A Beginners Guide to iPhone Photography

I have been a professional photographer for over 30 years. Over that time, I have used many different cameras from Hasselblad, Nikon, Sony, Canon even a Polaroid SX 70. When using film, I spent countless hours processing and printing in the darkroom. The switch to digital format resulted in hours spent on the computer navigating my way through Lightroom and Photoshop. Spontaneity and fun were never words that I would have used to describe what I was doing. That all changed when I started to take the iPhone camera seriously and delve into its wondrous world of endless possibilities. This handheld device gives me the ability to carry around a camera, darkroom, software applications and photo delivery system all in one place. No more lugging around pounds of camera gear, or paying extra luggage charges while traveling. With my iPhone in my pocket I am a lean, mean, photo-taking machine.

Why should you consider the iPhone to be your camera of choice:

  • The iPhone is discrete. A bonus when doing street photography

  • The iPhone is ever present. iPhone pictures have been used on national magazine covers and a New York Times photographer took an award-winning war photo with an iPhone

  • The iPhone is immediate. You can take a picture, tweak it with an app and get creative satisfaction

  • The iPhone is collaborative. You can share your photos immediately on line with thousands of people. Look at the popularity of Instagram and Flickr as an example.

  • The iPhone is powerful source of creative energy for artists. With an ever-expanding library of apps for post processing a picture, the end results are only limited by your own imagination and vision.


The first step in getting the most out of your iPhone Camera is to learn all the ins and outs of using it. Learn its capacities, limitations and terminology. We all know you just push the button to take the picture but the iPhone offers you a lot more choices. Do you want your picture lighter or darker? or lock in your focus area? With or without a flash? HDR or not? Then there are other choices to make like Time-Lapse, ,Square or Pano.? These are just some of the options available to help you create great and interesting pictures.

Still want more choices? Just open up the app drawer and get yourself additional camera capture apps that give you more control over the “picture taking” aspect of the iPhone. Some of the apps like Hipsamatic or ShakeItPhoto take and transform your images immediately. I am more of a take the picture straight and then process my image with creative apps. This allows me to keep the original picture and make variations of the same image.


Some of my go to Picture taking apps used instead of the standard camera on the phone:

  • Pro Camera

  • Camera+
  • Fast Camera

  • Slow Shutter

  • Vivid HDR

  • Lenka for great Black and White pictures


O.K. the picture has been taken and now the fun begins. There are apps available that address every possible picture edit or enhancement task you can envision. Snapseed is the first app that I usually use on a photo. This is a free app and is a very powerful source for photo editing. It has many of the same features found in Adobe’s Lightroom or Camera Raw. The best thing about this app is that it allows the user to work on their picture, save a copy of the changes, and then revert to the original image thus preserving the original photo. What comes next is only limited by your creative vision and imagination. Using any one of a number of apps you can add textures, turn your photo into an oil painting, sketch or drawing. You can use many individual apps on the same photo or you can combine one photo with another. There are no mistakes only possibilities.

Some of my go to apps for Editing are:

  • Snapseed

  • Stackables

  • DistressedFX

  • Superimpose

  • Glaze

  • Image Blender

  • Brushstroke

  • Sketch Me

Photography is art in the hands of an artist. Learning how to add interesting effects to your images with nothing more than your iPhone will open you up to an amazing world of creative opportunities. Art is everywhere but you need to nurture your capabilities of seeing it, of creating it and crafting it out of the moments that make up your life. Now when you are inspired by a beautiful scene or moment you can just snap ,process and share all in a matter of moments.


Carol Leadbetter is an award-winning photographer and member of the Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, Maryland Her work is on display at the Gallery and held by private collectors throughout the country.



Waverly Street Gallery is the oldest operating local Cooperative Fine Art Gallery in the greater Bethesda/Rockville region. The Gallery is managed and run by its members thus enabling the associate artists to showcase and sell their work to a broad audience.

The gallery opened in March of 1993 as “Creative Partners at Arts Alive” then changed names again to “Creative Partners Gallery” in 1994. Known since 2007 as Waverly Street Gallery, the gallery has grown both in name recognition and membership.

Our Gallery members and guest artists include painters, printmakers, sculptors, ceramic artists, glass artists, photographers and jewelers. Monthly exhibitions showcase original artwork in many genres including representational, impressionistic and abstract art.

All Gallery events are free and open to the public. Each month brings a new and different show to the Gallery and opening receptions for the shows are held on the second Friday of every month from 6-9pm. In addition, we host a monthly “ARTful Sunday Afternoon” featuring talks and demonstrations by Gallery members or guest artists. Check our Gallery website to see a list of upcoming talks.


Community Partnerships. We welcome community collaboration on gallery events and often partner with local groups and businesses. These include: The Bethesda Urban Partnership, The Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, Round House Theatre, Bethesda Chocolates, American Plant Food Company and Grilled Oyster Company.

Our mission is to cultivate an opportunity and appreciation for the Arts across the greater D.C. metro area. In addition to our monthly shows and talks, we provide opportunities for non-member and guest artists to showcase their work as a featured artist or in a group or mini show. We offer new artists the opportunity to be juried for a monthly show of their own. All applicants must be juried in by Waverly Street Gallery members. More information at http://waverlystreetgallery.com/about/exhibit-application/

Waverly Street Gallery Website: http://www.waverlystreetgallery.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waverly-Street-Gallery/160694063960124

Waverly Street Gallery is located at 4600 East West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

Phone 301-951-9441.

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