If you are like me then you’ll love taking photos on your iPhone. In fact, it is my main photography tool and It’s quite possible that Apple has become one of if not the largest camera company in the world thanks for the iPhone. Although having a good eye is important to insure that you take a good photo (after all, you can only do so much with a bad photo), the tools you use to capture, edit and publish your photos can help you get the most from your photos.
As such I thought I’d share with you my iPhotography tools and Work flow to hopefully inspire you and assist you in taking better photos on your iPhone.
My workflow has three main steps: Capture, Process and Publish. There are different apps I use for different steps and some specific tools that I use to capture my photos. [P.S. All photos in this post are mine, were taken on an iPhone and have been edited using the following tools]
For capture I have a few select apps for different functions and to take certain styles of photos. Although the standard camera app has some great features, it doesn’t allow you to adjust all the settings so you can take long exposure, or other specialist types of photo shots.
1. The Stock Camera App
The camera app that comes with the iPhone is easy to reach for with the homescreen shortcut and great for quick fire photos. If I am not sure what I need then I’ll go for the default camera app. It has the basic functions I need for taking a good photo. With the addition of burst mode and HDR in recent iOS updates
For HDR shots, the standard camera app doesn’t really cut it. ProHDR can either automatically or manually create HDR photos which you can blend. The interface is getting a bit old and doesn’t fit iOS 7 but it’s still a great HDR app.
3. Average Cam
Average cam will “average” several pictures together. This is great for moments when there is a lot of traffic (as they get cancelled out) or for night shots or for water. You can adjust the number of photos and the delay between them as well.
I don’t use Pressgram so much for taking pictures anymore due to the fact that when you take a picture the image doesn’t line up in the process section completely. You have to crop it. However, it has split focus and exposure points (coming as stock in iOS 8) so it is useful for that. the real power of the app comes in the later stages.
5. Focus twist
This is a fun app for getting SLR like blurring effects behind a central object in focus. You have to hold the camera really still and have an object very close to the iPhone for it to work well but when it does, it is really great.
I have a handful of accessories which I use to adapt the lens and insure that I can take a better photo with my iPhone. These include my olloclip 4-in–1 lens (for macro, wide angle and fisheye shots) my olloclip telephoto lens (which has a 2x zoom and polarising lens) and my olloclip flip case which allows me to attach it to my gorilla pod tripod and hold it steady. However, one of the key accessories in my arsenal is…my apple earbuds. I use these to trigger the camera.
I don’t really like heavy processing and try to let the character of the photo come through but sometimes I need to tone down the light or shadows on a photo. I do use filters but I often only add a slight dose of them. With that in mind my main apps for editing are.
1. Photoshop touch
I don’t use photoshop touch a lot as I have it on my iPad and not my iPhone. However, If I need to really edit the lighting levels and specific areas. I like using the iPad as it offers a larger touch interface for these details.
This is my main weapon of choice. As I have all the filters and settings I can really edit my photos straight from my iPhone. Plus the filters in Pressgram are great quality. Pressgram has a load of features you might normally have in several single apps, but it’s all in one app meaning you only end up with one edited file at the end.
I use Fonta to add text to photos when I need to. The really nice touch with Fonta is you can mask parts of the text so it looks like the text goes behind the picture. There are a range of alternative apps to add text
Mac Apps: Pixelmator and Color Strokes
Although I tend to do my photo editing on my iPhone or iPad, sometimes I use my Mac for really detailed editing or if I happen to have my Mac at hand when I am editing or if I want to edit older photos I have.
Pixelmator is a great photo editing tool similar to photoshop but without many of the high level pro features. Although it isn’t as powerful (you can’t make animated gifs with this!) this helps to keep it simple and easy to use. Unless you are a professional designer I’m sure you’d find pixelmator sufficient for your photo editing needs.
ColorStrokes is a tool which lets you convert your photos to black and white, except an area which you select. This allows you to create those stunning photos where there is a tiny bit of colour in a sea of black and white. It’s a one trick pony but it’s a pretty great trick.
This is what Pressgram was really designed for, publishing your photos easily. I can send them out to different social networks and put them on my tumblr blog where I keep all my photos. Pressgram is great for letting me share photos to all the places that I want in an instant. Sure you can set up a IFTTT workflow as an alternative but I love the flexibility of selecting exactly which places I want to share THIS photo rather than knowing that all my photos will be shared EVERYWHERE.
This isn’t exactly a place I publish photos but is really my secret backup. As Flickr gives its users a 1TB of free backup, and due to the issues of the current photostream limits (most of which will be addressed soon), I use Flickr to provide an offsite backup of my photos. The iOS app has an automatic backup feature and you can set it so these won’t publish by default.
This isn’t really a publishing tool but it provides a nice function which I don’t have another app for. It organises your photos by the content of the photos. This is great when you need to rapidly search through your photos and also great for deleting photos which you don’t like. It’s also interesting to see what you take the most photos of.
Well those are my tools. I’m not saying they are perfect, There are certainly some areas where each app could improve and sharing data between apps isn’t perfect (that why I love pressgram so much, it really helps which all threes stages and lets me keep my data within one app instead of creating a host of duplicates.) I’m looking forward to the advancements coming to the stock camera app in iOS 8 which will help with the capture stage and the new iCloud photo storage will help with my backup options.
What are your photography tools?