My iPhone Photography Bag

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I almost always have a camera on me. Some time ago, I started keeping a packed camera bag and a tripod in my car. It helped me satisfy my photography urge when inspiration found it’s path to my eyes. With the camera always nearby I could pull over, stop, and capture what I saw. On my lunch break, I could walk around capturing moments throughout my day. The funny thing is, I noticed that I still captured more images with my iPhone than with Nikon.

It’s true; the best camera is the camera you have with you. But what has also become true, at least for me, over the last few years is that the best camera is the one that allows me to process and share my vision at the moment. This article by Daniel Korpai has some great tips that I have incorporated into my instant photography workflow.

With the introduction of iCloud Photo Library, there is a new smart album in the Photos app: Favorites. When you’re browsing through your images, you can find a little heart icon (?) under every single picture. Tap it, and Photos will automatically put that photo in the Favorites album and also make sure not to delete those in case you have the Optimize iPhone Storage turn on under the iCloud Photo Library’s settings. Go through all of your images in the Photos app and tap the little heart icon when you think you might want to process that particular image in the future. In the Favorites album, I then go through for a second time to review my selected images one more time, to make sure I only keep the very best.Daniel Korpai

That’s a new tip for me, and I have started using it. It makes cleaning up the mess in my iOS photo library much more manageable.

iOS 8 added the ability to pass images onto a third-party app for editing. The images undergo non-destructive edits which means I can always undo. I mostly use the Afterlight app. It has lots of filters, but I rarely use any of them. But it has a few editing tools that I love. I have a few other apps, but few of them are available as editors from the photos library.

This is why I reverse this process. Instead of opening a third-party app, find the image you want to edit in the Photos app, then pass the photo to the other application with the help of an iOS Extension created by the Workflow app.

I started doing that last week. I created a Workflow to pass images from Adobe Lightroom Mobile to a few of my apps favourite, including Instagram.

beer, flight

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My workflow is simple. Capture an image with the native camera app and either use share sheets or workflows to pass the image to another app, usually Afterlight, for processing. I use other camera apps for specialised captures. I have a camera app for creating HDR images, long exposures, one for macro photography, and a few that allow for manual control of the camera. These are organised into an iOS folder named simply Cameras.

My most used camera apps are:

  • Native iOS Camera
  • vividHDR
  • Slow Shutter
  • Stay Focused

Apps that I use for post-processing are organised into an iOS folder called Darkroom. This includes, Photogene, an app I consider the Photoshop of iOS, Afterlght, VSCO Cam, Snapseed, Darkroom, and Image Sizer to change images to fit Instagram’s square format.

My most used editing apps are:

  • Afterlight
  • VSCO Cam
  • Photogene
  • Image Sizer

Daniel uses VSCO Grid to publish his mobile image, but despite the square format, I prefer Instagram. It’s easy to post a picture to Instagram and simultaneously share to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and Foursquare.

Please read the article. The author mentions a few apps that I may download, try out, and perhaps add to my iPhone photography bag.

6 comments

  1. In 2016 I posted about my about my iPhone 6 photography kit which was an update from the photography kit I used in 2015. I bought an iPhone 7 last year and changed my photography kit only slightly but I made some changes to how I process my mobile images.
    NOTE: Lightroom CC refers to the new cloud-based desktop version of Lightroom. Lightroom Classic CC refers to the regular desktop version of Lightroom. Lightroom CC mobile refers to the iOS versions of Lightroom CC.
    Capture

