iPhone Life magazine

Joel Heffner is a writer and speaker. He has been writing about photography for about thirty years, ever since his book Amphoto Guide to Wedding Photography was published. Today, he mainly uses two types of cameras, pinhole cameras and an iPhone, a photographic odd couple of sorts.

An Open Letter to iPhone App Developers

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Dear iPhone App Developers,

I love experimenting with iPhone apps…the photo apps are my special interest. I wish you all the best of luck and hope that you sell millions of copies. You deserve as much as you can make for spending the hours that you do creating your nifty stuff. But some of you (far too many of you) need to alter the way you do things. Although you know how to code, your business skills are lacking. Here are some suggestions. I hope that they are helpful.



From Nice to Dramatic

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While walking through a lovely New Jersey Park with my wife, we came across this lovely scene. I quickly took the (color) picture and we continued along. Many lovely photos were taken that day.

When I came home I liked this one in particular. The problem was that while it was a nice picture, it just wasn't as good as I'd like it to be. I tried some simple color enhancements and still wasn't satisfied. I even tried a psychedelic look, but it just looked silly. So I put it to the side. 



iPhoneography Tip of the Week — To Flash or Not to Flash

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The iPhone's built-in camera is one of the most widely used cameras in the world. Each week we will feature an iPhoneography tip to help you take better pictures with your iPhone!

In the olden days (before iPhones, of course), it was difficult to take photos indoors unless you had a flash. Today, many point-and-shoot camera users have problems using flash when taking pictures of people because of the dreaded red eye effect.

With iPhone's built-in light source and red-eye brush, Apple has solved that problem to a large degree. You can turn the light on or off as you wish or leave it in its Auto setting.



Tips for Better Videos

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Twitter recently bought Vine, an app used to create videos up to six seconds long. I'm not sure how many videos really are needed of that length. If you like it that's great. The videos also loop and can be used on Twitter, of course.

Regardless of camera or the app you use when making videos, here are five basic video making tips that you might find helpful.



If Sandy damaged your pictures, your iPhone may be able to help preserve them...

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In recent days, you've probably seen and heard a lot about where I live. I live on Staten Island. About 20 fellow Staten Islanders were killed. Many neighborhoods have been destroyed. Some schools are still closed. The restaurant that my family visited on October 19 is gone. Sandy was not nice to us.

Volunteers have been coming to help with the clean-up. There's been plenty of criticism about the lack of electricity for thousands. [Fortunately, my power was turned on about after three days.] It's still difficult to get gasoline for the cars.



Instagram on the Web

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One of the things that always bothered me about using Instagram was sharing images. Now, you can share your Instagram images easily online. If you have an account you can now, or you will be able to do it soon, view your pictures online. For example, my address is http://instagram.com/joelheffner. [My account became active earlier today.] They say that if you have an Instagram account it should be up and running within about a week. Check with Instagram about your privacy settings. It's a very welcome change...at least to me.



Kickstarter + Polaroid + iPhone = The Instant Lab

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Long before the iPhone became the darling of so many photographers, Polaroid was equally admired. Although Polaroid, the company, stopped making instant film, Polaroid, the instant photo concept, has continued on. There are many iPhone apps that imitate the Polaroid style of pictures. The Impossible Project started making instant film that can be used with the old Polaroid cameras a couple of years ago. And now they have created (or are about to create) a machine that will make instant pictures with their film directly from your iPhone. The machine will be called the Instant Lab. In order to fund it the Impossible Project created a Kickstarter Project that sought $250,000.



The History of Cameras ... iPhone Style

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The history of cameras goes back more than one hundred and fifty years. The History of Cameras App doesn't go through every aspect of it, but it does cover the highlights...in an interesting way. There are screens that show specific bits of information, such as how Richard Leach Madox perfected the dry plate. Accompanying each of these nuggets is a button that lets you see ... kind of ... how the process works. It's really a fun and very interesting App ... and it's free. If you are interested in photography, try this one for sure.



Video for the Video Idiots?

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When it comes to making videos, I'm one of those who just can't do it. The editing software seems like it wants me to get frustrated. I rarely take any videos because I know that no one, including me, will want to see it. However, there seems to be a possibility that this might change. Enter Magisto! It seems as though the folks who made it had me in mind. It's an iPhone App that does the video editing for you. How do they do it? Who knows...and who cares? As long as it gets done, I'd be happy. I've been doing some experimenting with it and it seems to work. I'll be uploading a video in the next few days.



iPhone vs. Brownie Hawkeye

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The Brownie Hawkeye reminds me of the current iPhone. Why? Here are some comparisons:

1. Both are (or were) ennormously popular.

2. They both are known for portability. Although you couldn't keep a Brownie in your pocket it could be easily carried around...especially if you compare it to the view cameras that it replaced.

3. They are both very simple to use. You took a picture with a Brownie by looking down into the finder and clicking a button.

4. They both became the de facto leader in the field. Apple dominates just as Kodak did.

5. Simplicity defines both cameras.



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