"The Art of iPhone Photography" functions as both a gallery and an instructive work, though it is only partially successful on both counts. An in-depth look at the processes of dozens of artists that shows how the raw shot or shots became a finished and often impressive work, the book certainly does not want for material. Unfortunately, that's also its primary flaw.
After a largely vestigial introduction, in which platitudes are served to the revolution in photography ostensibly offered by iPhones (and, the authors generously admit, Android phones), the instruction begins. The first section, focused on emulating the results of a DSLR + desktop OS method of photography, has some really great shots and some truly helpful tips.
Each featured photo starts with a list of apps used and the original shot. The screen and settings after or during adjusting the shot in-app are shown and referenced helpfully by number in the text. It's a breeze to follow along with a photographer's process for, say, darkening just the background, or bringing in a blending layer to add texture.
There are also genuine little nuggets to keep in mind. Right away I found a great, punchy list of tips every portrait photographer should keep in mind: Expose for skin tones; Bracket; Minimize the background; Desaturate; Make eye contact. Great! But it was only a square inch or so of a six-page spread describing which filters he'd used.
Again on page 83, a great tip for creating a sparkling bokeh for blending modes (attach a macro lens and aim at something bright) is buried. And later, "hacking" the Photostitch app by feeding it two very similar but subtly different images is likewise hidden among the dross. At over 300 pages long and with no shortage of text, it isn't easy to come across these gems.
That's partly because the narration is very uneven in quality. Allowing the photographers to write their own sections makes for a nice personal voice (and less copy to produce), but the style of instruction varies widely. One writer repeatedly and pointlessly narrates such trivial steps as "I tapped the arrow to apply the effect," while another dismisses in a few words the relatively complex process of painting out some unwanted figures.
Others bloviate on their creative drive, explaining at length how they arrived at the shots pictured, some of which are quite underwhelming (one in particular, describing a series of highly ordinary yet slightly creepy street shots, was particularly overbearing).
Indeed, much of the photography is not to be admired. I loved a few of the shots and marveled at some of the creators' processes (one guy used 10 different apps) in making works both traditional and abstract. But some of the shots resembled the stuff we all made when we tried Photoshop for the first time. I mean really tacky stuff — zoom blurs, superfluous light rays, '90s-style compositing. The book could have lost half the shots in it, easy, and been better for it.
That, in the end, is the real problem. The book is simply too long and requires too much parsing on the reader's part to find the bits that really matter. With a more standardized format — say, one full bleed page for the final image (so the effect of various processes on noise and sharpness can be evaluated), with the two following pages used for explanation by the photographer and then a fourth page for general tips or to highlight an app or accessory. Such a format would be way more practical as a guide and still successful as a gallery for the photographers involved.
With that said, the book is laid out and printed in extremely high quality and the pictorial instructions are excellent. There's a glossary of apps in the back as well, something useful for anyone just getting into mobile shooting and looking for a few to try out. It has a lot of good info for the reader, if they're willing to do a little reading (not everyone is), but would do better as a $20, 100-page book than a $45, 320-page one. Maybe they'll release a condensed edition.
Nov 16, 2016
Nov 20, 2016
Nov 18, 2016
Nov 18, 2016
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.