Archives for iphone photography

I hope you’ve had fun these last two weeks playing with VSCO! It’s one of my favorite apps for editing photos on my iPhone. This week, we are switching gears a little bit. Instead of showing you how I generally edit my photo’s exposure, contrast, etc., like I do on VSCO, this week I’ll show you the “micro-editing” I do on Snapseed.

Snapseed has many of the same features that VSCO does, but I prefer to use VSCO for main editing and Snapseed for the “micro edits”, like small touch ups, getting rid of distracting parts of the photo, or to change a specific part of the photo. Let me show you.

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

So here is a photo of me with my friend’s horse, Orion. Now, prior to importing the photo into Snapseed, I edited it in VSCO. The photo on the left is post-VSCO processing, but pre-Snapseed processing. See any differences? First, I used Snapseed’s “healing” feature that removes impurities. If you can’t tell, I used this feature to get rid of the white on my sweatshirt and the lead and stains on the floor. This feature took me awhile to get used to, but now that I have it down, it’s great! My advice when you try the healing tool: use small strokes. If you circle a large area, the photo doesn’t get edited well, it just gets messed up. Instead, I repeatedly tap the imperfection that I want to go away.

Next, do you notice any other differences? No, you’re not imagining that my face is brighter and the barn rafters are less yellow in the second photo, I edited it that way. Snapseed also has a cool feature where I can change one aspect of the photo. In this case, I wanted my face to be more exposed, but I didn’t like how yellow the rafters were, so I placed two dots: one near my face and the other near the rafters. In Snapseed, you can only edit one dot at a time though.

Now, let me tell you how these magical dots work. After opening your photo, press “selective”. Then tap where you want the dot to go. In my case, I placed the dot on my face. Once you place it, a white “B” will appear, which is outlined in blue. This means you are adjusting the brightness. You can also edit the contrast and saturation of a certain area as well. In order to change between these three, slide you thumb vertically. The third photo below shows what it should look like when you move your thumbs vertically. Now, once you are on the setting you wish to be on, slide your thumb horizontally. Sliding it to the left will take out whatever the setting you are in. Sliding left will make it darker, have less contrast, or desaturated. Sliding to the right will do the opposite; it will make your photo brighter, more contrasted, or more saturated.


So, there’s how I use Snapseed! There are other features on Snapseed as well, such as different filters and settings you can play around with, but I prefer to do most of my editing on VSCO. These are the only two photo editing applications I use to edit my photos. However, there is one more app that I use that relates to iPhone photography that I’ll introduce next week! See you then!

These past few weeks have really gone by quickly for me! It’s hard to believe that I’ve shown you all the versatility that the iPhone camera has. Now that you have this newfound knowledge under your belt, it’s time to show you the next step to iPhone photography: editing.

Many photographers would tell you today that upwards of half of being a photographer is editing. I can say with confidence that it takes me much longer to edit and prepare photos for a house or a portrait session than it does to take the photos! While the photo editing software available on iPhone can not rival the workload Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom take, these applications are fairly impressive. Let me tell you about one of my favorites: VSCO.

When you open VSCO, the first thing you notice are the symbols at the top and bottom of the screen. There are no words to tell you what these mean, but after a little exploring, I’ve found that I don’t even need them. So first thing’s first, the top left has two sliders. This is how you can change the kinds of photos you can view that you’ve imported to the app. The middle is a “+” which is pretty self-explanatory. This is how you add photos to VSCO. Finally, the third on the top is a way to view a “feed”. VSCO is also a social networking website. It’s kind of like Instagram, but it’s more about photos and editing. I don’t really use VSCO as a social media application, but if you’d like to, feel free to explore on your own!


Let’s move on the the lower two buttons. The one on the left is for the menu. When you press this, you get your profile, explore, library, shop, and two other smaller icons. Your profile is how you view the photos you’ve published on VSCO. Like I said, I don’t really use this feature, so you’re on your own for that. Then there is explore. This shows you some photos that have been published that you may like on VSCO. Sometimes I like looking at other photos; they give me inspiration for my own! Then there’s library. This is another way to view the photos you’ve imported to VSCO. Next, there’s shop. This is how you can buy more filters. Some of them are pretty fun, so I recommend checking them out! Finally, there are two buttons at the bottom of this screen. The circle on the left is how you can take photos that automatically import into the app. There’s another way to do this too: you press the button on the lower right when on the page where you are looking at your library. The other on the right is how you look at settings within the app.


Now I’ve shown you around the app. Next week, I’ll actually get into the thick of the app and editing on your iPhone. I don’t want to overload you in one day. See you next week with your unedited photo!





Have you ever wanted to take a photo of say, a beautiful sunset, only for the landscape to be too big to fit into one photo? Maybe you get frustrated, wondering how you could fully reveal the magic of a bright, colorful sunset. Well, stress no more! There’s a camera mode on your iPhone that can do that!

I found this camera mode through my thorough exploration of the iPhone’s camera and I’m hoping that you have enjoyed this little journey I have taken you on. However, today is a bittersweet day, as we are on the last camera mode on the iPhone. Don’t fear though because I plan on writing a few more blogs about the post-processing that you can do on your photos using apps found on the App Store. Anyway, that’s my plan for the next few weeks. In the meantime, let’s figure out how to use the final mode on your iPhone!

