Category Archives: Technology

5 Tips for Travel iPhone Photography

Brooklyn Bridge shot with an iPhone

Brooklyn Bridge

Summer travel is a perfect opportunity to use your iPhone or mobile camera for photography. Here are a few tips that might help you while traveling.

Limit Zoom

The zoom on an iPhone (not the iPhone Plus) is equal to a digital zoom. That means that it is not optically getting closer, just cropping in tighter. So, move closer to the subject! If you must crop in, do it in post processing for the sharpest image.

Person in subway

Slow Shutter App


Your headphones are for more than just hearing. Did you know your headphone volume button triggers your shutter button? Many people push the round button on the iPhone screen to trigger the shutter, but this can cause camera shake. So, to get the best possible image, trigger the shutter with the headphone volume button. Using the headphones this way allows you to not appear to be taking photos. Hold the camera closer to the body and bystanders will see you playing with your phone not taking photos.


The mobile phone is so easy to view different angles, so get down low or raise it up high for a different perspective. A simple change can be from shooting the same subject horizontally versus vertically. Create completely different photos using perspective, work your subject and don’t settle on the first image.

NY ArchApps

There are so many wonderful apps for mobile photography and many are free. Two of my favorite free apps are Snapseed and Polarr. Both of these apps allow for global and selective adjustments from basic exposure to extensive filters. For artistic touches, the Glaze app offers great watercolor and sketching filters. Give them a try, a little post processing can add that extra touch.

Central Park

Central Park using Hipstamatic.


Now that you have some great photos, you need to back them up. Install the Google Photos App and your images back up automatically. Another option for Adobe CC users is Adobe Lightroom Mobile. From the mobile device, add a new importable folder from your camera’s camera roll. Then, the images captured on the phone add automatically to LR Mobile. Lastly, on your home computer under the collection “From LR Mobile,” view your cell phone images. Most importantly, find a system that works for you and get your phone photos backed up.

If you want a hands-on lesson on iPhoneography, sign up for a class at Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

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Thin Ice

By Amy Horn

Blog, thin ice

Blog, thin ice (photo 1)

The overnight temperatures in Flagstaff on average have been below 20 degrees Fahrenheit for the past few weeks, so it is no surprise that Francis Short Pond is covered with thin ice. The ice has been different thicknesses but the first day I went to capture images, the ice was not even an inch thick. So, I had to be creative on how to capture the intriguing ice bubbles I spotted just off the shore. I knew I couldn’t stand on the ice, but I hoped it would hold the weight of my camera. So, I setup my gear (tripod, Nikon D600 and 105mm macro lens) on the dry land and carefully set it on the thin ice.

I was a little nervous setting thousands of dollars of gear on the iced, but the ice held as you can see in Photo 2 and 3. When my heartbeat returned to normal, I realized my lens was not parallel to the plane of the subject. I would not get sharp photos if I didn’t make a change. Reaching over the ice from dry land, I adjusted my camera’s lens plane and then slid the tripod over the ice bubbles. I was using live view, but could barely reach the lens to focus from the side of the pond. I snapped a few shots with my shutter release then brought the tripod back to dry land to view the shots. The shots were in focus, but not the composition. Then I remembered my CamRanger. It was in my camera bag. A CamRanger is a wireless solution to capturing and viewing images (among other great features). The CamRanger would solve my problem.

CamRanger on thin ice

CamRanger on thin ice (photo 3)

CamRanger on thin ice

CamRanger on thin ice (photo 2)

I plugged the CamRanger into the camera’s USB port and used a Tether Tools Rock solid smart clip with hot shoe adapter mount to stabilize it on the camera. I opened my iPhone wifi settings and found the CamRanger wifi signal. Next, I opened the CamRanger app and turned on live view. Only a few short minutes at 19 degrees passed and I was ready to place my tripod & camera back on the ice. With the CamRanger, I could remotely control my camera through focus and exposure and preview the composition. As long as I could reach a tripod leg, I could rotate the camera on the ice to capture the composition I desired. I even used the CamRanger focus stacking feature to capture a series of images that I could stack when I got home. Photo 1 is a single capture from the CamRanger setup. This was so much fun, I forgot my gear was resting on thin ice or that it was below 20 degrees!

For more information on a CamRanger or Tether Tools mounts, please visit If you are interested in learning from me, signup at Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.


