July 15th 2013

Do you love photographing, editing and sharing photos with your iPhone? Professional travel photographer Ellen Barone shares insider tips and tricks on how to turn your iPhoneography into compelling images and videos, highlighting her own in-the-field experiences and favorite camera apps. by Ellen Barone For travel tips, vacation advice and global photography, visit EllenBarone.com. Thanks to the convenience of smartphone cameras and the availability of inexpensive, intuitive and creative mobile apps, capturing and sharing intimate and artistic photographs has never been easier. Or more fun. Fun, in fact, was what first hooked me on mobile photography and what continues to fuel my love affair with it. And while there’s no question that a DSLR is superior in quality and control and remains an essential professional tool, it is the iPhone that is changing the way I shoot, process, and share on a daily basis. Here are seven easy tips and tricks for turning your cameraphone vacation snaps into pure visual artistry. 1. TURN ON THE CAMERA GRID
This street scene captured in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, Peru, illustrates the photographic Rule of Thirds.
TIP Whether you’re shooting with an iPhone or a Leica, it is important to be thoughtful of how you frame a scene. The difference between an image that is dull or delights is often a matter of balance. When composing a picture, for example, one way to achieve an appealing effect is to apply the Rule of Thirds, the practice of placing elements of interest along a tic-tac-toe grid, with the very strongest at the intersection of the lines. TRICK Turning on the iPhone camera grid makes this easy. To enable it, launch the camera app from the home screen, tap on 'options' at the top, swipe grid to 'on', and tap done to return to the camera screen. The grid will now appear on your iPhone screen whenever the camera app is launched, but will not appear in the final image. 2. DEVELOP YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER’S EYE
Feet, of all the crazy subjects, have emerged as a common theme in my personal and professional work over the years. Feet in snorkel fins, feet in hiking boots, feet propped up in hammocks, and in this image, feet in a hotel swimming pool. Is it a great shot? No. Is it my unique point of view? Most definitely.
No one sees life exactly like you do. Obvious, right? Maybe not. We’re inundated with commercial imagery—on television, in magazines, and advertisements—that influences the way we perceive the world around us. It can be all too easy to distrust your own eye, or to measure the value of your images against a popular norm. It is the very originality of your life stories and experiences, however, that makes iPhoneography so powerful. Feet, of all the crazy subjects, have emerged as a common theme in my personal and professional work over the years. Feet in snorkel fins, feet in hiking boots, feet propped up in hammocks, and in this image, feet in a hotel swimming pool. Is it a great shot? No. Is it my unique point of view? Most definitely. TIP Develop the habit of noticing what attracts your eye—color, faces, nature, food, light or shapes—and then shoot it. Get creative. Try photographing the subject from an unexpected angle. Experiment with different lighting, use side light to highlight texture, for example, front light to deepen colors, or back light to create a silhouette. Discover and nurture your unique style by shooting purely for pleasure and creative expression. TRICK Making great shots on the fly is just the tip of the iPhoneography iceberg. With a swipe here and a tap there you can adjust color, saturation, contrast and sharpness, resize and crop, add artsy filter effects, borders, captions and instantly share your photos direct to your social feeds using mobile photo apps like Camera+, Camera Awesome, Snapseed, Fotor, 100 Cameras in 1, Wood Camera, Photoshop Touch and Photo Fx. Or you can mail your images as real postcards using apps like HazelMail and Postagram. And if you want big, bold prints on canvas, wood, metal or framed, hanging on your wall in about a week, you can turn your phone pics into high quality art at Pixuru. 3. CHANGE THE FOCUS AREA  
I created a ‘fake’ shallow depth of field in this Santa Fe, New Mexico, food shot using the Tilt-Shift filter in the Fotor-PES camera app.