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for iOS was released several years ago, has gone through several iterations including a recent name change. Originally a standalone app, Adobe has made the mobile app an integral part of its Creative Cloud (CC) strategy and added features along the way. Over the last year, this free mobile app, now call Lightroom CC, along with an Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan subscription, has become my go-to software for all my iPhone photography.
    My Creative Cloud Photography subscription includes the Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC desktop app. Apple added RAW support to iOS starring with version 10. Adobe added RAW/DNG support to Lightroom CC mobile soon after.
    The app has three shooting modes — High Dynamic Range, Automatic, and Professional. The Professional capture mode gives me complete control over essential camera settings like the shutter speed, the ISO, exposure, and the white balance. Lightroom CC mobile focus mode has a feature that simulates the “focus peaking” feature found on many mirrorless cameras. A green outline around the edge of the objects show the features that are in focus.
    Lightroom CC for mobile has Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) mode for creating RAW (DNG format) High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. Three images are captured and then aligned, merged, and de-ghosted within the app to create a high dynamic range composite. With the HDR mode, I get a 16-bit floating point image with the full flexibility of a traditional raw file plus the expanded dynamic range of a multi-frame HDR blend.
    Processing

    Adobe Lightroom CC mobile’s key feature is its synchronization with the desktop versions of Lightroom CC. This Lightroom CC feature syncs developed photos easily between an iPad, Mobile, or Mac.
    Lightroom CC mobile has easy-to-use sliders, filters, and quick adjustment tools. Edits on my iPhone are automatically synced everywhere else. I can shoot on my iPhone and edit on my iPad or Mac.
    Just like in Lightroom Classic CC on my iMac, I can pretty much adjust everything about an image via Lightroom CC for iOS. Lightroom CC mobile contains all the image adjustments found in the Basic panel of Lightroom Classic CC desktop’s Develop module, such as white balance, exposure, contrast, clarity, and vibrancy. It also includes several presets for applying black-and-white and colour filters (landscape, portrait, and vivid), specific looks, and tones; and a crop tool that can straighten, rotate, or lock the photo’s visible area to specific aspect ratios.
    The details section inside Lightroom CC mobile gives me control over sharpness, as well as adding noise reduction tools. I use those a lot. The iPhone 7 sensor is subpar in low light situations. I created a preset in Lightroom CC mobile as a default starting point for my editing.
    The one thing lacking that I wish Adobe will do something about is that presets in Lightroom Classic CC cannot be synced to Lightroom CC mobile. However, Lightroom CC users can use the same presets between desktop and mobile. Presets imported through that Lightroom CC desktop version will now sync via the cloud to the mobile apps. The same synchronization also works with colour profiles. The feature works with both purchased third-party presets and user-generated presets.
    Like on Lightroom CC desktop, the Lightroom CC mobile app uses the edits already applied to the selected photo to create a new preset. I can select which adjustments to include in the user created preset.
    Stabilization
    I’m pretty good at holding my iPhone 7 steady while taking photos but long exposure and HDR require that the camera remains stationary. A few years ago I bought a small Manfrotto tripod that I use to use with my iPhone.
    The tripod is lightweight, portable and rugged. It’s small enough to fit inside a long coat or small backpack. The tripod has a push-button locking adjustment, so I can position the tripod head just where I need it.
    You can learn more about Adobe Lightroom CC on Adobe’s website.
    Complete Kit
    My mobile photography workflow is snap, edit, post. The Manfrotto tripod and two camera apps are all I need to create compelling photographs with my iPhone.
    Adobe Lightroom CC + iPhone 7 back camera @ 3.99mm, 1/1400 sec at f/1.8, ISO 20

  2. In 2016 I posted about my about my iPhone 6 photography kit which was an update from the photography kit I used in 2015. I bought an iPhone 7 last year and changed my photography kit only slightly but I made some changes to how I process my mobile images.
    NOTE: Lightroom CC refers to the new cloud-based desktop version of Lightroom. Lightroom Classic CC refers to the regular desktop version of Lightroom. Lightroom CC mobile refers to the iOS versions of Lightroom CC.
    Capture