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Morphing Manhattan

Liberty square tiny planetWhether it is going to museums or art websites, I learn more about light and creativity through the art and photographs I study. I have found installing a new app on my iPhone or iPad sparks my creative juices as well. For instance, on a recent family trip to New York City, I installed a new app to my phone: Rollworld. This app creates tiny planets, rabbit holes or morphing videos from the in app camera or using images from your camera roll. Let me explain.

  • A tiny planet is when the two ends of the photograph are stretched in a circular manner to meet so the sky becomes the outer edges of this circular photo.
  • A rabbit hole does the exact opposite. The sky becomes the center of the photo.
  • Morphing video is a moving picture that takes the photo from point A to point B. Any photos you create whether it it s a tiny planet or a rabbit hole (or both) can then turn into a morphing video as it transitions from one state to another.

RollworldThe Rollworld app offers many customizing functions to invert, balance, spin, smooth transitions, zoom, scroll, and offers a randomizing effect. Shake the phone or push the button and you will see a new creation each time. Creations are limitless. When you find something you love, export it to several social media sites or to your camera roll and choose the resolution (up to 3000 x 3000 pixels).


What I learned when using Rollworld app. I found images with a fair amount of sky or water worked well. With my long flight home, I created several versions of an image to see what I liked best and found that to be very entertaining as well. If you are looking for a fun app to show your creative side download Rollworld for free. There is an in app purchase if you would like to export the videos. But all image processing is free!

If you are interested in more iPhone/iPad tips and tricks, sign up for her iPhone and/or iPad course through Arizona Highways Photo Workshops at You can also follow her at


Also posted in Before/After, iPad, Photographic Techniques

iPad on the Run

Processing images at the track meet.

Processing images at the track meet.

I love my iPad. There may be some tablets that do these same tasks, but I began on an iPad and it is what I know. Last Saturday, my son was running in a track meet in Phoenix and since I love photographing sports, I contacted our Flagstaff newspaper to see if they had anyone covering the meet. With such a tight budget, journalists are rarely sent out-of-town. So, I was told I could send in photos and with the coach’s report of highlights of the day, they would try to publish something. Track meets are long. So, after 7 hours of shooting and 300 action photos of the athletes, I talked to coach and reviewed the results of the day. It was time to select the photos for the newspaper. This is when I began my iPad workflow….

To read more, head on over to the Arizona Highways Photo Workshops Blog where I explain how simple it was to use my iPad to process and submit images for publication. Or join me on June 20, 2015 in my iPad Workflow for Photographers workshop by signing up at

Austin Horn setting his pace in the 3200 m race.

McKenna Bryce moving on to the finals in the 100 m hurdles.

McKenna Bryce moving on to the finals in the 100 m hurdles.

Also posted in iPad, Photographic Techniques, Workshops

Top Hat

c20-11_14 waves and splashes-2108 after.JPGc6-11_14 waves and splashes-2108 before.JPG
This water image reminded me of an upside down top hat – with a face in it. As you can tell, I cropped in tighter and removed a few unwanted water drops. Keep watching for photos of how I captured this image! I decided to mix this one up with a little food coloring but kept the settings simple: 1/200, f/16, ISO 250, off camera flash at 1/8 power.

Also posted in Before/After, Inspiration

What I Learned on an Arizona Highways Photo Workshop

Joshua trees have always intrigued me and since I had an open weekend, I attended the Arizona Highways Photo Workshop (AHPW) to Joshua Tree National Park (Photo A). I am a volunteer with AHPW but I signed up as a participant on this workshop so that I could learn from Joel Grimes. I wanted to gain insight into the photography profession for my college students, learn how to properly create HDR (high dynamic range) and black/white images and learn about new gear.

Joshua Tree

Joshua Trees

The workshop began with Joel sharing stunning images and fun stories about his many years in the profession. He emphasized more than once to enter in this profession, one must “build a body of work.” That simply means: find something you enjoy photographing and stick with it. Not for a few days or weeks, but years. If you don’t enjoy time on the computer, then make sure your body of work does not require lengthy computer processing. The body of work should be enjoyable and we should become so good at this process that we could teach it. To be competitive, this body of work means creating 30+ amazing images a year. Realizing images alone won’t get my students at Northern Arizona University jobs; Joel continued to share his experiences of working hard. This included making cold calls to art directors. I enjoyed sharing this insight with my students when I returned. I am hoping that they don’t give up when rejection arises; but instead, they will work hard and follow their dreams.

