
Packed with features and a wealth of editing apps, when it’s used properly or creatively, the results of iPhone photography can be startling.
1. It’s All About The Apps
You might not have a good internet connection abroad, so before you leave home, download a few apps to try out on the flight and when you’ve got free Wi-Fi on holiday. I’d recommend Camera+, Hipstamatic, Pixlromatic+ and Instagram to start off with. All of these allow you to select different filters and effects either before or after you take your shot, but there are thousands of other apps that you can browse through on the App Store.
2. Level Up
When you’re taking photographs of a horizon – for example a beach scene, range of mountains or a street – always make sure that it’s perfectly horizontal. You can always adjust the angle using the native iPhone camera app – click edit and you’ll find it. Or try shooting sideways to add an edge to the final result.
3. Show Respect
If you want to take a photo of someone in the street, it always pays off to ask them for their permission first. Firstly, it can look quite rude to take pictures in someone’s face without their permission – imagine if someone did that to you– and, secondly, if they say yes, they’ll probably relax and pose well for you or just go about their business without giving you evil glares.
4. Capture The Moment
One of my pet hates is when I’m being photographed and spend most of my time watching someone fiddling around with the camera, adjusting the height or angle and generally faffing around for 5 minutes. By that time my smile’s turned into a fixed grin that doesn’t look natural at all. When you photograph people, do it as quickly as you can to make sure the final image captures the moment perfectly. Make them laugh with a silly joke, smile at them, keep talking to make them feel at ease, and take as many photographs as you can to make sure there’s at least one that you’re happy with. Never make your subjects wait for you to get everything just right. For them it’s like watching paint dry and the boredom will show.
5. Street Scenes
When you’re on holiday, there will always be little scenes going on that you want to capture without making it too obvious. For example two old men chatting over a game of backgammon, street children playing with an old tyre, or even an Elvis impersonator in action. The beauty of the iPhone is that it’s so discreet. Just make sure your phone is on mute, you stay still while taking it and look casual. Pretend you’re texting someone or set up your shot quickly and then look away as you take it.
6. Framing And Focusing
The key to a great snap is the way you’ve framed and focused it. Find interesting angles – you don’t always have to take it standing up at eye level. You could crouch or lie down and use the ground level or shoot from above. Also look around and find interesting objects that you could include. This could be anything from a shell in the foreground with a boat on the horizon, or someone sitting on a bench under a funny sign. To focus, hold your iPhone still long enough for it to focus itself. If you want to focus on a particular area, simply touch the screen in that spot. Just never allow a tree, road sign or lampshade to look as though it’s growing out of your subject’s head.
7. See The Light
Always check the position of the sun when you’re taking daytime photographs. You should never face the sun unless you’re looking for a glare effect. At the same time, you don’t want your subjects to squint against the light, so use an angle that allows them to look at you easily or ask them to wear their sunglasses. The best times of day for photography in sunny countries are very early morning just after sunrise and late afternoon just before sunset. You’ll find your photos have a gorgeous glow and clarity around these times that can’t be recreated in the midday stronger light. At night, which is where iPhone photography isn’t at its best, you might like to try out Manual – a more complex app that allows manual camera functionality.
8. Me And My Shadow
The last thing you want is to ruin a beautiful photograph by having your shadow across it. So many times I’ve taken what would have been a pretty great shot only to find that the shadow of my hand and phone have somehow made their way onto it. If you can see your shadow, move around or change the perspective until it’s gone.
9. Blurred Vision
iPhones aren’t the best when you’re taking photos of excited children, fast-moving cars, animals or anything else that won’t stay still. All I can recommend here is that you take as many pictures as you can – hold down the capture button and the camera will go into “burst” mode which means it will take a rapid fire of shots. Out of all of these, one of them should be clear enough for you to be happy with or you can just enjoy watching your own animation.
10. The Final Analysis
I find it really therapeutic to go through my photos and edit them using my various apps. Don’t be afraid to experiment at this stage – make a coffee, sit down for a while and use different filters, colour, black and white, crop if needed, and generally have fun during the post-production stage. Watching a photo transform bit by bit is one of my favourite hobbies and I find this part is great on long train journeys.