Making memories is simple, but capturing those memories in a way that can convey the same feeling as when you were physically in the moment is hard. There's nothing worse than showing your friends photographs from your latest trip and having to say, "You honestly just had to be there."
While we've all probably experienced this, those of us with iPhones are a lot luckier than the rest. With iPhone, you're able to distance yourself from the pack and take perfect landscape photographs, every single time.
In order to completely take advantage of the tried and tested landscape photography techniques — you have to understand that whatever you shoot will oftentimes look ‘meh’ if you're not taking care of the basics.
Basic number one; what are you focusing on when you shoot the scenery?
Most iPhone photographers make the mistake of only focusing on the house in the distance, or the wheel of straw surrounded by a horizon of grass, or the mountainscape way in the back, but what about the objects in the foreground? You need these objects to create scale, which simply means that without a smaller object in the foreground, the mountain loses its majesty, aka the mountain loses its scale.
Many DSLR camera photographers are fortunate because tripods are built with mounts that will readily accommodate their equipment, but when an iPhone Photographer wants to take the same focused, buttery images, there's a bit of a struggle, which is why we designed the Tripod TiltR below (attaches to any tripod).
The StickR mount rotates a full 360 degrees and tilts 180 degrees for almost infinite mounting angles, making it automatically easy for you to stabilize your iPhone and gain a better perspective of what the shot will look like without estimating. It's adapted to fit any flat surface and an edge, so you can finetune its position in any way.
With this very simple iPhone mount, you can instantly elevate your landscape photography by giving it a foreground, a middle ground, and of-course the piece-de-resistance, a background in the horizon. This is much more interesting than just having one massive object in the background!
"But how are you expected to fit all of this into a single shot?" You ask?
We hear you, and we've got an almost too simple solution for that conundrum as well. The Hitcase Wide Lens and SuperWide Lens are both a great choice, depending on what your needs are. If you want to fit as many objects as possible in the frame, the SuperWide Lens is the obvious best choice and prevents you from losing any information in your shot. The Hitcase SuperWide Lens also has the most buttery depth of field which will instantly elevate your shots making your photographs comparable to DSRL quality.
Once you've got the equipment on deck, the only thing that's missing is proper technique...
When photographers talk about composition, they're referring to the position of subjects in your photograph. In landscape photography, the go-to is shooting with the "diagonal principle" in mind.
When photographers speak of balancing their photographs using the diagonal principle, they're positioning the important subjects at a diagonal from one another in order to balance the photograph both horizontally and vertically. This prevents one side of the photograph from being heavier than the other.
One example is shooting a tree-lined street, a river, or a pier. In each of these scenes, allow the main object (street, river, pier) to run diagonally through the foreground, the middle ground and the background automatically creates depth and interest.
Being in the water shouldn't dissuade you from getting amazing shots either. With Hitcase's Mini Suckr Mount, you can get smooth shots even as you travel at maximum speeds on a boat or a speeding car. This mount attaches to any surface and allows you to shoot or film with confidence that you're getting new vantage points (pictured above).
All iPhone photographers worth their weight in gold use High Dynamic Range or HDR for short. The reason is simple; HDR prevents your image from losing essential information and combines multiple exposures so that your image ends up with the perfect exposure without you needing to fuss.
The best part is that HDR is available automatically in the iPhone 8 Plus, however, if you're not there yet fear not because you can still capture amazing images with 3rd party apps available in the App Store. Browse the store and pay attention to the reviews, there'll be an app that speaks to you!
Whatever happens, no matter how tempted you are, DO NOT give in to the temptation to oversaturate your photographs, unless you're trying to create an abstract art piece. The aim is for the image to encourage interest, not cause people to wonder if you were on an acid trip.
The Rule of Thirds is a composition technique that, apart from the "diagonal principle" helps you decide where to position all the main objects in your scene.
The Rule of Thirds helps to balance your scene by dictating that you position your main objects slightly off-center within the frame. Simply put your viewfinder in grid mode and you'll see a grid of nine squares. All you have to do is place your main subject in the position where the grid lines intersect.
One thing about the rule of thirds is that once you start using it often, it becomes almost second-nature. You'll instinctively know when your images look off balance and you'll also know how to add that extra element and where to add it.
Instead of trying to be subtle, go full throttle with the use of leading lines. This is especially effective when taking a shot of a beaten path, a pier, or even a railway line.
Leading lines create depth by implying to the reader that your photograph is one of an adventure that they should be taking. It adds scale because the human eye will naturally follow the line way into the distance.
This perspective leads the viewer from the foreground way into the horizon into something called a "vanishing point". This helps you create a story.
Which leads us to our next tip...
You don't have to be subtle about your focal point if the scene is either busy or unbalanced. If you think of your iPhone's screen as a blank canvas, you'll know that every image needs a frame.
This tip is also in line with the diagonal principle in that you'll be using objects in the foreground to frame objects in the middle ground, and then using objects in the middle ground to frame objects in the background. Each and every object in your scene needs to have a healthy interaction with the next.
Framing your main object automatically provides viewers with some level of context so that they have an understanding of where you were and what you were doing. This technique isn't subtle at all, but it's definitely effective!
With these tips and some imagination, you'll be on your way to becoming a self-certified professional iPhone photographer.
Why should DSLR photographers have all the fun? Taking incredible photos has never been easier with simply your iPhone and a Hitcase.