The Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix offers an array of classes ranging from gardening and landscaping to cooking, drawing and photography. Yesterday I attended a 3 hour workshop focusing on smart phone photography. The 12 participants in the class all had some version of an iPhone and/or iPad.
We began in the class room by going over all the icons on the screen while in the camera mode. This included discussing flash, grid, HDR and panoramic options.
The grid option produces a linear grid on the screen which assists in composing a pleasing arrangements of the objects in a photo. I turned mine on and found it useful while photographing later.
HDR stands for "High Dynamic Range." When this option is on, the camera takes 3 simultaneous photos. One over exposed, one neutrally exposed, and one under exposed. Those three images become one photo. Another shot is taken as the normal photo would appear without the HDR option.
Here's my photos taken using HDR.
Both photos were stored in my photo library. HDR images do use more battery and take up more space but we balanced out battery usage by lowering the brightness on the screen/wallpaper and pressing the sleep button between taking pictures.
Then it was time to wander in the garden and begin to use our newly found knowledge.
Along with the use of thirds in composition, repetition of pattern, the use of foreground, middleground and background had been discussed before we braved the desert sun.
One of the class members asked about close-ups. The answer-get in close. There isn't a good "zoom in" option. For these plants, getting closer to the ground, also produced better images.
Back in the classroom we shared some of the photos taken by all the participants. It's pretty cool to see what each person focuses on given that we were all in the same places. The photo above was taken by me but was like one shared in class. After class, I went back into the garden to take more pictures based on the instructor's critique and some of the images that I'd liked, shared by others.
All the photos in this post were taken with my iPhone but I will admit, there were some limitations. The bright glare on the phone, the fact that my dark glasses aren't reading glasses... It didn't make for a good combination.
Landscape photos-I guess a photo is better than no photo, but I did have my DSLR with me and it came out when I wanted to photograph from a distance. The iPhone has limitations when photographing from a distance.
It's incredible what can be done!
The panoramic option-I took this photo of my home a little while ago.
Press the "Panoramic" bar and a screen shows a horizontal line with and arrow. Steadily pan to right across your view. The option only allows for panning while the camera is upright. Turning it sideways, panning up or down and rotating the image is something I haven't tried yet.
Apps were recommended. I plan on getting a few. Reasonably priced iPhone attachments are also available.
My digital camera can do the job better so why rely on the smart phone? It's one less step to tweet or share instagram photos. My digital camera is bulky, heavier and conspicuous. I'll enjoy the challenge of mastering iPhone photography.
If you have a chance to take a class like this, I recommend it.