iPhoneography: Behind the Scenes

I have been shooting with an iPhone 5s since December 2013 and have shot enough good images with it that I’ve created a personal series iPhoneography. I always have my phone on me therefore I shoot quite frequently with my iPhone’s camera for both personal work (non commissioned photographs) and location scouting (looking for locations to photograph later).


Many great photographs can be made with smart phone cameras if you know the cameras limitations. Smart phones still can’t perform well in low light nor do they have good zoom capabilities. Also the largest prints I’ll make with my iPhone are around 8×10 due to the small sensor and megapixel count. As long as you shoot in situations with decent ambient light, get close to your subject, and don’t make large prints of your iPhone images it is a very convenient camera.


When shooting with the iPhone it automatically exposes the scene for you, which makes the camera easy to use but gives you less control over the images final exposure. The exposure can be tweaked to some extent with apps after the capture but exposures that are to far overexposed (to bright) or underexposed (to dark) are beyond fixing.


To focus you simply press the screen of your phone where you want the image to be in focus. You can’t get a shallow depth of field with the iPhones camera so most of the mages will be in focus. Your camera will have an easier time focusing on subjects with some contrast and texture. For example it will have a hard time focusing on a white wall but will easily focus on a tweet sport jacket.


Usually when I’m shooting I use the standard camera app on my iPhone but if I want a high contrast black and white look I’ll shoot with Contrast by Hornbeck. This free app shoots very high contrast black and white images. It is great for dramatic skies. You can also shoot things inverted for a unique effect.


I use several apps to enhance my photos on my phone. These apps are only helpful with images that are sharp and excessively grainy to begin with. Bad photos can’t be fixed with manipulation in apps. If your images are blurry or grainy it is probably from trying to shoot in to low of light which the iPhone’s camera can’t handle.


My go to app for basic retouching of iPhone images is VSCOcam. This app contains adjustments for exposure, color, contrast, sharpness, tonality, and easy black and white conversion. Almost all of the images in my iPhoneography gallery have went through some editing in VSCOcam.


Mextures is another app I use frequently. Mextures allows you to apply various textures and presets to your photos resulting in a wide variety of creative results.


Matter is one of my favorite apps. It adds various shapes to your images. You can control how this shapes react to the scene their being places in how the lighting hits them.


Hyperlapse is a great app for making time-lapse videos. Make sure you have your iPhone on a tripod or steady surface and a full battery before shooting these.


All of the images in my iPhoneography series are available as prints.

The series can be viewed here ryanwatkinsphotography.com/iPhoneography. Contact me for details about sizes available.

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