A Mobiographer’s Journey From Analog to iPhone
A couple of years ago, mobiographer Erica “Spin” Simas moved…
One great attraction of iPhone photography is that it is open to anyone. You can be a great iPhoneographer without knowing how to use a DSLR, or owning any specialist equipment. This is an artform almost entirely based in creativity. Almost.
To get the most out of your iPhone shots, it is necessary to employ some technical nous. Everyone has to learn these skills, and make a few mistakes along the way — here are some of the most common slip-ups, and a look at how to correct them.
The iPhone usually does an outstanding job of gauging whatever scene is put in front of it. Most of the time, you need nothing more than a tweak of exposure to perfect your photos. Just occasionally, though, the iOS Camera app gets it wrong. The result is an image either with dazzling, sun-burned highlights, or vast areas of shadow, devoid of detail.
There are two ways to solve this problem. The better option is to take control of exposure in the first place. In the Camera app or Enlight, you can do this by tapping on a specific point in your composition; your device will then set exposure according to the brightness of this spot. Hold down your finger to lock this exposure setting.
When magical light settles on your subject, time is of the essence. Reaching for your phone is instinctive. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, the tendency is not to line up the shot quite as carefully as you otherwise might. Nonetheless, you manage to capture a stunning image. All too often, however, the motion sickness-inducing horizon goes unnoticed. Thankfully, once recognized, this fault is easily corrected. In Enlight, tap through Canvas > Crop and select Straighten in the menu. You can then use your fingers to realign the horizon, with a grid overlay providing visual guidance.
Another common feature of hastily composed photos is the inclusion of distracting background objects. Street lights, power lines and litter are the most frequent intruders. It is worth looking around the frame when you compose your shot to avoid including these unsightly objects, but with some care, you can remove them post-capture by visiting Tools > Heal in Enlight. Simply tap your image to select the object you would like to clone away, and then move the other circle until you have a seamless blend.
Flash illuminates foreground objects in the harshest of bright light, making everything else fade away into complete darkness — no good if you are trying to capture the twinkling lights of a city after dark. With your iPhone in portrait format, tap the lightning bolt-shaped icon in the top left of the screen to switch off flash.
In the early days of iPhone image editing, apps such as Instagram and Hipstamatic offered only the most basic of styling options. It was a good excuse to take the lazy route when it came to editing. Today’s phone photographers have no such excuse.
Rather than simply applying preset filters on autopilot, use all the tools available to you to make your photography stand out. Using Enlight, this means using the Adjust menu to get the right colors and contrast, and customizing the presets in the Filter menu, such as using Duo to create your own, unique look. You could even try a painterly look via the Artistic tools.
The thing to remember with these little challenges is that making mistakes is how we learn. The key is to constantly upgrade your iPhoneography skills until you make a breakthrough. When you do, look out for me, as your millionth follower on Instagram!
Have you ever made any of the mistakes mentioned above? (Don’t be shy!) What other mistakes do you regularly see?
Written by: Mark Myerson.
Contributing photographer: Ronen Goldman. Check out his gorgeous collection of photos here.