How To Take Great Action Photos With Your iPhone 3GS

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By Jared Souney

OK, so we’ve already established that the iPhone camera is capable of some pretty amazing photography, even if you don’t use one of the many fantastic photography-related apps available on the Store.

One thing I’ve not seen it used for to date has been action shots; but Oregon-based photographer Jared Souney has been putting his 3GS to good use for just that.

I wanted to find out how he did it, so I asked him. Here’s what he said.

“A good percentage of the work I do is in the so-called “Action Sports” (BMX, Skateboarding, Motocross) and with brands marketing around them. I do a lot of work with the related magazines in those sports, some work for ESPN Magazine, and ad clients like Mountain Dew.

“I guess for me trying to get a good action shot out of a cell phone is a fun challenge, since it’s what I do with a “real camera.” The photo of a guy on a bike on Posterous doing a no-hander out of a quarterpipe… I actually had a “real camera” over my shoulder while I was shooting that. I bet I looked silly, but it was fun. When I show riders that on my phone they are always like “That’s from a phone? No way!”

“I switched to the iPhone 3Gs from a first generation iPhone the day the new one came out, largely because I’d read the camera was a lot better. I’d been using my iPhone camera a lot and loving it, but the 3Gs really got a lot better.”

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By Jared Souney

“The camera (or phone) allows you to select your focus point, and loosely select exposure based on that too. For instance you can tap a shadowed area in your scene, and it will expose a bit more for that and brighten up. That can come in really handy.

“The response (I hate to say shutter lag on a phone) is a lot quicker as well. I tried to shoot action with my first generation phone, but the delay was so much that I’d have to
shoot a full second, sometimes more, before the action. So it was a bit of a disaster.

“Now, with the 3GS, the shutter goes much faster. It still has a fractional delay, but it’s much easier to work around. With action photos being all around timing, winging it with the first generation shutter delay wasn’t really working well.

“In addition I use a lot of the available apps like Photogene, Camera Bag, and Old Camera pretty regularly. Since you don’t have precise exposure control, these tools can really ad some pop to the images.

“I try to make all my adjustments within the phone if I’m making them. That seems like part of the challenge to me, rather than bringing them to a computer to “enhance.” I like to keep it all in phone for the challenge.

“The best part about the camera is not having to carry a camera. Even a small point and shoot is just another thing to carry and I’d find myself without it a lot. But I always have my phone. So I can shoot something, and even load it online immediately for people to see, and react to.”

Thanks to Jared for his time and his pictures.

Have you done something amazing with your iPhone camera? Let the Cult know.

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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