It’s time for another great guest post here on YPS! I met Guy Yang through Udemy where most of my video tutorials are featured in a course. There are tons of awesome courses there (I’ve taken quite a few) and Guy’s course on iPhoneography is no exception! Like me, Guy genuinely wants to improve your photography skills and his area of expertise is iPhoneography. I met Guy and watched a few of his tutorials and I can tell you that he has some serious skillz! You can check out his complete and very professional iPhoneography course RIGHT HERE!
Here are a couple of very easy techniques that will boost your iPhoneography immediately. When Yanik asked me to write a few tips for you, his readers, I scratched my head, wondering what information would be of value, what tips would be truly useful and yet not readily available on tons of other iPhoneography blogs.
I came up with a few such tips and, indeed, these are not known by most iPhoneographers.
So here are some of my most secret tips and tricks!
Improve your low light shots with the native HDR function
The iPhone is often presented as a lousy low-light camera. But you can get nice photos at night, especially when your subject is still.
The photos below have been taken with an iPhone 4 and 4S, handheld. They’ve been edited a bit, in particular to darken the sky. But this does not change the fact that they were good night shots from the get go.
All you need to do to get such good results is use the native camera and activate the HDR function. If you want to compare with what you would get without HDR, enable “Keep Normal Photo” in the General Settings app / Photos & Camera.
You should notice a significant difference between the two shots in low light conditions.
Now whenever you hear an iPhoneographer ranting about the iPhone’s troubles in low light, you have a great tip to share!
Use the panorama function as a wide angle lens.
Sometimes, I wish I had more space behind myself so that I could move backward and capture more of the scene. But often times, I can’t.
A quick solution to that is to use the panorama function available in iOS6 for the iPhone 4S and 5 (sorry but owners of earlier iPhone versions are out of luck on this one).
You’ll be able to get a much wider field of view – similar to what a wide angle lens would provide. To make it effective, do not go too far towards the end of the panorama band, otherwise you’ll get a strip photo, i.e. a standard panorama photo that’s hard to apprehend with just one glance.
Have a look at the photos below to get a better sense of what I mean. I took both from the same place.
Regular iPhone Photo
Photo with panorama feature used as a wide angle lens.
Too blue to be true? Too yellow, too mellow? Use white balance lock!
Have you ever gotten an iPhone photo that has a blue tint or a yellow tint that feel awkward? That happens because of the white balance of the iPhone camera was off.
If our eyes are very good at judging what is white under different light sources, our iPhone often has great difficulty with doing so automatically.
To make things simple, here’s what I remember: indoor lights tend to be warm (yellow/orange) and outdoor lights tend to be cool (blue). I like to put it that way because it’s easy to memorize (warm inside, cool outside).
So here’s what happens: when you point at a yellow indoor light, the iPhone’s automatic white balance will compensate and add blue to your photo. And when you point at a cooler light outside, the iPhone will add yellow to compensate. The iPhone camera does so to reach the “perfect” white. The one our eyes see. But it often fails.
What can you do? It’s very simple.
In most situations when the iPhone fails, it’s because the scene has a mix of both warm/indoor and cool/outdoor lights.
If you feel your photo is too blue, aim at the outdoor light source. Then lock the iPhone focus on that source (hold your finger on the screen, on the outdoor light source). The native camera will add yellow. Then point back at your subject. Now you should have a much warmer photo.
If you feel your photo is too yellow, aim at the indoor source (it should be a yellow light source). Then lock the iPhone focus on that source (hold your finger on the screen, on the indoor light source). The native camera will add blue. Then point back at your subject. Now should have a much cooler photo.
There’s one drawback with using the native camera for this: when you lock the focus, it also locks the exposure together with the white balance (it locks these 3 things altogether – focus, exposure, white balance).
If you need to set the white balance separately from the exposure, use apps such as KingCamera or ProCamera.
Use a photomontage app to tell your story
Photo montages are fantastic. They bring your photos to life as they give a fuller account of the moment than a single shot. This is particularly true with photo series.
If you like taking photo series of the same moment, try using apps such as Diptych or Montager to create amazing images.
Show off your Instagram photos on your Facebook profile!
It would have been a sin to provide no iPhoneography tip related to Instagram. So here we go.
If you want your Facebook friends to see a nice montage of your Instagram photos when they visit your Facebook profile, you can use Statigram’s “profile cover” function to create a gorgeous montage of your Instagram shots in just one click.
1. Go to this page: http://statigr.am/promote.php.
3. Register or login with Statigram, using your Instagram credentials.
2. Scroll down a bit until you get to “Profile Cover”.
3. Hit “Create your Cover”. Statigram may take a couple of minutes to make it.
4. Right click and save on your hard drive
5. Upload on Facebook as a your profile cover.
A little bit about Guy Yang
A passionate photographer, Guy Yang set up The Beginners’ Lens in 2010. With his passion for the upcoming craft of mobile photography and his knack for teaching, he was keen to find ways to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with a larger community. He has always had the desire to help other casual photographers climb the photography learning curve, at their own speed, whatever the starting point.
Guy has been an avid iPhoneographer for the past 5 years and has been teching iPhoneography since 2011.
iPhone Camera Essentials is Guy’s comprehensive online video course entirely dedicated to iPhoneography. He shares all the tips and tricks he’s discovered over the 5 years he’s been perfecting the craft.