Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Using stabilization with the iPhone 5s, part of iPhone 5s Photography.
As with a normal camera, there will be times where you will want to stabilize your iPhone camera. And by stabilize, I just mean just get it set somewhere solid because maybe there's, you're in a low-light situation and you're worried about slow shutter speed. Or maybe you want to do a self-portrait or a group shot or something like that. There are a lot of different ways of stabilizing your iPhone. The first way is just to wing it, just prop it up against something. One nice thing, if you've got a solid surface, the iPhone 5 has hard edges, so you can actually just balance it on its own. But when it comes time for more serious stabilization, you have a few different options.
There's no tripod socket or mount built in to the phone, but there are a lot of different accessories that will add one. This is one of my favorites. This is the Glyph. It's a very clever little device. It's small, this is just rubber. It's got a normal what is that, quarter inch tripod socket in the bottom. And, I just slide it on to the phone somehow. And I can either put it this way or this way. So I can do portrait or landscape orientation. And then it just goes on to a normal tripod screw. Now, I'm putting this on my actual travel carbon fiber tripod that I use with all of my normal cameras.
This might be a little much if you're looking for a lightweight kit. So, you might want to go with something like a gorilla pod. That's one of those weird, bendy arm things. You can get gorilla pods, small tripods. Any number of different things that have standard size tripod screw on it. And the Glyph will let you attach to it. Now, one of the things about putting your camera on a tripod is that you need to trip the shutter somehow, especially if you're going off to do a self-portrait. I went out yesterday and tried that with the Glyph. I stuck the Glyph on, set up my tripod, framed my shot.
And then to trigger the phone, I actually used a Bluetooth remote control. This is the shutter, that's S-H-U-T-T-R. It lost its E somewhere along the way. By Muku Labs. It's a Bluetooth shutter, which is very nice. I pair it with the phone, really easy pairing process, and then I just press the button to trigger the camera. What's great about it is I don't need line of sight. I don't need a clear shot. So, yesterday it was very nice because it was very cold outside. I can have my hands in my pocket and still be firing the shutter. I've got a good range.
I can be behind the camera. So, I'm really sold on the Bluetooth remote. If you don't want to invest in a remote control because maybe you don't do so much self-portraiture, or times when you don't have your hands on the camera, consider adding a third party camera app that has an audio trigger. There are a number of different apps that let you trigger the phone with a sound. These work to varying degrees of success. What that means, is you can yell at the phone and it'll take the picture, you can clap your hands or something. Now, that means your self-portraits are inherently of you clapping your hands or arh-arh, you know, in some yelling face, but still, it can work.
One of the things I like about the Glyph, though, is it's not just a tripod mount. I can take it off and take this grooved bit, and just clip it on to the top of the phone, and now I've got a little stand like this. So, that's maybe pointed up a little high. But, I could also just stick a book under here or something, and prop it up like this. If I want to use the other camera, I just turn this around. So, this is a, a really nice addition, and there are a number of little lever-based gadgets like that.
This is one that actually ships with the shutter, and it plugs into the headphone jack, which is very cool. Because then it just stands up on its own and I can tilt it. Both the shutter and this thing have key ring holes in them so you can carry them on your key ring. We were on a beautiful lake, and I, the light had turned, it was very nice and I had this commanding view from the end of this pier. So, I knew I wanted to get a nice wide self-portrait, so I wanted to be a long way from the camera. So, I set up my Glyph on my tripod.
It was the first time I'd ever used it with an actual tripod so I was really excited to see how it worked. Everything went great, I had my shutter remote control, which made things much easier. So, I got it all set up and tried to frame the shot. Now it took some experimentation. I had to frame the shot. Then go stand in front of it. Take the picture. Walk back around. See if the picture worked. Then go back er, adjust it. Then go back, making sure that I was standing in the same place. Then it was just a matter of shooting lots and lots of frames because you never quite know what your expression looks like when you're doing a self-portrait. And you just feel really dumb.
But still, it was worth it. And it's a great thing about doing a self-portrait out in the middle of nowhere. No one has to see you doing it. So I was very pleased. The Glyph worked very well. It was a windy day, it was a stormy day. It held the camera perfectly steady. So I feel like I got good results. I was a little sloppy with my leveling. I didn't have the image completely straight. But that's easy enough to straighten in Snap Scene. So, all in all, I think it was a great success. And I'm looking forward to doing more self-portraiture with my iPhone. So there are a lot of different options like this out there. What I would suggest, if you're looking for one, is consider how you probably will tend to stabilize.
If you are going to be usually around surfaces where you can set something down then one of these little lever gizmos is great. But if you're going back country, or if you're spending a lot of time outside, then you're probably going to want a tripod mount. You need to consider what kind of tripod you might already have, and if the thread size fits, and that sort of thing. You'll also want to consider whether something like the Glyph will work with a case that you might keep on your iPhone. I don't keep a case on my iPhone, so this works just fine. If you have a case that makes your phone much thicker, then this may not work. There are cases that have built-in tripod threads.
So, that might be a way to go if you want tripod access but you still want to keep a case on your phone. Either way, before you go out shooting in instances such as low light where you're going to have slow shutter speeds that could blur your subject, or if want to do a lot of self-portraiture, you're going to need some way of stabilizing your phone.
In this course, photographer, author, and educator Ben Long explores the iPhone 5s as a serious photographic instrument, using its built-in features as well as a hand-selected collection of accessories and apps that will extend your iPhone power. He details the basics of shooting with the iPhone, and then delves into more advanced camera capabilities such as panoramas, HDR, and video. Ben also explores workflow issues, including editing, sharing, and printing photos and transferring them to a computer.