Aug 2, 2013

iphone photography... a guide for the everyday mom {#1 :: Get a Grip}

If you missed the introduction to this series, click here.

So are you just as excited about this Friday series as I am?! Let's get started!

Our first order of business is very basic, but I think very important. It has to do with the way you hold (or grip) your iPhone when taking pictures. A shaky iPhone means fuzzy pictures, so it's imperative that you hold your iPhone steady when shooting. Treat it as you would a traditional point and shoot camera-- stand still and hold your iPhone with two hands.

One unique thing about the iPhone is that the camera lens is on the bottom right corner of the phone instead of front and center like a traditional camera lens would be. This creates plenty of room for you to get a good grip on your iPhone before shooting. The most stabilizing way to hold the iPhone for pictures is to put your left hand all the way around the back of the camera (see picture below) and to tuck your left elbow in as close to your body as possible. This eliminates a lot of the shaking that occurs when you hold your phone far out away from your body with both of your elbows out. From there, grip the right side of the iPhone with your pointer finger and thumb, being careful not to block the lens. If you have an iPhone 4, 4S, or 5, the volume "up" or (+) button acts as the shutter button for easier shooting.
Take a moment to try this technique and see if you notice a difference!

Excuse my worn out OtterBox

 It may feel funny at first, but it'll result in much clearer pictures!

 This may be a completely new way of shooting for you, especially if you are currently in the habit of shooting all of your iPhone photos vertically (also called portrait style). It's an easy habit to get into because most other iPhone functions are best performed by holding the iPhone vertically.

Fun Fact: My two-year-old chewed up the top of my OtterBox case.

Let me encourage you to vary your style. Try shooting more horizontal (or landscape style) shots. There are some technical aspects of photography that can help you to determine whether to shoot horizontally or vertically (more on that later), but one very practical way to help determine your shooting style is to consider your plans for that particular set of iPhone photos before you shoot (printing for a photo album, printing to frame, creating a photo book, sharing on social media, etc.). It may even be a good idea to take one in each style and just delete one later.

Lemon, anyone?

 A few reasons to take more horizontal/landscape photos:

  • Sometimes horizontal/landscape photos allow for better photo composition (the way that the objects in a photo are composed or arranged; more discussion on this later).
  • A photo shot horizontally/landscape-style often appears calmer and allows you to explore the photo more easily. 
  • Horizontal/landscape-style photography is a more natural way of shooting and viewing photographs. Not only do your eyes naturally move from left to right (at least in the Western hemisphere), but your eyes have also been trained to view most things in landscape mode (i,e, computer screens, car windshields, TV's, etc.). 
  • Bonus Tip: Videos should always be shot horizontally/landscape-style. If you shoot a video vertically/portrait-style, it looks fine if you're replaying it on your iPhone, but as soon as the video is loaded to your computer, you will notice two black bars on the sides of your video. The viewing quality of your iPhone videos will always be better landscape-style.  

I hope this post provided you with some useful information! Remember to hold steady and to vary your shooting style as you snap photos this week! Next week we'll be discussing focus, flash, and zoom. 
So stay tuned!


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