Make your sum­mer pho­tos amaz­ing

Jackie Dove’s tips will help you cap­ture the great out­doors with your iPhone this sum­mer

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Spot­ting great photo op­por­tu­ni­ties is a tal­ent in it­self, but know­ing how to quickly harness your iPhone cam­era’s built-in fea­tures to cap­ture the best shots is an en­tirely dif­fer­ent skill. Your iPhone is the cam­era you al­ways have in your hand, but some­times in­spi­ra­tion fails around the same old point-and-shoot meth­ods. Sure, there are plenty of ways to en­hance your cam­era with spe­cial­ized iPhone lenses or tripods, but you don’t need ex­tra hard­ware to get great shots. Just stick­ing with the built-in cam­era and as­sorted photo apps can give you some uniquely stand­out mem­o­ries. Here are some hints on how to achieve them.

1. Shoot in 360 de­grees

With the rise of 360-de­gree cam­eras, in­ter­ac­tive spher­i­cal shots are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar both to view and to cre­ate – with­out spend­ing hun­dreds of pounds on a ded­i­cated cam­era. To cap­ture a 360-de­gree land­scape that you can view on the desk­top, via a mo­bile de­vice, or through a VR viewer, just fire up your Cam­era app or one of the sev­eral 360-de­gree apps avail­able in the App Store. Face­book’s new 360-de­gree

photo fea­ture au­to­mat­i­cally con­verts a con­ven­tional panorama shot with the iPhone’s na­tive Cam­era app into a 360-de­gree im­age that view­ers can ex­plore di­rectly in their Face­book time­line.

With Google Street View for iOS, you get stepby-step in­struc­tions on how to cre­ate and post a

360-de­gree im­age, which you can then up­load to Google Maps, your Face­book page, or Google+. Just launch the app and fol­low the prompts to fill in the re­quired num­ber of pan­els. The app will stitch a pleas­ing photo sphere im­age that you can ma­nip­u­late with a mouse or fin­ger. You don’t have to stick with the iPhone Cam­era or Google’s app. DMD Panorama (£1.99), 360 Panorama (£1.49) and oth­ers of­fer de­tailed in­struc­tions on how to shoot and post 360-de­gree images.

2. Shoot panora­mas

Panora­mas are an ex­cel­lent way to cap­ture ex­treme wide-an­gle shots with your iPhone. Just launch the Cam­era app and hold the phone up­right in por­trait ori­en­ta­tion. When you hit the but­ton, hold the phone with both hands and steadily move it in one di­rec­tion, fol­low­ing the ar­row prompt. Note any mes­sages on the screen and be­ware of mov­ing too quickly.

Try to lock the ex­po­sure at a medium bright­ness in the land­scape where the light is op­ti­mal be­fore you tap the shut­ter but­ton, oth­er­wise you risk com­bin­ing dif­fer­ent ex­po­sures as the cam­era app ad­justs to var­i­ous points in the scene.

Panora­mas can be ver­ti­cal too, and are shot the same easy way, ex­cept that you hold the

phone in land­scape ori­en­ta­tion as you move. To fin­ish shoot­ing the scene, just tap the start but­ton again or move the phone slightly in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

3. Make your land­scapes com­pelling

Wide vista land­scapes are a peren­nial fa­vorite of both pho­tog­ra­phers and view­ers, but they are of­ten a pho­to­graphic chal­lenge. Here are some sim­ple com­po­si­tion tips to make your scenic im­age pop.

Al­ways pick a main sub­ject to fo­cus on. A pic­ture of a lake sur­rounded by trees and shim­mer­ing wa­ter can be an awe­some sight to be­hold, but all too of­ten it fails to come across in a photo be­cause the cam­era’s lens does not take in all the majesty that your brain does. To com­pen­sate, fo­cus on some­thing – a bird, a per­son, a boat – some ob­ject that con­trasts with the scene, gen­er­ates in­ter­est, and guides the viewer’s eye around the tableau. Try us­ing the iPhone’s built-in grid guide (Set­tings > Pho­tos & Cam­era > Grid) that lets you ap­ply the Rule of Thirds to help you con­vey the scenic beauty you’re after.

