"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
|It's good to be at home by Nightcrawler12|
from Best photo of the week...
|Tiny tree by Kaappo|
This year, plenty of amazing cameras, lenses, accessories and other products came through our doors. As 2017 winds down, we're highlighting some of our standout products of the year. Check out the winners of the 2017 DPReview Awards!
Maybe you want better photos in low light. Maybe you're tired of digital zoom. Whatever the reason, if you're looking for a capable, beginner-friendly camera to grow and learn with, we've got you covered.
The Olympus 17mm F1.2 promises to open up new possibilities for Micro Four Thirds shooters seeking razor-thin depth-of-field and smooth, 'feathered' bokeh. Take a peek at our extensive sample gallery.
Are you a speed freak? Hungry to photograph anything that goes 'zoom'? Or perhaps you just want to get Sports Illustrated-level shots of your child's soccer game. Keep reading to find out which cameras we think are best for sports and action shooting.
Still yearning for an Aperture replacement? Here's a quick overview of RAW Power, a Raw image editor for iOS that pairs with the Mac application introduced in 2016. Take a look at some of its capabilities.
Video features have become an important factor to many photographers when choosing a new camera. Read on to find out which cameras we think are best for the videophile.
Tech lover Albert Lee was one of the first to pre-order the intriguing 16-camera module Light L16. Two months in, here's what he has to say about using this not-so-little computational camera.
The public art installation featured blurred portraits, ostensibly captured by the artist under that same underpass... except they weren't. They were actually portraits of comedians, pulled from the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival program.
Edelkrone has upgraded its SliderOne with a SliderOne Pro and introduced a new generation of Wing and Wing Pro models, all while simultaneously improving the app that controls its entirely lineup.
People have waiting a long time for the Canon 85mm F1.4L IS lens, but how does it compare to Canon's 85mm F1.2L and Sigma's 85mm F1.4 Art? Phillip Pettit of Lensrentals took all three lenses for a spin to find out.
Affinity Photo for iPad, one of the first full-featured Raw editors designed specifically for tablet use, has been named Apple's Best iPad App of 2017. And what's more, it's currently 50% off!
VSCO Messages allows VSCO X subscribers and free users alike to share text, images, photo editing 'recipes', VSCO journal entries and more.
Flickr has revealed their top 25 photos of 2017, and there are some truly stunning shots in the mix.
Testing of the Canon G1 X Mark III is well underway, inside of the studio and out. We've just added it to our test scene comparison tool, where you can take a look at its performance side-by-side against peers like the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V.
Whether it's a trip to the beach for some snorkeling or scrambling up a 10,000 ft volcano, the Olympus Tough TG-5 proved to be a great travel companion for Jeff. That's why it's his 2017 Gear of the Year.
Last year, the DJI Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4 Professional took top honors in our end of year buying guide. Read on to find out who it this year for beginners, consumers, prosumers, and professionals at a price tag less than $2,000.
Meyer Optik Goerlitz is resurrecting yet another classic lens. This time, the company has set its crowdfunding sights on the Primoplan 75mm F1.9, a lens originally manufactured in a run of just 2,000 back in the 1930s.
The folks at Kolari Vision—an infrared camera conversion company based in New Jersey—recently tore down a brand new Sony a7RIII, giving everybody a peek at the camera's much-improved weather sealing.
Resource Travel's Brandon Cunningham recently joined The Giving Lens for a 10-day adventure in India. A trip he won't soon forget, to a country that left him in "sensory and soul overload."
Meet the new Freefly Movi, a handheld gimbal stabilizer designed by cinema stabilization pros for use with the iPhone. Freefly is calling this little beast "the world's most portable, adaptable, and intuitive cinema robot."
Photography portfolio site PhotoShelter is adding their voice to the growing group of online companies that are speaking out in favor of net neutrality, and against the FCC's upcoming vote to kill it.
The Direct app would replace the current Inbox on the Instagram app, doing for Instagram what the Facebook Messenger app did for Facebook on mobile.
Qualcomm's latest high-end mobile chipset offers higher frame rates and a wider color gamut, among other important camera improvements you can expect to see in next year's flagship smartphones.
Photographer Josselin Cornou recently got trapped in a blizzard in the Snowy Mountains of Australia with his Fujifilm GFX 50S and new Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 lens. Find out how they held up to 110km/h winds and -15°C temperatures.
While film nostalgia reaches an all-time high, Seattle-based pro photographer Sofi Lee is turning back to 'digicams' made between 2008 and 2011.
The fixed prime lens camera market may be a bit niche, but it's here that you'll find some of the best cameras you can buy. Sensors ranging from APS-C to full-frame are designed to match their lenses, which cover ranges from 28-75mm equivalent, so image quality is top-notch.
With a capacity of 512GB, Samsung's new UFS chips take built-in storage on smartphones to desktop-PC levels. Will this eliminate the need for microSD slots?
Photographer Josh Rossi decided to go big for this year's Christmas card, so he recreated the Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster using himself, his wife, and their two kids.
In response to a NY Times article about how some traffickers were using Instagram as part of the illicit animal trade, Instagram has added a content advisory screen that pops up to warn users any time they search for hashtags "associated with harmful behavior to animals."
Kodak is expanding its instant photography lineup today with the release of the Kodak Mini Shot Instant 10MP camera. A tiny little digital camera that spits out either 2.1 x 3.4-inch or 2.1 x 2.1-inch prints.