Taking Great Photographs

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”It’s a Mobile Photographers Dream…
In The Palm of Your Hand“

You’ve gone on an expedition to some distant place, documented your journey with photographs and video, and uploaded your story to your website. Imagine that you’ve done this all with with a photography system that fits in the palm of your hand. The Apple iPhone is a remarkable piece of technology. A fabulous digital camera that will capture anything, anytime, anywhere. It’s a mobile photographers dream, in the palm of your hand.

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  • 3 megapixels
  • Autofocus
  • Tap to focus
  • Video recording, VGA up to 30 fps with audio
  • Photo and video geotagging
  • 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display
  • 480-by-320-pixel resolution at 163 ppi
  • iPhone and third-party application integration

”Tips On Taking Great Photographs“

Take Lots of Photos of Each Subject

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Take 10+ photos of the same subject using different perspectives. Keep the best one and throw the rest away.

Hold The Camera Very Still

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The iPhone’s shutter speed is slow, especially in low light. The slowest movement can make a photo blurry. Most criticism of the iPhone camera has been that photos come out blurry. This has more to do with the photographer than the camera. We are used to cameras with failry high shutter speeds, and we become careless in how we shoot.

To make photos as sharp as possible try these tips. Take a breath, hold it, then shoot the photo. Tuck your elbows up against your sides, to steady your hands. Instead of tapping the shutter button to take a photo, hold the button down until ready to shoot, then just remove your finger. This will cause less movement. This works good for times when you can’t see the screen, as in doing self portraits. Use a camera stabilizing App, one that also lets you use the entire screen surface as a shutter. This makes it easier to shoot when the camera screen isn’t facing you. ‘Night Camera’ does both these things. For street photography you’ll need a steady hand.

Use a Tripod

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There are tripod mounts especially made for the iPhone that will allow you to connect it to any standard tripod. These work great, and are particularly useful in low light shooting and in macro photography. And for shooting video, it’s a must have.

Use Lots of Light Indoors

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It’s difficult to get good photos indoors unless you have a lot of light. Indoor photographs often come out grainy and blurry. Use plenty of light. Use a tripod, or prop up your iPhone on a stand.

Shoot Outdoors in the Shade

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Photos taken in the sun usually look bad. This is true of most digital cameras. They just don’t handle the contrast gradations very well. But this is often true of photography in general. So you will get much nicer photos taken in the shade. Landscape photographs can work ok in the sun.

Get Close, Really Close

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Shooting too far away will result in very boring photographs. This is especially true in shooting people and portraits. Forget the background. Get in close. Get in their face! If you really want that special photo of uncle Harry in front of the Taj Mahal, find a clever way to make it unique. How about a reflection of Harry in the pool of water, or in a window…

Use Color In Intriguing Ways


Sometimes a photograph is great, not because of the subject, but because of the color in it. Shoot for the color.

Shoot Black & White

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Sometimes color is a distraction to what a photograph is all about. Try most photos without color. This is especially true of people photographs.

Try Macro Photography

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There is a whole world of things going on under your feet, up in a tree, or inside the petals of a flower.

Look For Unique Textures, Reflections

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Learn to see the unseen.

Put Glass In Front Of Your Lens

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An Infrared Filter, or colored glass can make some unusual photographs.

Shoot Something New

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Go out and shoot barns, clouds, and architecture.

Use New Perspectives

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The perfect angle can make the perfect photograph. Experiment and you will find something interesting.

Be Bold

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Shoot first and think later. You may only get one chance. No one ever got a great shot by missing it.

Post A Subject/Pose Just Once

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Trust me, no one wants to see 16 photos of your cat. Post just one online. You’ll keep your friends.
When you get the perfect photo of Chloe, post it and remove the old one. Chloe won’t know.

Capture That Moment Now

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Try wandering around iPhone in hand. Keep shooting. Don’t look at your photos until you are done. Focus on what you see and let the camera do it’s thing. You never know what you’ll find. It’s the perfect camera for this.

Maintain Your Photograph Collection

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Regularly, go through your photos, add new ones, toss ones that aren’t the best. Get rid of bland, boring photos. If you really want your photographs to stand out, shoot 50+ photographs for everyone you keep.


”Experiment With Your Photographs“

With a bit of practice, you can take great photographs with the iPhone. The major limitation is the small 3 megapixel resolution. This is really only an issue for making prints. You can easliy print nice 3×5 or even 8 x 10 photographs. Just a few years ago, my 3 MP Sony camera was the top of the line technology It took good photographs, and I have printed many 13 x 19 prints that look as good as anything from a 35 mm film camera. You just have to know how to do this. Learn some basic concepts such as screen and print resolution (the differences between viewing media on a computer, and putting that media on paper), and how to do basic photographic editing, such as adjusting levels, sharpening etc.

If you use filters on your photographs, use Apps that let you apply those filters on a sliding scale. Avoid Apps that can’t do this. Don’t use Apps that save your photographs in less than the original resolution. Once you degrade the resolution of a photo, you have greatly reduced the options for what you can do with it. If want to display it on a web page in large size or print it out to anything but a mini print, you are out of luck. iPhone App developers whose photography Apps don’t save to original resolution are not serious about their Apps for photography. Don’t use them. Your photographs deserve better. If you like a program, but it does not save to original resolution, contact the developer and request that. I have done this several times and to my pleasant surprise have found the next update to include this feature. Somethe App will have a ‘setting’ tab where this can be done. Sometimes it is located in the iPhone ‘Settings’ Panel. Scroll to the bottom to see if your App has settings there.

Avoid filters that everyone’s using.

For example;

‘Lomo’ filters (you know)

Vignettes & Miniatures (blurred edges)

Avoid using edits that add nothing but are simply novelties. Don’t use filters just because you have them. If you like a certain type of filter, use it in newways. Here’s a good test. If you can tell what filter (and maybe APP too) that someone has used, just by looking at a photo, it’s overused. If you can’t figure out how someone has created their filter effects, than they probably have put some thought into it. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with your photographs. If you want people to really notice your photographs, make them unique, and have fun.

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