Monday, March 24, 2014

Just Device

iPhone. iPad. A couple of apps. That's it. That is what I restricted myself to for week 12 of the Keefer 52 Project. My challenge was to shoot, light, and edit a photo using nothing but a couple of mobile devices, and, oh yeah, make it look good. So, an iPhone camera was used to take the shot, an iPad with a flashlight app filled in as the main light, and all of the post-production was done using the Snapseed app on the iPhone.

My biggest obstacle creating this image was the noise. In the dimly-lit scene, the iPhone was boosting the ISO trying to expose all of the elements. This was creating a noisy image with a lot of grain. I needed a way to control the ISO. Thanks to Jeff Beach, I found a camera phone app called 645 pro. It doesn't directly let you control the ISO, but it shows it on the display. So all I needed to do was aim the camera towards a brighter light source. When it hit ISO 200, I locked the exposure. Too easy.

In about a 5 second search, I was able to find a free flashlight app for the iPad that turned the tablet into a power adjustable continuous light source. I placed it at a 45 degree angle below his chin. If I had another iPad, I probably would have held it over his head and created a clamshell lighting set-up.

I brought the image into Snapseed, which is a very powerful photo editing app for the iPhone. Brightness, contrast, sharpening, and black & white conversions are a snap in Snapseed.

Now look, I'm a gear-head. I love cameras packed with megapixels; fast lenses make my heart race; and the UPS truck showing up with a box from Adorama makes me feel like a kid on Christmas. And I think it's very important to have the best possible equipment that you can afford when you are in the business of making photographs for clients; they deserve it. However, a crappy camera shouldn't always result in a crappy photo. With a little know-how and creativity, people all over the world are making amazing images with cell phone cameras. Just check out LittleCoal on Instagram. He's not in NYC with $50,000 worth of cameras. He's just roaming around rural Ohio with his phone, and the results are mind-blowing.

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