Since I was about 10, I realised that New Year’s Resolutions just don’t work for me. I wrote about this way back at the end of December 2009… About how for me, goals are the way forward.
But I also do well when I set myself projects.
An individual or collective enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim
(source: Oxford English Dictionary online)
I like to set myself projects that involve learning new skills. Last year I had a few: learn to play the ukulele (minimally successful); learn to use my sewing machine (marginally more successful); and learn to use my iPhone to take better iPhone photos (most successful of them all).
When I was travelling in Japan over Christmas time I posted a lot of photos on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds. One of the remarks I had on Facebook from my friend Mark was “I wish I could take better photos with my iPhone”. Well, Mark, you can! You just need to make it a personal project – to read more about iPhone photography, to look around online for great examples of such photography, and to download a few applications and get started playing around. I know, right. Like we need another thing on our phones to play around with!
But seriously. With the encouragement of Jeannie, I dipped my toes into the world of iPhone photography in 2012. It was my 2012 project, and I have really really enjoyed seeing what my phone can do – the types of transformations that are possible from just average images into photos that I am proud to share.
So what are my tips?
1. Read the LifeinLoFi site.
LifeinLoFi is where Jeannie suggested I started, so that’s what I did. And I will pass along this tip. The site is in my Google Reader, and is updated daily with tips, app reviews, and showcases. It is the best resource I’ve found for keeping abreast and discovering new things going on in the world of iPhone photography.
I loved site founder Marty Yawnick’s philosophy:
“My iPhone camera is my favorite camera. It’s with me practically everywhere I go to capture found moments for me.”
And his tab titled “My Camera Bag” was where I started with my downloads to set up my iPhone photography app folder.
2. If you use no other app, use Perfectly Clear.
This is by far my most used application. I run almost every single photo I take on my iPhone through it. Basically, Perfectly Clear corrects for lighting in photos. It also has a “fix dark” setting that can brighten and remove shadows.
I evangelise this app. I have been known to download photos from blogs that I read, correct them, and send them back to the author asking them to please think about using this app so their blog would have better photos. Yes, I am that annoying – and I am also that convinced that this is just the best go-to app to just help any photo I take become a little “better”.
3. My other “most used” favourite apps.
Here are my other “most favourite” apps (in no particular order):
– Simply B&W
– Crop Suey
I have also started to learn to use ProCamera instead of my iPhone camera. So far I really like it, as I have the iPhone 4S and find that ProCamera offers a slightly better zoom function and also has a “light correction” function (not sure what they call it – but you can basically choose where in the frame to set your light meter to get better lighting in your photos). ProCamera is great on Twitter too, around to answer questions. It is my “current project” when it comes to iPhone photos, to learn to use this particular app a bit better.
I love using Instagram – not really for the photo functions of the app, and not even for the social side of it (although I do like to see what my friends are up to and I do leave comments on photos now and then). I love using Instagram for visual inspiration which I’ve found by discovering iPhone photographers who use the service. There are some incredible photographers out there who treat Instagram as a publishing tool. I love looking at their work, and clicking through to their blog to see if they post any tips or further information on how they create their work.
Yes, Instagram like every other social network requires curating. You could set up your feed to have “thinspiration” or “fitspiration” images – totally not my thing but that is available there. You could set up your feed to show nothing but food images – my feed has a good bit of this, mostly images from my favourite food bloggers. My feed there also has lots of triathlon photos. But I make active use of the hashtag searches, and news stream, to find new people to follow – particularly to find iPhone photographers to follow. The visual inspiration I take from my Instagram feed is HUGE. It gives me ideas to play with on my phone, for the times when I am commuting and have an image in my folder that I want to play around with, to see how I can transform it with a few apps.
So, what creative projects do I have in store for 2013?
Right now I am working on two – a bit of creative writing, and an artistic endeavour.
On the writing front I am writing Small Stones – little snippets of my daily life and memories. I have missed a few days here and there, but it is my aim to write a little bit every day – to capture the inspiration and energy I find in my environment with words.
On the art front, I want to get back to drawing. DH’s stepmother is an artist, and many years ago she gave me a set of watercolours which accompanied me on an extended trip to Asia. My sketchbook was full of drawing and poems I wrote during my three months in Southeast Asia. Sadly, that sketchbook was in my photo bag when my photobag was stolen in 2005… To encourage my return to drawing – and in keeping with how times have moved on – DH’s stepmother gave me a wonderful stylus “brush” for my iPad for my birthday. It is amazing – feels like a paintbrush, but one that activates the screen on the iPad with whatever functions you have selected (watercolour, charcoal, pencil). I have a lot to learn about the iPad drawing programmes and how best to draw in a way that works for me, but I plan to explore that over 2013, the same way that I explored iPhone photo apps in 2012.
What about you? Will you do any “projects” for 2013?