iPhone Photography: Reinvigorating Some Photographers

As I look around the web I see so many photographers, including serious, well-respected professional photographers, getting all excited about photography with their iPhones. What’s going on?

Well, in the spirit of scientific investigation I have downloaded a bunch of photography apps for my iPhone and will start shooting with them and see for myself.

What I think is going on is a combination of nostalgia for a simpler time in photography, a reappraisal of just how “perfect” an image needs to be effective and a wish to reconnect with personal photography in what are often busy professional shooting lives.

Nostalgia in photography with a widespread thing. We see that in the passion for old photographic processes whose look can frankly be recreated far more easily and often in a more environmentally friendly way by using a good inkjet printer and Photoshop. We’ve seen the popularity of plastic cameras, cheap plastic lenses, grungy photo filters and so on. Even the resurgence of interest in film fits into this.

We have all been spoiled by the perfection of the images we get from our cameras. Modern autofocus and auto-exposure systems are accurate and amazingly good at giving a workable image in one shot. We usually have resolution to spare and our images can be amazingly noise free. The problem with this is that we have removed much of what makes an image look real and not some plastic fabrication, and we have removed many opportunities for the “happy accident” that suddenly lifts an image to a new level.

With busy professional lives it is very easy to lose interest in our own photography and push it to the side. Also our modern gear may be heavy. A phone we have with us all the time, even when we whip down to the supermarket for some forgotten necessities. So if we start to engage with this device as a photographic tool for more than just documenting the kids we can have a more immediate, dare we say fun, relationship with our photography again. Sounds good doesn’t it?

So I am going to embark of an iPhone photography journey and see where it takes me. Stay tuned.


2010 Considered

2010 was a mixed back year for me.

Personally there were a lot of distractions associated with caring for my mother-in-law who sadly died on New Year’s Eve at 11:05pm. Her cancer caused much pain and other issues that often made life difficult for everyone in the house, and since I work from home it also affected my business life. But there were also great times and great laughter in caring for her and she was a wonderful woman who I loved dearly.

Creatively, 2010 was a good year. I started my new series Time & Space and really feel like these images form a good, strong direction for me moving forward into 2011. I picked up a couple of minor awards, which was nice.

I also published two books, an iPhone app and an iPad app in 2010, which is not too shabby.

So now let’s look forward to 2011. I have more books coming out in print, eBook and app form. DIMi is coming out as a print and iPad magazine. I have the direction to take the Time & Space image series in and am highly excited by the possibilities. And I have several other publishing efforts underway, including an iPhone app in the music area, as well as considering several others in partnership with other people.

Personally 2011 is looking exciting too. Our daughter starts high school and there will be a house move sometime in the year.


TrueDoF for the iPhone and iPod Touch

TrueDoF, the unique depth of field calculator for the digital photography age, is available now on iPhone and iPod Touch.

TrueDoF is a major step forward in working with depth of field:

  • TrueDoF is the only depth of field calculator that takes the effects of diffraction into account (diffraction is the blurring caused when light passes through small apertures) TrueDoF will therefore correctly show decreasing depth of field when the f-number gets too large. This is of use to all photographers, but particularly so for users of digital cameras with sensors smaller than 35mm format, where the effects of diffraction severely limit image quality at large f-numbers. (Lenses on 35 mm cameras stop down to about f/22. There’s a reason why they don’t go any further. But f/22, or even f/16 or f/11, can be too much for cameras with smaller sensors.) With TrueDoF, photographers can instantly see what depth of field they’re really getting and see what apertures will give the best results.
  • TrueDoF, like its sister app, OptimumCS, is designed for very rapid use – it is specifically intended for photographers who don’t want to fiddle with their tools but, instead, want to get on with the job.
  • TrueDoF allows the photographer to easily work with a desired output in mind. Depth of field depends not only on focal length, focus distance and aperture, it depends also on the desired output quality. With TrueDoF, you need not go through mental gyrations trying to relate the size of the “circle of confusion” on the image sensor with the final output on print or on a computer screen. Instead, you work directly with the desired output: How big a print do you want? How sharp an image is sufficiently sharp for you? Stick with the default values, set them to your own personally acceptable default values, or vary these quantities as the need arises. Whatever you choose, it’s all intuitive, simple and fast.

TrueDoF is available now from Apple’s App Store.

A note on intended use:

  • TrueDoF is designed for photographers who want an accurate, versatile and easy way to calculate the depth of field produced by their chosen camera settings.
  • For photographers who would like, instead, to start by specifying the distances to the nearest and furthest objects that they wish to appear sharp in their photograph and, from that, determine the camera settings (focus distance and aperture) that will give the sharpest possible image, OptimumCS, the unique Optimum Camera Settings calculator, also available on the App Store, is the right tool.

For further information, see the developer’s website, www.georgedouvos.com.

The Ebook Ebook – Book Review

The Ebook Ebook

By Michael Booth

ISBN: 9788461440054

An eBook about eBooks seems an oxymoron, but isn’t, at least in this case. For this is an eBook about the whys and wherefores of producing eBooks, and given the rate at which things are changing in this field an eBook makes more sense as it is much easier to update. In fact eBooks like this should really have a version number, like software.

Anyway, to the eBook. Mike is a great bloke (guy, for those who don’t read Australian) and very knowledgeable, and both come across well in this book. In a field where I though I  knew a fair bit, I learned things from this book.

