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.

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


A dose of inspiration for your iPhone photography

By Sébastien Page on Feb 23, 2013

Those of you looking for an inspiration boost might enjoy this video by iPhoneographer Jack Hollingsworth. All photos were shot and processed with an iPhone 5 during a trip covering several thousand miles all over India.

Beautiful and inspiring to say the least.

Now go out and shoot… Or stay in and peruse our iPhone photography tutorials.


How to enable HDR Camera mode on iPad, and iPod touch 4G

By Mike Schnier on Feb 20, 2013

HDR is a photography mode that stitches together several pictures along a range of exposure settings. Using various algorithms, the effect creates pictures that can have fewer dark or washed out spots than a conventional digital still, which is great if you intend to capture textures and detail instead of glare or shadow.

Apple introduced HDR photography to iOS 4.1, but the feature wasn’t rolled out to every device. The devices that currently lack the option to enable HDR in the stock camera app include the iPod touch 4G, iPad mini, and the iPad 2 to the iPad 4. Lucky for us, this disabled feature is fairly easy to manually reintroduce on a jailbroken device… 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


Quickly snap photos from Notification Center with Kamera

By Mike Schnier on Feb 11, 2013

Do you hate it when you’re trying to take a picture, you load up the Camera app, and the wrong camera is active? In photography, every moment counts and the delay in fiddling with camera modes could cost you that perfect shot.

Kamera is a Notification Center shortcut for the native Camera overlay in iOS 5 and 6, allowing you to take pictures from anywhere. What makes Kamera special is it allows you to start the overlay with either the front or rear camera active, depending on the button pressed… Read More


Instagram launches photo stream on the web with comments and likes

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 5, 2013

Good news for iPhone photography buffs who love to show off their snaps on Instagram. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service announced Tuesday that people can now view their entire feed of photos in any web browser, including Instagrams shared by the folks they follow on the service.

Commenting and liking is supported and the web app is optimized for both desktop and mobile browsers.

With these new capabilities, users can bypass the mobile app and instead interact with their followers using any device that runs a standards-compliant web browser. That’s a new territory for Instagram as it was dependent on the free iOS/Android app. There’s one thing missing from the new web app, however… 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


Daylight Viewfinder: a hardware/software combo for taking photos in bright light

By Sébastien Page on Jan 30, 2013

Have you ever tried to take a photo with your iPhone on a bright and sunny day and were not even able to see what’s on your screen because of high glare? If like me you live in a sunny area, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Comes the Daylight Viewfinder, an eyepiece and app combo for taking iPhone pictures in bright or high glare areas. I had heard about it a week or so ago, but I got to go hands-on with the hardware/software combo during a preview at MacWorld today in San Francisco… Read More


Quipio adds artistic quotes to iPhone photos in under 60 seconds

By Mike Schnier on Jan 25, 2013

You’ve probably seen beautifully captioned photos floating around Facebook and Tumblr, and thought you’d try your hand at making some of your own. The problem with making typography look good over a photo is it takes a bit of effort and design sense, so it’s not for everybody. Or so we thought.

Quipio is a recently released app that allows users to make their own captions for their photos. If you just have some idea you’d like to share, Quipio can also take up to 400 characters of text and turn it into a simple piece of word art in less than a minute… Read 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

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Create, add, and share beautiful filters for your photos with Digiback

By Mike Schnier on Jan 18, 2013

There is an embarrassment of photography and filter apps on iTunes. If you’re not keeping track, Hipstamatic allows users to play with swappable filters disguised as virtual camera equipment, Instagram shares retro-filtered photos to a community, while Snapseed gives mobile users fine control of photo editing on the go. That barely scratches the surface of iPhoneography. In a flooded marketplace, what else can an iOS photography app allow users to do?

Digiback is a recently released photography app that allows users to not only share pictures they’ve taken, but to also share their custom filters with other users. Not only can users create impressive photography effects for their own use, you can also share these effects with others, and then benefit from effects created by Digiback’s community… 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


How to copy Instagram photos to Flickr

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 29, 2012

Instagram’s exploding popularity is having long-time iPhoneography buffs pay notice and watch in horror as mainstream users cannot get enough of its filters and max 1080 pixel wide resolution. And with Facebook and Android now in the picture, no wonder some early adopters go to the extremes of closing their account while others, like Apple’s marketing honcho, stopped using Instagram for it “jumped the shark”.

To the most ardent fans, the last straw was Instagram’s confusing handling of the recent terms of service changes – even if it was much ado about nothing.

If you’ve been seriously contemplating importing your Instagram photos over to Flickr but were put off by the tedious manual uploads – worry not, turns out there are a few ways to get that job done without too much fuss. iDB has you covered with this quick guide to bringing in all your Instagram photos to Flickr with just a few clicks. 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


Instagram returns to original ad terms after fallout

By Cody Lee on Dec 21, 2012

Things have been pretty rough for Instagram here lately. Earlier this week, the photo sharing network announced an update for its TOS (or terms of service) that included talk of “advertising” and “your photos.” Obviously, this didn’t sit well with many of its users, and mayhem ensued.

To stop the wildfire, co-founder Kevin Systrom published a blog post assuring the community it was all a misunderstanding, and that Instagram would be changing the language in its TOS to clear things up. Now its reverted to the original terms to try and get everything back to normal… Read More


Instagram app updated with new Mayfair filter and the usual bug fixes

By Sébastien Page on Dec 20, 2012

Instagram has been taking a lot of heat this past week and while everything seems to almost be back to normal, what better way to remind everybody that Instagram is the best way to share underexposed waffle pictures than releasing a new filter?

Just about 10 days after launching the new Willow filter, the Instagram app has been updated with one new filter labeled Mayfair, as well as the usual bug fixes… Read More


Flickr for iPhone gains better sharing features

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 19, 2012

Yahoo really seized an opportunity by giving its Flickr iOS app a much-needed love in last week’s major version 2.0 update, didn’t it? I mean, the app couldn’t have arrived at a better time just as Facebook has suffered a major PR blow due to the public outcry concerning Instagram’s new terms of service. Seven days later, Yahoo brings us a new Flickr update. Based on customer feedback, Flickr version 2.01.772 is now available for download, sporting several interesting new features missing in the previous release… Read More


Camera+ finally gains full-res sharing

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 17, 2012

Camera+’s inability to share snaps at full resolution on Facebook has been ticking me off for some time. I prefer to share my images in full-res whenever possible, but the otherwise perfect Camera+ app stubbornly kept insisting on reducing my uploads to a paltry 1,024 pixels horizontally.

Thankfully, the annoying limitation is gone now. What’s more, developer tap tap tap has also bumped up the quality a bit for Twitter, Message and web link sharing, meaning you’ll get higher quality shares even if you don’t change a thing.

The iPad version now does a better job handling atypical image formats and the team is already talking about the upcoming version 3.8, “which is right around the corner”.

In addition to “a few other really cool things”, this will be the update you’ve been waiting for, one that will finally converge the features in both iPhone and iPad version of the program… Read More


Yahoo updates Flickr app with the obligatory Instagram-like filters

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 12, 2012

Following Instagram’s update that added a new Willow filter and yesterday’s big refresh of Twitter’s iOS client that now lets you crop a photo and apply up to eight brand new filters before tweeting it out, Yahoo too has joined the fray by revamping its aging Flickr iOS client this morning. And guess what? The redesigned app also touts filters as Yahoo attempts to stay relevant in the social photography space. There are sixteen unique camera filters to choose from, twice as much as in Twitter’s app (and also powered by Aviary). More features and screenies right after the break… Read More