the iphone series

A project showcasing the iPhone camera's capabilities paired with the user's capabilities in photography and videography.

Creativity at your fingertips

There is a world of possibilities in photography and videography on your phone. The quality of iPhone images and videos has risen so much that many people can’t tell the difference. While skill is still needed to create a good end product, it has become a lot more accessible. Apple has created campaigns around the iPhone’s camera capacity and the results are pretty amazing.  Limitations do still exist when shooting with iPhone. However, there are still some settings you can play around with to make your images and video look like they are of high quality.


Here are several things you can do within the camera settings:

  • Turn on the grid
    • This will help align everything you are shooting, especially in horizontal
    • This will also help you follow the rule of thirds, which will make images and video that much more appealing to the eye
  • Change the video quality 
    • The iPhone has different quality and frame per second capabilities
    • These include: 720p HD at 30 fps, 1080p HD at 30fps, 1080p HD at 60fps, and 4K at 30fps
    • The fps and quality you choose should be based on the look you’re going for, the higher the framerate the smoother your video look

Here are several things you can do within the actual camera app:

  • Lock the AE/AF by tapping and holding down on the screen
    • Doing this will  lock the focus and the exposure
    • You can also change the exposure by “pulling” the little sun icon down within this lock
    • This is a HUGE game changer and will make your video and photo look more professional
    •  This can also help when taking flash photos 
    • Tapping anywhere on the screen will unlock both of these if you need to change it
  • Take advantage of Portrait mode
    • The iPhone has a portrait mode that adds an element of field of depth, blurring the background that makes for great photo opportunity
  • Shoot photos with “Live” mode
    • If you’re shooting a light subject in the dark you can do a cool “long exposure” effect after shooting in live

Some equipment and tools that can help you out: 

  • Tripods
  • Stabilizers
    • Both of these will help you have a steadier image or video
  • Props
    • Crystal prisms to manipulate the photo effect
    • Nature’s props (leaves, flowers, etc.)
    • Anything that will add in interesting element to your photo, get creative!
  • Photography apps
    • Lightroom
    • Photoshop
    • FaceTune
    • Presets



The following are two different styles of video editing.  In post production, you can edit iPhone footage to the certain look that you want. All video was shot on the iPhone 7 plus unless otherwise noted.

"Cinematic" Editing Style

Storytelling through video can be really impactful. The way you cut clips, add music and edit it can make all the difference. Cinematic storytelling to me, means that it’s emotional and captivating. If you want to learn more about this video and the idea behind this type of style then visit my project website on it.

"Hype" Editing Style

Ugly Location Challenge

Hobby Lobby Edition


The ugly location challenge was a trend created around the idea that photography and its creativity and skill comes from the creator. I remember seeing the sets of photos on social media and being in awe. Like, that photo was really taken there?

Popularized by Kelsey Maggart, a 22-year-old photographer, the ugly location challenge took social media by storm starting in 2018. The “Ugly Location Challenge” has embodied the aspect of creativity. The challenge was created to show that talent can create something special.  “You don’t have to love your location to love your shoots,” said Maggart. 

During the challenge, unexpected places were made into photoshoot ops. Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, the corner of parking lots, random shrubs, you name it. It seemed the more unexpected the location, the more interesting of a photo it would make.  The elements of the location added more aspects as well, the wires of a fence, the hanging leaf branches, the lighting in the light’s aisle, etc. 

The challenge was taken on by a plethora of photographers and then posted to social media with the hashtag #uglylocationchallenge. A photo was taken of the “ugly location” and then of the subject or person in the ugly location. Different angles, edits, and lighting would create a whole new perspective of that ugly location. The photos then would be posted side by side on a social media platform to show the striking difference.

To go along with this “iPhone series,” I decided to take the challenge a step further. I chose to use the iPhone as the camera source and its tools to see what images I could get. I also decided to use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to edit and give it more of a professional look. 

My location of choice was Hobby Lobby. Now don’t get me wrong, Hobby Lobby is not “ugly” per se, but it is not a conventional place for a photo shoot. There is terrible lighting in the aisles though, and you can see the shelves and price tags in the shots. I also had to keep in mind that there are customers trying to shop around my impromptu photo shoot. If you’re doing a challenge like this in the public eye you have to throw your shame and embarrassment out the window. After editing, I was happy with the photos. This wasn’t the easiest thing to do but the outcome was super rewarding.

Before and After's

Portraits are one of the most common types of photography. The iPhone has incredible capability when it comes to portraits. These were taken in both portrait and regular photo mode. The camera is a great tool for on-the-go photoshoots. The ability to hold down the camera button allows you to shoot bursts to capture things in motion. 

Getting creative with the posing of your subject is the key to creating good portraits. I know it can be difficult, and after a smiling shot and a serious shot, what is there? Luckily the internet is our friend and not our foe, so there are hundreds of resources for ideas and how-to’s. The “But first, Coffee” blog by Kallie Branciforte has 9 simple poses to look better in photos.

"you don't have to love your locations to love your shoots."