About Justin Balog

Justin Balog is an award winning photographer and filmmaker. You can follow his daily creative adventures at HOSSedia.com or learn more about iPhone Photography in his iBook “Big World Little Lens” (PDF version). To find out more about Justin, follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

How to photograph lightning with your iPhone

by Justin Balog on Sep 7, 2013

Lightning photography is all about timing. If you’re shooting a DSLR you can use all sorts of tricks like super long exposures and lightning triggers. With our mobile phones, we have to be a bit more creative. I thought I would share a few quick tips to improve your chances of photographing nature that happens in a fraction of a second.

In this iPhone photography lesson, I’ll show you several techniques about how to photograph lightning with your iPhone… Read More

 

How to create stop motion animations with your iPhone and Google+ Auto Awesome feature

by Justin Balog on Aug 3, 2013

If you’re going to understand this post, you’ll first need to see my Auto Awesome in action. This might be a bit of a departure from a traditional lesson in iPhone Photography, but I always feel it’s important to experiment with new technologies. I went so far down the Rabbit Hole trying to figure this out, I just had to share it!

If you’re a Google+ user, you probably already know this. If not, they actually have some very cool things going on over there. One of those things is the ‘Auto Awesome’ photo tools. In short, ‘Auto Awesome’ can do very awesome things with the images you upload and like the name implies, it does it automatically. Things like ‘auto enhance’, ‘auto HDR’, ‘auto panorama’, and for this example, ‘auto motion’!

All you do is upload several photos and Google automatically determines the appropriate awesomeness to apply. For example, if they are different exposures of the same scene, it will auto HDR them. If there is overlap in the scene from one image to the next, it will auto panorama them. If it’s the same scene with subtle motion differences, it will do thisRead More

 

Three powerful ways to improve your landscape iPhone Photography

by Justin Balog on May 4, 2013

We have covered a whole bunch of creativity in these iPhone Photography lessons. However, one thing we haven’t touched on is something that we all love to photograph: landscapes! I recently spent a week in the Utah desert photographing several of the National Parks with my iPhone. I thought I would share three quick tips to improve your landscape iPhone Photography… Read More

 

Turn ordinary photos into extraordinary iPhoneography with textures

by Justin Balog on Apr 6, 2013

Welcome back to another installment of Lessons in iPhone Photography here at iDownloadBlog. After seeing the amazing images you have been sharing on Instagram, it is clear you are all enjoying your newly discovered creativity. In today’s lesson I hope to share a new idea to fuel your own creative adventures. Today’s lesson is a bit subjective, but I hope you learn a new idea and use it to make some of your own magic.

A fun way to add interest and mystery to your iPhone imagery is the use of textures. What are textures, you ask? In short, the idea is to take an image of the texture you might find in a burlap sack, brick wall, etc. Apply it over your original image so that only the texture can be seen and not the color. That’s pretty much the idea behind it, but it might be better just to look at an example… Read More

 

Make powerful iPhone photos by focusing on what’s important

by Justin Balog on Mar 9, 2013

Welcome back to our lessons in iPhone Photography. In today’s lesson I’m going to do my best to share a fairly abstract creative tool illustrated with a few concrete examples. Last week I was in Belize working on a new iPhone Photography book. The book will feature iPhone images following the world famous Hummingbird Highway from the eastern coast of Belize to the Guatemalan border in the west. If you’d like to know when it’s published, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll be the first to know.

I shared the context of this project with you so you could see how I use the tool I’m going to present in this lesson. When you are working on a photography project with a finite time-frame and budget, you have to make images. There’s no option for returning the following day, or complaining that the muse isn’t with you.

In previous lessons I’ve shared ideas about changing perspective and compositional aids that can help in our creativity. However, this one single piece of photographic wisdom has served me better than anything else I’ve learned. One of my personal photographic heroes, Bruce Percy, says (this is a bit paraphrased) “whatever it is that initially draws you to a scene… that is what you should focus on.”

It is a simple, yet very powerful creative tool. I use this advice all the time by making whatever it is that attracted me to a scene the subject of my photograph and trying my best to reduce the other elements within the scene. As I mentioned in the beginning of this lesson, I want to illustrate how I’ve used this wisdom by sharing a few concrete examples from my recent trip to Belize… Read More

 

Conceptualize your compositions to improve your iPhone photography

by Justin Balog on Feb 16, 2013

In today’s lesson in iPhone photography, we will be digging a bit deeper into the mystical ideas of composition. Remember, before you consider the post processing of an image you need to expose and compose properly. In previous lessons we examined the Rule of Thirds. It is pretty straightforward and a great creative technique to have in your tool box. However, we never explored why, or how, it works. In this lesson, to better understand it, as well as other compositional guidelines, we will explore the idea of static vs. dynamic compositions.

