How to Make Decent Photographs
with Your iPhone
by William Lulow
Since camera phones and small, light-weight point-and-shoot cameras seem to be proliferating these days, I thought I’d write a small piece about how to use them properly.
Most people will simply use their camera-phones like they were real cameras. I often get people who come to me and ask if I could make a couple of prints from images they’ve shot on their phones. My usual response is: How good is the original image?
One has to realize that in the photographic process, if you start with a bad image, you’ll end up with a bad image. And, camera phones and point-and-shoots are just not as good as the real thing. First of all, camera phones are very light weight. This makes it very difficult to hold it steady enough to get a high enough quality shot. Some people actually do try to steady their camera phones by resting their arms on a wall or other steady object, but you still have to hand-hold everything. There are stands for the iPhone and others, but because most people just carry their phones with them, they are not really thinking about making photographs. Second, it often takes a camera phone a second or two actually to take the photograph. Some have a double flash which is really designed to eliminate red eye, but often results in blurred images if you are photographing even the smallest action. Plus, you never quite know when the shutter will fire. Third, camera phones are not really high quality. Yes, some of the lenses are very good, but most camera phones are of the 8 megapixel variety or less. There’s no way they can compete with even the basic DSLR. An image that often looks good on a camera phone’s screen, will not hold up when it is enlarged, sometimes even to 4″x6″.
The solution: don’t expect too much from your camera phone. Try to get images of still subjects and/or try to go for “creative” type shots. One thing that I have done is to make “stylized” shots with my iPhone. Below is an example:
This image was taken at a relative’s wedding. I brought the image in to Photoshop and then applied some filters, did some cloning and ended up with a very “creative” shot.