Bob DeLellis Photography » Wedding Portrait, Event & Commercial Photography

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Why are your images so much better than mine? I have an iPhone!!

Any time is a good time to give back to the photography community.  I recently played a gig with Eddie Money in Folsom, CA.  It was an amazing experience to stand on stage in front of over 4,000 people and look out at the crowd  with a rock legend.  One thing that struck me was the sea of people, and the amazing number of people with one arm in the air holding their beloved camera-equipped, smartphones.  Most of these being iPhones, and me being an Apple guy to the core (pun intended) I thought this would be a good time to offer a few tips on how to capture some better images with your iPhone.

Basic Composition – “Say CHEESE!!”
Early on, I read that one of the most boring images when photographing a person, is to have your subject standing square the camera, stare into the lens and say “cheese”.  If your job is to take a “mug shot”, this is a perfect plan.  Not only is this boring, it is generally pretty unflattering to have someone square to the camera.  Most of us can benefit from turning our shoulders slightly away from the camera.  This can have a slimming effect, and can negate the tendency for cameras to add weight.  Remember the quote from Friends?  “The camera adds 10 pounds.”  “So, how many cameras were on you?”.  🙂

Read about the “rule of thirds”.
Visualize the scene being separated in to 9 equally spaced boxes.  The lines that separate those boxes will lock like tick, tack, toe.  The best location in the frame to place your subject, in most cases, are the points where those lines intersect.

It’s A Phone FIRST:
The iPhone is awesome, but it IS a phone that also happens to be capable of taking some pretty good images.  Because it is primarily a phone, it does have some limitations.  One such limitation is it’s flash.  The smaller the source of light, the greater the potential for that light to be harsh.  I would recommend you use the HDR feature whenever possible.  HDR stands for “high dynamic range” and means that the camera will take multiple photos at different exposures and “stitches” them together to capture the lightest and darkest portions of the scene.

Best use of flash:
So, when should I use the flash.  There are a couple times when the flash is a better option than HDR:

  1. The is so little light that using HDR can’t overcome the low light situation, and
  2. In bright sunlight and in backlight situations (read more).

Bright sunlight?? What are you talking about??  One very common mistake is to place a bright light source behind your subject.  You can get lens flare AND your friend’s face can come out very underexposed.  If you are going for a silhouette, this can be a very cool shot, but for most people it’s an unintended mistake.  Try turning on the flash on your iPhone and use it to balance the light on your subject’s face.  You may be pleasantly surprised at the improvement in your photos.

I hope you find these tips useful.  Now go out there and take some GREAT photos!!

Posing square (mug shot) , angled and showing the rule of thirds

Need a little help composing using the rule of thirds?  Try turning on “grid” in the options on your iPhone.

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