Capture Artful Moments With Your iPhone | Day 2 of 10

What is a photograph without light? Photographs depend on light. By controlling the exposure yourself, you can dramatically change the mood, tone, and look of your photos.


When you point your iPhone (or smartphone) at a subject, your camera averages all the light in a scene and automatically sets the exposure, oftentimes resulting in a photo that doesn’t reflect what you saw or imagined. What the camera can’t see is how to use that light artistically. By manually controlling the exposure, you adjust how bright or dark an image should be. 

Too much light creates a bright overexposed image. Conversely, not enough light creates a dark underexposed image. 

Tap the subject of your photo and a box with a sun icon next to it will appear. Click on the sun icon to adjust the exposure up or down to let in more or less light. The square icon also determines where the camera automatically focuses. Tap and hold the box to lock focus and then slide the sun up or down to adjust exposure. For photos with multiple people in the frame, tap on the small box that appears over each person’s face to make sure everyone is in focus.

Capture Artful Moments With Your iPhone | Day 1 of 10

It’s a well known adage that the best camera is the one you have with you. I happen to agree and want to help you learn how to make better photos with your iPhone (or whatever smartphone you use) over the next ten days. Each day, I will post a new lesson here that will help you improve your photography skills. Art + Science = Magic.

Today’s lesson comes straight from my photo workshops and while it may be unconventional, since you won’t need an actual camera today, you will need to tune-in into your senses in order to see on a deeper level. 


Learn how to visualize a photo. Put down your camera phone. Look at the scene around you. Notice where the light and shadows fall. Close your eyes for a minute. What do you remember of the scene you just saw? How did you feel? With your eyes still closed, visualize how you would capture the scene. 

Open your eyes. Use your hands to mimic a camera frame. Make a “u” shape with each pointer finger and thumb and then overlap them crosswise to create a handy “frame card” you can access anytime. Imagine capturing the scene with your hand camera. Be creative. Move your camera all around. Change your perspective. Move in close to your subject. Pull back from your subject. 

You can use this technique to help you frame a scene before you pick up your camera. 

Remember, photographs are made by learning how to see and express emotions in a moment (as well as understanding the basic mechanics of using your camera). So take the time to work on this first step in paying attention to a moment.

What’s In My Camera Bag | Northampton Family Photographer

[Nikon d800 with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens]

I like to keep my camera gear as simple as possible and relevant to the work at hand. While I have separate bags for my digital and film cameras, I thought I would cover my digital first.

To keep my bag lightweight and efficient, I use a Lowepro shoulder bag I can comfortably wear across my shoulder. 

Whether I’m working in the studio or on location, the contents of my digital camera bag are the same. My bag includes a Nikon d800, a full frame 35mm camera with 3 main lens for my portraiture work. My favorite lens is a 50 mm f/1.8 lens, which renders true to our eye’s perspective. Next in line is a wide angle, 35mm f/2 lens, offering a slightly wider perspective that is still flattering without being too distorting in portraits. Last is a telephoto  zoom 70-300 mm f/4.5 lens. I love this lens for portraits, especially outdoors. The fourth lens that I have but don’t often carry is a short telephoto macro 60mm f/2.8 lens for close up work.

[Nikon d800 with the Nikkor 35mm f/2 lens]

I always use a light meter in the studio and often on location, a Sekonic L-358 Flash Meter, for accurate light readings.

For location work that doesn’t require studio strobes, I carry a Nikon 600b flash that I mount on a tripod to add extra fill light when necessary. By bouncing the light off a window, white wall, or white ceiling corner I am able to create a soft light source. A small piece of bubble wrap is tucked into the flash case to diffuse the flash on my camera, along with a wide rubber band to hold the bubble wrap in place, and AA batteries to power the flash. 

[Nikon d800 with the Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5 lens]

To keep my lenses clean, I always have a lens pen in my bag.

Battery charger for my Nikon d800. 

Two memory cards in camera plus an extra set up backups: SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB Compact Flash card and SanDish SDHC 16 GB card.

Lip balm. 

That’s it for the digital bag. 

Stay tuned to find out what’s in my film bag…

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