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for iOS was released several years ago, has gone through several iterations including a recent name change. Originally a standalone app, Adobe has made the mobile app an integral part of its Creative Cloud (CC) strategy and added features along the way. Over the last year, this free mobile app, now call Lightroom CC, along with an Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan subscription, has become my go-to software for all my iPhone photography.
    My Creative Cloud Photography subscription includes the Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC desktop app. Apple added RAW support to iOS starring with version 10. Adobe added RAW/DNG support to Lightroom CC mobile soon after.
    The app has three shooting modes — High Dynamic Range, Automatic, and Professional. The Professional capture mode gives me complete control over essential camera settings like the shutter speed, the ISO, exposure, and the white balance. Lightroom CC mobile focus mode has a feature that simulates the “focus peaking” feature found on many mirrorless cameras. A green outline around the edge of the objects show the features that are in focus.
    Lightroom CC for mobile has Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) mode for creating RAW (DNG format) High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. Three images are captured and then aligned, merged, and de-ghosted within the app to create a high dynamic range composite. With the HDR mode, I get a 16-bit floating point image with the full flexibility of a traditional raw file plus the expanded dynamic range of a multi-frame HDR blend.
    Processing

    Adobe Lightroom CC mobile’s key feature is its synchronization with the desktop versions of Lightroom CC. This Lightroom CC feature syncs developed photos easily between an iPad, Mobile, or Mac.
    Lightroom CC mobile has easy-to-use sliders, filters, and quick adjustment tools. Edits on my iPhone are automatically synced everywhere else. I can shoot on my iPhone and edit on my iPad or Mac.
    Just like in Lightroom Classic CC on my iMac, I can pretty much adjust everything about an image via Lightroom CC for iOS. Lightroom CC mobile contains all the image adjustments found in the Basic panel of Lightroom Classic CC desktop’s Develop module, such as white balance, exposure, contrast, clarity, and vibrancy. It also includes several presets for applying black-and-white and colour filters (landscape, portrait, and vivid), specific looks, and tones; and a crop tool that can straighten, rotate, or lock the photo’s visible area to specific aspect ratios.
    The details section inside Lightroom CC mobile gives me control over sharpness, as well as adding noise reduction tools. I use those a lot. The iPhone 7 sensor is subpar in low light situations. I created a preset in Lightroom CC mobile as a default starting point for my editing.
    The one thing lacking that I wish Adobe will do something about is that presets in Lightroom Classic CC cannot be synced to Lightroom CC mobile. However, Lightroom CC users can use the same presets between desktop and mobile. Presets imported through that Lightroom CC desktop version will now sync via the cloud to the mobile apps. The same synchronization also works with colour profiles. The feature works with both purchased third-party presets and user-generated presets.
    Like on Lightroom CC desktop, the Lightroom CC mobile app uses the edits already applied to the selected photo to create a new preset. I can select which adjustments to include in the user created preset.
    Stabilization
    I’m pretty good at holding my iPhone 7 steady while taking photos but long exposure and HDR require that the camera remains stationary. A few years ago I bought a small Manfrotto tripod that I use to use with my iPhone.
    The tripod is lightweight, portable and rugged. It’s small enough to fit inside a long coat or small backpack. The tripod has a push-button locking adjustment, so I can position the tripod head just where I need it.
    You can learn more about Adobe Lightroom CC on Adobe’s website.
    Complete Kit
    My mobile photography workflow is snap, edit, post. The Manfrotto tripod and two camera apps are all I need to create compelling photographs with my iPhone.
    Adobe Lightroom CC + iPhone 7 back camera @ 3.99mm, 1/1400 sec at f/1.8, ISO 20

  3. …that I carry is my mobile phone. After reading and skimming through Khürt’s My iPhone Photography Bag, I wanted to punch out details of what I use. I’m starting a new day from having a half-bad-day yesterday with a migraine, feeling nauseated and sleeping for half the day to recover. I still feel some it haunting parts of my body today.
    Until just recently, I used a 21MP camera on the Moto X Pure Edition (MXPE) and then it gave up the ghost after three years. Now I have a 12MP camera on the Google Pixel 2 (GP2) and I’m retraining muscle memories to use it well. Where MXPE was better at capturing low-light photos, the GP2 doesn’t despite the advertising out there about those awesome night shots. Maybe I’m missing a feature for those night shots, the Pixel Visual Core chip possibly.
    The mobile phone is not the best camera for professional shots, we all know that as photographers because we’ve experienced better quality.  In the moment that you want to capture what you’re seeing and don’t want to forget it, then the mobile phone is right.

