How to be an iPhoneographer: Learn {to be a photographer}


“You use Instagram? You must be a professional photographer”. The sarcasm in the tweet alone made me smile but there is a lot truth underlying the sarcasm. A lot of folks get into iPhoneography because of the convenience of the iPhone camera. Then there are incredible apps that can transform mundane photos. But at the end of the day, those apps can only transform the content of the underlying photo.

Often times the best iPhoneographers are professional photographers. The reason is they understand composition, lighting, subject matter, etc. They see the photo before it’s taken. As I have continued to pursue iPhoneography it has become clear I have to learn these skills myself. Let’s be honest, half of the content shoved onto to Twitter with the #iPhoneography-#instagram-#photography hashtags are just a crappy photo with a Dianne filter dressing it up a bit (click here for an interesting post by a professional photographer and his take on iPhoneography). That is to be expected as so much of social media is built around sharing the here and now, not necessarily incredible images. But I want something different out of iPhoneography. I want to create high quality images that reflect and document my experiences with the tool I always have with me, my iPhone.

So, how to accomplish this? There isn’t a photography skills app that will instantaneously take amazing photos for us. We have to develop them through experimentation and practice. There must be failures and triumphs. But i think this is where the fun begins. From my perspective learning a few basic principles of composition significantly improves photography. Following are resources I have used to improve my iPhoneography using basic composition principles.

1. Life Hacker on Composition

2. Photography Mad on Composition

It’s not rocket science. Spend a few minutes reading one of these and then go attempt to apply them on your next iPhoneography jaunt. I garuntee you will see an improvement in your iPhoneography.

How are you applying basic photographic principles in your iPhoneography?


18 thoughts on “How to be an iPhoneographer: Learn {to be a photographer}

  1. For me, everything begins with the light. If you don’t have the right light, you have nothing more than a snapshot. Next, I focus on composition. Lastly, I use apps to enhance my image and realize the vision I had when I took the photo in the first place.

      1. I try to study the light everyday even when I’m not shooting so I can learn to anticipate what it will look like at various times throughout the day. Once you can do that, you can get a good idea of what time of day would be ideal for a certain location.

        The golden hours are usually great for shooting, but you can find beautiful light throughout the day if you know where to look. It just depends on the location and conditions.

      2. David – thanks for the advice. I do need to pay more attention to lighting throughout the day. I am drawn to lines and composition naturally but need to learn to also pay attention to the light.

  2. Thought provoking post, Paul. I use my DSLR when I can, but I love having a camera with me at all times. Not having a zoom lens or fine control on the iPhone makes me work harder at getting a good photo, but I rarely process anything in the camera itself. It all goes into my computer and then into Photoshop. Probably 60% of my garden photos are taken on my iPhone because it is in my pocket when I walk through the garden: I can see the difference in detail and nuance but I’m not sure that most others can 🙂 I think David has it right, it is about light and composition and the camera is just a tool for the eye and the mind.

  3. Love this article, completely agree with your thoughts! Iphoneography teaches a lot of key lessons about details. I’ve been doing it for sometime and I love it! 🙂

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