A Photo Lesson...

Today I conspired with Jason, my husband and co-owner of JKoe Photography, to bring you some tips for taking awesome iPhone photos. Enjoy!

Our basic advice for shooting with your iPhone, actually applies to all cameras. However, since iPhones (and all camera phones, for that matter) don't really give you the options to manually change your settings, it makes these tips even more important, since these are the only variables you can control.

Instagram photos by jkoephoto.comWhile in Kenya last month, Jason and I spent a lot of time shooting with our iPhones. Believe it or not, even with an abundance of giant cameras and nice lenses, sometimes it's more fun to just whip out your phone.

1. Find Good Light The best light of the day is always the two hours before sunset and the two hours after sunrise. Want to get good pictures of something? This is when you should shoot. Obviously this isn't always possible, so in the case that a child or kitten that has the audacity to do something cute in bad lighting, walk around them or even move the phone around and look for the angle where the light looks best. Start paying attention to the subtleties of light, it varies from angle to angle.  
2. Change Your Perspective No, this isn't meant to be some sort of philosophical look at photography. I literally mean, get on the floor or shoot from above your subject. Different angles make things interesting. Everyone sees things at eye level, spice things up. 
3. Get Your Subject Out of the Center There is a concept in visual arts called the rule of thirds.  The basic idea is to keep the dominant part of your subject out of the very center of the photo and to try and place it along the lines and intersecting points, studies have shown that this is more pleasing to the eye.* For a visual aid...
*Keep in mind, all "rules" in art are meant to be broken. Sometimes it just works artistically to have the subject in the dead center. Check this out for more on the rule of thirds. 

The Apps We Use the Most
Instagram is free and great for sharing and cool filters, though we generally recommend shooting with the iPhone's regular Camera app.
Camera+ ($1.99) is actually a great camera for really close up (macro) shots. It also has cool filters and a great sharpening tool called "clarity".
Filtermania is also free and like it's name suggests, offers lots of fun filters to get different looks for your photos.
Photoforge2 ($1.99) For all of those familiar with Photoshop, this app is substantially closer to actual Photoshop than the Photoshop app itself, allowing you to use layers, curves, levels, overlays, shadow highlight and hundreds of other tools.
Diptic ($0.99) is our favorite for making collages.
Slow Shutter ($0.99) is really fun for doing night shots and long exposures.
Snapseed ($4.99) is a fairly easy to use editing app and Teresa's favorite.

All photos via my talented husband,  Jason's instagram feed and all shot with his iPhone 4S. Follow Jason on Instagram: @jkoephoto
Check out more of our work here: jkoephoto.comfacebook.com/jkoephoto


  1. I am a FANATIC about camera apps. I use Camera +, Instagram, Diptic, and I just bought Snapseed. I will confess, I'm not terribly adept with the features on Snapseet just yet. Let's be real. I'm probably going to go buy those other apps now.

    1. Sometimes it just a matter of trial and error, taking one photo and trying different apps to edit. Snapseed is one you have to just keep playing with for sure.

      Also, I just read your "About" and got really excited at the muppet part. And now I sound kind of like a stocker...

    2. Ahhh hahah! I am just now catching this. I love that someone else appreciated it. It's really the best thing! I am so upset I don't have the iPhone 4S now for the camera.

  2. what a cool post! i would love for you to add this to my new link party... spreading the love. please go check it out if you are interested! there's a great scarf giveaway going on there as well!
    {love} lauryn @ love notes by lauryn