Hi guys, my name is Chris; I am a photographer and a filmmaker. Like many of you, I also often use my phone to take photos and videos. So, today, I want to share with you four little tricks to improve shooting on your mobile phone – but you can also use them when shooting with your camera.
This is an interesting video from tech YouTuber and smartphone aficionado Marques Brownlee that talks about the iPhone’s camera system and why it appears to be getting worse than the competition with each new generation. Having dumped iPhones myself back in 2017, it wasn’t something I’d really paid much attention to, but on watching his video, I realised that he was right. Their quality seems to be getting worse.
Marques has a theory as to why this is happening, and I think he might be right. In fact, he believes that one of them is something which Google has already fallen foul of with their Pixel series of smartphones. Fortunately, for Google’s sake, it looks like they course-corrected pretty quickly, but will Apple? Maybe.
We all know how to click the shutter button on our phones and get a basic shot. But how to take it to the next level?
I get asked the question all the time, and with a new year ahead of us, what a great time to up our game, right? Here are 10 of what I think are the most essential hacks to shooting like a pro with your smartphone. Please watch the video above for examples, and below, read on.
One of the great channels on YouTube is the BBC Archive. And while it covers a wide range of topics, particularly retro tech, it also looks back at old news broadcasts. This one’s particularly relevant here, as it details the introduction of cameras into cell phones (or “mobile phones”, as we call them here ) to the UK back in 2001.
It’s an interesting look back at what people thought back then. Some labelled it as a “gimmick”. Others talked about the cost of sending images over that of sending a regular text message. Remember, phones weren’t really on the Internet back then, so images went over the regular phone network. The feature also had a high barrier to entry, with camera-capable phones costing significantly more than those without.
Smartphone photography is on the rise, there’s no question, and we’ve had our eye on the ShiftCam ecosystem since their Kickstarter announcements. The ShiftCam ProGrip has gone beyond the Kickstarter phase and is now out there for purchase, along with other items in their line-up. There are other systems available to hold our smartphone and make it look and feel more like a camera, but ShiftCam seems to be up there as one of the better systems. Here’s why:
As a travel photographer and educator, I am constantly shooting, and when I don’t have my ‘proper’ camera with me, I turn to my iPhone. It’s often said that the best camera is the one you have with you, and with the advances being made in phone camera tech, I find myself using the images I make with my phone more and more often. To that end, I want to be able to treat my phone more like a ‘proper’ camera, and part of that experience involves the look and feel. Rather than feeling like I’m holding a phone, I often want to feel like I’m holding a camera. And beyond that, I want to be able to attach my phone to my tripod.
Zacuto, the company famous for its high-end (and expensive) cinema rig accessories has turned to smartphones with their latest release, the Smart Z-Finder. As with many of Zacuto’s more popular products over the years, this one’s a viewfinder. Except it’s not for cinema cameras or even mirrorless cameras. This one takes aim at mobile creators. It’s designed for smartphones.
A first of its kind, the Zacuto Smart Z-Finder allows you to film with a smartphone in a way that feels a little more like a “real camera”, allowing you to fill your view with the screen while blocking out external distractions. It’s compatible with most smartphones on the market and allows for both horizontal or vertical filming. It’s currently running on Kickstarter.
One of the main symptoms of COVID-19 is low levels of oxygen in a person’s blood, even when they feel fine. So when the pandemic started spreading, doctors would always measure your blood oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter: a special clip attached to your finger or ear.
But soon, you will be able to do it at home with the same accuracy. All you’ll need is the device you use for taking selfies or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram in bed. That’s right – your phone.
Smartphone filter kits seem to be coming through thick and fast lately, with the most recent being NiSi’s iPhone filter kit announced a few weeks ago. Now, there’s another hitting the market. It’s the Snap Filter, a magnetic filter system for the iPhone from Pan’s Scheme, a company founded by YouTuber, Mediastorm. It’s an interesting system which offers some familiar filters including ND, Mist and star filters as well as anamorphic look-a-likes, blue and gold streak (in horizontal and vertical flavours).
A base attaches to your smartphone and there are two bases, one for the iPhone 12/13 and 12/13 Pro and one for the iPhone 12/13 Pro Max, that magnetically attach to your phone. Onto these, you attach your filters, and various kits are available depending on your needs. It’s a design that, as usual, is specifically for the iPhone, though. So, Android users can move along. Nothing to see here.
If we take away all the egotistical hyperbole, one of the big things that stops a lot of people from shooting more (and more serious) photos with their smartphones is the lack of available filters. Sure, there are some polarisers and NDs out there, but when have you ever seen a square filter system comparable to that which you’d use on a DSLR or mirrorless camera?
Well, NiSi’s solving that today, at least for iPhone users, with the release of their new Smartphone Filter Kit for iPhone. Technically, there are three kits. There’s the Landscape Kit, the Filmmaker Kit and the Cinema Kit, each tailored to a different type of user. And the filters themselves appear to be exactly the same (only smaller) as those which NiSi makes for regular cameras, too.
The iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS) has announced the winners of its 2022 contest. Believe it or not, the contest is celebrating its jubilee this year: it’s been 15 years since it’s been around, just like the iPhones. I feel kinda old now.
Anyhow, the 15th annual competition received thousands of submissions from all over the world, and it has selected the best of the best. Antonio Denti from Italy won the Grand Prize, but there are many other stunning photos among the category winners. So, let’s check them out!