iphone photos as art

by Mary Jane

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all photos and text (ignore the by mary jane above) by emily crawford of ethreeit.com

I’m convinced that almost every scene I happen upon holds the possibility for art. Some things instantly catch my attention, while other things appear only after assessing my surroundings–and pouring a little dose of imagination in to the mix, of course. It’s funny how your eye can be trained to notice things far more often than not. And with the latest craze of smart phones we can now capture almost anything we encounter, at anytime (if you’re ready and on the gun, that is). But only you can turn that something into art! Luckily, with the use of all these nifty apps we have available, we can create (and instantly share) the envisioned art that may have easily just stayed lingering in our minds eye! So I’ll let you in on a few things I look for when creating, as well as how I most often use my favorite photography app…Instagram!

Simplicity is positively negative…
I love simplicity and you will notice that most of my images are made simple by utilizing a LOT of negative space. This allows your viewer to focus in on the subject, as minor as it may be. I often use the sky or blank walls to produce negative space in images.

Pick up lines…
While I do appreciate a good pick up line, the only lines that really capture my attention are leading lines in a photograph. What is a leading line, you may ask? Basically anything in a scene used to guide your eye through the frame. Pay attention to objects that offer these leading lines—and they don’t have to be straight lines, curved lines are just as effective when used properly. The main idea is that your eye be lead throughout the frame, perhaps to a focal point. The last thing you want is an image with a lot of distracting elements that are randomly positioned, in which the eye just doesn’t know where to go!

Be my shadow…
Shadows, shadows, and more shadows! Pay attention to them! They are on the sides of buildings, on the ground, on tabletops. Use them to frame, to create contrast, or to add interesting lines to your pictures….use them however you’d like, but use them if they’re available!!

Leave them beaming…
Sunbeams and flare can always be creatively used! Sunlight is our friend…most of us just need to learn how to use it. This can be done through a little trial and error, and sometimes your mistakes will be your favorite ones!

INSTAGRAM!!
I know there are a lot of wonderful photography apps out there, and more are probably being released as I type, but I can honestly say that this is pretty much the only one I use on a regular basis and I love it! Sure, I’ll probably soon fall in love with other apps that enhance my Instagram pics–but I think the free version of Instagram is a great place to get started! I do have a few recommendations….

#1:
Don’t photograph from the Instagram app–use your iPhone’s camera to take the picture and then pull the image into Instagram. This will allow you more freedom and control in what you are trying to capture. Once you pull the image in to the app, you can then zoom and position the original image to fill the frame just as you want. SHOOTING TIPS: When shooting, shoot horizontal. Also, be sure to touch the screen in the area you want properly exposed.

#2:
Test all the filters Instagram offers! I have a few that I lean towards using (Toaster, Rise, Nashville) but I honestly don’t know which one I am going to use until I’ve tested them all out on the specific picture I’m working with. It all depends on the lighting and what I’m trying to draw attention to–each filter brings out something unique. FILTER TIPS: Play around with the contrast tool on the bottom left of the tool bars, as well as with the borders which can be toggled on and off. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don’t. Once again, it all depends on the picture I’m working with. Trust your eyes’ first instinct!

#3:
Use the blur tool (sometimes)! I was elated when I noticed Instagram added the capability to blur, which can be used to create the tilt shift effect. There are two options here, the circular blur or the linear blur. You have the ability to increase or decrease the size of the blur, as well as control positioning. Once again, play around with the tool. BLUR TIP: Don’t use it just because it’s there–make sure it works for the specific image you are editing. Despite how fun it is to use, you can definitely overdo it! And sometimes it’s just not needed.

My dad and I have a running joke about the way he just loves to “one up” me in the realm of photography equipment. The day I came home with my first professional camera you could see the envy in his eyes. It wasn’t but a short time after, that I received a phone call from my dad. You could almost hear the smirk that surely rested on the other end of the phone line as he bragged about his latest camera purchase. Did he buy the same camera for himself?! Nope. He took it to the next level and bought the most recently released version of my camera, complete with improved features and functionality. And there was absolutely no shame on his end–of this I am certain! Just as there was no shame the following year when he bought the higher end version of my fixed 50mm. All of this was good fun.

But then came Mark. I had finally acquired my dream camera, the Canon 5D Mark II. My dad was a little jealous…but overall he was just excited for me, he really was. But the man couldn’t help himself. A short time later I got the call. “So, how do you like your Mark II?” I knew right then it would only be a matter of days. Maybe hours.

You can be certain that I’ve since looked at many beautiful pictures captured by his very own Canon 5D Mark II. But don’t you worry….the joke’s on him! He only THINKS that behind all of my best photography lies a fancy camera! What he doesn’t know is that some of my favorite photos to date are merely the result of an observant eye and an iPhone. Yep, an iPhone. And a 3rd generation iPhone, at that! Knowing this sure could have saved him lots of money over the years!


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