Tuesday, August 7, 2012

iPhoneWalk - Enjoy Your iPhone Photo Walks with these Tips by Michael L. Baird

iPhoneWalk - Enjoy Your iPhone Photo Walks with these Tips by Michael L. Baird

Hi, I'm "Mike" Michael L. Baird, a walk-docent for California State Parks. I lead some California State Park Adventures with Nature walk/hikes/photowalks, and specialize in camera-based photowalks, workout hikes, and iPhoneography as a supplement to enjoying some of our interpreted hikes.  You can find this write up at iPhoneWalk.blogspot.com, where hyperlinks take you to even more content. 

Below you will find some hints, tips, and tricks for enjoying an iPhone-based photowalk, including: Apps, techniques, sharing, social networks, and various resources... as recommended by Michael L. Baird bairdphotos.com  flickr.bairdphotos.com  

While there are many smartphones that you could use (Android, iOS... and also internet-enabled cameras), this blog focuses on using the Apple iPhone, as it's the standard, and the platform for which more quality rendering and sharing Apps are available.

Apps.  Use your default in-camera Apple Camera iSight App for most uses.  SmugMug's Camera Awesome! App has lots of extra functions and it will allow you to post-process and enhance your image right in the field, before you share it.  360 Panorama by Occipital is the best App for making panoramas.  Easily capture immersive panoramas in seconds and instantly share your 360 view with the world. Simply pan the camera and watch as images are stitched seamlessly. 360 Panorama captures the scene in a way you never could with a traditional camera.  

Here are 16 of my favorite camera-related Apps.

Sharing.  Lots of photographers from novice to professional like to use Yahoo's Flickr.  It is a great archival site where you can easily store and retrieve your images, and share them with others.  It's the world's most popular photo-centric sharing site.  Of course Facebook is used by almost a billion people on this earth, and sharing to Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus is as easy as poking a few buttons, depending on your preferences and Apps being used.

GPS.  Turn on Geo-tagging or location information in iPhone Settings when taking your photos if you want others to be able to see where your photos were taken.  My favorite GPS tracking App is Motion X GPS by MotionX.  Using this App you can not only see where you've hiked, but you can share that path online as an interactive map, emailed, and/or posted to Facebook, with just one button push.

Most iPhone Apps are free to $2.99.  Check them out in iTunes on your computer, or directly from your iPhone in the built-in iOS App Store.

Social Networking.  For those participating in photowalks in the San Luis Obispo, CA area of the USA, be sure to join our photomorrobay.com social network, where you are invited to join the related Photomorrobay Yahoo! Group (for discussion, polls, and event calendars,) and the Photomorrobay Flickr Group (for photo sharing and critique).  Also, join our SmartPhoneMorroBay Yahoo! Group to keep apprised of new Apps, trends, and hardware.

The following are general photography hints, not specifically or even applicable to the iPhone or your smartphone...

Technique.  Don't forget the basics for taking better pictures.  Think of CAPIT:

CAPIT a 5-step lesson
There are five basic questions to answer each time you take a photo. 
If there were only 2 choices for each of these 5 variables, that would be 32 combinations. 
Do you consider all of the many possible setups for a each shot, and then select the best?
Even pros sometimes forget these basics.
Remember to always "Cap your lens - CAPIT"

C   Closer, get closer, or go further back?
A   Angle of photo, get Low, high, or take from the same elevation?
P   Portrait or Landscape Mode?
I   Incidence of Light, from behind, front, side, or best to use a flash?
T Thirds composition used so subject is not always simply centered?

CAPIT version 2 BEAST

B Background isolate
E Eyes focus on
A Aperture for depth-of-field
S Shutter for freezing action
T Tripod for stability

Twenty Habits of Highly Effective Photographers (most, but not all of these hints apply to iPhoneography)
1. Shoot every day.  Not only will you be exposed to more opportunities, but you will soon be able to make camera and lens setting adjustments without even looking, and without delay.
2. Process your images the day you shoot them, so that you can learn better from your mistakes.
3. Save only a few images per day, and  write down in the description field a technical or artistic note about why that image worked for you.
4. Make early or late light your friend.
5. Use a tripod when it will yield a sharper image - tack sharp is your goal.
6. Get closer for more impact when shooting most subjects.
7. Get low, and if you are shooting anything with eyes, be at the subject's eye level.
8. Experiment with both landscape and portrait modes.
9. Always study and use the light - "make" a photo, don't just take it.
10. Compose in thirds for most scenes.
11. Focus on an eye if it's in the scene. If there are two eyes, focus on the one closest to you.
12. Make the background just as important as your subject.
13. Use fill flash in the daytime when shooting people's faces.
14. Use a circular polarizer around water.
15. Always have a camera with you.
16. Share your photos and techniques online - Flickr is effective.
17. Use burst mode and take a lot of candidate images, especially with live subjects.
18. Always shoot in RAW format to preserve the most information.
19. Invest in high quality bodies, tripods, and lenses  when you can if you find photography to be worth your passion.
20. Make a list of some of your most important habits and share them with others.

Michael "Mike" L. Baird flickr.bairdphotos.com Mike [at} mikebaird d o t com