Photography tips/guide specific to the iPhone 4?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Xaximus, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. Xaximus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    #1
    I wasn't sure whether to post this in the iPhone forum or Photography forum.

    I'm a novice photographer; I typically prefer the auto settings of a decent consumer point-and-click. I'm buying an iPhone 4 to use as my primary still and video camera. As an example of something helpful that I've already learned, it's that if you pan too quickly while capturing video, you'll get a nasty wobble effect.

    Can anyone provide some tips on using the iPhone 4 for stills or video, or does anyone know of a related guide?
     
  2. pilotkid macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
    #2
    Photographer Chase Jarvis has a app and a book specific to taking pictures with iPhones. The app is in the app store, its called "Best Camera". I think the book is more what your looking for, look it up on Amazon. The app is pretty much just a picture editing app.
     
  3. livingonvideo13 macrumors regular

    livingonvideo13

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #3
    The wobble effect is caused by the rolling shutter (google rolling shutter wiki). This is normal for all smartphones and cheap cameras. Also you don't get any blur when panning with a rolling shutter so every frame is sharp which gives you kind of the strobe look when panning fast.

    Also take a look at the lens of the iPhone4. See how small that sucker is? A cheap $200 camera is going to give you better pictures. You just can't get good optics with such a small lens.

    Also you are going to get major contrast with the iPhone when a normal digital camera will give you a wider range of lighting. You are going to see more blowouts in your whites with the iPhone4.

    the Camera on the iPhone is really nice for a smartphone and you can take some really good pictures if your lighting conditions are just right but it can not perform as well as a normal digital camera.
     
  4. Xaximus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    #4
    Sorry if I wasn't clear; I'm not looking for reasons that a normal camera is better, but rather tips and advice for using the iPhone 4's camera.
     
  5. Black993 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #5
    This just isn't true. This thing takes pictures 10,000 times better than the Olympus piece of garbage my g/f bought.

    Just take a look at the iphone 4 picture thread. Easily as good as a lot of the point and shoot junk out there. It may not be as many megapixels (who prints things that large normally anyway) as some of the others, but the things it can do in good lighting are amazing. Any point and shoot is going to suffer in low light just like the iPhone does. Hell, it does almost as good as my 20d DSLR in low light (yeah...my regular camera is old but still...)
     
  6. StuddedLeather macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #6
  7. Xaximus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    #7
    I did browse through those threads, and they're what inspired me to get Camera+. I don't have my phone yet and haven't given Camera+ much of a look, but as far as filters go, I always prefer to do that kind of thing in post anyways. Still, it sounded like a must-buy, especially for $1.99.
     
  8. IrishVixen macrumors 68020

    IrishVixen

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #8
    With Camera+, you ARE doing it in post, it's just done on the phone instead of having to move it to a computer for work with Photoshop. It also gives you options for exposure and stabilization that aren't available in the built in camera app.

    A search on "iPhone photography" on Amazon brings up a few available books. The Chase Jarvis one is fine for examples of can be done, but provides no tips or directions. It's strictly intended to be inspirational. Others appear to have more hands on approaches, but are oriented towards the 3G/3GS models. There probably isn't much out there on the iPhone 4 yet. Your best bet, as with most cameras, is probably just to get out there and experiment by shooting everything you possibly can.
     
  9. XLR8 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    #9
    Aside from the apps, the same concepts and techniques apply to the iPhone as to other digital cameras.

    One of my favorite photography sites is http://www.luminous-landscape.com/

    This site doesn't look fancy but there is a ton of info there.
     
  10. MrMinor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #10
    I disagree with this. My Canon S90 does amazing things in low light. I do understand that that camera is an exception to the rule though.

    Any great photographer knows that it is the photographer, not the camera, that makes great pictures. A great photographer can use a cheapo disposable camera and get an amazing shot. I have seen unbelievable things come out of cell phone camera from 10 years ago.

    To the OP's question, the first thing I would say is do not forget to tap the screen to focus where you want. It is easy to forget to do that. Also, make sure your finger is not covering the lens. If you hold the phone wrong (I could not resist) then you will have a finger in your shot. While this is an obvious statement, it is really easy to let your finger slide over without realizing you have done it until after you take your shot.

    Also, check out some of the editing apps and other photo apps. There are a lot of fun and functional ones. I seem to download another one every few days. Most of them have junk in them I will never use, but if there is even one feature that will be helpful, and it is free, why not?
     
  11. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Maryland
    #11
    Personally, I'd try and avoid all the "All in one" camera apps in the app store. They have some decent functionality but are really nothing more than portable editing software. You can do all of the editing on your PC/Mac but if you want something done on the fly then most of the free apps serve their purpose.

    As for picture taking, the IP4's camera is a lot better than the 3G's and a little better than the 3GS's camera. As with all cameras, it helps to take steady shots since there is some blurring with this camera as well. Don't bother using the 5x zoom on the camera since it's pure crap and will only distort the image making it look all grainy.

