iPhonography Part 1: Five iPhone Camera Tips and Tricks

Editor’s Note:  Uh, so, apparently, I wrote a whole little series on taking photos with your iPhone and never posted them.  I was going to trash them, but then I looked at the little photos I took of my Button and it seemed a shame to just toss them aside!  I was obviously behind the 8-ball on taking photos with my iPhone.  If you are, too, this post if for you!  If you are a pro like my friend, Ashley (@shackstagrams), then you could probably give me some tips!  I welcome all comments and suggestions!  xoxo

If you follow me on Instagram*, you will have surely noticed the influx of photos on my stream.  I realized Lynda.com (my favorite website for online learning) had released a brief tutorial on photography and editing with your iPhone.  I had always wondered how professional (and not so professional photographers) I follow got such beautiful photographs.  So, I began an all-out geek-out on the iPhone camera and various editing apps.  There are so many ways to get creative and I thought I’d share what I had learned so far with a series on iPhonography.

Let’s start with the iPhone camera:

Five iPhone Camera Tips and Tricks

*All photos are taken with my iPhone 4S with the iOS6 update.*

1.  The Apple earphones work as a shutter release!  Just hold up your iPhone camera and let it find the center focal point.  Then click on the + or – key for the sound control on your earplugs.  This is useful if you want to:

  • set your iPhone up on a tripod and need a remote shutter to avoid camera shake (Wow, aren’t you fancy?!).
  • take a shot that requires you to hold your phone at arms length and out to the side.
  • not be so obvious about taking photos when you are out in public.  You can pretend you are talking on the phone.  I tried this out yesterday…

iphonography remoteshutter 768x1024 iPhonography Part 1: Five iPhone Camera Tips and Tricks
2.  The volume buttons work as a shutter release.  This feature comes in handy when you

  • don’t have your earphones and want take a  photo with your arm stretched out (and/or to the side).  It’s just less awkward :)
  • ask someone who doesn’t have an iPhone to take your photo.  For some reason, telling them to press a button is easier because it’s just like a regular point-and-shoot camera.
  • need to keep a better grip on our phone while taking one-handed photos.  Think holding squeaky toy above your iPhone to get your kid to look at you while you take her photo.

AveryiPhone 12 iPhonography Part 1: Five iPhone Camera Tips and Tricks
3.  There’s an AE/AF lock.  Ha, who knew! (Obviously, not me).  Just touch the focal point on your screen until the blue box pulsates and let go.  You will see the AE/AF Lock on the bottom of your screen.  This way, you can recompose your shot while keeping your subject in focus and correctly exposed.  Tap your screen again to unlock the AE/AF feature.  (This works with the iPhone 3GS and higher).

  • AE/AF stand for Auto-Exposure/Auto-Focus.
  • To understand more about exposure, I’d suggest reading The Pioneer Woman’s posts on What the Heck is Aperture Part 1 and Part 2.  Ree Drummond does a great job of distilling otherwise complex information.

This was a great technique for taking photos of Avery at her new favorite place, the local park!  No editing, just the AE/AF Lock.  I also used my earphones as a remote shutter so I could look at Avery to get a good reaction :)

Avery iPhotography AE AFLock 12 1024x821 iPhonography Part 1: Five iPhone Camera Tips and Tricks

4.  You can get a nice shallow depth of field.  You know, so you get that blurry background effect otherwise known as bokeh.

    • Tap on the object in the forefront of your camera so that the blue focus box light up.  Be sure to hold your camera steady for a few second to allow your camera to focus before snapping the photo.

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  • Alternatively, you can focus on an object in the background and make the foreground blurry.  This is most effective if the object/s in the foreground are very vlose to your camera lens.  You also need to have several feet between the subjects in the foreground and background.

Avery iPhotographyDOF 12 iPhonography Part 1: Five iPhone Camera Tips and Tricks

 

5.  Siri will access your camera.  Just say, “take a photo/picture/etc .,” and there ya go!  This is useful when

  • Okay, I have no idea when this would be useful.  Still, it’s kinda neat.

 

References:
About.com How to Use the iPhone Camera by Sam Costello
Lynda.com iPhone Photography, from Shooting to Storytelling with Richard Koci Hernandez
The Pioneer Woman What the Heck is Aperture? Part 1.