    “Fallen Sunset” 30NOV2017 Waxhaw NC #pixel2 #teampixel #sunset #sunsetlovers #trunks #fall #fallentrees #goldenorange #clouds #rottentrees #treepile #justshoot #waxhawncphotographer #waxhawnc #waxhaw #northcarolina #photography #landscapephotography #landscape #visit_nc #igerssunset #outdoorsusa #nature #enchanting_sunsets #?? #??? #??
    A post shared by Daniel Brinneman (@danielbrinnemanphotography) on Nov 30, 2017 at 5:10pm PST

  4. Capture
    I discovered the ProCam app earlier this year. I had seen it reviewed and praised on some websites and decided to give a try. Within a few months, I realised the reviews were not hyperbole. The ProCam is one of the handiest iOS camera apps I have ever used. The ProCam 3 app replaced several apps on my iPhone 6. I no longer use Vivid HDR, Manual, Camera+, and Slow Shutter Cam. Other than the native camera app I have no other camera apps on my iPhone. I made a comparison of the output quality of various camera apps, and the TIFF images produced by the ProCam app were better in quality. ProCam app has a slow shutter mode for timelapse, star trails and long exposure photography. I have manual control over exposure, shutter speed, ISO, focus point, and white balance controls. And focus peaking. Yes, the same focus peaking function that can be found in modern high-end digital cameras. ProCam 3 also does Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) for creating High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. The app supports JPG and TIFF. I tend to treat the TIFF files as RAW. iOS 10 supports RAW images in the iPhone 6S, iPhone 7 and 7S so I may soon give that a try.
    Processing
    After capturing images with my DSLR, I import them into Adobe Lightroom for editing and post-processing. I have always post-processed my iPhone pictures, using various apps over the years including Adobe Lightroom Mobile. However, I recently started using an app called Polarr.

     Aperture ƒ/2.2  Credit Khürt L. Williams  Camera iPhone  Captured 3 September, 2015  Focal length 4.15mm  ISO 32  Location 35° 35.0848′ 0″ N 75° 27.6617′ 0″ W  Shutter speed 60s 
    Polarr allows me to edit every aspect of the TIFF images I shoot with ProCam 3 including:

    Exposure
    Brightness
    Highlights
    Shadows
    Saturation
    Vibrance
    Perspective
    Contrast
    Dehaze
    Split Toning
    Vignette
    Tint
    Colour temperature

    Whew! Just like in Lightroom (desktop) on my iMac, I can pretty much adjust everything about an image via Polarr for iOS. In fact, Polarr has more adjustment features than Lightroom Mobile. Polar comes with many free filter packs to emulate vintage and modern file types, and I can purchase additional filters via in-app purchase. But Polarr offers one feature that I wish the Lightroom Mobile app also had. All the adjustment I make to an image can be saved as a preset. I can reuse those changes on other images. I can also share my presets on social media. Polar creates a QR code which I can post to Twitter or Facebook. I can reuse filter presets created by other Polarr users simply by import a QR code.
    Stabilization
    I’m pretty good at holding my iPhone 6 steady while taking photos but long exposure and HDR require that the camera remains stationary. Earlier this year I bought a small Manfrotto tripod that I use to use with my iPhone.

    The tripod is lightweight, portable and rugged. It’s small enough to fit inside a long coat or small backpack. The tripod has a push-button locking adjustment, so I can position the tripod head just where I need it.
    Complete Kit
    The Manfrotto tripod and two camera apps are all I need to create compelling photographs with my iPhone.

  5. The iPhone 6 has an 8 megapixel (3264 x 2448 pixels) camera with a fixed aperture 4.15mm f/2.2 lens, a shutter-speed range of 1/2000 of a second to 1/2 a second and ISO range from 32 to 2000. With the crop-factor, the lens is equivalent to a 29mm f/15 lens on a full-frame 35mm camera. That’s a fairly wide lens with very little depth of field which in my opinion is best suited for landscape photography.

