iphoneography, photo tips, tutorial, cellphone photo

iPhoneography: Photo & Filter Tips

Most of the fun, at least for me, with iPhoneography is that I carry my phone with me almost everywhere. So if I see something I want to photograph, I don’t have to pull out my DSLR, or berate myself for leaving it at home, I can just snap a photo on my phone.

The best camera is the one that’s with you.

Chase Jarvis

I also use my cellphone camera to take photos in places where I’m not allowed to bring my DSLR, such as my son’s dance classes. So I can still take a few photos to send to his grandparents.

I can play around with different effects and filters too, something that I don’t usually do when processing photos from my DSLR. It is fun all the same, because I feel almost as though I don’t have to take cellphone photos as seriously as I do my DSLR, I can play around and have fun with it.

photo tips, filter, iphoneography, iphone, photography, photo

If you missed my previous post, iPhoneography: Favourite Photo Apps, you might want to start reading there.

I love following the instagram feeds of talented photographers (@pennydelossantos is a personal favourite) to see what remarkable photos they come up with on their cellphones. From these instagram feeds though, you can see that there are still certain principles that separate a simple cellphone snapshot from something a little more artistic. Composition and lighting are still hugely important in defining a good photograph, whether it’s a photograph taken with a high end DSLR or a simple cellphone camera.

light, iphoneography, cellphonephoto


I would have never taken the above photo with my DSLR. I actually had it with me, but I didn’t have the right lens. Plus it was packed away in my bag and my husband or Mikey may well have noticed as I was pulling it out… which would have ruined the shot. But here they are, sitting on the train as we headed downtown on a Friday afternoon. My favourite photo that I’ve ever taken of them together, on a simple cellphone camera. That perfect light streaming in the train window, outlining their faces but casting shadow onto everything around them.

Light is a hugely important aspect of all kinds of photography, so learning to see light and manipulate it… being aware of how it plays on different features, will benefit all of your photos.


Composition can be a little different on cellphone photos, especially if you’re posting to instagram which uses a square format. A square has a natural sense of balance, with square format, the viewer’s eye moves differently around the image than with a rectangular format. The eye moves around the image in a circle instead of from side to side, opening up different opportunities for creative composition.

We are often told not to center our subjects when shooting in a rectangular format, but the balance of a square means that we can in fact place the subject in the center of the frame. This means that you can (and should) throw out the rule of thirds or the golden ratio, they no longer apply when shooting in a square format.

iphoneography, cellphone photo, photo tips

Filters & Processing

When posting to instagram, I started out just using the filters that came with the app or no filter at all. As I discovered various different photo apps I started trying out different combinations, often layering filters on top of one another for varying effects.

Something that I really love to do is to convert a photo to black and white using one of the apps detailed in my previous post, importing the black and white photo and using one of the instagram filters on top of that to add a slight colour hue, vignette or light texture to it. Don’t let yourself be limited to what is offered by a single photo app, play around and try out different ideas using a whole variety of different filters from other apps.

Don’t forget to read the previous post, iPhoneography: Favourite Photo Apps

Do you have any favourite processing or filter combinations? Do you consider cell phone photos to be art in the same way as photographs taken with a DSLR?



  1. Pingback: iPhoneography: Favourite Apps | Bumbles & Light

  2. That shot you took of your two boys is amazing! It’s as good if not better than any DSLR could have done. And like you said, you might have missed that beautiful moment had you waited and dug out the big camera. I love your tips and I couldn’t agree more about the importance of composition and lighting. I have tons of apps I love to play with. Snapseed, Camera+, DXP, Photo Collage, bokeh booth… to name a few. Thanks for sharing these fun tips! I love following your feed, as well as tons of other awesome photogs!
    alicia´s last post ..WW: Vintage Inspired Shoot

  3. Eva

    iPhoneography is really getting big. With things like Instagram, everyday people like me get into taking pictures. One day my friends found a bug in church. Before they killed it I ordered them to pause so I could take a picture. Once you start taking pictures, you can’t stop. Everything has a new kind of beauty. Using an iDevice is now getting close to actual cameras. Like Instacanvas. There are some really super awesome Instagrammers that sell their photos on Instacanvas. And they only use their iPhones. It’s pretty big. 🙂

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