An­other tech­nique, called lead­ing lines, lets you use the nat­u­ral land­scape to cut a vis­ual path through your com­po­si­tion, mak­ing the main vista both dy­namic and easy to fol­low.

For gor­geous land­scapes, apps such as ProCam­era (£3.99) and Manual both of­fer highly cus­tomis­able and pre­cise con­trols for ISO, shut­ter speed, white bal­ance, fo­cus, ex­po­sure, and more.

4. Drama­tise your skies

Clouds are your pho­to­graphic friends. Ev­ery land­scape is en­hanced by cloud for­ma­tions be­cause they pro­vide unique points of in­ter­est and con­trast. You don’t have to wait for bad weather to get great-look­ing clouds. Just start with a cloud pat­tern that has some po­ten­tial.

Make the most of cloud pat­terns by em­ploy­ing the Rule of thirds, giving your sky the top two-thirds of the ac­tion.

Then, tap the HDR (High Dy­namic Range) set­ting on the Cam­era app screen. That lets you cap­ture more de­tail in the shad­ows and high­lights than us­ing the de­fault set­ting. Slight tweaks in ei­ther the

mo­bile or desk­top Pho­tos app can eas­ily en­hance a sky after the fact too, but you can even take the drama a step fur­ther with ded­i­cated photo apps such as Jix­iPix’s Sim­ply HDR iPhone app (£1.49).

That’s not to put down clear blue skies, not at all. While they may not seem in­her­ently dra­matic to look at, a pure, unadul­ter­ated cerulean hue, the kind that re­ally brings out your sub­ject, can be heart-stop­ping.

5. Be at one with wildlife

If you love the great out­doors, pho­tograph­ing wildlife is just part of the scenery. While get­ting a bird to sit still for a pose will take some ef­fort, try your luck with Canada geese, ducks, al­li­ga­tors, pea­cocks, deer, and farm an­i­mals.

You may be tempted to use your iPhone’s dig­i­tal zoom to close in on feath­ers or fur, but you will likely be dis­ap­pointed with the re­sults. In­stead of zoom­ing in, get up as close and per­sonal to your animal sub­ject as pos­si­ble with­out putting

your­self in harm’s way, of course. (Be­ware of geese, al­li­ga­tors, and elk espe­cially, but any animal you don’t know can re­act badly to close hu­man prox­im­ity.) Then, when you are at a good dis­tance, cir­cle the crea­ture in or­der to cap­ture a va­ri­ety of an­gles. Use the cam­era’s burst mode so you don’t miss a shot. Make sure to use your ex­po­sure and fo­cus lock and try to zone in on the animal’s eyes for depth and re­al­ism, if pos­si­ble.

6. Ex­plore colours, shapes, and pat­terns

Phone cam­eras may not be the best choice for cap­tur­ing ex­pan­sive land­scapes, but they are hard to beat for ex­plor­ing colour and de­tail. Not all images have to be about some­thing or of a spe­cific ob­ject. The best part of the out­doors is the sea­sonal colours, so con­sider cap­tur­ing na­ture’s nat­u­ral charm – beau­ti­ful fo­liage, flow­ers, leaf pat­terns or shad­ows – for its own ab­stract sake.

Get up close to your sub­ject and shoot from dif­fer­ent an­gles to cap­ture in­trigu­ing nat­u­ral pat­terns. For darker en­vi­ron­ments, a ju­di­cious use of flash may come in handy.

7. Use sil­hou­ettes

Sil­hou­ettes can drama­tise just about any an­i­mate or inan­i­mate sub­ject, and they’re su­per-easy to ac­com­plish. To cre­ate one, just look for the light source and po­si­tion your sub­ject in front of it. You can shoot sil­hou­ettes at any time of day, but the most dra­matic time for out­door sil­hou­ettes is when the sun is low in the sky, around sun­rise or sun­set (of­ten re­ferred to as the golden hour).

