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The Complete Guide to iPhone Photography

The Complete Guide to iPhone Photography

Welcome to a brief introduction into the world of iPhone photography. This quick guide includes a collection of advice obtained from professionals, friends, and personal experience. Whether you’d like to shoot DSLR quality photos or just step up your Instagram game, this complete guide will cover all aspects to developing your iPhone photos.

Developing a Niche

The first step towards improving the quality of your photos is to develop a niche. Make an Instagram account, not only to share your photography but to follow photographers who emulate a style or part of a style you intend to incorporate. Most photographers have a signature style and there are literally hundreds of different ways to shape your work. There is food photography, fashion, lifestyle, landscapes, nature, urban, portraits, black & white, multiple exposure, just to name a few. Your niche does not have to be something new or original, it should however represent your personality. Start taking photos of anything you think would make a good photograph, it does not have to be perfect. Go through your photo album and search for any patterns. Some photos will catch your eye and leave a stronger impression than others. Developing a niche aids in focusing your creative energy and eases the transition into taking quality photos. Think of it as a starter template. Once you know what you like you can start to add and adjust to create the perfect photograph.

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    Environmental Adjustments

    Many photographers know the best time to shoot is during golden hour. Golden hour is the period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is softer than when the sun is higher in the sky. But before you start scheduling all your shoots during golden hour, practice shooting under all types of lighting. Light enters through the iPhone camera lens and an image is recorded on a light-sensitive medium. Too much light or too little can over-illuminate or dull your photo and cause you to lose clarity, colors, and tones. Here are some ways to adjust your position for natural lighting:

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    • During golden hour you can basically shoot in any direction. You can shoot facing the sun, away from the sun, or with the sun to the side of you.
    • During the day try to shoot facing away from the sun. It is difficult to shoot in an angle that is facing the sun or with the sun to the side of you without ruining composition.
    • At night the lack of natural lighting will cause most of your photos to come out grainy and underexposed. Avoid using your phone’s flash and try to find an external light source.

    Technical Adjustments

    What makes the iPhone so popular is that the technical design is universal and user friendly. Here are some tips everyone can apply to instantly improve their iPhone photography.

    • Go to Settings, scroll down to your “Photos & Camera” tab, switch on grid mode so you can shoot your photos while accurately applying the golden ratio aka Fibonacci spiral or use the rule of thirds.
    • Turn off flash, always try to use an external or natural light source.
    • In low light situations, tapping on darker sections of your screen will increase exposure and focus.
    • Avoid using zoom, the iPhone camera does not actually zoom but rather enlarges the image.
    • Focus on alignment, for example the horizon and your subject.
    • When shooting horizontally or vertically, make sure the camera lens is on the edge that is pointing up.
    • Take a horizontal and a vertical shot so you’ll have options later.
    • The best way to hold your phone is to take your left hand and make a fist with your thumb sticking out like you’re giving a thumbs up. Now rest your phone on your left hand for stability while you shoot with your right.
    • Make sure it all feels comfortable to you. Whether your arms are at your sides or your arms are in front of you. Find stable, inanimate objects like a bench or a table to rest your elbows and forearms on.
    • Get comfortable with your breathing, take the shot in-between breaths.
    • Get low, get on one knee. Shooting from a lower angle can give you a different perspective than from eye level. A photo from a low angle can make the subject look dominant, a photo from a high angle can make the subject look dainty.
    • Purchase an iPhone lens. Here’s an inexpensive lens I purchased recently. Research your options before you go purchase one of each type of lens or an expensive lens. Its always a good idea to start with low budget equipment, have a grasp for using it, then move on to more expensive equipment.

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      Editing

      A finished product is 30% actually taking the photo and 70% editing. There are many apps that support editing photos directly on the iPhone. I have a ton of FREE photo editing apps on my phone, sometimes I use more than 5 apps to edit one photo! The 2 free apps I recommend are VSCO and Priime. I found these two apps to be highly effective and user friendly for complete beginners. Although both apps are great stand alone photo editing products, I suggest using multiple apps in tandem when editing your photos. Editing photos can be time consuming, but fun and rewarding. Here’s some information to ease you into basic editing.

      • Before conducting any edits, increase the brightness for your phone screen to 100%. If possible, try to edit in a dark room and then critique under different lights.
      • Increasing a few aspects like exposure, sharpness, and shadows can increase the quality of any photo.
      • Make small adjustments by working slowly and subtly. Remember that you want to bring out the best qualities of the photo by using the elements in the photo rather than creating artificial ones.
      • Don’t follow the same editing template for each photo, each photo requires its own unique touch and care.
      • Have a second or third opinion critique your edit.
      • Compare your work with your favorite photos and photographers. Identify the similarities, what your photo did best and how your photo can be improved.
        All photos were shot and edited on the iPhone 6 by Benjamin Kim.

        Final Thoughts on iPhone Photography

        If you’re not a big fan of the iPhone, here are some great alternatives.

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        • The Galaxy S7 edge has 12 megapixels with excellent low light performance.
        • The LG G5 has a whopping 16 megapixels and a built in 135mm wide angle lens!

        As smartphones continue to develop their camera technology, I predict in the near future that society will become more interested in DIY photography and film. Taking quality photos on the iPhone or any smartphone is not a difficult task and is an activity that everyone can participate, master, and enjoy.

        Featured photo credit: Benjamin Kim via instagram.com

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        Last Updated on January 13, 2020

        11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

        11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

        Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

        Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

        Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

        1. Lumosity

        This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

        Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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        Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

          2. Fit Brains Trainer

          This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

          Free.

          Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

            3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

            Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

            First four games free, then $13 a month.

            cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

              4. Brain Fitness Pro

              The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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              Buy for $3.99.

              5. Happify

              If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

              Free to use.

              Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                6. Clockwork Brain

                You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

                Free.

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                Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                  7. ReliefLink

                  Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

                  Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                    8. Eidetic

                    Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                    Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                      9. Braingle

                      Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                      Free.

                      Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                        10. Not The Hole Story

                        If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                        Free.

                        Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                          11. Personal Zen

                          This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                          Free.

                          personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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                            Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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