*You can find me under aimeedesiree.  I set my Instagram settings to private recently.  Avery is getting out of that babiness phase and I’d like to have a little more control over who sees all of the bazillion photos I post of her.  I approve people after I check them out a bit.  I mean, with all my tens of readers, I usually know you or know someone who knows you…or stalk your blog enough to know you are who you say you are :)

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Family Photography: The January Family

I had the privilege of photographing my first Marine family this past winter.  Jenny and Jan January (Yes, those are their real names – love it!) are part of the Marine family serving and protecting the U.S.A.  I was looking forward to this shoot for several reasons, most of which was that I was excited about getting to include an Osprey aircraft in the photos.  I’ll admit, that part was great; however, I really ended up having the most fun getting to know the January family.  Jenny and Jan are the proud parents of three boys.  Everyone says boys are easier by the time jr. high rolls around.  However, in my opinion, three teenage boys should add another ribbon to Jan’s honors and earn Jenny a special medal for her bravery in mothering!  Luckily, I think Mitchell, Ethan, and Theo really did want to look good in their photographs, because those young men knew how to turn on the January charm.  Plus, the camera loved Jenny and Jan.  It ended up being one of those sessions that you want to download and edit right away!

Jenny – Thanks for putting up with the oddly frigid day in San Diego.  You looked beautiful in the photographs!  Jan was such a good sport and I think the boys’ mischievousness charm shined through!  It was truly an honor to capture these memories for your family.

Here are my favorites:

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Thanks, Kallie, for putting my name forward.  I don’t know how I’d find such kind babysitters, fun photography gigs, or great expert baby advice without you!

Jamila – You were the best assistant ever!  Thanks for all of your help!

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I’m Back With “Two Future Bruins on a Bench”

Where I’ve been

Well, hello there.  Yes, I know, it’s been a while.  The timing of my hiatus might coincide with when my twice-a-week babysitter LEFT US. She up and graduated from college EARLY.  It gets worse!  She didn’t even leave us for a corporate job.  No!  She left us to travel to the other side of the world!  Oh, OH! And, not just any other side of the world; she went to MY favorite part of the other side of the world, New Zealand. We tried to be graceful; however, it’s hard when you suddenly realize what 8 hours of babyless time does for your running errands and writing blog posts time.  NADA.  Yeah, I know some bloggers blog after bedtime or at 5a.m. before the kids get up.  Sorry, I’m just not that committed.  My brain turns to mush after 9 without some serious caffeine.  That’s really not the greatest idea when you are pregnant again, but that’s another blog post.  Anyway, my point is that I was too tired and the piles of dirty laundry were going to land me on Hoarders with me breaking down in tears as experts intervened to save me from myself.  I need over 7 hours of consecutive sleep to be happy.  Luckily, we found another wonderful sitter, thanks to my friend, Kallie.  Actually, that’s how we found our first sitter.  Kallie – I love you!  So, after getting caught up on my house and personal life, I think I can safely resume a regular blogging schedule.  I’m not committing to everyday, just most days when my house is clean (because I paid someone else to clean it) and my refrigerator is full (because my mom was here to help with Avery).

