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In this chapter, we're going to be looking at working with photos and video on your iPhone or iPod touch. In this movie, we're going to take a look at how to shoot still photos with your iPhone or 4th Generation iPod touch and later. Earlier, iPod touch models don't have built-in cameras. So, if you have an earlier iPod touch, you can skip this movie and jump to the next one on viewing and managing your photos. But every iPhone since the first generation model does have a built-in camera, and a pretty decent one which has gotten better with each subsequent version of the iPhone. So, if you carry your iPhone with you everywhere, you'll always have a camera to pull out when you need one.
Now I'm not saying you can throw away your regular camera because the quality of the photos on the iPhone greatly depends on how well lit the scene you're shooting is, and whether or not your subject and you are moving. Also, only the iPhone 4 and later and the 5th Generation iPod touch have a built-in flash. So, you'll generally need to be in a well-lit environment, and hold as still as possible to get good-looking pictures if you have an older device. The 5 can actually produce some great looking shots in low light. But I'll show you some tips that will help improve your chances of getting decent shots regardless of which iPhone you have. So, start up the camera app by tapping its icon.
If this is the first time you've used the camera, you'll see a message telling you that the camera app would like to use your location. Basically, this message is telling you that your photos and videos will be geo-tagged. Meaning, the iPhone will use the same location data it uses to figure out where you are in the Maps app and tag your photos with this tiny bit of data. Unless you're trying to keep the location of where you take your photo as a secret, you can tap OK. But geo-tagging your photos is a great way to keep a record of almost exactly where a shot was taken, and more and more photo management apps like iPhoto and Picasa can use geotags as an additional way for you to sort and manage your photos.
You may also be asked if you want to sync your photos with your iCloud Photo Stream, which will automatically upload the photos you shoot to your iCloud account if you've created one, so the photos will be instantly available on any other iOS device you have. I'll choose not to sync with my Photo Stream for now. So now, we're seeing exactly what the camera is seeing. The default mode of the camera is to take still photos. You can toggle between shooting still photos and videos with the toggle switch in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. But for now, we'll keep it set to Still Photos. Just like with the regular camera, you can shoot in Portrait or Landscape mode.
Notice that the camera icon in the shutter button rotates to let you know that the iPhone knows it's been rotated. This ensures that when you copy your photos to your computer, you don't end up with sideways pictures that you have to rotate in your Photo Management Software. It's a good idea to glance at the camera icon before you shoot your photo to make sure your orientation has been registered. By the way, the Camera button looks a little different on the iPhone 5 than it does on earlier iPhones. Here on the 5, it's a round button. But in earlier iPhones, it's shaped more like a capsule. They both work exactly the same way though.
So, to take a basic photo, all you have to do is frame up the subject on the screen, and press the Shutter button. You'll see the picture you took for a very brief moment before you return to the live camera view. This is useful in case you want to take multiple shots in a quick succession. We'll see how to review your photos in just a moment. But first, let's look at some things you can do to improve your shots. First, note that the camera does not actually take the photo until you lift your finger off the Shutter button. So, one way to help stabilize your phone while you're shooting is to hold your finger on the shutter button while you're framing your shot.
Then lift your finger off to take the shot. This can keep your phone a lot steadier than tapping the shutter button to take your shot. Depending on how hard you tap, the force could shake the camera enough to blur your picture. Another way to prevent shaking your camera with a tap is to use the Volume Up button to snap your photo. This is a feature introduced in iOS 5. Instead of tapping the Camera button, you can use the Volume Up button, which is the button closer to the top of the device on the side of the camera to take the photo, making the experience a little more like using a traditional point-and-shoot camera.
Notice the box that appears in the center of the screen when the phone is held still. That's the iPhone telling you where its point of focus is. Meaning, that area in the box is what the camera is using to determine the overall brightness, and color cast of the photo. But your subject is not always going to be in the dead center of this frame, and using this default value could make your picture too dark or too bright. You can manually let the camera know what the important part of the picture is simply by tapping it on the screen. For example, maybe this area is the focus of the shot I'm taking. I just tap it with my finger, and instantly, the camera reevaluates a scene based on its measurements of that area.
And then you can take your picture. Basically, what this boils down to is, just tap the important part of the picture before you take your shot. You can also lock-in the Exposure, and Focus by holding down on the subject area for a second. Notice it says AE/AF Lock at the bottom now. This is useful if you want to lock-in the Exposure and Focus, but then play around with the framing without your phone constantly trying to readjust for the lighting. You can unlock the Exposure and Focus by tapping anywhere on the screen again. The camera can also detect faces in your shots.
So it can tell when you're taking a portrait of a single person, or if you're taking a group shot. The camera automatically focuses on the more prominent face in the frame, and adjusts the Focus and Exposure settings accordingly. But you can still tap anywhere on the screen to change the settings if you need to. To review the photos you've taken, you can tap the tiny thumbnail image of the last picture you took. This takes you into your Camera Roll, which we'll look at more closely in an upcoming movie. But here, you can swipe side to side to review your shots, pinch open and close to zoom in and out.
When you're done reviewing your photos, you can tap the screen once to reveal the interface button and then tap the Camera icon to return to the camera. To review your photos, you can also swipe your finger to the right while looking at the camera, which takes me to the last photo instantly. This is a quick way to take a look at the photo you just shot and then swipe back to the left to return to the camera without having to do a couple of taps. I also want to mention here that the iPhone is actually quite good at macro or super close-up shots as well. If you get the camera within 4 to 8 inches of your subject, it goes into Macro mode.
You can get surprisingly detailed close-ups with your iPhone since you can tap the area of importance to improve your Exposure and Focus. If you can't quite get the camera to focus on a certain area, move a little further away from your subject and try again. There are a couple of other options available here to check out too. If you have a device with a flash, by default, the flash is set to Auto, which lets the phone determine when the flash is needed. If it determines the scene is too dark, the flash will fire. You can also tap the Flash button and choose Off or On. When you choose On, the flash will always fire with each shot.
This might be useful if you're shooting someone who is backlit, maybe with a sunset behind them, and you need the flash so your subject doesn't become a silhouette. If you choose to turn the flash off, it won't fire until you turn it back on. Turning the flash off is useful when you want to capture more of the natural lighting of the scene you're shooting or when your subject is too far away for the flash to matter. So, just because you have a flash doesn't mean you have to use it. Now the other available option on the iPhone and 4th Generation iPod touch and later is the front-facing camera. You can toggle between the main and front cameras by pressing this button.
This is great for taking self-portraits since it takes all the guesswork out of whether or not you're framing yourself in the picture. Just frame yourself up and take the shot. Now obviously, there's no button for the flash when you're using the front-facing camera since the flash is on the other side of the phone. Also, the camera in the front has a slightly lower resolution than the main camera. But it's still great to have the second camera for still shots, as well as for using FaceTime, which we looked at earlier; and for shooting videos of yourself, which we'll look at later in this chapter. The last thing I'd like to show you here is a really useful feature introduced in iOS 5.
Sometimes, you need to get to your camera quickly in order to catch a shot. But it's really time consuming to unlock your phone, and locate and tap the camera app. By the time you get through that, you might have missed your shot. So instead, when your phone is locked, press the Home or Lock button. Notice the little camera icon in the lower right-hand corner. To quickly access the camera, drag that icon up, and the camera app opens right away. So, that's shooting photos with the camera app.
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