There is a saying that goes “the best camera is the one that’s with you,” and I think this is more true today than it was yesterday. You can have the best camera in the world, but if it’s too big to carry on a daily basis, you’re probably missing out on some amazing shots. Ever since I got my first iPhone back in 2007, I started developing a taste for photography. I always loved taking pictures, but I also always disliked having to carry a camera with me. The iPhone, and other smartphones, solved this problem. Fast forward a few years, and the iPhone is currently the most popular camera on Flickr. It’s the most popular camera because it’s the one that’s with people at any time of the day and night.
This being said, there is much more to taking a picture than just clicking a button. There are certain concepts and rules, that, when applied, help create an even more beautiful picture. These rules usually beg to be broken, and that’s fine, because iPhone photography, and photography in general, is more about your creativity than your technique. The way is see it, technique teaches you the basics of iPhoneography, while creativity unleashes the real potential of your photographs.
If you’re here to learn about iPhoneography, then you came to the right place. Whether you are an experienced photographer or a beginner, you will find this page to be a real wealth of information. From iPhone photography tutorials, to the best apps for iPhone photography, we cover a wide range of topics to help you become a better photographer.
Make sure to come back often as this page will be periodically updated with new tutorials and apps.
As you might have guessed by its name, iPhoneography is the contraction of “iPhone photography” into one word. iPhoneography is the art of taking and editing photos with an iPhone, or, to a larger extent, with an iOS device such as an iPod touch or an iPad.
There actually seems to be a bit of controversy about the editing part. Some would argue that iPhoneography is the art of taking photos with an iPhone and edit them the way you want, including using professional softwares such as the desktop version of Photoshop. Others, including myself, believe that iPhoneography should be entirely done on an iOS device, from shooting to editing, and that one shall not use a PC or a Mac to post process the photos.
With the fantastic evolution of the iPhone camera, more and more professional photographers are actually venturing into this new world. And with the development of some amazing iPhone photography apps, this art has become more and more accessible to the public, to the point that nowadays, virtually everyone can be an artist and create amazing photographs with just an iPhone.
iPhone Photography Tutorial
Justin Balog is an award winning photographer and film maker. You can follow is daily creative adventures at HOSSedia.com or learn more about iPhone Photography in his iBook ‘Big World Little Lens‘. Click Here for the iPad Version. You can buy the PDF version of the eBook here. To find out more about Justin, follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo by @JustinBalog
In this first iPhone photography tutorial, we explore a technique that allows you to flex your creative muscle when it comes to taking beautiful pictures with your iPhone. You will learn about some of the basics of photography: exposure, highlights, and shadows. We will show you how to to play with these three controls to make your iPhone photos stand out. This is a must-read for every beginner. Read more about creative exposure.
Advanced exposure and focus techniques
Photo by @JustinBalog
Now that you’ve learned about the basics of photography exposure, we’re going to dig a little deeper and talk about advanced exposure and focus liberation techniques. By playing with these simple concepts of iPhoneography, we will show you how to get complete creative control over both the exposure and focus. Read more about advanced exposure and focus techniques.
White balance: the iPhone photographer’s little secret
Photo by @wamid
I’m sure you have seen at some point in your photographic pursuits 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 this lesson we will quickly learn what ‘it’ is and then explore creative ways to use ‘it’ to our advantage! Read more about white balance.
Improve your iPhoneography with the Camera+ white balance lock
Photo by @SebastienPage
Have you ever used Camera+ and wondered what the WB lock icon is all about? It does what the name implies. It locks the white balance setting! If you lock it, it will apply the same white balance setting to all your photographs until it is unlocked, even if the light source changes. So how or why would we use this feature? Find out in our lesson about Camera+ and white balance lock.
iPhone photography and the magic of HDR
Photo by @mychemzer0
High Dynamic Range imaging is a technique used to allow a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. HDR is used to take photos exposed for both the highlight detail (bright areas) and shadow detail (dark areas) and blend them together pixel by pixel into a composite image that is exposed properly for both highlight and shadows. Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, your iPhone can do that in just one click, and we show you how. Read more about iPhone photography and the magic of HDR.
