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iPhone shooting techniques

From: iPhone Photography, from Shooting to Storytelling

Video: iPhone shooting techniques

Richard Koci Hernandez> I have been a professional photographer for 20 years and really the iPhone in essence as a creative tool is unprecedented. I shoot with the iPhone because I can do anything with it. I can now react on instinct. I can shoot when I want, I can look, I can see. Every time you get an instinct to shoot a picture, boom, I can shoot it. I can work it up, I can share with the world, and at the same time I am learning to master this tool every day all the time.h ere are no excuses. So what I want to do is try and help you get better and part of that is tips, it's tricks, it's technique and it's also a lot of practice and a lot of shooting.

iPhone shooting techniques

Richard Koci Hernandez> I have been a professional photographer for 20 years and really the iPhone in essence as a creative tool is unprecedented. I shoot with the iPhone because I can do anything with it. I can now react on instinct. I can shoot when I want, I can look, I can see. Every time you get an instinct to shoot a picture, boom, I can shoot it. I can work it up, I can share with the world, and at the same time I am learning to master this tool every day all the time.h ere are no excuses. So what I want to do is try and help you get better and part of that is tips, it's tricks, it's technique and it's also a lot of practice and a lot of shooting.

Before you start shooting, you have to have a camera app to shoot with. Let's talk a little bit about the options. So you can go ahead and launch the default Camera app that comes on any iPhone. In new iPhone iOS 5 update, they have done some really good updates with the camera that they previously haven't had. One of those is the ability to tap and lock exposure and focus at the same time. You can snap your picture, that's great.

Another option that I like is if you are a professional and you want a few more options, I like an app called ProCamera. ProCamera not only allows you to lock focus with one finger and also lock and change exposure with another finger. So it unbundled that feature that the default Camera app has. So in my opinion, that makes this app, and you will find the one that's right for you, a little bit better than the default camera app. Now I have two controls, one for focus and one for exposure.

Go and shoot your image. And then if you just want to really simplify things and have a little bit of fun on the side, you can launch an app like Hipstamatic. Hipstamatic is a wonderful designed app that allows you to put a skin on your little virtual camera. It allows you to change the lenses if you want, which is a great way to get a light leak or a particular look or feel that you are going for and you can also change the film.

So if you want to those things and customize your shooting experience, you can go in and do that. A great thing about Hipstamatic is it's kind of - again, no fuss, no mess, but it gives a little bit of a look to it, and there is also a little trick here in Hipstamatic. If you just double-tap on the screen there, it gives you kind of a wider view and here there is no locking exposure, there is no locking focus. You just tap and you get what the camera app gives you. We have to be ready to shoot all of the time otherwise what's the point, right? I have launch the camera app I am ready to go to, and then turn your camera off, so as you are walking down the street or you are somewhere where you are ready to take a picture, it's just boom, slide open, and you are ready to take a picture.

Just like that. So it's I think a great tip to think about. It's not in phone mode, it's not looking at email, it's not on Safari. This is a camera and that's the way it should be used and now you are absolutely ready for anything that comes your way. I am seeing a building with some really bright sun on it and the architecture is really beautiful and I want to lock in that exposure, because I really like it. Right now that's my story, that's my subject. So I am just going to take the Lock Exposure button and I am just going to drag it on my subject, on my story, and a building can be a story, it can be a subject, and there it is.

Now it's locked in. Now al I have to do is wait for the right person, another part of the story, to come by and what's going to happen is because we are right here, I am in the shadow, I am in the shade, that is going to create a really strong silhouette, right, of somebody walking past. So it's just a matter of changing our exposure there, and also, if I wanted to, I could change the focus, but right now we are really locking our exposure. So here is a great example, exactly from what I was talking about, this situation.

Again, locking new exposure, the professional is going to know and love this feature on an iPhone with this app or any app that allows you to lock exposure. So he knows what's going on. And somebody that's new to photography, just this little tip of knowing to take this little button, move your finger, lock the exposure on the important subject in the picture. To me, the important subject in the picture was the building. With that simple little tip here, your photos are going to improve greatly. This is an amazing spot, because the light here is outrageous, right? When you see a nice piece of light-- in fact , this isn't even direct light.

It's light bouncing from a building, that's bouncing back on this beautiful, great, right? When you find something like this, you want to stay here. This is photography for the professional and the amateur. It doesn't matter. It's all about light and when you find a piece of light that's working of you, stay. I will stay here until I am absolutely positively done, until I worked it, until the lights gone, or I feel there are no more people. In fact, there is a beautiful picture happening. So the anticipation, the light, I have locked exposure, so this is a great little scene of what everything is coming together.

I am anticipating and the light is coming. So let me get ready. When you find the light, even if you don't really know light or you haven't studied light, be an observer of the light. Just watch it for a little white. It's not all shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. Take a few moments, look at it, study it. Oh, look at their reflection, oh, look at the shadow. So be a student of the light. So that maybe you can learn something from it, for the next time you go out and shoot. And then if you find it, you go, "I like that light, I want that light." Stay with that light.

The idea of being able to camouflage myself in street photography is one of the reasons I wear headphones. It's absolutely essential for me to kind of blend in. I will pretend phone call to myself. I will trigger the shutter with the release on the headphones. I will pretend to yawn to get closer. I will find just about any trick. I will stand at a bus stop and take a bus that I will never get on. I'll walk around. I will do everything to blend in with the moment, with the people on the street, just to get closer to them, just to get closer to that moment.

I see something that I like, that I am interested in. There's a guy in a hat, which I happen to love, and he is shining some shoes, and I am on this side of the street and I could shoot it, but this is a situation where you have to work it a little bit. Where I want to work it a little bit. I think we need to zoom with our feet and get closer, right, and then just get in there and work it and just see what happens. I'm looking at the first one and it's there, but I'm not close enough and I'm not tight enough, so I am going to look through what I have and as I look, it's still not good but I got in closer and then I moved around a little bit more and I really worked the situation, and I am obsessed here about looking with what I got, and there are a few that I like from the right angle and then it was one or two steps closer.

Sometimes that's all it takes, or it's bending your knees a little bit or standing up. And all I did is I make sure that I framed, I had this right frame where he was with the light. Now there was this distracting white chair I don't like. And I moved the camera just a little bit, just to work it a little bit more and crop that out of there in camera. It's about working the right situation for whatever your story is, for whatever your photography is, maybe your kids, food, cat, I don't care. Work it from many different angles and many situations. Even the composition here is completely different than what I was going for.

There is something in every creative person's mind where you want to take a picture. You are just like, "Oh, I love that, but I want to take a picture." But there is something in our head that stops us and what I love about the iPhone is it since it's always with us, it becomes not about technique anymore. It's about following that news, following that creative idea to shoot, no matter what. It's going to build up your style. You are going to begin to know what you want to follow, what you want to shoot, and then you are going to look at that and you are going to analyze those pictures later and then you are going to begin to think, "Oh, this is my style, this is where I am going." "This worked, and this didn't work." Every time your head and your heart and your mind and your finger all line up for you to shoot, you should shoot.

There should be no reason that you are not shooting an image at all. I have a really strong belief that if you don't know what you are looking for, you aren't going to find it. And if you don't have a goal, how are you going to score? And I think that that relates to style. I am all about hats. Put a man in a hat in front of me and I am there. That's my style, it's part of my style. It's part of what I am looking for. The rest of my style is dark, gritty, kind of noir. I want you to feel like it's 1950s most of time and then you picked up a photograph that was on the ground that 100 people stepped on. That's my style.

You are going to have your own subject matter. You are going to have the people and the story that you are after. You are going to have the things that you are looking for and the only way to know what you are looking for and to get to the point of what are you looking for is to shoot and to practice, and to shoot over and over again, and employ some of the things that we talked about in order to find your style.

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