    When you save a photo on your iPhone, either at the time of shooting or after editing, the app you’re using determines several factors that affect image size and quality. And not all apps are made equal. How Different iPhone Photo Apps Affect Image Quality

    After reading that article, I wanted to do my test of the camera apps I have installed on my iPhone 6. I recently
    For the test, I set up my iPhone 6 on a tripod near a window. I set up each app to record in its highest quality mode. For some apps that meant a TIFF formatted file. Some of the apps capture in JPEG format only. Some of the apps can do both. JPEG is a lossy compression format. This means that the JPEG algorithm makes decisions and removes information it deems irrelevant. This compression varies between apps. TIFF files may or may not be compressed but the compression is lossless. TIFF files sizes tend to be larger than JPEG.
    The camera apps that I tested include the native iPhone Camera app, Camera+, ProCam, Manual Camera, Slow Shutter Cam, Manual Camera, and VSCO. Most of the apps on the list are ones I actually use to capture images. Some of the apps, like Enlight and Adobe Camera, are the ones I use mostly for filters or editing my images. I have a few other apps with cameras but these apps included so little data with the image that I removed them from the test.
    This table is a comparison of the file sizes shown in megabytes (MB) and the resolution of the images that I shot with these camera apps.

    App
    File Format
    Resolution (WxH)
    File Size (megabytes)
    GPS Data

    Adobe Camera 1.0 (from Lightroom Mobile)
    JPEG
    3264×2448
    1.78 MB
    Yes

    iOS 9.2 Camera
    JPEG
    3264×2448
    2.1
    Yes

    ProCam 3
    TIFF
    3264×2177
    28.4
    Yes

    Enlight
    JPEG
    3264×2448
    2.0
    Yes

    Manual Camera
    JPEG
    3264×2448
    4.6
    Yes

    Camera+ 7.1.1
    TIFF
    3264×2448
    9.6
    Yes

    Slow Shutter Cam by Cogitap Software
    TIFF
    3264×2448
    24
    Yes

    VSCO
    JPEG
    3264×2448
    1.7
    Yes

    The iOS 9 native camera app, Adobe Camera, Enlight and VSCOcam have the smallest file sizes. The smaller the file size, the poorer quality of the image is likely to be. Since doing this test, I have switched to using Camera+ as my default camera app. Camera+ features a widget that I installed in my iPhone’s Home Screen Notification Center. From there, I simply press “Take Photo” to go straight to Camera+. However, if my iPhone is locked, it will ask me to unlock it before taking me directly to Camera+. It’s not as quick to get access to as the native camera app but is still faster than unlocking your phone, finding Camera+, opening, and going to the access screen.
    I discovered that editing TIFF files were a challenge for some apps including the native Photos apps. Every crop edit I made I resulted in my image turning black. Once it turns black it stays that way in every other app. Instead of the Photos, I now use Photogene for cropping and minor editing of TIFF images. Fortunately, Photogene makes non-destructive edit and exports images in TIFF format as well as JPEG and I can specify the image size on export.

    VSCO

    Adobe Camera 1.0

    VividHDR

    ProCam 7.0

    Photogene

    iPhone 9.2.1

    Manual Camera

    Camera+ 7.1.1

    Snapseed 2.3.4202

    Since I started using Camera+ I have made some changes to why mobile editing workflow. I capture images with Camera+. Camera+ is set up to save all images in TIFF to my image catalogue. From there I open the image in either Photogene to make crops and edits or Prime or RNI Films to apply a filter. It’s an efficient workflow.
    However, I am considering switching to using the ProCam app. It can also be accused via the iPhone lock screen, saves in TIFF format, allows manual controls of ISO and shutter speed, but also has some of the functionality of Slow Shutter Cam by Cogitap Software. ProCam app could replace three apps. However, I’m reluctant to switch because it means learning a new app and my fingers are already tuned to one way of working. But I expect I’ll switch eventually.

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