How to use Pro HDR to create stunning high dynamic range photos
Photo by @igzabier
If you look back the previous iPhoneography lesson, you know HDR photography is a technique used to achieve a balanced exposure in high contrast scenes. If you don’t know that, I suggest you go back and re-read the post. However, in the original post we were using the iPhone’s native HDR capabilities. In this post, we are going to gain a bit more control using Pro HDR. Why is does offer more control you ask? Easy, Pro HDR allows you to determine what areas of the scene you would like to meter as the bright and dark areas of the scene. This is how to use Pro HDR to create stunning high dynamic range photos.
How to bring a fresh perspective to your iPhone photography
Photo by @zysteel
Learning about various techniques of iPhoneography is great, but let’s not forget that the most amazing photos usually are those that break all the conventions. In this iPhone photography course, we will explore a few easy ways to make more compelling images by simply changing your perspective. A real creativity boost! Read more about how to bring a fresh perspective to your iPhone photography.
The Rule of Thirds
Photo by @zysteel
There aren’t many rules in photography, but there are a few guidelines every photographer should know and try to apply to his photographs. This simple technique will create more tension, energy and interest in the composition of your photos. If you are new to photography, I like to think of it is a tool to help you break out of simply centering your subject. Use the rule as an aid to help you discover new ideas for your own compositions. Read more about the Rule of Thirds.
The Golden Ratio
Photo by @silverstang22
In our previous installment, we took a look at an age old principle of composition: the Rule of Thirds. In this installment, we are going to explore the foundation of this rule: the Golden Ratio. For our purposes, we can apply the rule very easily, without having to know advanced mathematics. Learn more about the Golden Ratio.
Black & white photography
Photo by @mansoor_shehabi
In this lesson, we are going to learn about black & white photography. I’m not talking about taking photos and performing black and white conversions. No, I’m talking about 100% pure uncut black & white iPhone photography. The app we are going to be using is a totally cool app called Hueless. Learn more about how to use Hueless for your black & white photography.
Panning, or how to get your photography moving
Photo by @wvs
Get your iPhone photography moving with this simple technique! In this lesson we 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. Panning is a technique that can produce amazing results but is also one that can take a lot of practice to get right. We show you how in this panning tutorial.
Photographing light trails with your iPhone
Photo by @hamster_83
Your iPhone is no DSLR, but we the help of apps, we can sometimes make wonders. In this lesson, we’ll teach you how to use Slow Shutter Cam, an application that lets you photograph light trails, among other things. Photographing light trails with an iPhone can be a bit tricky, but don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it. Learn how to take photos of light trails with your iPhone.
Creating creative lens flare with your iPhone
Photo by @samerised
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. Personally, it has never really bothered me. I kind of dig it. So much so, I seek it out. So in This lesson I thought it would be fun to show you how to achieve creative lens flare.
Shoot first, compose later
Photo by @JustinBalog
This lesson is a simple, yet important one. Sometimes you should forget everything you know about photography, get the shot first, then worry about all the things we have talked about in previous lessons later. My buddy calls these ‘prophylactic images’. A ‘prophylactic image’ is a quick image to cover your bases, because sometimes you don’t have the time or opportunity to compose your photo the way you’d want to. In short, shoot first, compose later. Learn more about prophylactic images.
How to use Snapseed
Photo by @vulpes_cana
In this iPhoneography lesson, we jump into the darkroom, and there’s no better darkroom than Snapseed. Chances are you already have Snapseed on your iPhone, but if you don’t, I suggest you download it from the App Store right away. Snapseed is one of the most powerful apps to edit your photos, yet it’s a very simple application. We’ll walk you through the app and show you examples of what you can achieve with it. Read more about how to use Snapseed.
How to use Intentional Camera Movement to your advantage
Photo by @SteelCityRy
In this lesson, we are going to leave our shutter open for a long time while being careless about holding our iPhone still. This is a technique called “Intentional Camera Movement” or ICM. The goal is to intentionally use blur to create something unique and beautiful. ICM is a fun way to continue to expand your creative landscape photography. It instantly turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. Read more about Intentional Camera Movement.
7 ways to improve your travel iPhone photography
Photo by @SebastienPage
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. In this lesson, I thought I would share a few tips to improve your own travel iPhoneography.
iPhone Photography Apps
The App Store contains thousands of apps for shooting, editing, and sharing your photos directly from your iPhone or iPad. Because there are so many options, finding the iPhone photography apps that work best for you will completely depend on what you’re looking for.