Most of the time, you can rely on the iPhone’s auto ex­po­sure for great sil­hou­ettes, how­ever to make sure that you get the im­age you’re look­ing for – a black­ened sub­ject and a nicely ex­posed sky – tap on the bright­est part of the im­age – the sky – and a sil­hou­ette will nat­u­rally form, pro­vided the light source is be­hind the sub­ject. If you need to darken the sub­ject more, swipe down

on the screen to fur­ther re­duce ex­po­sure. Need more help with get­ting the best sil­hou­ette-friendly ex­po­sures? Try shoot­ing with an app such as Cam­era+ (£2.29), which lets you sep­a­rate fo­cus and ex­po­sure con­trols.

8. Build­ings are land­scapes

You may wish you were go­ing to some wild place on your sum­mer jaunt, but maybe you can’t get away. No prob­lem. The city is the great out­doors too, and that means streetscapes and side­walks filled with peo­ple and build­ings. Ar­chi­tec­ture shots are just a dif­fer­ent kind of land­scape, and they can be equally chal­leng­ing.

For build­ing and street shots, the con­cept of lead­ing lines will give you nat­u­rally dy­namic images, while crazy cam­era an­gles, con­trast­ing

colours, re­flec­tions, and mir­rored win­dows can yield unique and fas­ci­nat­ing looks. Just re­mem­ber to look up, move around, and have fun snap­ping from dif­fer­ent van­tage points.

9. Shoot in the best light

Tim­ing is ev­ery­thing in pho­tog­ra­phy. Time trans­lates di­rectly into avail­able light, and light gov­erns how your im­age will look. When shoot­ing out­doors, the most un­flat­ter­ing light for just about any scene, per­son, or ob­ject is bright, mid-day, high-in-the-sky sun. It robs sub­jects of colour and depth, of­ten bathing them in harsh light and deep shad­ows.

The best times to shoot are early morn­ing or twi­light – the so-called golden hours – just after sun­rise or be­fore sun­set when the light is mel­low, though mid-morn­ing or later af­ter­noon may be more real­is­ti­cally con­ve­nient. Some­times it’s hard to fig­ure out when the best shoot­ing time will be. Not sur­pris­ingly, there’s more than one app to

help out. Ri­zon (£1.49), for ex­am­ple, lets you dial in op­ti­mal times and will no­tify you ahead of time to get ready for your shot.

10. Stormy weather

It’s not al­ways pos­si­ble to shoot when the weather is op­ti­mal. In some places, a per­pet­ual fog or con­stant rain can last for months. Does that mean you should re­treat in­doors with your iPhone’s cam­era? Cer­tainly not.

For the most dra­matic at­mos­phere, com­pose your shot so that the stormy sky takes up a large pro­por­tion of the frame. Use lead­ing lines, which draw the eye di­rectly into the scene, to cre­ate pow­er­ful images. Moody skies and sil­hou­ettes also work well to­gether for bad-weather drama.

Shoot­ing through a win­dow, car wind­shield, or from un­der an awning can pro­duce distinc­tive shots. Dark­ened clouds cre­ate dra­matic skies, while a lit­tle bit of rain can in­spire unique and ab­stract com­po­si­tions, even an ac­ci­den­tal rain­bow.

Try shoot­ing with the HDR op­tion turned on to boost vi­brance.

What you see is what you get

If you’re post­ing pho­tos di­rectly from your phone, feel free to do some quick tweaks in the Pho­tos app. If you’re re­ally am­bi­tious about spruc­ing up a special shot, trans­fer images to your desk­top for edit­ing in Ap­ple Pho­tos and its var­i­ous ex­ten­sions, or call on re­in­force­ments such as Pix­el­ma­tor, Adobe Pho­to­shop El­e­ments or Light­room.

Start­ing off with a good shot is al­ways op­ti­mal, but don’t be afraid to give a good photo a lit­tle boost. In the end, it’s what the viewer sees that counts.

Google Street View, 360 Panorama, and DMD Panorama are among sev­eral apps avail­able that fa­cil­i­tate mo­bile 360-de­gree im­mer­sive images

An in­ter­ac­tive 360-de­gree shot up­loaded from the Panorama app and viewed on the desk­top in Google+

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