iPhone Life magazine

Photography

Stop taking pictures and start taking works of art with CanvasPop!

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If Yogi Berra were to assess today's use of cameras he might say: "Nobody takes photographs anymore... they're too busy taking pictures."  If you're like me, you have thousands of digital pictures stored on hard drives and online galleries but only print a tiny fraction of them.  Once in a while we'll find "a keeper" and enlarge it to 11"x14" and frame it, but by and large, photos stay on the computer and maybe a digital photo frame.



Cycle Art!

Creating a visual celebration of the bicycle

I discovered, somewhat by chance, an unexpected power within the iPhone on a long bicycle ride early last year. A chance encounter with blooming dandelions stopped my ride, and I took a photo of them with my iPhone. Later, as I played with the photo in a quiet setting, using a number of image editing apps, I realized I had discovered a new genre, which I call, "Cycle Art." Simply put, Cycle Art is a mobile, digital celebration of the bicycle.


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Adjust exposure and take close up photos (iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4)

Issue: 

When you have the Camera app open and the desired image displayed on the screen, you can change the focus area of the image before you take the picture. Simply tap on the portion of the image on which you want the camera to focus. The camera automatically adjusts the focus and exposure for that area. You can use this to your advantage if you don't like the lighting (darkness or brightness) of the image. Simply tap on different areas until it looks the best. Then tap on the camera icon to take the picture.

You can also use this feature when you are taking close-up photos (i.e. photos of people or objects less than a foot from the camera). Align the photo and tap on the image until the foreground image looks best against the background.

Finally a real Flashlight app!

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Before there was an app store, one of the first apps created for jailbroken iPhones was a Flashlight app by the excellent Erica Sadun.  It basically used the screen display as a light emitting device.  We have finally come full circle with the iPhone 4 which has an actual LED for use as a flash.  An enterprising developer, Michael D'Ulisse of More Blu Sky saw this as an opportunity to create a real flashlight app that projected light.



quanp a free alternative to MobileMe, backed by Ricoh

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I like MobileMe, especially for the FindMyiPhone feature (which I've used a few times) but it could use some competition, especially in terms of price.  Ironically, before I became a full-time iPhone app developer, I worked for a software firm in the printing industry.  We partnered with Ricoh and in that capacity, I beta tested their quanp service.  Similar to MobileMe's iDisk feature, you can upload and share photos and files such as PowerPoint and PDF documents.



iOS Tip #3: The writing is on the wallpaper

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Wallpaper, or custom backgrounds, can be a nice way to personalize your phone and it is surprising it took so long for this ability to reach the iPhone.  Perhaps it is even more surprising that custom wallpapers are not available on the iPhone 3G, even with iOS 4.0, but I guess Apple has to draw the line somewhere.  In a reply to a customer email, Steve Jobs himself said it was a performance issue.



Making pictures out of text...

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Asciigraphy lets you take a picture, sort of. When you start it up and go to take a picture the image you see in your iPhone is a myriad of Asci text that forms your image. Right now all you can do is take a picture using the effect. Later versions promise to be able to import photos you've already got. The first (and so far only) picture I've had a chance to take is one of my computer's desktop. Unfortunately, it's difficult to even make out what it shows. The text is too clear. Hopefully, when I get outside to take some pictures it will look better. Can't complain since it's for free. Try it. Here's my desktop...sort of.



Which App was that?

I must be getting old. I can't seem to remember which nifty iPhone App has which function. So many seem to have overlapping functions, it's hard to keep up. So...my solution has been to actually print out (on real paper) the descriptions that are found in the App store. It actually saves time in the long run. I can find the App I need to do what I want with my iPhone photos. It's not the most high tech solution, but it does work...well. Yes, paper still has its place. :)



Start camera app quickly

Issue: 

If you take a lot of photos with your iPhone and want to be able to launch the Camera app quickly, attach it to the Home button by going to Settings >General >Home and selecting Camera. This configures the iPhone so that pressing the Home button twice in quick succession launches the Camera app.


Practical, everyday uses for Camera

Issue: 

You can use the Camera app on your iPhone to take photos of your family and friends, but there are other very practical uses for this function:


  • If you're in an accident, document the location and damage to your car with photos; take a photo of the other car's license plate. You can e-mail them to your insurance company or if necessary, the police.
  • If you leave your car in a large mall or airport parking lot, take a photo of it and make sure you have one of the parking lot ID signs in the photo (e.g., "Lot E4"). It will help you find the car when you are leaving.

  • If you see something you want to buy at a store, but need input from your partner before you make the purchase, take a photo of it and e-mail it to him or her.
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