While there are some apps that might work well for you, these same apps might not be the right fit for me. Again, it’s all about what you want to accomplish with your photos. I know I like simple and straightforward apps, but if you’re a technical kind of guy, you might like apps that offer more advanced features. It’s all up to you and your creative needs.
There are a few apps that we can all agree are some of the best iPhone photography apps out there:
Camera+: This is my go-to app when it comes to shooting photos with my iPhone. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or someone who’s barely touched a camera, Camera+ will make you love taking photos. Camera+ is what the stock Camera app should be.
Snapseed: Snapseed makes any photograph extraordinary with a fun, high-quality photo experience right at your fingertips. Anyone can enhance, transform, and share their photos with ease using incredibly advanced features. If you don’t have Snapseed yet, make sure to download it now.
Big Lens: This app gives you a way to be creative with depth of field, which is otherwise impossible with the iPhone camera. Snap a picture and then edit it like magic by setting the aperture, changing blur levels, and adjusting background light to create a depth of field effect with just a few gestures.
Noir Photo: This is my favorite app for turning photos into beautiful black and white. Noir Photo lets you transform your photos with beautiful, dramatic lighting and instant results. Peel away the color to a cinematic black and white, apply a lovely tint, and then light up your subject.
Pro HDR: Bringing automatic high dynamic range photography to your iPhone, Pro HDR captures an image exposed for the highlights and another exposed for the shadows. It then aligns and merges the images, giving you a gorgeous HDR image at native resolution. Read our Pro HDR tutorial.
FX Photo Studio: This app comes with 194 high quality photo effects, created in cooperation with pro photographers and graphic designers. Mix and match them on your photos for exceptional results. FX Photo Studio is definitely on my short list of best iPhone photo apps for iPhone.
Photo fx: Photo fx brings professional effects to your iPhone. It gives you the tools to edit, control and correct your images as well as create interesting effects with 878 presets, including digital optical filter equivalents for your iPhone or iPod touch images.
Diptic: Diptic helps you easily combine multiple photos and apply artistic effects to create exceptional photo collages. With 14 filters, rounded borders and 52 customizable layouts, there are unlimited options to create unique images.
Photo Transfer App: Photo Transfer App allows you to easily download photos from your iPhone or iPad to your computer as well as exchange photos from and to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. The app lets you transfer photos in full resolution.
CameraBag: Dramatically enhance your photos using the many classic camera and film simulations in CameraBag. It’s like having a dozen unique cameras all in one app. It focuses on emulating styles and processes from some of the most interesting cameras of the past to enhance the mood.
Slow Shutter Cam: Slow Shutter Cam brings new life into your device’s photo toolbox by letting you capture a variety of amazing slow shutter speed effects that you only thought you could get with a DSLR. It’s the perfect app to shoot light trail photographs.
Hueless: Hueless helps you to take better black & white photographs with pioneering Live B&W Preview, Exposure & Contrast Adjustments and Color Filters. The image you see in the viewfinder is the image you see in the Photo Roll. Full-resolution, no post-processing required.
TouchRetouch: TouchRetouch is an application that lets you remove unwanted content or objects from your photos, using just your finger and iPhone or iPod Touch. Mark the items you want taken out of the snapshot and hit ‘Go’. That’s all there is to it.
Camera Awesome: Camera Awesome takes your photos to the next level by shooting fast and taking sharper, better-exposed shots. I mostly use it for its “Awesomize” feature which instantly makes any picture a better one. It also comes with various controls, filters, and much more. Give it a try.
Instagram: Do we even need to introduce Instagram? It is one of the most, if not the most popular app for sharing your best iPhoneography. Recently acquired by Facebook, Instagram one app I use every day. Find me there @SebastienPage.
PhotoMojo: Plenty of photo editors span the App Store but few are as holistic as PhotoMojo. Boasting a clever assortment of photo editing tools that easily surpass Instagram, PhotoMojo is a crafty and fun attempt to shoulder onto a much larger stage. Read our PhotoMojo review.
From the creators of the PhotoForge series comes a revolutionary new camera app. Beautifully designed and packed with powerful features, KitCam is a must-have for anyone who loves taking pictures or shooting video. Read our post about KitCam.