Monday, August 26, 2013

Casual Tech User 11: Mobile Photography | Lessons Learned Using iPad and iPhone Cameras (Part 2) | 3 Minutes to Better Photography

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Vacationing with an iPad as your only camera. You have got to be kidding! No, leaving my DSLR camera at home, I primarily used my iPad during a two-week vacation last summer. Here are a few mobile photography lessons I have learned.

Copenhagen Canal, taken and edited on iPad

This episode completes the discussion started in Episode 10. In that episode I discuss the continuing growth of mobile photography, the awkwardness I felt taking pictures while holding an iPad in front of my face, learning to edit on the iPad, and backing up photographs while on a trip.

In this episode I speak specifically to my experiences while using the iPad and iPhone cameras. These include:

Lesson Number 1: Need light
  • Most phones and tablets are not good in low light.
  • While some of the newer phones are getting better, dedicated cameras will win in a comparison with most mobile devices.

Lesson Number 2: Avoid zooming
  • Use your feet, not the camera’s digital zoom.
  • If you must bring the object closer, do it during post-edit cropping. 

Lesson Number 3: Use framing
  • If getting closer is not an option, use the foreground to your advantage. 
  • Find a closer object to pull into the composition. Use the foreground to add depth and draw the eye to your intended focal point.

Lesson Number 4: Use elevation and angles
  • If you don't like what you see on the display, learn to be creative and work the environment from a new angle. 
  • A slight placement of the camera above your head or below the waist or further to the right or left can make a huge difference.
  • Think of the camera as being on a string as you swing it in a circle.

Lesson Number 5: Forward may not be best
  • Keep your head on a swivel.
  • Look to your left and right. Turn around to discover what you just passed.
  • A better sunset photo might be the lighting effect on the area behind you.

Lesson Number 6: Pick a few camera apps
  • Don’t allow yourself to become an “app-aholic.”
  • It's always safe to start with the basic camera app before venturing out to a few others offering very specific options.

Lesson Number 7: Mobile LCD screens are limited in bright sunlight
  • The LCD screens are really difficult to view in the bright sunlight.
  • Polarized and photochromatic UV sensitive sunglasses make it even more difficult to view the screen.
  • Be prepared to properly protect your glasses if you have to take them off.
  • Some photographers use towels to form a camera hood when shooting in bright sunlight.

Lesson Number 8: Don’t over use filters and gimmicks during post-production
  • Filters currently are all the rage and easy to use.
  • It seems cool to take a new picture and make it look old, blue, cartoonish, or whatever else is just a click a way. 
  • We dumped of all those cheap cameras and poorly developed prints for a reason!

Lesson Number 9: Managing workflow
  • Take good workflow notes, including which apps, filters, editing procedures, etc. where utilized during post production.
  • Develop a workflow for easily finding and sorting pictures after the fact.

Lesson Number 10: Backing up
  • It’s very difficult to back up images in the field from a mobile device.
  • Laptops and portable hard drives offer the ability to backup while on vacation.
  • A few hardware devices are available for backing up in the field, but these tend to be expensive alternatives.
  • Even at home moving images between mobile devices and computers can be cumbersome. In addition to hardwiring a phone or tablet to a computer, Wi-Fi and software options are available to move images wirelessly between devices.

Episode Links:

Derrick Story: The Digital and Podcast and author of “iPad for Digital Photographers


Casual Tech User 3 Minutes to Better Tech Flipboard Magazine posts articles especially selected for the beginning or casual tech user.

Casual Tech User 3 Minutes to Better Photography Flipboard Magazine posts photographs and articles to encourage spending a few minutes each day enjoying photography.

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