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What Gear Do I Need to Start: IPhoneography

Technology + Gear
by Larissa Olenicoff Jan 10, 2012
iPhone photography, whether raw or “app-ed out”, is changing the game when it comes to travel photography.

IT WAS NEARLY two years ago that I switched over into the iPhone realm and my life as a traveler changed completely. As a an avid iPhoneographer, or “fauxtographer” as I like to call it, I believe that what can be created from photos taken on iPhones and then altered with various photo applications can really give professional photographers with expensive cameras and photo editing programs a run for their money.

Photo ops are often spontaneous and unpredictable, which is why being able to snap a quick photo with your iPhone over a traditional camera is sometimes a better option, especially while traveling. No heavy equipment required, nor expensive editing software.

Best of all, you can do it just about anywhere so long as you have battery power on your phone and time on your hands—it’s a perfect hobby for travelers in transit. Here are a few recommendations for getting started as an iPhoneographer.


This may seem rather obvious, but the truth is that iPhones are not the only phones out there that can produce “fauxtography.” Android has certainly picked up on the photo app trend, as has Blackberry; however, neither can compete against both the quality and quantity of photo apps that are available only for iPhone users.

While other brands may tout higher megapixels and more camera controls, the technology of an iPhone has consistently trumped the others in terms of image quality and the capture of low-light images.


There are a lot of really cool iPhone camera accessories on the market, but perhaps the most useful to a beginner would be a tripod. Sounds strange to carry around a tripod for your phone, but one like the GorillaMobile ($39.95) tripod is actually quite compact and has flexible legs making it possible to wrap it around a bar or railing for a more stable shot—really useful when working with the HD setting.

Apps for Editing

A great app for beginners is FX Photo Studio ($0.99). You can do pretty much everything with this app — edit, add effects, and share — but in my opinion it has one of the most straightforward interfaces for cropping, rotating, adjusting brightness, contrast, hues, saturation, and adding text. There is also a new option to submit your masterpiece to the International iPhoneography Contest.

Camera + ($1.99) is another great app for making some preliminary adjustments before you jump into adding effects which are also included. In addition to giving you the basic crop and adjust capabilities, it provides Scene modes to subsequently adjust the lighting for specific situations.

Apps for Effects

Picture Show ($1.99) is probably my favorite photo app. It’s perfect for the beginner because it has a shuffle feature that automatically mixes frames, light leaks and noises to generate literally hundreds of different results. Once you get more comfortable with the various elements you can then start experimenting with them on your own.

Dynamic Light ($0.99) is great app to have if you want to give your photos a more HDR-like look. Very uncomplicated to use and you get results fast.

Last but not least, I have to include Lo-mob ($1.99) in this list because it was the app that sparked my love for iPhoneography and it is very simple to use. It gives you 39 different filter options for creating vintage-looking photos.

Apps for Sharing

To truly get into the iPhoneography game, you must have platforms to showcase your work. My personal favorite is Instagram (free). It’s basically like Twitter but with photos so for those of you who travel often or have friends that travel often and with iPhones, this is an awesome way to show off your talent and/or keep up.

For those on the move, Postagram (free) is a great app that allows you to choose any photo off of your phone and then send it through the mail as a postcard to anywhere in the world for only $0.99.

Think you’ve come up with something that should be hanging in MoMA? Turn your photos into a canvas print using CanvasPop. With this service you can send over your iPhone photos and get them printed on archival-grade canvas. Prices start at $30 for a 12″ x 12″ and $60 for a 20″ x 20″.


One of the most important necessities of iPhoneography is having patience, both with the apps and the iPhone camera itself. As with any camera, it takes time to get used to how it operates and which conditions produce the kind of photos you like best so the best thing to do is just practice, practice, practice.

The same goes for when you are working with the different photo apps. The apps I mentioned above are just six out of over 5,500 available on iTunes. It’s all about finding the ones that work best for you and then experimenting.


Perhaps the biggest resource for any iPhoneographer is the popular iPhoneography blog. It’s the world’s #1 iPhoneography blog and provides essential information on various apps and accessories. There is also a user forum where you can ask questions, trade tips, or simply chat about the art with other iPhoneographers.

Try searching Flickr for iPhoneography or join one of the many iPhoneography groups. iPhoneography is one of the biggest groups and was actually started by the founder of

And finally, good ol’ Instagram. It’s not only great for sharing but a wonderful app for exploring the world of iPhoneography. You can search tags of user photos and essentially check out photos from all over the world.

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