Blog Photography Phone Tips

Wed 18th, Jul, 2012

1 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 Buffer 1 1 Flares ×


Good Afternoon Beach Cottage friends, some iPhone photography / iphoneography tips for you in Beach Cottage Land today….I was recently at a blog conference and the question I was asked most was how to take good photos, do I need a fancy schmancy DSLR and how do I process my shots?  Well you certainly DO NOT need a fancy camera to blog with….

When I started blogging I had an old Sony that was held together with Sellotape and only worked every other shot because of the batteries….looking back that was the best thing that happened with my photography, because it made me move my feet, look at compostion and get different perspective on the same scene…

Then I got my Big Girls Camera and the whole world changed overnight, I about lapped up all that it could do….you rarely saw me without that dirty great thing strapped to my backside….and although I love that girlfriend like another baby it now is more brought out for when I am on a Photography Walk, when I want to play around with settings and learn one of its features or when it is a beautiful day with Photography written all over it…

…and we now have come full circle again, where I find myself snapping away with my iPhone and learning with that…

So I was asked what do I do to my photos for my look and could I do a Photoshop Action for it….hmmm that would be very interesting because I don’t use Photoshop, I know I probably should, I know it would make my photos better…but there is only so much time in the day that this old lady has and loading into Photoshop and more learning how to use that scary looking thing, isn’t part of it.

But, I do post-process, normally on the regular Mac photo editor or the same on my laptop, and I always process an iPhone photo – some people cannot abide the way I like my photos to look and I am pretty sure that most real photographers see them as very amateur….I have to say I struggled with post-processing for a while… it’s a bit like the whole ‘adding a filter’ thing to your photos, some photographers hate that…but now, as is usual with me, I think stuff what anyone else thinks, go with the flow and just do what I love ….and for a Beach Cottage ocean / coastal / seaside scene taken on an iPhone that would be bright, saturated and glowing.  Baby.

So here below is what I do ..

he we have two shots  of virtually the same scene without any processing

20120718-02-IMG_7251 20120718-03-IMG_7252

and the finished product here…




as you can see not a huge amount of difference but the finished product is definitely better in my opinion…

…below is what I have learnt as I have gone along and what I tend to do now…


iPhone Blog Photography Tips

1. First of all I will normally take two shots of the same scene….

Things are always different even in a shot like this one which doesn’t have much going on…as you can see the first shot on the left has people walking and the second shot has different people.   Shot 2 also has more sand….side by side it looks hardly as if there is any difference but in Shot 2 there is a slightly larger amount of sand ….Shot 1 is probably better in proportion and on the eye works more comfortably with the photography thirds rule…but Shot 2 gets what I was trying to capture which was the track marks in the sand and the expanse of sand with no-one sitting on it.

So two shots of the same scene will give you some room to play Smile


2. Up the sharpness

I always do this with an iPhone photo, not if I am using my Big Girl’s camera, but my phone photos need it… this makes the iPhone shots more crisp and sharp (obviously).  I always do this first and you have to be careful not to go too heavy as the photos can be pixelated and yucky.


3. Lower the temperature

I nearly always go cooler with my photography, I like them cool and light looking and yes on a ‘warm’ scene like this too, that’s the look I like  –  but play around with the temperature and see what you like…push it up and down and have a go of different looks.

If your shot involves people, watch the colour of their skin and look for any colours that might look odd either too warm or too cool…on seaside shots you don’t want blue sand or people with green skin Winking smile


4. Saturate

I like my iPhone photos heavily saturated, it’s the Beach Cottage look, (if I am using Instagram or doing one of the Instagram challenges I don’t bother with this I use a filter to do all the hard work)…I nearly always up the saturation …however, you have to be careful, and depending what you are taking a photo of it can go wrong ….for example in this shot with too much saturation the sand will go too yellow…so I just fiddle with it until I get a look I like


5. Contrast

I nearly always bump the contrast up a little bit to make the photo pop…however I do sometimes also turn the contrast right down depending on the look I am after – this mostly happens if there is a lot of cloud around and the light at the beach is soft…


6. Straighten

Mostly my iphone pics will need a straighten, it’s not easy to see clearly, especially on a bright sunny day so I will nearly always need to tweak this a bit..


7. Filters

And then of course there are the filters that you can use in the Instagram app…I LOVE playing around with these and spend way too long, in my little life, trying to decided, excruciatingly, as if I was about to make a decision that would change World peace, on what filter to use with my photo…yep my life really is that exciting…

Below are my favourite filters on Instagram – see how different the same pic looks…which one do you prefer????






Now please leave me any tips you have and your favourite ways to get good shots with your phone…simple little easy ones!

I did another post on Iphone and iphoneography here last year…more on how to actually use the phone as a camera and tips to get the best shots rather than processing

Any good apps out there I need to know about?

