Beats the DSLR at home!

Lets face it, not even a career photographer like me always has a big chunky camera on hand.  Sure, the DSLR gives much greater versatility and ultimate quality, but its size and weight means it is not always with you. The cameras in the iPhones and Samsung smartphones are so advanced now that stunning results are possible. With a few handy apps and a slightly different approach from mindless snapping or full on DSLR control freakery, you can create worthy images with your phone camera.

Forget shooting RAW, selective focus and interchangeable lenses, iPhonography is about getting it right, or close enough, then uploading it straight to Instagram or Facebook.  Getting it right in camera can be tricky with no camera controls sometimes, so an APP that allows you a little more control over the camera is very helpful. Camera Awesome from Smugmug is one such app, available for free. It allows you to separately choose a focus and exposure point in the photo to ensure the best possible sharpness and tone. Tap the screen with two fingers and they appear, move the focus point to what you want sharpest and move the exposure point around until it shows the best level of brightness.  The WB button allows you to adjust the colour balance. There is also the option to turn the flash off, which I usually do.  I cant remember seeing a photo I liked that was taken with the phone’s internal flash. The right light sets the mood.

If you really need to, you can adjust the image a little after the fact with Photoshop Express, another free app (PS Express). Personally I have hardly ever used it, because usually if I stuff up a photo I just redo it on the spot.

I like adding a bit of flavour to my iPhone pics, so I don’t mind using some filters like in Instagram.  My favourite camera app is Hipstamatic. In its basic form it includes filters in the form of “lenses” and “films” from which you can make up a camera and photograph in that style.  Extra lenses and filters are available as in app purchases, sometimes free, usually $1.29, but the basic kit gives plenty of scope as it is.  I love the square format too.  It even has its own photo sharing site, OGGL, available on the app store for free. If you like the effect of any pic on Oggle, you can see what lens and film was used and make up a favourite camera from that. ( I have 32 favourite cameras so far!) The gallery at the top of this post are all Hipstamatic photos as captured straight from iPhone4 with no post processing.

As with any photo, most important is expression, pose, composition, and lighting in that order. Build your photo in the reverse order and you will have a visually stunning image, even with a phone camera!