Black & white image from the workshop

Black & White converted photo using Nik’s Silver Effects Pro

HDR or high dynamic range has never really been my thing, but I have never really spent much time trying. I certainly have not built a body of work with HDR or black/white images. I listened closely to Joel’s presentations on bracketing images and stitching panoramas with the bracketed shots and then gave myself the challenge try this process on our evening shoot. Returning with tons of images, I processed for several hours and realized my computer wasn’t built for this process and neither was I. Several of my images were good, but I didn’t enjoy spending that much time processing HDR/panorama images and I would not use this process to create a body of work. In the next presentation, Joel demonstrated processing his images using Adobe Photoshop and Nik plug-ins. Even though I use Lightroom predominantly, I own Nik plugins but never use them. Watching his processing in Photoshop was fantastic! So, during each break I began processing my non-bracketed images with Nik Silver Effects Pro plug-in and created much stronger black/white images. Now I was loving several of my images! (See Photo B)

Photography should be simple. So simple that Joel said, “With one lens, one camera, one flash – you can rock the world!” But, I like the gear and these workshops are great for learning about photography gear from the photographers and participants. Joel demonstrated his tilt shift lenses, neutral density filters and strobe lights while several of us participants discussed bags, lenses and tripods. The highlight of new gear for me was when Joel used his CamRanger Unit (wireless DSLR remote) and Tether Tools gear. If you are not familiar with a CamRanger, it connects to your camera and creates a wireless network that is compatible with an iPad/iPhone, Android, Mac or PC. To put it simply, the mobile device controls the camera. Bracketing, focusing, shutter, aperture and ISO settings are set through the mobile device. And with a shoulder strap from Tether Tools, Joel carried his iPad several yards away from his camera to shine light on a Joshua tree and his camera captured the one minute image. I bought a CamRanger last fall and have used it many times in my home studio, but using it on location brought me to fully appreciate the new gear. I stepped back behind the other participants and captured an image of Joel lighting the tree with a flash light and several participants in the foreground. (Photo C) Since returning from the trip I have used my CamRanger several times and am thankful I got a hands-on tutorial from Joel Grimes.

Joshua tree workshop

Painting with light and capturing the image with a CamRanger

After returning to Flagstaff, I have begun processing my images and am very happy with using my Nik plugins to process these images. I learned priceless information about the photography profession and have a new found love for my CamRanger. This workshop was a great success and I look forward to the next one!

Also posted in Photographic Techniques

iPad Instead of a Laptop?

Iflashdrive photo

Iflashdrive, iPad and iPhone

by Amy Horn
When the craze of iPads began, I remember thinking, “What is the big deal?” To me, an iPad appeared to be an oversized iPod a great toy, but certainly not a work tool. Now that developers have had time to create some outstanding apps and external devices, I have discovered that an iPad is an integral part of my photography workflow.

Teaching photography is my day job, but in my free time I travel and shoot all that inspires me. My desktop computer is setup perfectly for my workflow so I have not invested in a laptop. But, I still needed something to take on my trips to download, sort, email and post images. Since I shoot raw images, I thought my only option was a laptop. Then I attended Terry White’s sessions at NAPP’s Photoshop World 2011 and realized an iPad wasn’t a toy, but was actually my perfect solution. I went to the Apple store in Las Vegas that night.

Since purchasing the iPad, I use it on location to back up my photos. I download my images using a compact flash card reader (not made by Apple) to transfer raw images to my iPad. I still retain the original images on the memory cards until I return home, but knowing I have a backup without having to lug around a laptop is a definite plus. Many iPad apps now offer support for raw images like Photogene and Snapseed. I use these apps to make quick adjustments to my raw photos and then export them to the iPad as jpg’s. The original file is not touched but instead a new version is created when I export. The images are now ready to show a client, email or upload as needed.

If I need an image from the iPad while on the road and I don’t have wifi or email available to me, no problem. PhotoFast makes a product called an i-FlashDrive. This dongle has a dock connector (iPad 1 &2) on one side and an usb plug on the other side. They come in sizes of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB and with the free app from PhotoFast I transfer files (jpg’s, pdfs, etc) to this portable memory stick. Then flip it over to insert the usb end into a computer. This dongle is supported by Macs or PC’s and iPhones or iPads that use a 30-pin dock. This is very handy when I attend photo workshops or travel in remote areas without wifi and want to get images off my iPad.

When I return home to my desktop computer, I transfer my images from the iPad using a cable directly into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. My raw files are untouched and ready for me to evaluate using my larger screen and professional editing software. I have found there are many other apps that help my photography with model releases, custom portfolios, designing lighting setups, reading pdf photography books and even sending custom postcards; not to mention that I can check email, browse the web and watch movies. I find the convenience of having it all in one device to be priceless and much easier to carry.

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