iPhone: Tips for taking better photos
IF YOU'VE visited a tourist attraction recently, you'll know the world's most popular cameras aren't cameras at all.
Smartphones are taking over the job for many travellers, simply because the cameras inside them are more advanced than ever, are simple to use and are usually just a pocket away.
It's a trend recognised by photo-sharing site Flickr, which consistently names all five of the top five cameras as Apple iPhones.
And it's a trend now being fuelled by Apple itself, which this month is launching free photography seminars in its 22 Australian stores as part of its Today at Apple program.
Award-winning American photographer Chase Jarvis created the video tutorial for the seminars, and says he found it a serious challenge to "distil an entire photographic career into three pieces" of advice.
But Jarvis says he relished the opportunity to help people take better, clearer, more emotive and more thoughtfully composed images with their cameras.
"The world of professional photography is arguably quite complex if you look into the nitty-gritty but the fact is we have the technology with us all the time, and these cameras are intelligent," he says.
"If you put those two (factors) together with some basic instruction, that is the essence of how I wanted to bring this lab to life."
Jarvis says people too often just snap whatever is in front of them rather than considering how they want their photograph to look and what connection they have to the person or place in the picture.
"I suppose we can all get lucky with the occasionally sweet shot, but if you think very methodically, we can all go from just taking photos to making them in a single session," he says.
Central to his Apple Store tutorials are three elements: creating a connection with subjects, crafting the composition of a photograph, and paying attention to the light in the picture.
In portrait photography, for example, photos can look more affecting after "a simple bit of instruction like 'get a little bit closer' or 'put your arm around your friend'," he says.
Not only deciding what to photograph but what to leave out of the frame can also create a better picture, he says, as well as looking for light in the morning, the afternoon, or from the side of a subject's face.
One additional tip that everyday photographers can borrow from professionals, Jarvis says, is simply to take more photos of a subject, and learning what looks best.
"It basically takes no extra effort and costs no extra money to take four or five or six pictures, and experiment a little bit, instead of walking up, taking one picture and walking away," he says.
"Every time you take a picture, you can learn a little more about photography."
Apple's fresh focus on photography comes as a host of new accessories emerge to give smartphone snappers more options.
Taiwanese firm BitPlay recently launched its range of iPhone camera lenses in Australia (tryandbyte.com.au), for example, with products ranging from fish-eye to macro lenses, and polarising filters to telephoto lenses.
Australian based company SnapLens (snaplens.com.au) also sells smartphone lenses, remote controls and miniature tripods that will fit most smartphones, including Google models, though the latter compete with tripods from Manfrotto, whose phone-friendly wares are now available in Apple Stores.
Apple's free Photo Lab: Crafting Your Shot seminars are being held in Apple Stores now.