On a gorgeous sunny day in Cambridge last week I joined a bunch of other creatives at a Shutter Hub Workshop with Sara Tasker all about iPhoneography. I’ve always wanted to get more out of using my iPhone and it’s camera because its really handy to have in my pocket so I thought a workshop on iPhoneography would be perfect.
So what is iPhoneography I hear you ask? Well, as Sara explained, it’s a new movement of photography taking and processing pictures on your phone rather than a dslr or other camera. It’s much quicker and easier to take photos in this way when a job or family life can get in the way and take up more time.
To some, taking photos with your iPhone might seem amateur but even professionals use it and now there is even the annual iPhone Photography Awards
Sara spent the first part of the workshop talking to us about why iPhoneography has become so popular.
- Simplicity – there are limited settings and little learning needed meaning the emphasis is on the subject rather than technical specifications.
- Accessibility – Most people (especially me) always have their phone with them making it super quick to capture a moment as it happens, this then makes photos more relatable.
- Style – iPhoneography definitely seems to have taken more of a retro style but is also more forgiving as it doesn’t capture quite as much detail as a dslr photo might.
- Community – The rise of networks such as Instagram amongst a young and diverse audience.
- Shareability – The quick processing and relatable subjects mean its easy to share instantly on social media rather than put photos on a pc, edit them and then share.
After getting us all to take a photo as a baseline before we learn anything, Sara shared a few basics about using your iPhone camera such as you can swipe up from the lock screen and the camera is there, tap the screen to focus or hold it down and it will lock the focus, hold down the shutter button and it will take a burst of ten photos, always use the grid lines and finally that you can use the volume buttons on the side of the phone, or on headphones as a shutter button.
After taking photos of our hands or feet (including part of ourselves puts us, and our audience, in the moment we are experiencing) Sara shared some tips on getting the best from our photos.
- Composition – this is something that you can’t fake or fix at a later late and follow the rule of thirds, using the grid on your phone helps with this
- Angle – A top down photo, or ‘flat lay’ puts your audience in the moment with you, or get down to your subjects eye level, but always keep straight lines straight.
- Balance – Think about negative space and what backgrounds you use so they are not too distracting from your subject
- Texture – Showing texture can make a photo tactile or sensory, it also shows how life can get messy
Our final challenge of the session was to take a ‘selfie’ as putting ourselves in the picture helps add to the story you want to tell and even just a part of you is enough to convey your message. The top tip Sara gave for this is to NEVER us the front facing camera but find something to rest your iPhone on, and get familiar with the self timer.
With a few photos now taken we had a quick practice at editing on our phones and what apps are good to use. There are so many options out there but Sara recommended VSCO and has a beginners guide on her blog (I didn’t find this particularly intuitive to use) and A Colour Story (good for bright and colourful photos) I also use PicTapGo which I find really simple to use.
It was really good to spend a couple of hours thinking about photography and getting some tips using a camera I carry around with me all of the time. I am trying really hard with my social media sharing lately, in particular Instagram, and so I will be trying to put into practice some of the tips I picked up.
If you want to find out more about Sara then you can follow her over on Twitter, Instagram or take a read of her Me and Orla blog. Shutter Hub is a collective and resource, created and maintained by photographers in the UK. One of the aims of Shutter Hub is to provide information and advice for photographers (or budding photographers) and the workshop is just one of the ways they do this.