Tag Archives: street photography

In Memory Of Arjan van der Horst – Free Film For Your iPhone

To be honest, Arjan is new to me. I saw the announcement of his passing and the mentions of his impacts on street photography grabbed my attention.

His art was very hipster, so it is no surprise to me to see the folks that create the Hipstamatic iPhone camera app came out with a special roll of film in his memory.

The Arjan ‘film’ can be dowloaded for free via the Hipstamatic app, just launch the app and choose the shopping cart icon. After downloading, don’t forget to choose it from any other ‘films’ you have downloaded. It is a ‘black and white’ roll, depending on the lens you choose in the app to pair with it, produces a very wide variety of effects. The bolder images will best produce what Arjan van der Horst  is known for.








Composing the perfect photograph on the iPhone

Most smartphone photography these days are the result of Spray and Pray shooting. Folks are taking a ton of photos and either hope or are just plain lucky to get a ‘perfect’ shot. Few mobile photographers take the time to work through their photos to find the one with an eye pleasing composition, rather they share all their photos with a few getting a lot of likes and comments. The high level of notoriety for a shared image is due to the image being striking, rather on a subject that is hot at the moment.

There is nothing wrong with this, until so many so-so shots cloud systems with clutter that lessen the enjoyment and thus return visits to a sharing location. I have a tendency to hunt out the ‘recognized correct way’ for anything I take on. I find that by having the knowledge, many times the information will be referenced without taking a lot of time to think about it. Photography is supposed to be fun after all, no reason to have so much set up involved that the moment was lost.

Most of the iPhone photography eBooks on the market cover how the Camera works, then dives right into specialty apps to use for the tuning of photos. They cover filters, enhancements and cropping options, but shy away from composition. “Big World, Little Lens” is one that has covers many apps, but took the time to include a nice group of inspirational examples. There isn’t much on why the photos look so nice as it relates to composition, but they do a nice job of showing what is possible via the camera on our iPhone. Included with the eBook is a series of videos showing how to use a handful of enhancement apps.

A bit better for what I was looking for had little to do with the iPhone per the title. “The Digital Photographer’s Guide to the Square Format” carried much more information in the area of getting an impact out of a area of a photo. As it happens, a few of the most popular photo share services and iPhone photo apps are in the square format so I found it matched up nicely to the real world.

I found a few nice articles along the way that explained and showed examples of how the rules work that have been followed since the earliest days of film photography. A glance at the photos shows how the rules work, whether they be in the area of Thirds, Golden, Fibonacci Spiral, try applying the rules to a few photos when walking around and they become more natural and less of a burden when needing to take a quick snap. While rules are made to be broken, know the rules first then add your personalized twist. A recent find on the eBook side of solutions is “Composing the Photo” by Trey Ratcliff. The book is much more about ‘seeing’ the composition of a photo through the viewfinder than adding a filter to make thing brighter or vintage.

An iPhone app that brought this to the fore front for me this last weekend is Sense Cam. The app has little to do with editing, rather it is for helping get the best composition shot from the start. Sliding the shutter button up, provides access to the popular accepted photography rules. Also, there is a few fine tuning options like Bracketing and Timer.

When your taking the actual photo, the rules are overlaid on the viewfinder screen. There is also a ’tilt’ indicator down the left and a horizon through the middle. Both handy if you need to hold your iPhone at arms length for a shot and not used to framing things up by eye. These can be turned on/off to keep the screen clear. All of the ‘rules’ can be individually or as a group used. In the case of the Spiral, Sense Cam provides a button in the upper corner to spin it to match the angle the subject it as so you don’t have to twist your physical iPhone to use the rule.

When shooting out in the ‘wild’, everything is ready to go on the screen to frame up the shot. There is separate focus and exposure and you can lock the settings by swiping to the side of the screen. I know, the photo below is not well done for composition, I was just showing that the guide lines that Sense Cam provides can be difficult to see in bright lit photos where this a lot of contrasting colors. Still, the tool is great way to start on the road to photos worth sharing!

Controlling the light source in iPhone photography – LensLight 3.0 is now available

There are two different lines of thinking when it comes to changing light sources in photos. There is those cute little dots of light to be added to photos for the Bokeh effect and there there is bright area highlights like a heavy light source. While I may play with both capabilities in this one app, LensLight’s new features means I will be leaning more towards the serious side of enhancing street walk photos.

I’m just diving into LensLight 3.0 and it’s doing everything as described so I won’t be knocking out a quick good/bad post, let me give the app a few days on the street before commenting. It is on sale for 99 cents right now so I thought I should at least mention it so you can jump in before the price goes up.

LensLight offers both light enhancements as well as texture filters. While the ability to adjust the light source location is lacking from more than adding the effect, the color picker for colorizing the filter is very nice. The color filter chooser actually took me from the app being cute to being a serious tool. Most of my photos shouldn’t be constrained to a default light when the world around us has reflective light of so many colors. With LensLight, the light splash can reflect the world around the subject in the photo.


iPhone photo social sharing on StreamZoo… a different experience with gamefication

Unrelated to the Instagram and Facebook deal, I do actually play with a lot of other iPhone photo sharing services. Most don’t have huge quantities of people sharing, many have very few features, and everyone has something that makes them unique.

