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An Intro to iPhone Close-Ups | Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Today’s Tips & Tricks will be a short introductory into what your iPhone camera can do for you. I’ll follow up in the weeks to come with some other fun iPhone-specific ideas.

While I was back in Central IL for Memorial Day this past weekend, my 10-year-old niece, Lola, grabbed my iPhone and walked away. She returned with a smile and showed me what she had done, which was to take a picture of a beautiful rose in the garden. It was a close-up, and one similar to something I would have taken. And it was snapped by a girl in grade school with an iPhone.

pink flowerPIN IT

Over the past several years, the cameras on smart phones have advanced exponentially in their capability to capture high-quality images. To be honest, I consider myself having two cameras: my professional DSLR, and my iPhone. My husband and I were just looking through the digitally printed scrapbook I made from our honeymoon, and I marveled at how the pictures taken with my iPhone were sometimes just as stunning as the ones I took with my DSLR.

With that said, in no way am I saying that I would ever consider capturing a family photo shoot with just my iPhone, or would I expect my iPhone to deliver the same quality of photos in a low-lit gymnasium at one of my nephew’s programs. The results would not even be comparable. However, given the right circumstances and an understanding of what the iPhone IS capable of, you can produce some pretty striking images that are good enough to make into 4×6 prints or include in your yearly digital book.

I pulled this excerpt from “Tom’s Guide,” an online place to find best picks, reviews, and buying guides from the world of tech:

“The rear camera on the latest iPhones has a 12-megapixel sensor, doubling the number of pixels from Apple’s previous smartphone and enabling 4K video recording. Paired with a five-element lens and f/2.2 aperture, the camera offers sharper images at larger sizes with enhanced low-light performance. If you’re using the 6s Plus, you also get optical image stabilization for both stills and video, which means less shaky stills and footage and even better pics in dim conditions.”

(See the full article here).

Does this sound like jibberish? 🙂 What this means is that if you have the latest iPhone, you are now getting higher quality images with an ability to shoot close-ups with that soft, blurred background that everyone loves in a photo (i.e. BOKEH!!!) I have found that this works especially well when shooting still life such as flowers, and those are a great place to start practicing. We will start there before introducing the life of busy, ever-changing & moving babies and toddlers, which I’m sure is the REAL subject you want to learn how to capture.

I am going to end today with a step-by-step guide to begin shooting close-ups of flowers:

1) Select a well-lit area with flowers (a garden?! Flowers in your kitchen close to a window that brings in lots of natural light works, too. Remember– natural light is your friend!)

2) Choose a flower with lots of color and detail, and then with your camera app open, hold your phone very close to the flower.

3) Is it having trouble focusing? You may need to get even closer or pull your phone away a bit, but also try tapping on the screen on the area you would like to focus on. You will notice a small square box appears and it should bring into focus the area you have just tapped. If it doesn’t, try again, adjusting how close you are to your subject, until it comes into focus. In doing this, you will notice the background behind it will blur into softness. This is that 2.2 aperture working at its finest.

4) When the portion of your subject (flower) appears to be in focus, take the picture. Experiment with taking several, and then upload them to your iPhone photo stream or e-mail yourself a few of the images so you can compare and contrast the results on a larger computer screen.

I LOVE the world of close-ups and have had so much fun experimenting with the capabilities on my iPhone, so stay tuned… in future weeks, I will definitely be revisiting this topic with picture comparisons and experimenting with taking pictures of children, as well!!

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