The art of mastering one’s skill as a photographer when using an iPhone; also known as “mobile photography” when using a smartphone device other than an iPhone.
1. Get close (really close): The wide-angle lenses and close-focus ability of smartphone cameras lets you get just inches from your subject. Zoom with your feet to get great portraits and detail shots.
2. It’s all about the angles: Eye-catching photos often depict ordinary things from a new perspective. Instead of standing straight and shooting from shoulder level, try kneeling or climbing a staircase to take the photo from an unlikely angle.
3. Tell the camera what you want: In the iPhone’s native camera app, you can tap the screen to pick a focus/exposure point. Even better, third-party apps like Camera+ let you set the focus and exposure points separately for even greater control.
4. Go toward the light: Smartphone cameras take notoriously poor pictures in low light. Seek out good ambient light to improve both the color and clarity of your photos.
5. Don’t get the shakes: Tapping the on-screen shutter can cause camera-shake — and blurry photos. To prevent this, hold down the button while you compose the shot and simply release to take the photo. Alternatively, trigger the shutter with the “volume up” button on the side of the device (or on the headset microphone if it's plugged in).
Today, we can look back on what an incredible contribution the snapshot was to our lives, even as that revolution — and the resistance to it — repeats itself on a massive scale. The rise of the iPhone and other smartphones as pocket picture-making and instant-sharing devices is heralding a new era of social photography — aka iPhoneography or mobile photography — complete with requisite hand-wringing from a segment of established professionals.
The masses have embraced these compact, always-connected devices not only because they are groundbreaking cameras but because they are publishing powerhouses. Take, for example, Dan Chung, a photographer for The Guardian who shot stunning live coverage of the 2012 Olympics in London with an iPhone, or photojournalists like Ben Lowy and Michael Christopher Brown, who have documented the conflicts in Iraq and Libya using the lo-fi camera app Hipstamatic. Pick up the July 23, 2012, issue of Sports Illustrated, and you’ll see Instagram photos — filters and all — from sports photographer Brad Mangin.
The adage goes that it’s the quality of the photographer, not the camera, that makes great images. “There’s this myth about mobile photography: that it’s too easy, that putting a filter on something is somehow not real photography,” says Richard Koci Hernandez, an Emmy Award–winning multimedia journalist, Instagram juggernaut and University of California-Berkley journalism professor who was recently featured in a National Geographic book (Germany) called iPhone-Fotografie. “A photo is a photo, and no camera or filter can change that.”