The Ebook Ebook is a well written, intelligent and deep coverage of what an eBook is, why you might want to publish one and how to go about doing it. I did disagree slightly with the organisation of a few places, but this is caused by Mike’s conversational style causing him to get ahead of himself in a couple of places. Organisation in a book is highly personal and it obviously works for Mike. It does not distract from the book in any way.

Organised in eleven chapters, the book covers:

  • What an ebook is
  • The advantages it offers for writers, publishers and readers
  • Preparation of an ebook
  • Editing
  • History of the ebook
  • Formats and DRM
  • Marketing of ebooks
  • Business
  • E-readers
  • Future

The content is up to date, accurate and intelligently presented. I do disagree with Mike about the suitability of the iPad for book reading. Perhaps because I am not one for sitting in the sun anyway (think pasty, overweight nerd 🙂 I find the iPad perfect for all sorts of reading and now choose to take all my magazines and books for the iPad when available for it. It does help to turn the screen brightness down sometimes for comfort.

I can happily recommend this book as an effective and pretty damn well complete eBook on the production of eBooks. I do hope Mike does a 2.0 version as things continue to change, though his supporting websites do a great job of extending the book. Very highly recommended.

Amazon US The Ebook Ebook

Amazon UK The Ebook Ebook

iPhone Application Development for Dummies Book Review

It you are considering getting into writing apps for the iPhone, this excellent book is the one to get.

iPhone Application Development for Dummies

2nd Edition

By Neal Goldstein

Wiley Publishing, Indianapolis, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-470-56843-9

This well written and planned book takes you through the details of iPhone app development by using easy to understand descriptions and the steady development of a full application that you follow along with on your computer. Along the way he explains the structure of iPhone apps, the way the object oriented coding model is used and the syntax of the language.

Anyone with some programming experience, but especially if you know some object-oriented coding, will be able to work their way through and come out at the end of the book with a solid base to work from. It is not the best place to start for those with no coding experience at all, as it assumes understanding of the basic principles. If you don’t have that, start with a simple coding book first.

While I’d quibble about the sequencing of a few topics, such as leaving provisioning till late in the book while you need it early if you want to actually test on a real iPhone, generally the book is very well planned and does a good job of explaining what can be a complex topic.

Some 400 pages in length, the book is divided into five parts and nineteen chapters. These are:

  • Introduction.
  • Part I: Getting Started.
  • Chapter 1: Creating Killer iPhone Applications.
  • Chapter 2: Looking Behind the Screen.
  • Chapter 3: Enlisting in the Developer Corps.
  • Part II: Using the iPhone Development Tools.
  • Chapter 4: Getting to Know the SDK.
  • Chapter 5: Building the User Interface.
  • Chapter 6: While Your Application Is Running.
  • Part III: From “Gee, That’s a Good Idea,” to the App Store.
  • Chapter 7: Actually Writing Code.
  • Chapter 8: Entering and Managing Data.
  • Chapter 9: Saving Data and Creating a Secret Button.
  • Chapter 10: Using the Debugger.
  • Chapter 11: Buttoning It Down and Calling Home.
  • Chapter 12: Death, Taxes, and the iPhone Provisioning.
  • Part IV: An Industrial-Strength Application.
  • Chapter 13: Designing Your Application.
  • Chapter 14: Setting the Table.
  • Chapter 15: Enhancing the User Experience.
  • Chapter 16: Creating Controllers and Their Models.
  • Chapter 17: Finding Your Way.
  • Part V: The Part of Tens.
  • Chapter 18: Top Ten Apple Sample Applications (with Code!).
  • Chapter 19: Ten Ways to Be a Happy Developer.
  • Index.

A great book, I highly recommend it to anyone considering iPhone application development. There is a related book by the same author and another on iPad development. I’m working through that now and a review will follow.

Prototyping iPad Applications using Keynote (and would even work in Powerpoint)

A really interesting thing I found was a tutorial on prototyping iPad and iPhone applications by using Keynote, Apple’s Powerpoint equivalent to build an interactive prototype that will let you test the user interface before building it.


The tutorial is on Amir Khella’s blog.

He also has a website that sells the themes for a very moderate price.

The approach works brilliantly. Great idea Amir.

Starting an iPhone Application Business for Dummies Book Review

Starting an iPhone Application Business for Dummies is part of the brilliant for Dummies series that covers pretty much everything. The book covers what you need to get your head around to setup a proper iPhone business and get it right from the start.

Starting an iPhone Application Business for Dummies
By Aaron Nicholson, Joel Elad and Damien Stolarz
Wiley Publishing, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-470-52452-7

The 390-odd page book is divided into six parts, with each part containing two to four chapters:

  • Surveying the Marketplace
  • Pinpointing the Business Offering
  • Lay the Groundwork
  • Assemble Your iPhone Application
  • Market to the Masses
  • The Part of Tens

Across these major sections and the contained chapters the book covers the process of identifying the business opportunities, planning the business, hiring programmers and other staff, managing the development and marketing process and much more.

For those new to ideas of starting a business on a sound planning basis, management and marketing this book is a God-send. For those with some business experience but not in the software industry it will also be hugely beneficial in spelling out a lot of things you won’t have thought of and helping you to avoid learning the hard way. Even those with software industry experience will gain something from this book.

This is an excellent book for those setting out on iPhone application development with the intention of making a successful business out of it. Whether you are doing the development yourself or using programmers to do the work, you will still benefit.

A great book that should be read by anyone undertaking iPhone (and iPad) software development.