Before we explore the ideas of composition, it’s important we understand the concept of ‘visual weight’ (or strength). Every elements in our compositions have varying weight/strength associated with them. It could be heavy, light, dark, strong, soft, etc. Obvious properties that influence a subject’s weight (or strength) are its size and position. Is the element in the background or in the foreground? Is it big or small? Read More

 

Seven easy ways to improve your travel iPhone Photography

by Justin Balog on Feb 2, 2013

Welcome back to the lessons in iPhone photography. I hope you have enjoyed adding a little creative lens flare to your images the last couple of weeks. I have enjoyed looking at them! This week I thought we would do something a little different. I travel quite a bit with my iPhone and as you know by now, I take a lot of photos with it. I shot close to 4,000 iPhone images last year. Today I thought I would share a few tips to improve your own travel iPhoneographyRead More

 

Creating creative lens flare with your iPhone

by Justin Balog on Jan 19, 2013

Welcome back to iDownloadBlog’s lessons in iPhone photography. The last couple of lessons we have been exploring a the basics of photography (iPhone or otherwise). We learned about exposure, white balance, and white balance locking. Because we have covered the basics, I thought it would be fun to explore a more radical facets of iPhone photography: lens flare!

For years, photographers have come up with all sorts of ingenious ways to reduce that distracting little ball of light that appears in your photos when you point your camera at something bright. Very expensive lenses are measured by their ability to combat against this. You can easily pay $2,000 or more for glass that is lens flare resistant. Personally, it has never really bothered me. I kind of dig it. So much so, I seek it out. So in today’s lesson I thought it would be fun to show you how to achieve it as well as enhance it using the new app Light Camera App – Mark I

Read More

 

Improve your food iPhoneography with the Camera+ white balance lock

by Justin Balog on Jan 5, 2013

If you remember our last lesson in iPhone Photography, we learned a bit about white balance and how to control it using KitCam. In that lesson I mentioned using Camera+ as an app to control white balance. I thought in today’s lesson we would extend our understanding and take a look at Camera+’s way.

In our last lesson, we looked at controlling white balance by setting the appropriate light source that was illuminating the scene (i.e. sunlight, fluorescent light, incandescent light, etc…) . With Camera+ we do it a little differently… Read More

 

White balance: the iPhone photographer’s little secret

by Justin Balog on Dec 22, 2012

I hope you have enjoyed the last few weeks exploring the creative possibilities of exposure. I wanted to continue on our adventure back to the basics of photography. Something I’m sure you have seen at some point in your photographic pursuits is a dial, slider, or some other control annotated with a cloud, sun, flash, shade, and light bulb. Although, camera companies have done a great job researching the iconography that best represents ‘it’, they really don’t explain what ‘it’ is. In today’s lesson we will quickly learn what ‘it’ is and then explore creative ways to use ‘it’ to our advantage! Read More

 

iPhoneography: back to the basics with KitCam and its powerful controls

by Justin Balog on Dec 8, 2012

I hope everyone had fun making abstract landscapes using the intentional camera movement (ICM) techniques from our last lesson. This week I decided to take a quick step back and return to the basics for a bit. I know many iPhone Photographers who are just starting to discover the creativity inside themselves might have never owned a camera before their iPhone. And just because your camera happens to be a phone doesn’t mean that it operates any differently than this camera. My old Shur-Shot Jr!

I don’t want to bore you details, but these ideas are important to understand as we begin to explore new concepts in future lessons. So bear with me and let’s take a quick look at the way cameras work… Read More

 

iPhone photography: how to use Intentional Camera Movement to your advantage

by Justin Balog on Nov 24, 2012

I hope you have had a great couple of weeks making some HDR magic with your iPhone. Today we are going to explore a more abstract and fun approach to iPhone photography. If you remember a couple of lessons back we were using a slow shutter speed to create light trails. You probably remember having to hold your iPhone still and leave your camera shutter open for a long time. It was kind of complicated and gear intensive.

This time around, we are going to leave our shutter open for a long time but careless about holding our iPhone still. This is a technique that we in the industry call “Intentional Camera Movement” or ICM. The goal is to intentionally use blur to create something unique and beautiful! Read More

 

How to use Pro HDR to create stunning high dynamic range iPhoneography

by Justin Balog on Nov 10, 2012

Welcome back to iDownloadBlog.com’s lessons in iPhone Photography. I hope you enjoyed making light trails the last couple weeks. They’re some pretty creative folks out there looking like they had a good time with it. In today’s lesson, we are going to revisit high dynamic range (HDR) photography. Actually, we are going to improve upon it using a great little app called Pro HDR.