For StreamZoo, it is about a lot of features but no requirement to use them. There are points available for posting pictures, points when people like your photos, points when someone messages you and points when you like other people’s photos. Of course there are people that abuse the gathering of points… let them.

StreamZoo has the usual overview of Popular photos, as well the ability to see Leaderboards for high points fellow StreamZoo users. A nice touch is being able to see streams of photos. Streams = Hashtags on photos. I noticed in the beginning that the majority of the posts where from Android phones, but everyone is playing nice having fun as all photos are posted equal.

Taking a photo with StreamZoo or importing from your iPhone’s photo library gives you the option to edit with filters and tuning tools. From your ‘homepage’, you are informed there are new likes or messages via the Activity button turning red.

There is badges for all sorts of things… mostly in the area of number of likes for photos you have in different streams.

All of the viewing, commenting and messaging that can be done via the iPhone app can also be done via the Web interface. Within the iPhone app, you can see and overview of your uploaded photos, information around your followers, points and quantities of uploads, streams (tags) and badges. While you can follow individuals and the photos they are sharing, StreamZoo is really more about keeping an eye on streams on a subject.

Adding a title and description for every photo can be done prior to finishing the upload. Adding tags will allow people to see the photos in Streams. Since you took the time to edit the photo in StreamZoo, you can share directly out to other social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr directly.


Lanyard and Latch iPhone Case for those quick shots and less worry about shirt pocket drops

I keep an eye out on Kickstarter for interesting ideas. This one, a month ago, didn’t strike me as anything I ‘needed’. Then today, as we walked about town doing street photography, I discovered the need for the special lanyard.

The Kickstarter project is for a lanyard and iPhone case with a special release between the two. No, I’m not looking to have my iPhone swinging about hanging from a lanyard about my neck. What it will be very nice for is those times I’m doing a lot of shooting and still need my hands, like downtown. I need to touch and pick up things as we walk and the great shots are coming fast enough it is difficult to keep reaching info my pants pocket to get the iPhone out. I tried having the iPhone in my shirt pocket but then felt it start to scoot out of my pocket several times when I leaned over. If the iPhone was in a protective case, hooked to a lanyard, I could keep it in my shirt pocket without worrying about the iPhone jumping out onto the floor.

I now see the need, that is the good thing, the bad is that the project is only half way funded and has 48 hours to go… here’s hoping for a bunch of folks to jump in at the last second. That said though, the Kickstarter project mentions it is being offered by a gent that already has iPhone photography accessories available so he may still do the Lanyard/Case/Latch combo even if not fully funded.


City Walk Photography with a iPhone – Two Free Books to Help!

Oops… started this post over the weekend and didn’t wrap it up… sorry for the delay! Guess you will have it ready for this weekend’s shooting fun.

I have my iPhone in hand… ProCamera at the ready (sometimes jump to Top Camera too), and many city streets to walk. While I had hoped to get into San Francisco today, the traffic slowed my progress as a major bridge is having work being done on it. So, I hit a few smaller ‘towns’ to see the natural lit buildings and foot traffic. There was a lot of folks out milling around the coffee shops and small markets but not many in the actual stores. So my shots turned to objects like benches, mailboxes, signs, pets and window reflections. My wife, pup and I not getting anywhere fast, just using photography as an excuse to get some fresh air.

Sometimes I come across articles or books that I find gives me a different perspective on things around me. Everyone has their style. It’s fun to try someone else’s eye on a subject, then modify it towards what I enjoy so I end up with a mix that is me. A couple recent finds are actually free eBooks that I thought I would share, hope you find them enjoyable. Both books are using 35mm cameras but there is very little adjusting/tuning with camera settings so they are both very well suited to shoots done with your iPhone.

Street Photography – By Alex Coghe: (A friend had a issue with the ‘download’ link and offered a direct link to the eBook on Eric Kim’s site)

Alex’s view on ‘street photography’:

Rules of Street Photography

Street Photography is a genre that can’t be too constrained because it would limit it. But some
pickets are needed to understand what we’re talking.

– Street Photographs must be taken in the public realm: streets, subways, museums, beaches, parks, events, countryside, nightclubs…

– Photographs may not be staged or posed by models.

– Photographs do not need to include people but should at the very least imply human existence or a human condition.

– Street Photography can be colour or black & white. Partially desatured images can’t be considered street photography.

– Add or remove elements from street photographs is not ethic. Street Photography is a challenge with ourselves and the approach to this kind of photography is raw, like the old straight photography.

– Cropping a photo and perform colour corrections and processing in keeping with a realistic representation of the subject is fine to enhance the image. And naturally also the black and white conversion is allowed but extreme photo manipulation, stitching and combining of images is not for street photography. Also High Dynamic Range (HDR) is considered heavy post production and therefore not suitable for this photographic genre. 


Going Candid – by Thomas Leuthard:

Thomas – “What is street photography for me”

Street photography has changed my life in a way that I didn’t expect it would. I suddenly have a plan in my life. I have an activity where I can use my creativi- ty. I get challenged every day. I don’t get bored because it’s always different. I can travel the world for a reason and I can meet a lot of people. And last but not least I wake up in the morning with a smile. Street photography is not just another way of photography. It’s a way of life…