[David Strom's Web Informant] The iPhone camera comes of age

David Strom david at strom.com
Sun Feb 21 08:47:37 EST 2016


Web Informant, February 21, 2016: The iPhone camera comes of age

One of my first jobs was working as a professional photographer for the
city of Albany documenting the city and its people. While that never
morphed into a career, I have always had a love for photography. That is
why I was intrigued when I heard that this month's issue of Bon Appetit
magazine comes with an interesting twist: all of its feature stories were
shot with iPhone cameras
<http://www.bonappetit.com/people/shameless-plugs/article/march-culture-issue-iphone>
by
its professional food photographers.

The edict came from its editorial staff, and it was a smart move. For one
thing, it shows just how far the iPhone camera has come: the latest models
sport a 12 megapixel rear-facing camera, which is certainly closing in on
what the best digital SLR cameras used by today's pros normally tote
around. And not to be outdone, but some of the Samsung Android phones have
16 megapixel cameras. One thing still lacking from the iPhone is having
better control over depth of field, although there are rudimentary finger
swipe gestures to help.

But this isn't just how many pixels you can put into a camera, but the fact
that an iPhone camera is so ubiquitous that it can function for magazine
work.

I started out in my teens with a Pentax SLR that used 35mm film and
eventually graduated to first a 120-sized twin lens and then eventually to
a 4x5 view camera. This latter beast required cut sheet film and a strong
back to carry all the gear around, not to mention corresponding darkroom
equipment that could handle the larger-sized film. I still have many of the
negatives that I shot with this camera, but I haven't had a darkroom for
decades so I had to take some of them to the lab to get digital scans made.

The editors interview the photographers for the iPhone issue, who have some
interesting things to say and recomm
<http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/pop-culture/article/how-to-instagram-food>endations
for budding food photographers
<http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/pop-culture/article/how-to-instagram-food>.
First, *shoot from above or the side but never at an angle*. That makes for
more dramatic photos and better compositions. Indeed, composition is key. I
realize that many of my own food photos suffer from this issue.

*Second, the camera is just a tool*. As one of the magazine's photographers
said,

In the past, the bigger and scarier-looking the camera you pulled out, the
more intense and professional you looked. Now, you have to let go of the
ego you attach to the tool, and the iPhone is the ultimate expression of
that.

*Understanding light and exposure helps* to make for better pictures. Seems
like a truism, but this becomes more important given the limited controls
you have from the iPhone.

*When in doubt, use a tripod.* The pros came with adapters that could fit
their phones accordingly, which is always a good idea to get just the shot
you want.

Finally, that much-maligned *selfie-stick can come in handy,* especially
for those overhead shots of what is served on the dinner table. One
photographer didn't come with one at their shoot, and had to go buy one to
get the right shot. (For the rest of us, please put them away on the
street!)

You'll want to go to my blog to see the photos illustrating this post, and
also make your comments. http://blog.strom.com/wp/?p=5203
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