Mobile Photography/iPhonography Tips

by Eugene G


Photography is all about capturing light, the device you use to do it is becoming less and less relevant (for the most part) Mobile phones are always on, (hopefully charged) and are becoming better at capturing still imagery with each iteration of the device(s).

I just wanted to share some of my tips/ideas/thoughts on the subject. This will be iPhone biased since that's what I use.

Capturing the moment

If a photograph doesn't make a viewer stop and look at it longer than a couple seconds, than it's not doing what it can and should - intrigue the viewer. A major factor is emotion, as a photographer one develops and eye to always watch out for details and moments to capture. Look for something special, unique, unexpected. Bring out some kind of emotion out in a viewer: happy, sad, mysterious etc.

all about the moment.JPG

Composition is key

It's harder to control exposure on a camera phone, but composition should not be ignored. Change the angle, shoot up/down, low, high, throw your phone up in the air (not recommended, unless you have a mid-air retrieval method) Work with lines, geometry, vanishing points, negative space... 

composition is key - iphonography.JPG
pov is important iphonography square.JPG

Accessories

For something even more creative, you can get a lens clip or an  attachment  to achieve a result native camera can't really get. Photojojo, Olloclip or iPro lenses for iPhones are cool and fun. Fisheye and macro lenses are my favorite. There are a numerous number of stands and adapters to help you, I frankly just use my hands or steady the camera on  a wall, fence or ground. Maybe one day I'll get and review one.

Macro of $1 bill

Macro of $1 bill

Fish eye lens clip on iPhone

Fish eye lens clip on iPhone

Macro/closeup of a silicone chip

Macro/closeup of a silicone chip

Apps

It's easy to take a photo and now it's even easier to edit it right there on your phone. There are tons of photo editing apps. In case you were wondering, my most popular editing apps are: Camera+, VSCO Cam, Snapseed, 100Cameras, Wood Camera, PS Express, Afterglow.

Original iPhone Native Camera

Original iPhone Native Camera

Exposure and contrast enhanced

Exposure and contrast enhanced

Black & White version

Black & White version

Tilt-Shift effect

Tilt-Shift effect

HDR, much more visually appealing.

HDR, much more visually appealing.

There's a lot more you can do to get better results. I wouldn't run out and get new gear for your smart phone (almost all of the above images were shot with a native built-in camera on iPhone) If you feel you want to try something new and you have outgrown the camera on your phone, by all means, do get what want to keep the "fun" going... but remember light does not discriminate. It doesn't go "Oh he's got a new lens, I should dim by 50000 lumens" or "that's a new app, lets ruin this photo" You the photographer are in control of the final result (except for the sun that is)