iPhoneography Tips & Tricks to making High Quality Images on your iPhone

Photo: foto-ruta.com

by Scott W., via Wick Creative |

iPhoneography is the art of taking photos with an Apple iPhone. This is a style of mobile photography that differs from all other forms of digital photography in that images are both shot and edited on the iOS device.  (read more on a Wiki if you want. )

Chase Jarvis once said “the best camera is the one that’s with you,”and I stick by this. You never know when a great shot is going to happen, and for most of us, the only available camera is on our phone. Happily, with a few great apps, we can turn our iPhones into quite incredible image editors.

I’m going to jump right into my iPhoneography process. The image I’m walking us through is one I shot while mountain biking last week on North Table Mountain in Golden, Colorado.

Step 1: Set aside the “Camera” app and use “Pro HDR” instead.

As you see, just using an HDR app can make a huge difference.* HDR (High-dynamic range) images help you make an image much closer to the way a human eye process high contrast scenery. You can see the entire area correctly exposed. HDR works by taking multiple images of different exposures, and then smashes them together into one image. This process creates beautifully-exposed photos.

* A few notes. HDR does not work well for quickly moving scenes, as it takes multiple images. Your subject matter should be still, so naturally, it works better on landscapes. It will also have the most stunning effects where your scenery has quite a bit of light contrast.

Step 2: Use Snapseed to edit your image.

Snapseed is an amazing app. It has recently been purchased by Google, soooo that’s generally a sign it’s very good. Snapseed is like having a mini version of Photoshop in your pocket. In the above image I used 4 of the features.

  1. Drama – This is the trophy winner. Such a great tool. It will boost the contrast and HDR feel of your image substantially. In essence making it “pop” I generally back it down some & move the saturation up.
  2. Tune Image – This is a whole set of tools to really get your image right. Brightness, Ambience, Shadows, Saturation and more. I choose my set based on the image I’m working with.
  3. Crop – As you can notice on the above, it has been cropped. I didn’t like the metal water pipe in the bottom left of my image. It was distracting from the natural look of the photo. Simple, crop it out.
  4. Center Focus – This gives your image the great vignette border. I personally love focusing the user in on the desired area in my shot. A simple vignette works every time.

BONUS: Want to quickly get the Snapseed effects on your photos in Photoshop? Try the NIK collection from Google.

Step 3: Use Mextures to add back in color & texture.

We have all taken sunset pictures only to say “well, you should have seen it in person, it was much prettier.”

It’s true a camera is going to have a difficult time capturing all the colors your eyes can. Mextures is a perfect app to bring some of that richness and wonderment back into your shots. In the above shot, I felt the grass looked a little dry & the sky lacked in the colors  I saw. Using Mextures, I was able to bring in some green on the grass and push the pink tones in the sky.

Conclusion: Before > After

There are many ways to find your own personal style in this process, and tons of other apps out there for different types of photos. If this image looks too overdone for your style, you can pull back the reigns at any step along the way. In the end, having the right tools makes all the difference. So get out your iPhone, stop using the Camera app and start making beautiful images to share with everyone on the web!

If you’d like to see more examples of my process in action, visit my flickr or instagrampages. Thanks for reading!