How I Capture Images with My iPhone 

by Tammy Strobel on January 13, 2014

My DSLR hasn’t gotten much use over the last year because I’ve fallen in love with my iPhone camera. My iPhone is lightweight, easy to use, and it’s the perfect camera for traveling. I tell my students that they can capture everyday magic without an expensive DSLR and my recent trips have reaffirmed that belief. The iPhone camera is a fantastic tool and it’s shown me that photography isn’t about the type of camera I own.

Recently, readers have asked me how I capture and edit images with my iPhone. Today, I thought it would be fun to share my general iPhone photography process.

Let’s get started!

  • When I take photos, I use the native camera app because it is fast and easy to use. It’s simple to launch the native camera app from the lock screen. Also, I don’t have to waste time finding an app and exporting photos from an app to my camera roll.

Hank the cow dog.

  • Composition is a guide for people to understand the story behind my images. As I take photos, I consider the foreground, the background, and my subject. I also use the rule of thirds. In short, composition is queen.
  • I look for the light. I love taking photos in the early morning or at sunset. This time of day is referred to as the golden hour because the light casts a golden glow on everything in its path. I prefer the sun as a light source. However, clouds and fog have an interesting effect on photographs. When the light is low, or when it’s dark outside, I use an app called NightCap and mount my iPhone to a Joby Tripod for stability. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been using my tripod during the day too.

Tiny house at night

  • When I’m on a photo walk, I don’t edit my images. I pay attention to my surroundings and look for scenes that inspire me. When I get home, I edit my pictures. Typically, I edit photos on my iPhone. I love editing images with Afterlight, Snapseed, or Filterstorm. When I transfer photos from my phone to my computer, they go into Lightroom. Currently, Lightroom is my main photo library. Also, I’m a fan of using the delete button ruthlessly. I only save and share my best images.
  • I’m not a fan of over editing images. I don’t like highly saturated images and I don’t use heavy filters. Personally, I prefer to lightly edit my photographs. I do my best to keep the the photos natural. I want the viewer to feel like they are beside me, seeing what I see.

My morning view

  • Finally, I share two or three photos a day on Instagram and Facebook. When I have the urge to share more photographs, I create a photo essay for the blog. I love sharing images online. However, I try not to go overboard. I take between 50 to 100 images a day and no one wants to see all of my snap shots.
1 Logan January 13, 2014

Fantastic photos! It’s so amazing that you took these with an iPhone!

2 Candice January 14, 2014

Thank you for sharing this. I came so close to buying a DSLR recently because I felt I “needed” it to take decent photos. A few months before, I had purchased my iPhone 5 and was surprised by the camera feature. Since I usually have it with me at all times, I decided to wait on the DSLR purchase. I’m so glad I didn’t spend that bundle of money, especially after reading this post. I love taking close-ups with my iPhone but I do have an issue with distance – it just never seems as clear as I’d like (especially if I try to zoom). Love your photography – it’s always so uplifting. I’ve also been a tiny house fan forever (trying to convince my husband – but it’s a sloooooow process).

3 David January 14, 2014

Nice pictures! I’m in the same boat…I don’t use my DSLR anymore except for professional work, so 95% of my images are on my iPhone. I actually just sold off my backup DSLR because I couldn’t justify it sitting on a shelf. My workflow is similar, too, which is reassuring! Native camera app, some edit & posting from phone, everything else to Lightroom.

Thanks for sharing!

4 Stacy McCoy-Rose January 14, 2014

Yikes, I am soo ignorant.
native camera app.? Lightroom?

Just got an iPhoneC & I would love to use it camera wise.
Advise, Books?

Your images are wonderful.

5 Tammy Strobel January 14, 2014

Stacy – You aren’t ignorant. You can read more about the iPhone camera here: http://www.apple.com/iphone-5s/camera/

Check out “Expressive Photography” it’s an awesome read! Also, Lightroom is an image editing software program. It also serves as a photo library.

Also, I teach a photography class. If you are interested in learning more click here.

Best,
Tammy

6 Rob January 15, 2014

Beautiful cattle dog. And the pictures were pretty nice too…

7 Angie January 15, 2014

Thanks for sharing Tammy! I love to hear about the systems & software programs you use to stay organized & productive.

8 Kaylin Lydia January 17, 2014

I love my iPhone camera and use it exclusively! So convenient and great quality, I doubt I would save use a traditional camera as much because I’m all about the convenience. I also try to not overly edit my photos but go back and forth with when enough is. Love these shots and suggestions!

9 Amber Marie January 22, 2014

Hi Tammy! I love your blog and your story. My boyfriend and I have been interested in the Tiny House movement for a while now, and I think he found your blog through perusing different sites related to the movement. Anyway, I really enjoy your photos and words. This post inspired me to write my own about how I love using my phone for photography. I mentioned you and your blog because you offer a great resource with this post. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom, and I look forward to your photography book! You can take a peek at my post here if you’re interested: http://www.afterapriltheblog.com/2014/01/a-defense-of-iphone-photography.html

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