Travel iPhoneography - Techniques

Everybody is taking photos nowadays. However, if you want to become a better photographer, you need to pick up some fundamentals. I...


Everybody is taking photos nowadays. However, if you want to become a better photographer, you need to pick up some fundamentals. In this post series, we will look into the photography basics which you can apply easily and grasp quickly with simple, little to no cost and practical.

This tips are coming from my personal experience, and feel free to check out my work on Instagram and DM me over there to keep in touch. Salud!


Preparation

Clear the space

  • Use Google Photos App – free to download from the AppStore.
  • Make sure you have a Wi-Fi connection.
  • You may choose High quality (free unlimited storage) or Original (limited storage).
  • I use limited high-resolution camera upload as I have photos from other cameras as well.
  • Go to the menu and tap Free Up Space

Have a backup battery

  • Make sure you always have a backup battery either a power bank or a battery case.
  • I use a power bank as it holds a lot of charges, but I found it to be less practical as I never used up all the backup power. Maybe you may use a battery case instead.

Set HDR

  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a function on the iPhone to compensate blown out details on a bright harsh light.
  • Though it doesn't work in every situation, it is safe to turn it on. 
  • Turn on Keep The Original function. Go to "Settings > Photos & Camera > Keep Normal Photo" and turn the switch on.
  • Turn HDR to "On" in Camera Mode.
  • After shooting, you can review if the Original or HDR version is better.

Set Grid

  • On the iPhone, the grid is not set by default.To turn on the grid, go to "Settings > Photos & Camera > Grid" and turn the switch on.
  • Using the grid, it is easier to compose your photo by having the guide. 
  • These lines won't appear in your photos.

Clean the Lens

  • It seems like a no-brainer advice, but this is a crucial thing to do. 
  • Make sure to clean the lens at all times. Every time.
  • Use soft fabric or your cotton cloth to clean the lens and refrain from touching the lens with your finger.

Get Ready

  • Always keep your phone in your hand. Be a master of Slide to Shoot function on your iPhone.
  • Be ready when walking, in moving vehicle or even when you waiting for food at the street stall.
  • Extra tips: Turn your phone on silence mode, Do Not Disturb, or Airplane mode.

On Scene

Slide to Shoot


  • When your phone is locked, press the power button and slide the screen to the left to enter Camera mode.

Burst Mode


  • In burst mode, you can take many photos per second to capture a fast moving subject.
  • To use burst mode, tap and hold the shutter. A number of shots will appear on the screen indicating that the burst mode is on.
  • Once done, you may view the photo and select the best photo, and you may delete the rest.
  • When to use burst mode? Try shooting a jumping action, flying birds, or while on moving vehicle.

Rapid Tap


  • Alternative to the Burst Mode, rapid tapping capture series of shots in full resolutions.
  • However, make sure you would be able to focus, or lock your focus beforehand and aim.
  • Be careful not to miss the desired subject placement as rapid tapping is slower than burst mode.

Use the Volume Button


  • Did you know that there is a physical shutter button on the iPhone? 
  • The side volume buttons can function as a shutter button.
  • It is useful to use it as a one handed shooting operation. Whether in portrait or landscape mode, it is a welcome feature when your hands are busy.

Take many version


  • It is recommended to take a lot of versions of the same subject when shooting.
  • Tune up and down the exposure to see the same shot in a different light.
  • Tilt your phone up and down to change the perspective.
  • Push the low horizon lower to fill the upper horizon with space or try it the other way around.

Review when convenience


  • Before you move on to your subject, review your shots if it is convenience. Check if your shot is correct. 
  • Adjust the screen brightness to the brightest to see better under the bright sun.


Post Processing

Rotating

  • The first thing that you need to do before jumping to even viewing each photo is rotating.
  • Rotate your photos that are not in the right dimension.
  • In "Photos" app, open a photo, the "Sliders" icon, and tap the most left icon to access "Crop", "Rotate" and "Straighten" function.
  • At the same time, correct the horizon straightening it to match the straightening grid. Do this for all the photos.

Favourites

  • Go again to your photos one by one, but this time get ready to touch that "Heart" icon to add to “Favourite” album.
  • Don’t worry if you add same subject in many photos to "Favourite" album. 
  • Once done, go to the "Favourite" album, and start picking which is the best of the many version. Go on and remove favourite on the photos that are not good. Do this until you only have one photo chosen per subject.

Retouch

  • Look into your photos, and find a photo that needs to be retouch or clone out.
  • I’m using Touch Retouch. It’s a paid app, and I’m happy with my purchase. But if you are looking for a free option, try Snapseed, or Photoshop Express.
  • As an example, you may want to remove out are thrash, wires, extra people, and cut parts from the frame.

Fix Perspective Distortion

  • Sometimes, the photo needs more straightening than just the horizon. 
  • A good example for this is building, as we often tilt the phone to capture the building. 
  • I use SKRWT (pronounced Screw It) to fix the perspective. It’s a paid app, but it has robust fixing tools. 
  • But for ease of use, you may stick to the free options such as tools found in Snapseed, VSCO, or MIX by Camera 360.

Editing

  • Based on your personal taste, editing should vary from individuals.
  • My edits are vintage style, and I use VSCO to achieve the look. My go to preset are P, A, KK, and C or E.
  • Since every photo is unique and requires a different edit, we will not go to look into the details here. But, it is safer to suggest a minimal use of preset intensity so it does not look over dramatic.
  • In most cases, the Exposure, Contrast, Shadow Save and Highlight Save are your best tool.
  • Sometimes, not all color should present in your photo. Some things that appear in your photo may compete for attention to your main subject.
  • Lower down their appearance by adjusting the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance.
  • For this, I use a free app called MIX by Camera 360. Go to Edit Toolbox, and find HSL.
  • For example, the red color in this photo is competing with my main subject. I can tune it down so my photo feels more simple and focused.

This is the first post on the Photography Basics - Travel iPhoneography series. Tune in every week for more content.

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