Apple Launches 16 ‘Shoot with iPhone’ Videos

If you own an iPhone 7 and want to learn how to make great videos, Apple has a new web site designed to help you. There are a series of short, to-the-point videos covering topics such as taking portraits, closeup, without flash, action shots, one-handed selfie, and more.

It’s a slick, well-produced site with a gorgeous landing video. Below that video is a grid for the 16 videos the company has so far released for the series. Hover over one of those cells and the name of the video is replaced by an example of the kind of photo the video will teach you about.

Visit the web site to learn more.

 

Four of the best casual photography and filter apps for iPhone

If you’re a seasoned iPhone pro, or a new user, the vast amount of simple photography apps can be staggering — we pick out four cheap or free ones for you to try.

Camera+

We’re not going to blow the lid off of any secret App Store finds with this first one, but we couldn’t start off a camera app list without mentioning Camera+, which is currently on version 9 and has been downloaded over 10 million times.

Camera+ is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to third party iPhone cameras. While your iPhone will never replace a DSLR, Camera+ does emulate some of those high-end camera features.

Anyone who owns an iPhone 6s or higher can shoot in RAW, and all iPhone users have the ability to change exposure, utilize an image stabilizer, change the shutter speed, and easily focus the image with the touch of a finger. It is absolutely geared toward the beginner, but has enough features jammed into it that more seasoned photographers will love it as well.

Even the post-production editing suite feels quite a bit like specialty photo editing software, which isn’t something that most apps can say.

Camera+ is a $2.99 app, which we think is more than fair for something that has basically set the standard in third party iPhone photography apps.

Hipstamatic

Hipstamatic used to be one of the most popular iPhone camera apps, but fell out of favour sometime around iPhone 4s. Somewhere along the line, the developers of the app have given Hipstamatic a complete overhaul to make the app better than ever.

If you’ve never used Hipstamatic, it’s a bit different as far as camera apps go. Unlike a traditional filter app where you add after you take the picture, Hipstamatic allows you to pick films, lenses, and flashes and layer them together before the picture is taken.

Hipstamatic is designed to emulate the feeling of using a traditional camera with specialty lenses and films. However, the apps more modern incarnations actually let you change the filters in case you’re not a big fan of the result.

The filters are expertly curated and paired together as film and lens in “HipstaPacks,” usually centered around some sort of classic vintage film and camera combo. And, in the new Pro mode, you’ve got the ability to set shutter speed, shoot multi-exposed photos, and there’s a full darkroom suite to edit the images before you share them with others.

If you didn’t get it in its heyday, there’s a price to be paid for Hipstamatic, though, and if you’re not the type to spend money on a camera app, you might want to pass on it. Hipstamatic itself is $2.99, but HipstaPacks range anywhere from $0.99 to $4.99, but many include a large amount of filters for the money you spend.

Darkr

Darkr is designed to emulate black and white large format cameras, the first wave of “modern” cameras that were popular up until the 1950s. Our first few times using Darkr, we wound up with wildly out-of-focus images, images that were overexposed, underexposed, and framed very poorly.

However, with practice, we found that Darkr actually taught us how to frame pictures better, how to compose shots that we might have not thought of otherwise. You’ll snap images with one of three cameras, either a point-and-shoot, a simple manual camera, or a traditional old, large-format camera which shoots pictures “upside-down.”

All three cameras in the app have their own pros and cons, but we think that there’s certainly good reason to use the large format camera when learning how to use Darkr. Darkr also allows you to tone images, change exposure, and manually burn and dodge parts in a simple post-production part of the app referred to as the Darkroom.

If you’re having trouble using the app, developers have included some tutorials that can have you straightened out in no time.

We feel like we need to stress this: Darkr isn’t for everyone, but for those who want to experience something similar to an old large format camera, Darkr’s worth grabbing. We highly suggest that you grab the $2.99 pro package, which unlocks all cameras, the option to work in layers, and the ability to tone the images as well.

April

While April isn’t a camera app per se, it is a good choice for anyone who likes quickly editing and composing pictures they’ve taken with their iPhone. Collage maker April is an incredibly simple app, stark and minimalist, but presents many different layouts for anywhere from one to nine images.

