iPhone + Photography = iPhoneography {My Newest Hobby}

When I recently started posting pictures of completed crochet projects on my Facebook page, a sister-in-law commented “I didn’t know you were crafty!” The thing is, I’m not.

I explained that I’m not much of anything – a cook, a crafter, a graphic designer. But I am a collector of knowledge and like to hoard skills, if you will. Those skills may never bloom into full talents, but I absolutely enjoy the process of learning something new and trying my hand at it.

Lately I’ve been intrigued by the movement of amateur and professional photographers alike towards iPhoneography. All agree that iPhoneography starts with taking a photo with an iPhone, but some opinions differ on whether or not the term also strictly refers to editing and publishing within the iPhone as well. (purists say that the moment you upload a photo to your computer for editing, it is now just plain ol’ photography)

The same way “write what you know” has become a standard for Writing 101, “the best camera is the one you have with you” has become standard for Photography 101. For me, my iPhone is the only camera I ever have with me.

I’m participating in a year-long #instagram366 project wherein I post a photo via my iPhone and Instagram every day. These pictures have by no means been of “professional” quality, but some have turned out pretty great. That, coupled with my sudden need to get Senior Pictures done for my daughter (hello: procrastination!), has led to my interest in iPhoneography.

March Instagram 366 Project Stacey Nerdin

some of my #instagram366 pictures from March

The first thing I discovered is that there are a ton of resources online to learn more about iPhoneography.  iPhoneography.com (and kudos to him for grabbing that domain so ahead of the curve!) offers great reviews of iPhone photo apps, related accessories, books, gives inspiration via reader-submitted iPhone photos, and has a series of posts called “What’s in My Camera Bag” that I find particularly intriguing. TheBeginnersLens.com has a great section on iPhoneography which includes interviews and reviews on apps and resources as well, but has the additional elements of ebooks and online classes readers can choose for more guided instruction.

In fact, there are a lot of online workshops and on-location classes offered across the country and around the world. Right now, I prefer to learn via websites and ebooks, especially since so many are available for free. Just today I downloaded 2 free ebooks called “How Did I Do That” (the 2011 and 2012 editions) that give step-by-step, graphic tutorials on how to achieve different photos and effects with the iPhone.

How Did I Do That iPhoneography eBook

Aside from the many websites, forums, classes, and ebooks I found dedicated to iPhoneography, I was totally surprised to learn just how many apps there are for taking and editing pictures on the iPhone! I mean, dozens and dozens. And many of the features overlap each other, some do things I don’t understand at all, some are just plain silly. Google “essential photo apps for iPhone,” and you’ll get more than 24 million (!) results, many linking to enthusiastic lists put together by serious photographers. My mind reels at the choices! While wading through the results the other night, I did find one post on BagCheck.com that gave a great rundown of a handful of photo apps – it’s as good a place to start as any.

Finally, I’m amazed by the types accessories available for the iPhone-as-camera. Right now I’m coveting the 3-in-1 lens system (fisheye, wide-angle, and macro) from Olloclip and would love to get a Glif tripod mount and tripod.

Olloclip Lenses Glif Tripod Mount

photo credit: olloclip.com

Just yesterday I took my daughter out to take pictures for her Senior Graduation announcements. Again…all I had was my iPhone. I played around for quite a while with the camera and different apps, had her pose here and there in different lighting situations. While we got some “cute” pictures, there were few I felt were good enough to publish. Also, I didn’t have great success using only the iPhone app to edit, so I did pull them into Photoshop for some touch-ups. Of the *coughcough* dozens of photos I took, we got one we both liked. I took it from here:

Hannah by the pond - iPhone only

iPhone only

to here:

Hannah by pond - after Photoshop

after Photoshop

Well…I still have a lot to learn. Not just about how to use the iPhone for photography (and Photoshop, if I continue to be a “non-purist” and use it for editing – that is a beast of a program!), but about photography in general. Because it won’t matter if I have a $2,000 camera or just my iPhone if I don’t understand more about the fundamentals of composition, lighting, and more. I think my knowledge-collecting, skill-hoarding brain is up for the challenge, though.

What about you? Do you use your iPhone for photography? Have you picked up any tips and tricks you can share? Or have any favorite apps we should consider “essential?”