A number of years ago, my entire life hit a wall. I was unhappy with just about every last thing I was doing from my work life to my personal life, and I didn’t know where to start to change any of it. I was overwhelmed.
I was mulling the whole mess over one afternoon, and it occurred to me that maybe I should stop making lists of all the things I didn’t like about my life and instead start making lists of all the things I did like. Maybe my revolution of one didn’t demand anger and stomping around but instead some acknowledgement of what I already had to work with. Maybe my revolution needed to start with some gratitude.
I began making lists of at least five things I didn’t hate every day, and, before long, the practice of slowing down and taking note of the good things spilled over into my photography practice. I spent afternoons inching around my house and favourite spots around the city with my iPhone, putting what I loved under a microscope of sorts.
It turned out that iPhoneography, the practice of taking photos with an iPhone, became an important tool for discovering gratitude and learning to appreciate the smaller pieces of my life that had previously gone unnoticed. It also turned out that the iPhone can do a pretty decent job of macro photography.
Of course, the iPhone has its limits when it comes to macro photography, but it also has its benefits. An iPhone is small enough and lightweight enough to fit into tiny spaces larger cameras have a hard time getting into. For instance, I managed to take all of the photos in this entry using either the iPhone’s native camera or the Camera+ app without any additional hardware.
If you want to try out macro photography with your iPhone, there a few things you can do to ensure brighter, sharper, and more interesting photos:
- Breath slowly and take your time. The closer you get, the slower your process should be. This will ensure better framing and less camera shake to blur your photos.
- Use an app like Camera+. Camera+ allows you to choose separate focal and exposure points before you shoot, which means you can set up the image you want without relying on processing to correct your image.
- Avoid as much post-processing in different apps. Post-processing can, and usually will, reduce the quality of your photo, so it is best to avoid it, if possible.
- Use a tripod for stability like the KLYP iPhone camera case or another stable surface already in the environment. I often use things like staircase railings, books, and my own knees while sitting down.
- Take your macros from several different angles, because you are likely not used to looking at your subject this closely and will probably be surprised by which angle actually captures it best.
Getting up close and intimate with the things you love — whether they are your partner, your pet, or your favourite old set of salt and pepper shakers — reveals them to you in a new and deeper way. When I incorporated macro iPhoneography into my practice of gratitude, I noticed that the photos not only revealed the objects or people that I loved but also unearthed the stories around them that made me love them.
Macro iPhoneography pulled me back from a dark time during which I could only see what I did not love and revealed a world of things to me that I did love, and it helped me to remember the stories that drew me to them. I started to see again.
Macro iPhoneography, extended beyond its art to a practice of deeper acknowledgement, is a powerful tool both for self-expression and reflection.
Who knew? I certainly didn’t when I started, and it’s a pleasant surprise every time my lens reveals something new and something deeper about familiar loves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elan Morgan is a blogger, web designer and consultant, iPhoneographer, speaker, and poet who lives in Saskatchewan, Canada. She blogs and works at Schmutzie.com, spreads gratitude through Grace in Small Things, celebrates Canadian blogging with the Canadian Weblog Awards, and speaks all over. She believes in and works to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.
As an iPhoneographer, she has taught iPhoneography at conferences in Winnipeg, Toronto, and New York, and she contributed to Alli Worthington’s iPhone Photography: The Visual Guide. Her work was also showcased in Ubiquography, a physical exhibition originating in Barcelona and projected in 35 venues across the world in 2012. Most recently, her iPhoneography has been featured in the book Blog Design For Dummies.