Tuesday, 22 April 2014

iPad Photography

When I was 11, I learned the basics of isiXhosa at school.
(IsiXhosa is the main African language spoken in the Eastern Cape, South Africa)
There I learned that objects all start with the prefix-i: 
isonka=bread, ifestile=window, iruler=ruler, irubber=rubber, ipensile=pencil. (My teacher would be proud)

Now here I am, a lot like that little 11 year old all over again, as I learn about new objects: iPad, iPhone...

Yes, I am now the slightly bashful owner of the iPad mini. Which I have learned gives me access to a whole new world of photography. Photographers everywhere are using this as a tool to place their snaps on Instagram, to show another more spontaneous side to their photography.

So I've been fiddling and playing and stumbling along. And at the big risk of sounding like a granny with her first cellphone, I am writing this post to share my discoveries about iPad Photography, for those of you, who like me are total beginners. (The rest of you aren't allowed to laugh)


Isn't it weird that lens is NOT in the centre of the iPad, as my logic expects, but in the corner. When I photograph from above, the perspective is often skewed, bowls look like they're tilting in the wrong direction. Why? Because I am holding the entire iPad above the subject, rather than just centralising the tiny little corner that holds the camera. My first tip? Remember where the camera is.


Should I zoom in? No, bad idea - I've read. The quality of the image deteriorates when you use the zoom. Rather physically move closer to what you're photographing or crop your photo afterwards.  

The iPad camera is a wide angled camera, which means that a wider viewpoint is included in the shot. I am used to using my 50mm lens or my zoom, where I am able to crop out all the stuff I don't want in the photo, so the wide angle is a real challenge for me. It makes it difficult to isolate things, but it takes wonderful shots of vast scenery and exaggerates a feeling of distance in your photos.


Did I mention my love for the 50mm lens and it's ability to throw everything out of focus, except for a small area? Now I am challenged even further with a device that makes everything pin sharp. So when I photograph the bowl of eggs in my kitchen windowsill, the wide angle includes the entire brick pathway outside the window and every detail is sharp. I have to start thinking in a totally new way! It does mean that the most beautiful details in the photo are sharp. Have a look at the texture of the fabric in the egg shot above.  You just have to change your angle and your expectation of the shot.


This is SO exciting! Fiddling with my new toy, during my recent walk in a field of dandelions, taught me something else! As soon as I could get the yapper, to stop sitting on the dandelions I was trying to photograph, I realised that this toy is an amazing macro camera! AND when you go that close, the background DOES go out of focus. It is really wonderful!


You know when you're aiming to take your shot and that little square appears? Well, wherever you tap on the screen, is where the square moves to, and the focal point moves to. You know that already? Well did you know, it is also where the exposure is measured from. So seeing that almost everything is going to be in focus anyway, if you tap on a very dark spot, near where you want the focal point, your photo will go lighter. If you tap on a bright spot your camera will compensate and make the photo darker. See you have a little more control!


When I take my iPad shots directly onto my Mac, photoshop tells me that the images are about 1,1MB and 18cm wide at 300dpi. That tells me that I should be able to print these shots to around A4 size and get good quality prints.


INSTAGRAM -  Instagram is lovely to browse through images of likeminded photographers that you can choose to follow. It's also a great way for photographers to showcase their skills in a more relaxed and impromptu way. It reminds me of the LIFE Magazine articles, where the images tell stories about the lives of people all around the world.

The best tips I've read for Instagram, is firstly to always take your photos with the iPad camera and not the Instagram camera. This is for better quality and it means that you can be selective with what you post on Instagram. I don't want the whole world to see my kids photos of the Lego constructions they made! (The Privacy settings can also help in this regard.)

I enjoy the CMGlimpse posts. Clickin Moms puts up a weekly challenge, with key words for every day, that anyone can photograph. It pushes you to find an inventive way to represent the word visually. Sometimes I take part, by  adding #cmglimpse, to my comments below, and other times I just browse through the images to see how different people see their world.

These were the key words for the week of 14 - 20 April 2014.

SNAPSEED -  Snapseed is a wonderful FREE photo-editing App! It's available for iPhone, iPad and Android! If you're looking for a little extra control over your images, this is great!You can regulate the strength of the filters, adjust Brightness, Contrast, Focus. Convert images to Black and White. It's really wonderful! With filters and frames. Get it! More info here.

Those are my favourites at this stage. What Apps do you use? Can you recommend some more?

So the iPad is a wonderful toy. I'm still learning, and loving the journey. It'll never replace my Canon, but this is more about having fun.

So did you learn anything new? I'm sure you know more than I do about the subject! Do you have any tips for me? 

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