Now, let me first explain how panoramas work. Really all the camera is doing when you take a panorama is stitching the photos together. This means it is important to keep a steady hand and follow the cameras directions when taking the photo. I’ll explain more later.

In order to take a panorama, we need to open the camera on your iPhone.  After opening the camera, swipe to the left twice. This will put the camera into ‘pano’ mode, which should be in yellow at the bottom of the screen. In the middle of the screen there should be a yellow horizontal line with an arrow pointing to the right, like I show below. While right is the default, if you tap on the arrow with your finger you can take the photos from right to left, where the arrow is pointing left. This is another way to know you’re in ‘pano’ mode as well.


Now, press the shutter button. After this, you will need to slowly  move the camera across the landscape you wish to photograph. While taking the photo, you will have to follow the instructions on the screen. It will most likely tell you to slow down, move the camera up, or move the camera down. It is important to follow these directions. If you don’t, your photo will look wonky, like I show below.  Try to keep the arrow on the line when taking the photo. This way it won’t look as strange and having black boxes in the photo where the image was not taken. Also, if you go too fast, sometimes you will get what jagged lines. Look at the photo I have below. Look at the computer. See how it’s not a smooth edge? I either went too fast or moved the camera a way I wasn’t supposed to.


And that’s it! Panoramas can be difficult to get down, but they are amazing once you’ve figured them out. Now go share your beautiful sunset photos with your friends and family! Here is my completed panorama of the studio from my desk.



In the last few weeks I’ve been writing blogs about the different settings your iPhone camera has. The last two have been about the time lapse and slow motion setting on your phone. However, this week we are getting into the real thick of things: taking photos with your iPhone. So, let’s get started.


First, you need to open your camera on your iPhone. There are several ways to do this. When I’m in a hurry, I use the method where I slide up on the camera on the lower right corner of my lock screen. I don’t have the camera app anywhere on my home screen anymore because this is just a simpler way to do things. This brings me to my next way to open the camera, with the icon on the home screen. Just press the little camera on the home screen, like I show below.


Next, let’s adjust your camera setting before you take that photo. First, make sure you’re on the photo setting. At the bottom of the screen, the word ‘photo’ should be highlighted in yellow. When I take a photo, my phone automatically has the grid setting as well. This helps me line up shots well, especially when respecting the rule of thirds (more on that here). To enable this, go to settings>photos & camera>grid. Also, while we are here, beneath that setting should be settings for recording video and slow motion. I have an iPhone 6 and my phone is set to record video at 1080p HD at 60 fps and slow motion at 720p HD at 240 fps. While this takes up more of my memory, these are the best settings to use. On these settings, 1080p and 720p is the resolution. The higher this number is, the clearer and smoother the video will play. In addition, if you’re recording video that will be played on a larger screen, like a computer or television, it’s important to have the best quality resolution you can because it will look much clearer with more video quality. Plus, I back up my photos regularly to my computer, then I can delete the photos on my phone altogether, leaving me with lots of memory. I’ll explain more about this in a later article.


Now, you’re on the photo setting and have your grid lines up (if you want them), now what? Let’s go over the icons at the top of your screen. First, the flash. This is on the furthest left and looks like a lightning bolt. Usually, this is set to auto, which means the phone decides whether or not to use the flash depending on your settings. Personally, I don’t like this feature. Have you ever tried to sneak a photo somewhere, only for your cover to be blown by a bright flash? Yeah, it’s embarrassing. Most of the time, I don’t use the flash on my phone for anything other than a flashlight. The best lighting you can ask for with nearly any camera is natural lighting. So, if possible, take the photos somewhere you won’t need the flash. Plus, if it’s too bright or dark with the natural light available, there’s a way to adjust that, which I’ll explain later.


Next to the lightning bolt are three letters: HDR. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Essentially, the phone will take a series of images, each shot with a different exposure from darkest to lightest. HDR combines the best parts of the three overexposed, underexposed, and balanced shots to create a dramatic image with beautiful shadowing and highlights. I use this a lot. It creates beautiful photos and does some of my editing for me.


Following the HDR setting is a timer. This is especially handy when I’m taking a photo that I want to be in! I have a mini stand for my iPhone, so I set up the shot, tell my friends to get ready, set the timer for either three or ten seconds, and squeeze into the photo.


Finally, to the right, is the option to switch the camera. We all know what this is: a way to take selfies. There’s not much to explain for this one. Let’s move on.


From here, we can adjust a few more settings before taking our photos.

Did you know that you can adjust the exposure of your photo? It surprised me how many people didn’t know about this setting; even Kathy didn’t now about it! I felt like this was my little secret that I use all the time. Here’s how it works: get set up to take your photo, and then tap lightly on the phone’s screen wherever you want the image to be in focus. This will create a little square where you just tapped. See that little sun to the right of the box? Now, drag vertically next to it to adjust the exposure. Too bright? Drag down. Too dark? Drag up! This is one of the most useful settings on my phone’s camera. I use it nearly every time I take a photo and it saves me some time when editing photos as well.


