Monday, August 22, 2011
Create Great iPhone Photos - Review
No Starch Press - author Allan Hoffman - Create Great iPhone Photos - Apps, Tips, Tricks and effects ISBN 978-1-59327-285-2
Full Disclosure - I was provided a copy of the book to read and use in the review process. To be in integrity with all, I use these tools to provide a solid review of a product, service or book with no additional agenda. It's important to do this so that there's no favoritism. I will also say upfront that I love the lay flat binding in this book so I can open it, lay it down and let is stay where I opened it to. Very handy when using a book like this as a guide.
And now to the review -
First off let me say that by the time I am finished typing this there will be a slew of new apps out on the App Store for those would be iPhoneO-Graphers out there to take advantage of. That's how fast this landscape changes.
BUT!!! It's awesome that someone has taken a moment to put out a book that not only spotlights some really great apps, but also gives you some tips on how to use those apps to achieve some amazing results.
Allan did a great thing in writing this book. He used a collection of apps to tell the story and to weave together the pieces of the puzzle that not only tell the reader how to achieve things, it shows them.
At 203 pages it's an easy read which will keep you coming back for more. I found myself purchasing a few apps from the App Store, then going to the book and saying "how did he do that...oh it's right here!" I did that a lot as I was reading this mostly in the evening time before going to sleep.
Chapter 1 - takes you through the iPhone Camera Essentials. You get to understand what the iphone camera is and what isn't. You find the strength and weaknesses and learn how it compares to others out there.
Based on my personal experiences I would recommend using the iPhone 4 for any current work that you're doing with photos. Its display is amazing and the resolution of the current camera is at 5Megapixels which will generate a nice photograph either to be viewed on computer screen or in print.
Chapter 2 - discusses some great apps you'll want to get your hands on right now to extend the abilities of the camera in the iPhone. Also covers things to consider when buying different apps. I like this because as the market grows it's nice to have some baseline of things to look for when purchasing apps and what they'll do for you.
Chapter 3 - focuses (pardon the pun) on some great apps for manipulating images, cleaning them up, resizing them, basically you'll find out that you truly can have Photoshop in Your Pocket for much less than the cost of that desktop application.
Chapter 4 - covers a favorite topic of mine which is filters, effects and recipes. Here you can learn how to really cook up and deliver some great photos from your iPhones camera.
This image was created using an app called "dash of color" which lets you turn an image into grey and then introduce a little bit of color where you desire to draw the viewer's attention to important things.
Chapter 5 - looks at the "Retro Look" which is interesting. In digital photography there's a degree of sterility in images which people are dying to see overcome. They're too clean! So the retro look takes a look at ways of dirtying up the image and making it appear as if it was taken by an older model film camera. We do miss those polaroids where the light bled into the back of the camera and created an interesting image for us. Now we can easily achieve that using some apps and some settings within them. You'll see how.
This image was treated to a "haze" effect by Photofx which is an app chock full of filters and effects for everything you can imagine. Check it out and then add it to your arsenal of tools used in everyday photo editing. Seriously DocMurdock Recommended.
Chapter 6 - covers fun effects which go to places like when you were a kid and your folks gave you a little toy camera that put out some really cool pictures when the film was processed. Now you don't have to run down to FotoMat to get those pictures. Your iPhone will deliver them for you in seconds.
This image used an app called Swankolab. Swankolab is really cool because it let's you be your own Dr. Jekyll or Mr./Mrs. Hyde with chemicals. This one came out a little bit overdone for my liking, but it's just here to show you can do some cool effects with images quickly. All of these photos included were done with the iPhone 4 and its front-facing camera which is great when you remember to look up into the lens of it, not into the screen of the phone.
Chapter 7 - is that thing we often see on facebook, twitter, tumblr, and a host of other services out there, someone just took a pic and posted it and it's there for the entire globe to see if they desire. Now you'll see how that's done and some key services to use when posting images. The one I am writing this review on is called Posterous.com and it's one of my favorites. Make sure you visit it and see how to tie things together with email and posting of images. They also have an app which is free that you can load onto your iPhone or iPad 2 and take pictures, then post them along with a blog entry. Very slick stuff.
Chapter 8 - talks about the Photoblogging process and mentality as well. Allan spotlights Tumblr and Wordpress as two great ways to post your pictures. There are more than 1,000 others out there. Check out flickr as well as blogger.com and of course facebook, twitter, twitpic, dailybooth and many other services that allow you to post pictures for free. Now when you do post something remember it's out there, so if you see it on the news or something and you did not give permission for it, don't be peeved. You actually did when you posted it on the web. But that's another story entirely.
This image was treated to LoMob and its feature set. Changed from color to black and white with some great contrast as well as some doctoring on focus to allow me to appear closer than I was. Very cool use of depth of field in this and this was all done in post processing after the picture was pulled from the photo library. Some apps also allow you to do this as you've taken the picture which is handy rather than importing and changing them later on.
Chapter 9 - is a collection of users whose work is great to inspire you to do greater, cooler things with your iphone and its camera. So read through these, see what apps they use and try some out for yourself. Most of all just have fun.
This book gets a DOCMURDOCK - APPROVED stamp because it rocks! Great content, great examples, lots of pictures and tricks and it's well written by its author and published by a great group of people.
Make sure you pick up a copy or get one onto your iPad2 or iPhone from your favorite vendor.
See you on the web!
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Enjoy your day wherever you are and may all of your photos be masterpieces.