I'm often asked how I get my iPhone photographs to look the way they do. It's a compliment for me and I love to share how I achieve my results. So today here on the blog I'm going to share which apps I use, how I shoot with the iPhone and also, I've put together a video showing you what I do within my chosen iPhone photo editing software: Snapseed.
I've used the iPhone since the 3Gs, then moved to the 4s, the 5s and now the 6Plus. With each model the camera has gained a little something and has gotten better and better (see my iPhone 6 Plus review), but the one thing that remains the same for anyone using the iPhone as a camera is the persons ability to spot a moment and to use the light to get a clean, sharp image as well.
As you can see in the Richmond Park photograph above: I was still up early at Golden Hour, I made the effort to be somewhere where there was the opportunity to make such a photograph with such great light.
The iPhone has a limited set of controls right out of the box, but there are camera apps available to help you make more of the iPhone as a camera and apps to allow you to edit your photographs:
Personally, I stick with the out-of-the box standard Apple Camera App that comes with the phone. It's fast to load up, available with a swipe from the bottom of the screen, which is how I often access the camera app) and allows you to control focus points and brightness. It has all the settings I need to enable to me to make a better photograph.
I've got a way of working now that I apply to every scene I shoot:
- Tap on a dark area of the scene to brighten it up (tell the sensor the scene is darker and that it needs to add brightness)
- Get in closer than you think you need to with your feet and by getting closer.
- Pinching to zoom and cropping kill the file's quality. It's not quite like with a RAW file where you have a lot of leverage and scope to recover photographs and heavily crop - the iPhone files do tend so suffer when you start cropping them.
- Take a small burst of images by holding down the button to take pictures. I like to have at least a couple just incase something flies into the scene, or I'm shaking etc.
I don't use VSCO or film filters. I find them gimmicky. I do upload to Instagram, but I don't apply any of their filters either. I'm not a photography snob or anything like that, it's just that Instagram has millions and millions of people using it and just a limited number of filters - the last thing I want to be doing is choosing from a pre-defined set of filters that the millions of of other users have, making my photograph not stand out among the others.
My choice of App for all my iPhone photograph editing is Google's Snapseed App:
9 out of 10 of my photographs are converted to black and white. If you look at my portfolio here on the website you'll see this is the case with nearly all of my photographs, no matter what camera I'm using. I just love the atmosphere that mono adds to a photograph. But, rather than explain here in writing how I achieve my look time and time again, here's a video to show what settings I apply within Snapseed to make my photographs look the way they do:
This website (and my wedding website too) are built using Squarespace. One of the great features about the galleries is that you can give them an email address and then email photographs, videos and content up into the gallery. For iPhoneography this is ideal as I can now shoot a picture, edit in Snapseed and then from inside the snapseed app I can send that directly into my iPhone gallery. The file never touches my iMac (until it's time to backup my iPhone using iPhoto of course).
So, there you have it. That's how I make all my photographs that you see in my iPhone gallery.
Here is the gallery, in case you wanted to take a look: