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By Jim Heid | Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The techniques and community of iPhone photography

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “the best camera is the one that’s with you.”

For millions of people, that camera is an Apple iPhone. The iPhone’s popularity has led to a flood of photography-related apps and a thriving community of iPhone photographers who meet up in person and share photos using the wildly popular Instagram site.

The iPhone’s popularity as a camera has also led to our first course devoted to “iPhoneography.” The course, callediPhone Photography, from Shooting to Storytelling, is taught by Richard Koci Hernandez and is our latest photography course.

When we set out to do a course on iPhone photography, it was obvious that we needed to cover shooting tips and cool photo apps, but we also wanted to celebrate the iPhone photography community. We wanted to show the fun and mutual inspiration that comes from sharing visual stories with other people. We wanted to capture the spirit of communal creativity that happens when photographers get together and interact.

Our opportunity came last October, when the world’s first iPhone photography conference took place in San Francisco. We attended the conference and shot video of the sessions and then enjoyed shooting a morning photo walk through San Francisco’s Mission District. We even used the iPhone 4S to shoot some of the photo walk video.

iPhonography photo through an iPhone 4S

Shooting with Richard Koci Hernandez during the 1197 Conference photo walk. Photo Credit: Jim Heid

After the conference, we hit the road with author and multimedia photojournalist Richard Koci Hernandez. We tagged along as he went shooting on the streets of Los Angeles, and then we returned to the studio, where he shared tips for his favorite photography apps as well as insights on the art of visual storytelling.

We think the course reflects the creative excitement surrounding the world of iPhone photography. It was a fun course to work on, and we hope you’ll find it a fun course to watch.

(And if you’d like to hear more from Richard Koci Hernandez, don’t miss the Richard Koci Hernandez, Multimedia Journalist Creative Inspirations documentary we did about him last year.)

Interested in more? • The full iPhone Photography, from Shooting to Storytellingcourse • All Photography courses on lynda.com • All courses from Richard Koci Hernandez on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:iPad Tips and TricksiPhone and iPod touch iOS 5 Essential TrainingRichard Koci Hernandez, Multimedia JournalistOrganizing and Archiving Digital PhotosCreating Photo Books with Blurb

By Jim Heid | Monday, October 31, 2011

Scene on the Street: Focus on street photography

Street photography captures people at their most unguarded. There’s no posing, no preparation, and no encouragement involving the word “cheese.” Just point and shoot—often without even breaking stride.

Street photography is an honorable photographic genre that counts among its practitioners such legends as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Pedro Meyer. It’s a genre I’ve experimented with when traveling precisely because of its candid quality: If part of what makes a place is its people, then capturing unposed photos of those people is a critical part of documenting the essence of a place.

In Le Marais, Paris. Photo: Jim Heid

But street photography is also potentially controversial, and we’ve noticed a lot of blog and Twitter chatter about it lately. Part of the controversy deals with privacy: does a photographer have a legal right to photograph someone without his or her permission? The general guideline, at least in the United States, is yes, provided that the subject is in a public place where there isn’t an expectation of privacy, such as a sidewalk, a park, or a street.

Another part of the controversy deals with what I’ll charitably call bad manners. Some street photographers employ a paparazzi shooting style that involves putting their cameras uncomfortably close to a stranger’s face—sometimes even hiding around corners or behind phone booths before doing so.

Besides being rude, this style of street photography destroys exactly what the genre does best: capturing people at a moment when being photographed is the last thing on their minds. Look at some paparazzi-style street shots, and you’ll see photos of people who are startled, annoyed, or hamming it up for the camera. In all three cases, the candid, unguarded moment is lost.

The blog SnapSort recently published a post showing examples of how and how not to do street shooting. The lynda.com Creative Inspirations documentary about Richard Koci Hernandez also discusses the subject. Here’s an excerpt.

Since we shot that documentary, Koci has embraced Apple’s iPhone as a tool for street photography. A couple of weeks ago, he led photo walks through San Francisco and discussed iPhone photography at the 1197 conference in San Francisco. As one of the sponsors of the event, lynda.com was there shooting video for an iPhone photography course.

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