iPhones come and go. They get bigger, they get lighter, they get faster, they get colors. And sometimes, when we’re lucky, they get better cameras. Always ready, your iPhone has likely become your most important camera, if not your best, and that’s why it’s important to know how to maximize its abilities and get creative with its limitations. In that regard, The Art of iPhone Photography from Rocky Nook is almost as important as having the right photography app.
Authors Bob Weil and Nicki Fitz-Gerald have used this book to compile examples and tutorials from 45 iPhone photographers who tell you how they created some rather stunning images using only their iPhone (or iPad) camera and the right apps. As such, this book isn’t a how-to, it’s a “how-we-did.”
When I first received my review copy The Art of iPhone Photography, I glanced through it as if it were a coffee table photography book, not an instruction manual. The images and artwork from the various photographers is quite stunning, and serves as immediate inspiration. I knew my iPhone 5 has a pretty solid camera, but I had no idea it was capable of capturing some of the images in this book.
Of course, this is partially because I’m not a photographer. I know how to frame an image, and I can sometimes spot a photo op that others may miss, but turning photos into art? I’m not there yet. This book may help.
The Art of iPhone Photography is organized in a manner that pretty much forces you to flip through the whole thing. If you’re looking specifically for a way to take better low-light images, for example, look elsewhere. This book, rather, will show you “… how to take a low-light, underexposed image and apply techniques to create an image that tells an inviting story,” as explained by contributor Christine Sirois. She points out the apps you’ll need (ProCamera, TouchRetouch and Snapseed), provides a back story for her image, then lays out the steps she used to achieve it.
This is the pattern used throughout the book, which is broken into two sections: Photography and Illustration & Fine Art. These are then broken into subsections such as People & Portraits and Landscape in the former, Surreal, Slow Shutter and Collage in the latter. Within each subcategory you’ll find the photographer’s name and the name of his/her photo. Some techniques are listed in the back, but it’s clear the authors want you to see the contributors’ work and draw inspiration from them, not hunt down the specific technique you want and just reproduce it.
The drawback to a book like this, of course, is that the App Store is ever evolving. Although just published in August of 2013, many of these apps have already updated and changed for iOS 7, and there may be better apps available to you. In addition, a new iPhone was released since then, with better techniques and capabilities built right into it.
Still, The Art of iPhone Photography has value because, as I mentioned, it does a great job of letting you know what can be done instead of simply telling you how to do it. You’re not supposed to simply reproduce these images, you’re to draw inspiration from them. Whether you look back into your camera roll to find old photos with potential for new life or you take a tutorial, your iPhone and a few new apps out into the field with you for new photos, your results will likely surpass what you would’ve thought possible before examining this book.
Authors: Bob Weil and Nicki Fitz-Gerald
Publisher: Rocky Nook
Publication Date: August 2013
ISBN 10: 1937538184
ISBN 13: 978-1937538187
Price: Print: $44.95 ($29.91 at Amazon); Ebook: $11.49 (Kindle)