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IPhone Photography: Tips and Tricks

Updated on September 2, 2017

When the notion to begin travelling first popped up in March, a sensation started to record everything humanely possible in a variety of ways. One of the ways in which I was most excited about, probably the least experienced at as well, was photography. To the point that I had numerous talks with a production expert on what would be the best gear to start out with. After realising the sum of money would be far too great and could be spent on making this excursion last as long as possible, I decided to forego the camera and use my IPhone instead.


I am not negating that a good camera goes a long way, especially in the hands of an expert, however I am an amateur at best. I had learnt a couple of basics on how to get a good shot aesthetically, but use of a camera would have been an entirely new experience. With this I want to show that you can create stunning photos even with a smart phone, considering my experience it will be Apple orientated.

A photo taken on our way to Plaka that wholly captured the essence of Greece.
A photo taken on our way to Plaka that wholly captured the essence of Greece.

The Basics of Photography

There are a few basics I picked up on the way that I wish to share, with examples of photos that go well with them. All have been taken on my IPhone 6 and will be able to show the relative scope of the device in this regard.


  • Move around a lot for your angles.

This is a massive basic with perspective and it is stunning how much moving with the camera can change the overall effect of the photograph. Especially as it creates a more dynamic picture and brings it to life. This may come in handy when photographing one thing specifically as it adds an extra dimension to the photograph.

The church of Agia Paraskevi in Kos. Capturing this beautiful marvel I felt looked so much more dynamic in this particular angle.
The church of Agia Paraskevi in Kos. Capturing this beautiful marvel I felt looked so much more dynamic in this particular angle.

Three Points of Interest

  • Playing with perspective and keeping in mind the three points of interest.

This can really help if you're trying to draw someone's attention to a specific object within the photograph. The three points of interest really draws the eye backwards and keeps a shot interesting. It doesn't always have to be three points, just something to add extra dimension to the photograph.

Another photo from Kos of a little tower found in a square on the back streets.
Another photo from Kos of a little tower found in a square on the back streets.

Timing

Photography is also about being patient, understanding that you are almost never going to get the perfect shot first try. Take your time and think about what you're trying to capture in the first place. Furthermore your eye has a natural guide to what looks pleasing to you, trust this and everything else falls into place a lot easier:

An amazingly beautiful building, that sadly had been affected by the earthquake in Kos.
An amazingly beautiful building, that sadly had been affected by the earthquake in Kos.

Editing Software on the IPhone

A massive part of the process, for me at least, has been discovering the power of editing. The amount of times I was pleased with a photo then got back to the apartment, only to realise that the colours or the light didn't match my memory of the particular shot. This may of course be down to the IPhone, but even within the capabilities of the device, its editing software has been life changing. All the photos shown on here have been edited using the inbuilt editing system on the IPhone other than creating the collages to show the differences.

The view of Kamari bay from atop Kefalos. On the left is the original unedited photo.
The view of Kamari bay from atop Kefalos. On the left is the original unedited photo.

This is one of the earliest photos that I took in Greece and shows a vast difference between the original (left) and the edited (right). Anyone who has seen the Aegean Sea can testify to the almost jewel like quality the water has, which was lost in the original photo. Secondly, where this was taken is one of the Dodecanese islands (Kos), which typically tend to be quite arid due to the fact they are further south east than other Greek islands. However, Kos in particular, has a lot of greenery and colour in the landscape considering the climate and once again this is captured a lot more adeptly in the edited photograph.

Simply bringing up the saturation of colour was able to dispel a lot of grey from the original photograph. Additionally altering the contrast really gives the photograph a higher definition look and helps form a lot more detail within the photograph.

Close up fresco of the Isodia Tis Panagias in Kefalos.
Close up fresco of the Isodia Tis Panagias in Kefalos.

Another perfect example of the change of colour through editing is the collage above. The definition of colour is remarkable, especially within the faces. A lot of detail is lost in the original photo that is recaptured in the edit, especially as you can see where the individual parts of the fresco meet each other. In addition, as this fresco is slightly shielded from light because it is set further back into the facade of the church, the original photo appears dark and dull. Whereas in the edit, you get the sense that it was a sunny day and it is more reflected in the photograph on the right.

Slightly altering the exposure with this photograph helped incredibly bring back the effect of the sunny village of Kefalos. The highlights had also been dimmed down which helped reflect the warmth within the fresco.

A colourful sidestreet found on the harbour of Kos.
A colourful sidestreet found on the harbour of Kos.

Both the previous sets of photos have been able to show the extent to which the editing software can change the original photo. Within this set both photos have been edited, but changed slightly to convey a different effect. One photo feels a lot cooler (left) and the other a lot warmer and portrays an almost painting like quality. By changing the lighting to a much brighter setting, with the one on the right, you are able to see a lot more of the background details, especially where the black level obscured them in the photograph on the right.

A stray cat we have come to know and love as Scats.
A stray cat we have come to know and love as Scats.

It doesn't have to be over the top with the editing, sometimes the photo is just right but you need to add a punch of colour in, or alter the lighting to really finish it off. Try to keep in your mind how everything looked to you when you took the photo, once again your eye has a sense for what looks pleasing to you. Above all make it fun for you as well, hopefully when you look over your photos they'll bring back memories and be your pride and joy to show off to everyone you know. It is one of the joys of the modern world being able to have your most wonderful memories just a click away and hopefully this will help really bring them to life.

© 2017 Jack Moore

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