Earlier this month photographers trashhand, Steven “Steve Sweatpants” Irby, Yopoosh and Highsnobiety’s own Pete Williams took to the stage at Apple SoHo for a panel talk entitled “Capturing NYC with iPhone.” Moderated by Highsnobiety Executive Editor Jeff Carvalho, the hour-long discussion allowed attendees to learn a range of mobile photography tips and tricks from the four creatives through live-editing demos and a Q&A session.
As the saying goes, the best camera is the camera you have with you. And today, who doesn’t have a camera in their pocket? While there are many high-quality professional cameras on the market today, the iPhone will always win for its ease of use. As Chicago-based photographer trashhand puts it, “sometimes you only have two seconds to get the shot and the beauty of the iPhone is that you can be that quick – it’s already in your pocket or in your hand.” Not only that, but you can share it instantly from the same device. And with that, it’s truly the perfect foundation for getting into photography today.
With this past weekend’s launch of the Apple iPhone 6s we’ve rounded up a range of mobile photography tips from several top Instagram shooters. Read below for 15 tips from trashhand, Steve Sweatpants, Yopoosh and Pete Williams on how to make the most of your iPhone photos, taken from our recent Apple Podcast in New York City.
Always use the grid.
You want to get as much as you can out of your original shot, so how you’ve captured that photo is very important. Turning on the grid is key for lining up your shot, especially if you’re going for symmetry.
Automatically adjust your exposure.
You can tap the screen at certain points on the iPhone to manipulate the light in the photo. You can also adjust the brightness and the exposure by scrolling your finger up and down on the iPhone screen. Playing with these exposure adjustments is key in getting the best light in your photo.
Lock the exposure when lining up your shot.
You can lock your exposure by holding your finger on the screen. When the AE/AF lock kicks in you can move around to line up your shot and the lighting will stay consistent.
Turn on HDR when shooting the sky.
“Sunset is always a hard time to shoot because you want to capture as much detail in the foreground as possible, but you want to capture as much of the color and the sky as possible as well in the background. iPhone HDR is amazing, it takes two photos, puts them together, one dark, one light and allows you to have all that detail in the foreground, with all the color and detail in the background without anything being overexposed. I always bring exposure down on a sunset photo. It helps bring the color of the sunset out without actually boosting the saturation.” -trashhand
Clean your lens.
If you see weird streaks in your nighttime photos, you probably have a dirty lens. All you have to do is clean the lens and it will be much clearer.
Flip the camera upside down for puddle reflections.
Instead of taking your photo normally, flip the iPhone upside down so the camera lens is closer to the puddle, you’ll get a bigger “mirror” and thus a crazier reflection.
It’s the details that matter.
Try the Retouch app to remove unwanted details in your photos, such as a piece of trash in a beautiful landscape. Retouch is a smart clone tool where you can highlight things and it will essentially remove the item itself.
Don’t trust your hand for long exposures.
When using long exposure apps like Slow Shutter, Average Camera Pro or Cortex Cam you need the iPhone to stay steady to get clean image. Try an iPhone tripod like the Gorillapod, Glif Mount or ANYCASE.
Avoid over-sharpening your photos.
When you start to notice that the photo is sharpened, you’ve gone too far. Going beyond +2 Sharpness in the VSCO Cam app is too much.
Turn to the same filters to give your photos a consistent feel.
The beast in the room is the VSCO Cam app, which mimics film through filters. Some favorite VSCO filters from the panelists: F1, E5, E7 and M6.
Try the straightening app SKRWT
“It’s super precise and the grid it offers is amazing. Even if you took the photo in a weird way you can manipulate it to fix the perspective. So even if you try to take something that was a square but one of the lines was crooked because your iPhone was tilted forward or tilted back, you’re actually able to fix that with this app.” – trashhand
Always save to your Camera Roll at full size after editing.
Most social networks will compress your image if you upload direct via an editing app. Save to your camera roll first to ensure the highest quality file.
You can take photos with your headphones.
“Street photography on an iPhone is really the bee’s knees since it’s so discreet. You can take photos with your headphones; it’s like a silent shutter. You can just be discreetly snapping photos all day.” – Steve Sweatpants
Do your research and explore new places.
“Usually before I go somewhere new, I’ll Google the name of the city and see what comes up: landmarks, different places. I also go on Instagram and put in the hashtag for a city to see if I spot anything that looks cool. I’ll see if somebody geotagged it and try and go there.” – Pete Williams
Find new perspectives on locations.
Try going to a spot at a different time of day, in different weather, at a different time of year or even with different people; it’s going to look unique in every situation.
- Photography: Thomas Welch for Highsnobiety.com