TIP Using a shallow depth of field is a good tool for creating dynamic images. Tilting the camera to an unusual angle also adds an intriguing perspective to the scene. Blurring the background content or framing the image to exclude unappealing background elements in a photograph helps to anchor the main subject. TRICK  Apps like Tilt Shift Focus or the built-in Tilt-Shift filters in camera apps like Fotor-PES, enable you to apply a ‘fake’ shallow depth of field effect to your phone photos. With a just a few taps you can enhance or change the focus area of your pictures and quickly improve the visual effect and artistic quality of your mobile images. 4. ENHANCE YOUR PEOPLE PICTURES
I snapped this photograph of a friend’s teenaged daughter, Natasha, a budding fashion designer, just because I thought she looked beautiful and I wanted her to see what I saw. The unaltered image was fine. But the photographer in me wanted to tweak it a little, like I would do if I was processing a professional shoot. Using Facetune, I was able to make a slight crop, pop-up the brightness, and bring out more detail in the eyes, before hitting the send button and e-mailing the image to Natasha.
TIP Positioning yourself slightly above adult subjects is a marvelous way to keep chins up and create an image that flatters. For kids and pets, it’s often best to get down to their level. Most importantly, make sure you have your camera on and ready to shoot quickly to capture the moment. TRICK Have you ever wished you could ‘airbrush’ pictures of you and your friends before sharing? With portrait apps like Facetune and Cymera you can remove wrinkles and skin blemishes, color over gray hair, whiten teeth, remove dark circles, enhance your eye color, and more. Because let’s face it, we can all use a little help now and then. 5. ADD CUSTOM TYPOGRAPHY
I was out exploring in Peru one afternoon with my friend, Ana Maria Meneses, a hiking guide who’d invited me along to help her scout some off-the-beaten-path Inca archaeological sites. When looking back at the iPhone images I’d made that day, this one seemed to capture the essence of exploration. Adding the definition of wanderlust to the image provided a fun way to share the experience and feeling with friends and family back home.
TIP When sharing photographs on social sites, adding text is another way to bring a creative element to an image. Whether it’s an inspirational quote, a joke, poem, recipe or personal insight, incorporating typography into your photographs is an eye-catching way to communicate your message. TRICK For lovers of words and images, typography apps like Over and InstaQuote provide the best of both worlds. Each app offers intuitive controls for font styles, size and opacity options, and share features that let you post your masterpiece directly to your favorite networks or save it to your camera roll. With the Over app, you can even turn your photo into a printed postcard that will be shipped anywhere in the world. 6. MAKE A PHOTO COLLAGE
Sample photo collages. Photography by Ellen Barone.
TIP Have you ever noticed how cool your images look as thumbnails in your iPhone’s camera roll? The collective visual impact can be more intriguing than the individual photographs. Group random images, organize by theme, create a sequence of action shots, tell a story, or make a collage of your favorite vacation memories, the possibilities are endless. TRICK Collage maker applications like Fotor Photo Editor and Picture Frames make it easy to creatively assemble and share photo collections. With many templates to choose from, you can reveal more of some images and less of others, mix vertical images with horizontals, and add captions, borders and frames. Better still, both apps work on iPhone and iPad so you can shoot on the phone and edit on the tablet. 7. SEND A VIDEO POSTCARD TIP  You can take a photograph of your husband unleashing his inner-child on a rope swing in Baja California, and it will capture the moment. Take a video and you share the full sensory experience — the swing out across the water, the cheering spectators, and the cringe-inducing smack of his belly-flop as he hits the water. Thanks to the advances in technology —advanced optics, gyroscope stabilization, autofocus, ultrafast chips—creating quality video vignettes on the fly is easier than ever before. But the rules of good video still apply. Ideally, you should keep your camera steady, avoid ambient noise (wind is especially troublesome) and be mindful of the story you want to tell. TRICK  The real fun of video storytelling is the ability to capture and share instantaneously. Mobile apps like Vine, twitter’s video app that lets you shoot and share short (6 seconds or less) looping videos, and Instagram (you can now take up to fifteen seconds of video through the Instagram camera), are simple tools that enhance creative expression. If shooting motion pictures doesn’t come naturally to you, a great way to learn and be inspired is to follow the twitter hashtag #instagramvideo or #6secondpostcard, a travel-specific hashtag introduced by San Francisco Chronicle travel editor Spud Hilton. For tips, advice and photography from all over the globe, visit EllenBarone.com.

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