iPhone Couch Potato

Close-up of dinner, which happened to be in my lap

Close-up of dinner, which happened to be in my lap

In a moment of desperation, after realizing I had no photos for this post and it was already after 9PM, and, more importantly, I had already crashed on the sofa and Tisen had burrowed in next to me, I decided it was a good time to experiment with my iPhone.

Recently, my bestie suggested writing a “how-to” on taking better photos with a smart phone for people like her.

I like the idea of teaching photography, although I’m not a pro and I have much to learn.  The thought of teaching photography in simple non-technical terms for people who don’t want to be pros relieves some of the pressure.

The problem is, I rarely use my iPhone for photos.  And when I do, my photos usually suck.  So, I figured I could use a few lessons myself.

The problem with shooting blind is not knowing what ended up in the frame until after the shot has been taken

The problem with shooting blind is not knowing what ended up in the frame until after the shot has been taken

I did some googling on taking better photos with an iPhone over the weekend.  I didn’t find much that was particularly helpful.  Most the articles I found either provided tips that apply to any photography or mentioned changing settings I couldn’t figure out how to change.  I tried searching for camera apps to see what I was missing.  I did find an interesting app that provides some control of the exposure and has a setting that turns the LED on so you can see what’s in your frame before you shoot in the dark.  I couldn’t however, find the advertised pre-sets for different types of subjects.

It’s funny how I used to figure out how to do really confusing and technical things and now I suddenly can’t figure out how to work iPhone apps.  Am I getting old?

Tilt and yaw created a bad angle, although you can at least see that Tisen has his nose covered

Tilt and yaw created a bad angle, although you can at least see that Tisen has his nose covered

In any case, I attempted to do some couch potato shooting.  I was parked laptop in lap and dog at my side–it’s hard to get motivated to get up sometimes.

I think I figured out why I usually end up hating my iPhone shots:

  1. I frequently use the iPhone to take shots I would never attempt with my DSLR.  For example, holding my iPhone out at arm’s length and trying to get a portrait of Tisen while shooting in a dark room (which means I have to have the screen facing away from me for the “flash” to work and I am shooting completely blind).
  2. I have a very difficult time holding the iPhone straight in all 3 directions (or even 1 direction) because I have to hold it away from me to view the screen since there is no viewfinder.  I frequently try many times to get the angle I want and still don’t quite get it.
  3. I haven’t found anything that let’s me control depth of field.  I really miss controlling depth of field.

 

Top down view of Tisen cuddling against my leg, showing off his spotted head

Top down view of Tisen cuddling against my leg, showing off his spotted head

That said, the photographer’s adage is “the best camera is the one you have with you” and there is a lot to be said for smart phone cameras when it comes to having them with you–even when you’re just laying around on the sofa.

Taken with the app I just downloaded, with the LED on, I'm able to get better exposure

Taken with the app I just downloaded, with the LED on, I’m able to get better exposure

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4 responses to “iPhone Couch Potato

  1. I’ve found that there s little control over the camera, but there are some really good tools to post process the image after you take. I use photo forge and like it. The other one that seems to be really good is snapseed.

    Cheers, mike

    • I’ll have to check those out. Playing with Camera+ at the moment. I’ve seen some really cool shots from Instamatic by a former neighbor/professional photographer, but I haven’t had much success with that one. You know what they say–the magic is in the the photographer, not the camera. 😉

  2. 🙂 I hope you are well…

    I don’t have an iphone but my phone’s camera seems to be a great one outside-fantastic for a phone–inside shots really stink no matter what I do. However it is easier to carry–a trade-off for me? Yes. One I can live with? For now.

    I am trying to get back into the swing of things…Please take care! 😀

    • I’m doing much better, thanks. I hope you’re well, too–glad you’re back! 🙂

      Inside shots usually mean less light. Most camera phones struggle with less light–they have incredibly small sensors which are notoriously bad in low light (although technology keeps improving). Even so, I’m with you–there are many times I don’t want to lug my big camera around so I am determined to learn how to get better photos out of my iPhone!

      Hang in there!

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