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Meet-Up Review: Smart Phone Photography Tips

Wow, has it really been over a week since the Portland Bloggers Meetup on photography?!  I meant to get this post up sooner, but life has a way of getting busy sometimes.  All good, of course 😉
I had a great time meeting you all and hope to see you all at the next meetup! As I promised, here are my tips for Smart Phone photography.

I’ll admit I was a little resistant to iPhonography at first.  It seemed like a fad, and while I could take  decent pictures with the iPhone, I could get better shots with my DSLR.  But over time I found myself using my iPhone as my camera more and more.  Carrying my DSLR around everyday seemed cumbersome, and I wanted to be excited about using it, rather than capturing the everyday on it.  So the iPhone has become my best friend during most days, and over time I have learned a few tricks that helped to hone my iPhonography skills.

Here are the top lessons I have learned:


I’m cheap frugal conservative.  I never rarely pay for apps unless it’s something I really can’t live without, so I love perusing the store for free photography apps and trying them out.  My favorite, hands down, is Instagram.  If you haven’t played with this app yet, you are seriously missing out.  It’s a community (both online and on your phone) similar to twitter and facebook, only strictly image based and integrates with other social media apps well.

Personal plug —> If you’d like to follow me my username is Motormouthmacey

A few of my other favorite apps are:

  • PS Express (a photoshop app)
  • LensLight
  • HDR FX
  • Whitagram
  • Impression (for watermarking)
  • Pic Jointer (for collaging)


Don’t be afraid to push the envelope with the angles you choose.  Focus on things close up, and cause the viewers eye to notice the “important” things in the image.  With both the Instagram and Photoshop apps you are able to play with tilt shift too and select focus.  Have fun and be willing to play!


Speaking of selective focus, did you know that the iPhone has an AE/AF (auto exposure/auto focus) lock?  (You’ll have to use your camera app for this, but can pull the picture back through another app after if you’d like.)  To engage it, tap your screen where you would like it to focus and hold down until you see the blue box pulsate.  Release your finger and you will see AE/AF Lock at the bottom of the screen.  This keeps your shot in focus and exposed correctly even if you move the camera.  Once done, tap the screen again the AE/AF will unlock.

Front Facing

The front facing camera on your iPhone produces far less quality photos, but sometimes that’s ok.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what you can get!


Snapshots make for great memories.  If something strikes you as an interesting photo, take it.  Like digital, there’s no harm in taking thousands of pictures – you can delete the ones you don’t like.  Once you stumble upon the image you want, it’s all worth it.

Backlighting and Silhouettes

I love shooting backlit photos, but they can be difficult with the iPhone’s sensors.  Practice what lighting situations work best with your phone and soon you’ll know just how to get the photo you want.

A Few Quick Tips

  • Clean your camera lens before shooting – this will help with focus and cut down on blown out exposures
  • Turn off the HDR function – this function slows your shutter release and results in poor quality
  • Turn off the flash and leave it off
  • Zoom with your feet – zooming on the iPhone (or any fixed digital lens on point and shoots) results in much poorer quality

And last, but not least, using your phone to capture your day-to-day moments is a fun way of archiving memories.   Bundle some of your photos together at the end of each month to give yourself a fun recap you can revisit over and over again.

Do you have any fun iPhonography tips or tricks?  Leave your ideas in the comments below, I’d love to know about them!


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  • Reply
    September 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    great blog and brilliant pictures!

    • Reply
      September 11, 2012 at 12:31 am

      Thanks! Having a photographer writing for us is a win win!

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