Higher Quality Version on Vimeo:

iPhone Portrait Photography Crash Course – How to get great iphone pictures from MichaelTheMaven on Vimeo

I will be adding the images and updating this post over the next few days. Here is some of the basic information:

Here is one of the images at 1MP, straight out of the camera (Notice the Banding) – It is mostly full size, but I had to crop out the bottom otherwise it would be too big to post here: (more coming)I know there are going to be a lot of questions on this, so this post will probably grow over time. I wanted to make a few notes:

Exposure Control

I found myself using almost dSLR a little more, but Simple Camera is not to be ignored because it’s exposure box is smaller. They both also allow you to lock color temperature.

You lock exposure by double tapping on the screen at the place you want to lock exposure.

To brighten your exposure : Tap on a dark area
To darken your exposure : Tap on a bright area

There were times it was very picky and I found myself locking exposure’s on darker shadows where ever I could find them. It too about 2 minutes to get the hang of, after that it was second nature.

Did you use the iPhone’s Flash?

Not once. I wanted to only use natural light.

App Post Processing Work Flow

After Playing with the Apps for about a week, I found this to be the order of post-processing on the iPhone:

1. Adjust exposure, contrast and saturation sharpness with Photoshop Express (for a free app it did surprisingly well)
2. Add DOF effects with the Tilt Shift Generator
3. Add any final filter effects with Photo Wizard or Photo FX.

In real world Photoshop, typically sharpening is the last thing you do. I tried this, and it just didn’t work the same if you are adding DOF adjustments that are hard to see/aim on a small screen. It could just be me.

Other Apps Tested

I tested many, MANY other apps, including:

– Hipstamatic (Better for taking pics, not so much post processing)
– Photostudio (this was actually a pretty good app as well, just didn’t use it as much).
– Picture Show (Loved it and the effects- very fun for sending to friends)
– Plastic Bullet (I may not have understood how to work this thing)

That said there are many great processing apps out there. If you know of one let me know and I will definitely check it out.

Resolution, Why 5MP vs 1MP?

The reason I turned down the resolution to 1 MP (in fact, it was actually less: 720 x 1280 = 921,600 pixels) was for a few reasons:

1. To act as a control when comparing with the full resolution of the 5MP images (how much did resolution come into play?)

2. To demonstrate / simulate image quality in lower resolution cameras, as I know not everyone has an iPhone 4, yet most cell phones have at least 1MP cameras.

3. I was curious about the question: What are the very best types of images you can take in the worst conditions, assuming you only had good quality light and a limited knowledge of how to take advantage of it?

Conclusion: I think the 5MP absolutely looked better both out of the camera and after processing, however, I also think that some of the 1MP images were very, very good, and even more so after post processing. The 1MP images seemed to have color balance issues and appeared a little softer. The post processing definitely helped them more than the 5MP images, some of which I think could be printed from the original files. It is my hope that everyone who sees this video will now have some core knowledge about natural light they can use to get better images anywhere, anytime, with any camera.

About the Models

– Neither of the models were full time professionals, and both did their own make-up. The brunette, Terra, is a friend of mine who has only modeled for me in the past for a limited number of projects. Kelly, the blond, works in Real Estate full time but does part time work when available. The important thing here is that yes, beautiful subjects help, just remember most people are beautiful when they smile, or are otherwise happy.

If you are interested in using this information to enter a photography contest, check it out here: Deadline for entires is September 30th 2010!