Well, that’s all I have for this blog. As much as I would love to go into post-processing apps now, I think I should give you a week or two to play with your newfound camera. Don’t be afraid to try different exposures, play with settings, and explore with different angles. Remember as well that the settings I use are not the end-all, be-all, so try your own new things! Oh, and by the way, here is the final photo I ended up with. In later articles, when I’m exploring different editing apps, this is the photo I will be using! If you’d like, you can save it and explore with it on your phone after finding some editing applications. Even better yet, take your own photos and share them with us! We would love to see what you’ve learned from these blogs!


Nearly 100 million people in the United States today have iPhones, yet many people don’t know how to use them. Later generation iPhones have greatly improved their camera. With the iPhone 6 having an eight megapixel camera, it competes with many point and shoot cameras on the market today. So, in order to help people use these cameras, I’m going to spend a few weeks demonstrating each camera function. For starters, let’s begin with the left-most setting: the time-lapse.

Okay, first thing is first: what is a time-lapse? A time-lapse is a form of video where a series of photos are taken at timed intervals. When played all at once, it gives the illusion of a sped-up video. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Let me show you how it’s done. First, open the camera on your phone. You can do this several ways. From the lock screen, you can swipe up on the camera to take photos without unlocking your phone. You can also open the phone’s camera by touching the camera app or swiping up after unlocking the phone.

From here, it’s important to keep the phone in the same place while it takes the video. If not, your time-lapse will look wonky. Kathy recently bought an inexpensive iPhone tripod that I can use. While it’s not as advanced as the ones we use with our cameras, it gets the job done. So here’s what Kathy and I did to experiment with our iPhones. We went out to the studio and set up our camera/tripod duo and went to town. Kathy watched from behind the camera and took a time-lapse as I tied my boots. In total, this took a minute or so, but as you can see below, the video is only five seconds long. This is because it only takes photos in intervals, in order to speed up the process. Check it out!

Secondly, videos are fairly understandable. When taking a video, I highly recommend taking it horizontally, rather than vertically. Actually, this should go for all photography and videos. If you can, take it with the phone sideways. There’s actually a good reason for this. Besides it being irritated to watch a video on the internet with a black curtain on either side, our eyes are next to one another, not on top of each other! Taking a video this way fills the entire screen as well. 

Those are my tips this week. Next week, I’ll be tackling slow-motion video. Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two! Additionally, if you’ve tried out your new skills with a time-lapse, send it to us! We would love to look at it!




While a professional camera is a great asset to have when taking photos, it seems that I never have it when I really need to take a picture. Instead, I have what every other person has: a smartphone. Just a few years ago, the idea of taking a nice photo on your phone’s camera would have been laughed at, but now many smartphones rival with point and shoot cameras. Since Kathy and I both have iPhones, and aren’t too familiar with Android devices, this guide will be centered on iPhone camera usage (sorry Android fans!). My goal is to show you new and creative ways to use your iPhone’s camera in ways you never thought possible.

Some of the aspects of iPhone photography that I’m hoping to explore with you in separate blog posts:

  • Time-Lapse: This is a form of video that is compiled of photos taken at timed intervals. These work best if you leave the phone in one place.
  • Slow-Motion: This is pretty self explanatory. Once activated, press the red button and the phone will begin recording at a normal speed. After the video is taken, you can adjust the length and location of the slow motion part by using your fingers. Once you adjust to your liking, press done in the upper right hand corner. It will save in the camera roll.
  • Photo: There are lots of components to taking a nice photos. For starters, you need to focus on something in the photo. In order to do this, tap what you want to focus on. From there, you can raise your finger up and down on the screen to adjust the exposure (how much light you let in). Don’t be afraid to try different exposures and and angles to get some new things. It’s also a good idea to take the photos horizontally, rather than vertically.
  • Pano: This is when you can take a photo that is elongated. You have to hold your phone vertically and point at what you want to photograph. When ready to take the photo, tap the white button at the bottom and move the phone slowly continuously to the right. Make sure to follow the directions on the iPhone while taking the photo.

There are two other camera modes in your iPhone: video and square. However, we won’t be posting separate blogs about them. Here are just a few things to remember about them:

  • Video: When taking a video, I recommend taking the video horizontally, rather than vertically. We see things horizontally, not vertically. Our eyes are next to each other, not on top of each other! Plus, when uploading the video to any video hosting website, a vertical video has annoying bars on the sides, whereas a horizontal video takes the entire screen.
  • Square: This is just like the photo setting, but the photo is square instead of rectangular. This can be used when uploading photos to Instagram, but I would recommend taking the photos in photo mode, then editing them later.


This is only the beginning to iPhone photography. There are countless apps to adjust the photo, but I’ll get into that after I show you the the first step to iPhone photography: taking the picture! So keep your eye out for some new blogs about iPhone Photography, coming soon! In the mean time, check out some of our favorite photos we took with our iPhones!

beach opera houseIMG_1940 IMG_2291


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