Cheers lovelies


oh and there are new updates in { Barley (he’s sad today) }   { Daily Beach }  { Food }



1 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 Buffer 1 1 Flares ×

17 Responses to “Blog Photography Phone Tips”

  1. alison says:


    I need to lay down and rest after all that information. I am a look and click girl. But a lovely read as per usual.

    I love your attitude to doing your own thing with the learning process. We can get so caught up in trying to do things “right” that we never start at all.


  2. ooh this is useful stuff! I adore your photos Sarah , but I’ve always been a useless photographer…so much so….I’ve never bothered with a camera. Now I’ve got my i phone it’s so easy though! But haven’t done any processing…so will now have a go….

    here’s the link to my favourite photo ever taken by me….and it was a complete accident….I fell over as i clicked the shutter! http://thinkingofthedays.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/day-of-snow-and-birds.html

  3. Sarah Klem says:

    Great tips! I have a very new blog and am struggling with photo content; this post has allowed me to take a deep breath, breath and feel comfortable with what I have! I have posted a link to my blog, hope you don’t mind, very rusty re blog sharing etiquette

    • sarah says:

      good luck with your blog, the best thing about photos is you can just play until you get to what you like! x

  4. I have always been a “go against the grain” kind of girl. Not neccessarily going at something the right way, but the way it worked for me. Great job Sarah!! They are beautiful shots, and you’re you, and authentic and real, and I love that.

    God bless and keep up the good work!! You shine!

  5. Bliss Jones says:

    Hi Sarah
    Omg…I’m reading your blog thinking “thats like me “…I am living your past…I contribute to a local magazine ,It’s a mixture of Recipes,DIY & Expositions and all using my own photography. My Sony {cyber-shot} also has tape holding the batteries in! which always seems to self eject at the worst possible moment!! like when I’m on a step ladder going for a over head shot…batteries pop out ricocheting off bench tops and tiles!..ARRR!..I’m a amateur photographer so I just keep taking photos till i get the shot i’m happy with{can easily be 20+ shots later}…I love your phots! your inspiring! Recently I’ve discovered Instagram but sadly:( I don’t have a iphone…but I play with my son’s app on his ipod an email to myself. I’ve noticed a lot of tv ads using the instagram filters!!…Thank you for sharing and your so inspirational! <3

  6. Shar Y says:

    I have always loved the intensity of your photos, the blues are simply wonderful! I will have to try doing more saturation. I recently got an app called snapseed. it’s a good one for post processing and easy to share to instagram or whatever. Keep up the beauty, we love it!

  7. I use http://www.picmonkey.com to sort out my photos. Its got a great variety of edits available and is so easy to use. I promise you its worth a look.

  8. Hannah says:

    These are really great tips. Being a photographer it’s so freeing to just ‘snap’ with a phone sometimes. I have to say that my favourite app is Camera+ or VSCO but I tend to end up just using Instagram a lot of the time x

  9. JGirl says:

    Thanks for the tips Sarah, greatly inspiring and goes to show you don’t need too much time to have fun with images. I am off to play with my iphone :-)

  10. Candice says:

    Thanks for the great tips . Love it . Wondering if you have put any of the pics on canvas yet ?
    Its sureal art when I am seeing your pics . I wander on our beach at sunset and those pink hues can change every couple of seconds , I just love it when it is a captured moment thru the camera lens that everyone can enjoy . Love those ahhhh moments of viewing your pics . Cheers .

  11. JGirl says:

    Hi Sarah, also a quick question – you mention your big girl’s camera and your images are so inspiring, I would love to know what is a good SLR to start with (for a beginner) as I am thinking of buying one? I was looking at the Canon 1100D … any thoughts? Thanks so much and still loving your blog :-)

  12. Oh yes – love my iphone photos – I tend to shoot my iphone pics with Camera+, and often end up editing them there too – but use Snapseed to straighten them. I rarely use the Instagram filters, just using Instagram to share.

    Keep sharing your lovely pics – they brighten up the grey days!

  13. I too am not into post processing anything but a straighten- usually in picassa. I think you often ruin a shot with it fiddling with it all. I have the best photoshop program out there from a corporate deal organised by the dept of ed, but it is so hard! I need to do photoshop for dummies! I also can’t afford the time to fuss them up. I think I’ll learn all about it when I teach some kids at school, gussying up assessment tasks- I might try that this week! They will probably teach me! hahaha!!
    My best advice for photos is to take your 5D- I have had the mark 3 for a bit over a month now- love it! Put a good sandisk CF card in it and in the SD card slot put an eye fi card in, sends it direct to your phone or ipad or comp and then you can instagram it! or Blog it!- I wish it would send to more than one device, but photostream attends to that!