Your best iPhone pictures - to inspire a beginner

Started Jun 9, 2013 | Photos thread
Jeff Veteran Member • Posts: 5,087
Re: These are some shots on a 4S over the last few weeks.

Jack Greenberg wrote:

Jeff wrote:

I have the 4S, and these photos are not at all typical of what I get and what I've seen from others. Jeff has somehow managed to get spectacular results that I can only get from my better P & S cameras or my dSLR. A good camera app helps, but these are exceptional photos and not the result of some "magical" camera app.


Thanks for the kind comments.  It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's fun for me.

The thing to keep in mind with the iPhone is that, compared to a full frame dslr, you're shooting at the equivalent of f/18 and ISO 3000.  This means near and far are part of every composition, the dynamic range of light and color are limited, and that with exposure you need to make the most of what you've got in every shot. If I ever taught photography, I'd have students start with a phone because of the discipline this forces on you.

I've tried a lot of apps and keep coming back to two. ProCamera for most shooting, and the native Camera app for panos. If I could take only one it would definitely be ProCamera because it gives the handiest control over exposure. All options are set for highest resolution jpegs.  The delayed shutter is brilliant, that's set to max sensitivity and basically eliminates camera motion blur from the shots.

Exposure and focus location are key.  They are almost never the same spot in any given photo.  An old Ansel Adams trick is to look for a middle grey in the image, often that's a part of the blue sky in a photo. Keep an eye on the histogram, don't blow highlights.  With the iPhone you expose to capture highlight detail, and process for shadows and local contrast.

The post processing is Lightroom. Nothing fancy because the images have little headroom for manipulation.  For the most part it's just cropping to a somewhat wider format (for a slide show project I'm doing with my wife), exposure tweaks to pull down highlights as needed, boost shadows, boost clarity by about 15%.  This is all to compensate for limited dynamic range.  Then clean up with a little sharpening, luminance noise, lens correction for the rather large lens pincushion and vignetting of the iPhone. I've developed this as preset now that does a lot of this on batch import. So it's a set of relatively small tweaks, each generally less you'd do for shots for a P&S or dslr.

On a couple shots I've used Nik filters to clean up noise. I've not used Snapseed, but based on how the Nik filters work I'd expect it to perform brilliantly.

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