April is split into two separate sections, a standard collage section and a section that is designed to make photos feel more like graphic design pieces or promotional posters. We appreciate the layouts that both sides give, though we’re more inclined to recommend using the graphic design based layouts.

As with the rest of the photo apps we’ve mentioned, April also has a collection of filters that can help edit pictures at the last minute in case something isn’t quite working out.

April isn’t an app you’d use to take pictures, but if you get the urge to shoot images in a series and would like to share them as one image file, this is the app you should be using. April is free, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t snag this one as soon as you can.

Shooting Video with an iPhone

iphone-dvrThe iPhone has an amazing video camera, but just clicking record may not produce a high-quality image. Here are some tips for shooting better-looking video using an iPhone.

1. Don’t shoot vertical video

We’re living in a widescreen world! Laptops, televisions, your Twitter feed, and your website are all examples of places where a vertical video probably won’t look great. So make sure you shoot horizontally!

tripod2. Use a tripod

No matter how steady your hands are, your iPhone is going to have to work pretty hard to stabilize a handheld shot. If you’re editing multiple takes, slight movements can be really distracting, so it’s definitely worth the extra effort to stabilize your shots with a tripod.

3. Don’t use the iPhone’s zoom

Avoid the temptation to use the iPhone’s built-in camera zoom. Since the lens isn’t zooming optically, you’re just enlarging the picture digitally, which means you will quickly enter the world of unsightly pixels.

If you want to get a closer shot of your subject, just move your feet closer until you find the perfect shot!

ring light4. Light your video

The built-in camera flash on the new iPhone will never compare to using off-camera lights. There are a ton of professional lights that you can buy, like a ring light or Westcott’s Ice Lights. If you’re on a budget, you can also hack together a decent lighting kit from Home Depot.

If you can’t get your hands on any studio lights, the iPhone looks great in natural light, so position yourself facing a window and use the sun.

5. Use the exposure lock

The iPhone will automatically focus and expose your shot. This can be a great function for quick photos, but when you’re shooting a video of one person talking to the camera, it can really complicate things. The iPhone tends to keep adjusting and refocusing, which can lead to jittery-looking footage. That’s why we recommend using the exposure focus lock. This will help to keep the focus and exposure constant throughout your shot.

sennheiser6. Get your microphone close to your subject

A general rule for clear audio is to get your microphone as close to your subject as possible.

When shooting video with an iPhone, it’s best to position a second iPhone directly above the subject’s head to record the audio. Creating a simple voice memo should do the trick!

Another option is to use an external microphone. You can plug a powered mic, like the Sennheiser ME66, into a KV microphone adapter, and it’ll send the audio from the microphone directly into your iPhone.

Pro Tip: Clap once at the beginning of each take to create a reference point for syncing the good sound from the voice memo with the bad sound from the video recording.

lens7. Use a clip-on lens adapter for wider shots

Sometimes, you just need a wider shot, and the iPhone’s fixed lens will limit how wide your shots can be. Being able to capture a wider shot is especially handy when you’re shooting indoors or in small spaces.

A great workaround is to get a clip-on lens adapter. I’d only recommend using something like the Olloclip when you need to get a wider shot, but in those moments, it sure is handy!

8. Use slow motion wisely

You can get some amazing shots with the iPhone’s built-in slowmo, but make sure the choice is motivated and fits your story. A shot of someone skiing will probably be great in slowmo. A shot of someone typing on their computer, on the other hand, might not be so interesting.

imovie-logo9. Edit on your computer

There are some pretty cool editing apps available for the iPhone, but they still don’t beat editing on your computer. When you finish shooting, plug your phone in, offload your footage, and import your videos into your editor of choice.

If you’ve never edited a video before, there’s never been a better time to start! The iPhone’s camera combined with some minor editing can unlock some serious potential. Free tools like iMovie have made editing easier for everyone.

Use the camera you have

If you thought you needed to go out and buy a DSLR or to make a video, think again! Sometimes, the best camera is the one you have with you.