Before we get going, and to celebrate the release of the iPad mini, I decided to give away a few copies of my book “Big World Little Lens – The Complete Guide to iPhone Photography.” It is specifically designed for the iPad and iPad mini. If you haven’t picked up a copy of the book yet, you can here. The cool thing about iPad books is that you will get free updates whenever I publish a new version. Speaking of the a new version, I’m in the middle of a major update that will be hitting the shelves at the beginning of the year. If you get the books now, you will automatically get the free update then. Use the following codes to get your free copy today. First come, first served. Happy learning! Read More

 

Photographing light trails with your iPhone and Slow Shutter Cam

by Justin Balog on Oct 27, 2012

Welcome back to our lessons in iPhone Photography. I hope you enjoyed injecting a little motion into your iPhoneography over the last couple of weeks. This week, I want to continue on the theme of motion and pushing the limits of your iPhone. As a photographer, especially an iPhone photographer, your creativity often comes to an end when the sun goes down. Even with the iPhone 5′s improved low light capabilities, making images at night isn’t where your iPhone excels. In today’s lesson, I hope to change that.

At night, there’s nothing more fun than photographing light trails. Here’s a quick example of light trails that I shot this week. The idea is simple: stabilize your iPhone and photograph cars as they drive by. If you’d like to know about using a tripod and cable release with your iPhone, check out chapter 6 of my book, ‘Big World Little Lens – The Complete Guide to iPhone Photography‘ in the iTunes Bookstore… Read More

 

Get your iPhone photography moving with this simple technique

by Justin Balog on Oct 13, 2012

Welcome back to iDownloadBlog’s lessons in iPhone Photography. Before we get into today’s lesson, iDB reader Latinpride011 left a comment last week asking for a quick video about Hueless. I can’t oblige everyone, but I try my best. So here you go. I hope it helps!

Now that we’ve got that taken care of, let’s get your iPhone photography moving! In this lesson I want to introduce you to a cool little technique we call ‘panning’. The goal of this technique it to keep your moving subject in focus and turn the background into a blur of motion. The way you achieve this look is to have your subject move past you as you ‘pan’ your iPhone in pace with your subject as you take your photo. Here’s an example of this technique in action… Read More

 

iPhoneography: when in doubt, shoot first, compose later

by Justin Balog on Sep 15, 2012

We cover all sorts of things in this iPhoneography series. Everything from creativity and photographic principles to apps and gear. I had planned on carrying on with the theme of our previous two lessons about composition (the rule of thirds and the golden ratio) but then I saw this deer, and my entire lesson changed.

I have been meaning to write something like this for a while, so I figured there is no time like the present. It will be a short lesson. Read More

 

Power your iPhone photography with the Golden Ratio

by Justin Balog on Sep 1, 2012

In our last installment, we took a look at an age old principle of composition: the ‘Rule of Thirds’. I hope everyone enjoyed experimenting with it. In this installment, we are going to explore the foundation of this rule. Before that, I want to mention something about having fun.

Although we call it the ‘Rule of Thirds’, let’s not get hung up on the word ‘rule’. Let’s think of it more as a guideline. A guideline that we can choose to ignore if your creative muse directs you. So feel free to use these principles as you see fit, but just make sure you are having fun at the same time. Because fun is really the only true ‘rule’ in photography!

That being said let’s dive into the the true foundation of these rules… Read More

 

How to use the Rule of Thirds in your iPhone photography

by Justin Balog on Aug 18, 2012

Remember a couple episodes back when we learned about perspectives, and I mentioned that someday we will get into all the stuffy aspects of composition? Well, that day has come. Don’t let that scare you away. Sure, it will involve rules and some math, but I promise it will help you make rocking images!

In today’s lesson, we are going to learn about the age old ‘Rule of Thirds’. I’m pretty sure this was the second thing I learned in high school photography class, right after darkroom safety. Enough of that, let’s get to it! Read More

 

How to Use Snapseed to Create Extraordinary iPhone Photography

by Justin Balog on Aug 4, 2012

Welcome back to iDownloadBlog.com’s series in iPhoneography. So far we have covered everything from exposure to composition. One thing we haven’t addressed are the apps. This has been by design. I wanted to make sure we had a solid foundation in photography before we started exploring the the digital darkroom.

Later in the series we will continue to expand our foundations in photography, but today we jump into the darkroom, and there’s no better darkroom than Snapseed. I’m guessing many of you have already begun to explore Snapseed. If not, watch this video for a quick tour… Read More

 

iPhone Photography: a Fresh Perspective

by Justin Balog on Jul 21, 2012

Welcome back to iDownloadBlog’s lessons in iPhone photography. In the past three lessons we explored all the various aspects of creative exposure. We’ve learned how to control the overall brightness of your image in Creative Exposure, how to take your exposure/focus to the next level in Advanced Exposure, and how to get beautifully balanced exposures using HDR.

What I’d like to touch on next is a discussion surrounding composition. In future lessons, we will get into more academic approaches to composition. However, for this lesson I want it to be a fun and less stuffy. With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to explore a few easy ways to make more compelling images by simply changing your perspective… Read More

 
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