Back in May 2017 I wrote about how much fun it had been shooting with the iPhone. I still use it, probably more than before and especially while out shooting with a DSLR and posting live about shoots, it is incredibly handy. There seems to be more of a response to posting live on Instagram than posting photos at times. I have even created an iPhoneography gallery at my website, there are links to most of these photos here as well. I have two daughters and don’t always carry a camera, but just about always carry an iPhone. This is similar to that adage for people who carry a concealed weapon; if you ever need it, that small gun you’re carrying will do you more good than the big gun locked in the safe at home, same thing here. I’ve been fortunate to capture so many of life special moments that would have simply been forgotten. In the photo at the left, while walking to school one morning my daughter just started belting out the song Hakuna Matata at 8AM, seemed like a good name for the photo too. Like most things she does, there was no reason for it, she just felt like singing that song while wearing her bunny ear muffs. My camera was at home but fortunately the iPhone was in my pocket to capture this gem. Later, after re-look at this photo I realized that although my daughter’s singing was the reason for the photo, there was something else that made it special, it was my other daughter’s reaction! Another time, Memorial Day 2018, we went to a national cemetery in Virginia, down the road from where our house so I could shoot some stock shots. Since we were going just a few minute away, I grabbed my camera only, something I rarely do. When we arrived at the cemetery, it was with a dead battery… but a fully charged iPhone. My wife suggested I take some photos with my iPhone, reluctantly, that’s what I did. Some of those iPhone shots were accepted as stock and have actually sold! The photo at right, called White House Christmas, was taken on a trip to DC where we unexpectedly took a short cut by 1600 PA Ave, I didn’t bring my camera and White House was decked out for Christmas. I could have kicked myself for not having my DSLR but at least I got a cool iPhone shot. The iPhone is perfect for capturing these types of moments and considering it was pitch dark out, this isn’t too bad.
There are a couple of apps and features some folks don’t know about, especially with the iPhone 7 Plus and its two lenses. Within the iPhone’s Camera App are a few cool things that can make your photos much nicer If you’re in to video, check out the TIME-LAPS and SLO-MO modes for some other neat effects. However, video isn’t my thing so the two functions here that I use are the PANO and PORTRAIT modes. The photo at the top of this page, called Winter Pool, was taken using the iPhone’s PANO or panoramic mode. It’s very easy to use, open PANO mode and you’ll see a mini screen in the middle with a white arrow. Simply press the white button and move in the direction of the arrow, press the button again when you’re done. If you want or need to change the direction of the arrow, just click it. Very easy to get those panoramic shots that won’t fit in to one photo. The PORTRAIT mode is exceptional in my opinion and I use it often. Nothing to explain here other than you may need to back up a little from your subject. The photo at left is our four-legged family member, Casey, in a photo called Ball Time. Another moment that was just a typical morning, I had taken my girls to school and was walking back with Casey and she spotted the baseball. She was holding it up in to the sun; subject, moment, lighting, check! Camera? At home, except for the iPhone in my pocket, again the iPhone in my pocket did more good than the DSLR at home in the bag. The photo of our daughters at right, The Girls, was a deliberate shot as I had been hearing about the portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus. It was taken at The Wade House in Greenbush, Wisconsin. This photo was the game changer for me, it proved that the iPhone 7 Plus could be a decent photographic tool if my main camera was not handy. The edit mode at the bottom is decent as well, you can fix lighting and color issues on the spot and quickly. Also, cropping is super easy here too! Again, it’s better than the camera you don’t have with you. Will it replace your DSLR, not likely, but I really do enjoy shooting with it.
Upfront, I want to state that I do not receive any compensation nor am I affiliated with the below mentioned apps and the opinions below are solely mine, so take that! First up is FX Photo Studio Pro by MacPhun, a great app for making your photos look more professional while in the field and want to add a little vignette or touch up. It has color lenses, artistic overlays, vignettes, and many other effects to add to an iPhone shot. I’ve been using MacPhun software on my Mac for a couple of years now and they make a great product. The interface, seen at left, is very straightforward and easy to use. However, the BIG downside is that it’s a pricey app coming in at $7.99 and while it comes with a few of filters, most have to be purchased as add ons. So even though it’s a great app, if you don’t shoot with an iPhone often there may not be enough here for you to shell out $8… Next up, to make up for that really pricey last app is one that everyone should have on their phone, Google Photos, and it’s FREE!! Picture the most simplistic backup of every photo or video on your iPhone, again for FREE!! An extremely simple interface, you tell it whether or not to back up on cellular data or wifi, and it goes to work whenever you open the app. This way it won’t be slowing your phone down while you’re doing important stuff like watching cats startled by cucumbers on YouTube. While the initial backup takes quite a while, after that it only backs up when you open the app. I’m currently living in Japan where I no long have unlimited data so I just open the app at night when I go to bed and let it upload with wifi. It chronologically stores ALL your photos and videos, if you need a photo from five years ago you simply pull down the screen and a slider appears (see at right), go to the month and year you believe your photo was taken and, easier than Bill Clinton at an office party, you’re in! THE BEST PART, you can now safely delete all of your photos and videos from your phone and get the memory back!! When my iPhone 6 started malfunctioning the first thing I did was make sure my backup was current. When I got my new phone, I downloaded the Google Photos app and retrieved my photos, it’s unbelievable that this app is still FREE!! That’s right, if you ever retrieve a photo it’s done by the same process you use to save a photo to your iPhone. It’s the best app on my phone by far! Get this app now and free up space on your phone! Get a new phone? Lose your phone or old phone breaks, just reinstall the app… Did I mention it was FREE??
The last app that I find absolutely incredible is Focos by Xiaodong Wang. It’s only for use with photos taken in the iPhone’s Portrait Mode. In the below middle photo you’ll see the original photo of my daughter holding our new puppy last year. On the left, the focus has been changed to my daughter’s eyes. On the right, the puppy is in focus and everything else is blurred! That’s right, Focos allows you to re-focus you photos after they’ve been taken, how cool is that? It gets better, this little gem is also FREE, as in total cost to you: NADA! While I know there are tons of other apps out there for getting the most out of your iPhone when taking photos, these are my go-to apps that I love to use almost daily. I use them because they work, they’re simple, and with the exception of FX Photo Studio Pro, they’re free. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour in to my geeky world.