Facebook is Boring

I also decided to take a break from social media.  Staying at home with your baby is wonderful.  It’s a choice my husband and I made easily.  However, it’s been anything but easy.  Even though the demands are way more than I could have anticipated, I think that the change in my role was the most difficult part of the transition.  Looking back, I realized I went through a little grieving process of the Aimee-Before-Motherhood.  I had really just figured out who she was and was having a lot of fun being self-centered.  I mean, you have to be “selfless” in marriage; but, you have to be “SELFLESS” as a mom.  It’s whole new level no one understands until they are in a position where they are caring for someone else who is 110% dependent on them.  I’m sure people who have had to take care of loved ones who aren’t little children are at the “SELFLESS” level and are all, “Aimee, you have no idea.”  True, I take my hat off to you!  So, getting back on-track, I found myself looking at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with the outside world.  One day, it was just too much.  It wasn’t that I couldn’t take the I-love-my-life, self-promotions, humble-brags, we-don’t-really-look-this-good-in-real-life-photos, or whoa-is-me posts.  I mean, we all participate in those roles to some extent.  It just got….well, boring.  It’s not that my Facebook friends are boring people.  It’s more like, how much minutia do you really need or even want to know about someone else’s life on a daily basis?  More importantly, I was sharing too much minutia.  My sister and mom were probably the only ones enjoying the constant stream of Avery posts and photos.  So, I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone and did my best to give it up for a few months all-together.  I then tucked my Twitter app away in a folder marked Social Media on  my phone.  It was hard the first few days not to pass the minutes away in line at the check-out counter or when Avery was walking up and down the hallway for the 274th time to check-in with FB.  However, then I kind of forgot about it entirely.  I did, however, keep Instagram.  I love photo and I follow and un-follow people without a second thought as to if I will hurt their feelings.  It’s not like you can really tell and I just like to mix it up a bit.  Are you checking to see if I unfollowed you right now?  If we are friends in the sense that we spend time together at least once a month, no.  If we aren’t “real-life” friends and you post photos of the lettuce you had for your “yummy” gluten-free lunch, yes.

Nevermind, Facebook is Fun (when you use it to be friends…like real friends)

It was on Instagram that I noticed someone with a pseudonym commenting on a mutual friend’s photos who I was pretty sure I knew from UCLA.  I could only see photos of her daughter on her feed, so I texted my friend to ask who it was.  Oh, yeah, Michelle, one of the nicest girls in my sorority!  We’d lost touch after I dropped out when I returned from study-abroad.  Turns out that she has a little one just a bit older than Avery and lives in San Diego.  So, I broke my Facebook rule to friend her and we made plans for a mom date.  Turns out we are both still normal, nice people (Uh, that was what I was verifying Michelle! :) and our girls are both pretty mellow.  It makes for a great combo for play-dates!  Michelle also loves photography, so we have shamelessly taken our girls around Encinitas photographing them at these great locations Michelle found.  The result from our first expedition is what I have entitled:

Two Future Bruins on a Bench:

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I was going to put in captions to tell a story; however, they just seemed redundant.  Yes, Harper taught Avery how to wear “sunnies.”  Although, Avery got a bit confused!  She also taught Avery how to sign “more” for Puffs.  Or, as Harper calls them, “Pups.”  I think Harper was also a bit concerned over Avery’s lack of ringlets. Uh, this was me as a child, so I don’t know why my baby girl only has a handful of curls on the back of her head:

ringlets Im Back With Two Future Bruins on a Bench

Seth thought I was wearing a wig when I showed him this photo.

Oh, yeah, she’s her father’s mini-me. That kid was probably bald until he was two!

I have a lot more to say about Facebook and Social Media that I will save for another post.  However, I will end this post by saying that I am happy to be back blogging, reconnecting with friends on Facebook, and will forever shamelessly post a bazillion photos of my kids on Instagram.

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Family Photography: The Murphy Girls

While I’m posting photos of the Murphy family, here is our next session at the beach.  I love the light and all the sisterly love.  I think we are going to have to take Mia and Ellie back after Ellie can be trusted to sit up on her own!

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Family Photography: The Murphys

I took one of Nicole’s Classes late last year.  One of our assignments was a stylized shoot.  So, you know, I thought of a great idea:  Hey, I’ll take lots of backlit photos of my friend Ali and her family.  I drove around the alleys of La Jolla during the golden hour with a sleeping Avery in the car.  I knew taking backlit photos would be challenging, but I found the perfect place!  Then, I inadvertently scheduled the photo shoot for the afternoon before trash day.  Apparently, not everyone is like me and Seth when it comes to putting their cans out.  You know, you rush out half-dressed as you hear the truck come down the street.  So, I really have to get going on Photoshop before I post all of the photos.  However, I’m going to post my favorites anyway.  That’s how much I love them!

I mean, how great is it that Ali got her two girls dressed up in their monogrammed tutu dresses AND convinced her husband, Matt, to wear a pink shirt to match? “I’ve just decided that pink and white are our family colors,” she declared.  You know that brought a smile to my face!  Talking of smiles, notice how the the 3-year-old, first-born girl is all smiles in the last two photos.  Love it!

 

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