    The flash on the IP4 is hit or miss, especially on Auto mode (which it always is unfortunately). Best to use the flash when you KNOW you'll need it, otherwise it's just a nuisance.

    Daytime shots come out very nice, as do some low level lighting shots. Nighttime shots aren't too great but acceptable. Again, the flash thing comes into play here. Most of my nighttime shots look like a spotlight was pointed directly at the subject when taking the pic. Red eye and green eye (if you have a dog :D) do come into play, especially with the flash.

    Distance shots are pretty good, even macro shots come out pretty nice. You'll have to tinker around with the auto focus a bit to figure out its pros/cons.
     
  12. MrMinor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #12
    One tip for this is tuck your elbows into your body and use your body to steady your arms. Also, use existing structures to steady yourself, like leaning against a building or wall when shooting if possible.
    Very good point. It is a digital zoom, not optical, which is basically useless.

    If you change the setting on the flash it will remember your last setting.
     
  13. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Maryland
    #13
    Really? Every time I switch the flash to off. Next time I open the camera it's set back to Auto? Do you leave the camera app in the background? I usually close mine out which might be the issue here.
     
  14. MrMinor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #14
    I just double checked mine. I switched from auto to off then. Hit the home button. When I clicked into camera it was still on off. Then I tried closing the app from the quick switch screen and relaunching and it was still set to off. Try shutting your phone down and restarting and see if that helps.
     
  15. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Maryland
    #15
    Odd. I just tried that and it didn't work. When leaving the camera on in the background, it'll remember the flash setting. Whenever I close it out completely and relaunch, it forgets the flash setting. Even restarted the phone too. Oh well, not a huge issue.
     
  16. MrMinor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #16
    That's a bummer. Sorry it did not work for you.
     
  17. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #17
    1) I found that the flash works fine if there is NO light in the room. But if there's even a little light the color of the flash mixes very poorly with other lights. If it's dark enough to need the flash I suggest turning that one light in the corner OFF, which sounds strange, but the color of the photo will probably come out better.

    2) I just use the built-in camera app to shoot. If you can't make the shot work with that then you probably need to rethink your shot. Move yourself, move the lights...change something! Buying more tools and toys won't help.

    3) I use Photogene to edit. It's my favorite photo editor that I've tried.

    4) iMovie is cool but I'm not in love with shooting videos on the iPhone. A lens stabilizer is really important on a small video camera and the phone doesn't have one. Shakey shots are hard to avoid. It's also hard to hold the phone without covering up the mic. I've shot video with the phone and it looks good, but I'm not in love with it. If you can find some kind of case that's made FOR video shooting (with a handle on the bottom and a space for the mic) then it might get a lot better. I don't know of such a product, but I bet they exist.

    5) Avoid quick pans with the video camera. Someone else mentioned this, but here's more samples. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_shutter

    6) Diptic is a cool app that lets you merge 2, 3, or 4 photos, just like how iPhoto lets you make photo books. These are not full rez, though. This not a real editing tool. What it DOES do is give you the ability to combine a few photos into a nice looking square that you can e-mail to people. It's great for "hey, look where we are" e-mails that you send your mom or something. She doesn't want to open up 3 attachements. She WILL enjoy seeing a collage of 3 photos. I really like this tool for that purpose.

    EDIT: Check it out - I just made this with Diptic and uploaded it to Dropbox, all on my phone!
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/1589713/Mobile Photo Aug 3, 2010 11 45 43 AM.jpg
    (Photos were not taken with an iPhone, they were synced from my computer. But you get the idea.)

    I'd much rather e-mail that to someone than 3 attachments. It's not like they need the full sized photos just to see where I am.

    7) The zoom may be digital, but if I know I'm gonna end up cropping later anyway then it's worth using. Same thing, and it's faster. That being said, I try to never zoom more than about 20% in. 50% at the MOST. Honestly, though, just try and walk closer. But sometimes you want a picture of a boat, right? Don't fall in love with the zoom, but don't be afraid to use it if you have to.

    8) When shooting video you can double-tap the screen to blow up the picture but this does NOT change what's being recorded. It just changes what it's showing you right now. A stupid feature, I don't know why it exists, but you should know about it.

    9) If you shoot video in vertical mode I will find you and I will slap you.
     
  18. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Maryland
    #18
    What if he's shooting a video of the Eiffel Tower or perhaps some other tall, tower-like structure? :D
     
  19. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #19
    Ok, I'll give him 10 seconds to explain WHERE he's gonna put that video. If he answers "part of a moving collage of city shots overlayed on each other floating across the screen" then he's ok.

    If he says "I dunno, probably youtube" then pow!
     
  20. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Maryland
    #20
    haha :D fair enough.
     
  21. Xaximus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    #21
    Just what I'm looking for; thanks for taking the time to post tips, everyone. And don't worry, I won't film vertically, I swear it!!
     

Share This Page