Smartphone technology has improved so much, that most smartphone cameras today have better resolution than the first top-of-the-line DSLR’s did in the beginning—but what most smartphones don’t have, including the iPhone, is the ability to control things like shutter speed and aperture values independently of each other.
Make sure your iPhone is charged and ready to go just like you would with your DSRL or mirrorless cameras before a photo shoot—oh, and iPhones are mirrorless cameras too and that’s why they’re great for low-light hand-held photos because there are no mirrors to cause vibration or camera shake.
Just like traditional photography, iPhoneography is no different, learn the rules then learn to break them effectively. The most important rule is actually a set of rules from the fundamentals of composition—more specifically, proper framing, position, cropping, perspective, etc.
Which is a subset of the rules of composition, avoid placing horizon lines in the center of the image; place your horizon line either in the upper third or lower third of the frame. You can find more in this article,.
Again, related to the rules of composition, don’t center your subject, follow the rule of thirds where you divide your view frame into thirds left to right and top to bottom—where the lines intersect is usually the best placement of your subject and always leave room in the direction they are looking. Follow the guidelines found in
Lock your focus, exposure and sometimes white balance with your finger. One cool thing about the iPhone is if you don’t like the exposure or white balance, you can touch the screen to another point, such as another light source, and your photo will adjust, sometimes lighter, sometimes darker, but it will adjust to that point. So experiment with the “finger lock.”
Keep trying, don’t give up, don’t be a quitter. Don’t like what you see, move around and utilizephysics law. It’s based of the principle that if light strikes an object at angle A, it will be reflected in the opposite direction, also at angle A, similar to the way a ball bounces off a brick wall.
When taking selfies you can use the law of reflection in your favor to smooth your skin. As you walk around you will notice hot and washed out spots will appear and disappear based on the angle of reflection. You may also notice that your face appears smoother from one angle and rougher from another angle. Through positioning your camera, yourself, and light sources independently, you can eliminate hot spots and create the appearance of a smoother skin texture.
Utilize foregrounds, middle grounds and backgrounds to create the feel of depth. IPhoneography is no different than traditional photography, it’s one-dimensional not three-dimensional, but we can create this effect by simply taking a low angle to include the foreground, like a field of flowers. Basically you are placing various elements that add value to the photo at different planes of the photo.
Don’t shoot down, shooting down on people makes them shorter and heavier. Try shooting at their eye-level or bellybutton level for a better perspective. If you want your subject to appear taller and more slender, shoot from a low angle up. It’s about camera perspective in relation to your subject.
Shoot earlier or later in the day as the sun is at a more oblique angle to Earth and thus the light is less intense plus more flattering. In certain scenarios this also creates long shadows that can provide another element of composition in your frame.
A common technique used by photojournalists is called juxtaposition where you still have your main element as the primary focus in your photo, but you also have a secondary element that can help tell the story. Signs work great with this technique!
Well besides the lack of shutter speed and aperture values independently of each other, as you can tell by those ten tips, you can basically take any photography tip, technique and tricks used by traditional digital cameras and apply them in some form or manner when it comes to iPhonegraphy. Enjoy and the bonus tip, keep shooting!
About Rolando Gomez
Rolando Gomez, a former U.S. Army combat photographer is a freelance photographer, photojournalist, blogger, and social media consultant. Author of five photography books, one social media book, and one self-help book, his assignments have taken him to 43 countries. He’s lectured at major expos, universities, and charity events and operates LensDiaries.com and AmericanoDream.com.
Rolando earned a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Communication, Electronic Media, summa cum laude, from the University of Texas, San Antonio, and is a State of Texas Mediator in Conflict Resolution. After leaving the Army in 1995, the former Staff Sgt. become the Chief of Multimedia for the Air Force News Agency where he oversaw the photo desk plus streaming media for the Internet television and radio programs of the U.S. Air Force website.
Partial credits include Parade, People, New York Times, Playboy, Rangefinder, Maxim, Sports Illustrated, St. Martin’s Press, NBA, Amherst Media, Studio Photography,Digital Imaging, Peterson’s 4-Wheel Drive, Stars & Stripes, Army Times, Airman, Soldiers, San Antonio Express News, AOL/Time Warner, Leica World News, and many nationwide publications.