October 2, 2013 / Photography

Start exploring the world of iPhoneography

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

Not every yearbook staff can afford expensive SLR cameras for their photographers. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean your yearbook needs to go without great images.

More and more people own smartphones these days, and those devices come equipped with digital cameras capable of taking beautiful high-res photos fit for print in the yearbook. Smartphone cameras are easy to use – in just one or two clicks, you can shoot amazing digital images that are ready to share and edit instantaneously.

And the best part? Most people always have their phones with them, everywhere they go. That’s why every yearbook staffer with a smartphone (not just the photographers) should be exploring the world of iPhoneography. These tips will help get you started.

  • Take multiple shots. The great advantage of digital photography is the ability to take hundreds of photos quickly at an event, and review them right away. Practice!
  • Don’t forget about composition. Everything you’ve learned about basic photography composition – the rule of thirds, perspective, cropping, angles – it all still applies to photos you take with your smartphone.
  • Let there be light! The best subjects are those that are well lit and in bright light.
  • Always be ready at a moment’s notice. You’ve always got your phone with you, so you should always be ready to quickly snap a picture. iPhone users can quickly get to the camera from the lock screen by sliding up the icon in the bottom right corner.
  • Use an App. The standard camera with your smartphone works well, but so many wonderful apps are constantly being developed to help enhance and edit your mobile pictures.

There are thousands of apps (both paid and free) in the App Store or Google Play specifically for mobile photographers. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Camera+ – Very popular, inexpensive app ($1.99) that offers a variety of simple adjustments and features not available with the basic camera app on most phones, including a Clarity filter that spruces up your images in one touch.
  • Photoshop Touch – This mobile phone version of Photoshop ($4.99) includes many of the features of traditional Photoshop and is perfect for those familiar with the program. The app version includes strokes, drop shadows, fades, curves, levels, skin softening and other tools.
  • Hipstamatic – You can create great vintage or grunge photos with this app ($1.99), which allows you to choose from different film, lenses and settings before you shoot. (iPhone only)
  • Snapseed – A popular free photo-editing app that gives you the ability to straighten photos, and provides grunge and vintage special effects as well as a variety of stylized borders and film styles.
  • Pixlr Express – This fun, free photo-editing app allows you to make quick adjustments like removing red-eye and whitening teeth, and also lets you choose from more than 600 effects and overlays.
  • ProCapture – App ($3.99) includes multiple advanced shooting modes, including Panorama and Wide Shot. (Android only)
  • Filterstorm – A powerful app ($3.99) with an advanced set of photo-editing tools, including layers, blending modes and masking. (iPhone only)

What mobile photography apps do you like to use, and what tips have helped you take better pictures with your smartphone?

Evan Blackwell, CJE
Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is a Web Content Specialist for walsworthyearbooks.com and yearbookhelp.com, as well as a regular contributor to Idea File magazine. He's been a writer and editor for Walsworth Yearbooks for the past 13 years, and is the author of the Yearbook Suite's "The Art of the Interview" unit. Prior to joining Walsworth, Blackwell spent five years as an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.