iPhone 5S – going creative with “thumbnail photos”



Smartphone is an irreplaceable camera in its own genre.

my Instagram here.

Technically it’s zero weight comparing to bring any extra camera. And it’s always charged, with memory, and always with you. The instant sharing and photo effects app differentitates it from any other camera you could use. And naturally, it influence greatly the photos you will take with it.

While most people use it causally for social or documentation purpose, there are some striving to make some difference out of it. Of course, even the latest powerful camera in smartphones are still lack of optical zoom, offering only a general purpose 30-ish mm eqv. and the resolution/ resolving power is still well below many cameras.

a good Instagram photo usually looks bad if you view it on big monitor. It stays good on the smaller smartphone screen. Hence we need some special strategy.

I wouldn’t think it can produce enough resolution for a full screen view. That’s why i regard it as “thumbnail photos” or “sticker” photos and the photos i showed here are also a montage of smaller tiles.

So what is my approach in getting these thumbnail photos good?

Someone would say “snapshot”.

11833654763_1346de6b20_o11833659923_b4c194d29f_o_211833658723_67cfa4d907_oI agree and I personally think the philosophy of using it has something in common with using lomography cameras, in the perspective that they are both intended for snap shot and mostly use it casually. The significance of “snapshot” is that it frees you from traditional photographic way of too much control. Just pick up and shoot! The technical quality isn’t great anyway, no details, low dynamic range, no bokeh.

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I should correct “Just pick up and shoot!” to “I see, therefore I shoot”

It sounds obvious, but think deeply. How many times while you have a real camera in hand, that you have the urge to shoot something before you see something? It’s 2 completely different way to taking pictures. Yes, the later is a more proactive act, but also has a fatal flaw that you usually end up taking pictures just because you want to, not because you see something good.

On the contrary, the key mentality of Snapshot is that, you see before you pick out your camera. And that usually takes better photographs and less garbage ones. And more importantly, that trains your eyes better and better. For me, snapshot with iphone does train me up, and quick.

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To make good photos of a snapshot, it’s purely your eyes and your heart. Afterall, excluding all technical considerations, the most important thing of photography is still your eyes. And by “heart”, i mean the more sublime level: your passion, love, towards what you see or your subject. And the impulse that drives you to capture the moment. Usually you see beauty in that moment, or some vibe of atmosphere, or some drama, some action, some expression of your subject. Have you ever seen a scenario, or the great nature, that actually touch your soul and your tears is about to drop? If you open your heart and eyes, you will find many tiny versions of this feeling in your everyday life. A pure beauty in color and composition can touch you, an absurdy that makes you laugh, a caring father with his new-born baby will let you see love, etc. Emotion is the key here. It can be a beautiful lights, It can even be blurred photos like these!!! 

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Everyone’s path is different. And everyone is hunger for different pictures. For me, I spent most of my iphoneography in capturing beauty in my everyday life. If I analysis my photos:

I tends to make things very graphic, very flat, sans-perspective, sans-3D, sans-silhouette, abstractize objects, seeking textures, seeking patterns, seeking graphical shapes, seeking unusual juxtaposition, sans-garbage objects, creating ambiguity by rotating photos, creating absurdity, framing part of a whole, cropping defining features to misled audience, etc. And I exclusively love the square composition.

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Another closely related approach is “Contemplative photography”. Google it you will find articles and photos about “seeing things in fresh perspective”. I didn’t know this terminology before I find that the concept is quite similar to what I’m doing. Only that practitioners usually use normal camera to do it, which results photos of different qualities. I didn’t reference any others work but starting my approach purely from my heart and eyes.

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I didn’t know what’s more to write, except following my heart to shoot more of what I like, no rules, no norms, just what please you.

Happy iPhoneography 🙂

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iPhone 攝影術 – 培养破格思维

iPhone 攝影術(一) 培养破格思维




問題是智能手機解像度低,沒有光學變焦,景闊限了在30 多 mm (135 equivalent),亦沒有淺景深散境 。例如,我們不能做典型的85/1.8人像拍攝 。而這些照片通常只適合留在小的智能手機屏幕觀看,一但換上較大顯示屏時,照片也會變得很糟糕。因此,我們需要一些特別的策略,也要分析這平台上觀眾和攝影師的心理層次。


首先,我們要了解照片的大小真的有所差異:    較小的照片尺寸意味著你有較小的空間做 Contrast of scale,例如你把一個小的人的放入構圖,smartphone上你不會看到他的臉。

手機屏幕上的小尺寸也意味著構圖會變得更加突出,所以必須注重構圖,但卻不能讓構圖複雜。也不要期望用 Texture & Detail 去做照片的重心。另外,手機也意味著從觀眾得到的Attention Time Span較短,所以會傾向、也能更自由地使用誇張的顏色 Filter Effect。

然後,我們要了解智能手機的優勢:  接近35mm是街攝的焦距。操作的快速輕便是另一個關鍵。Macro距離非常近。


iPhone 攝影術(一) 培养破格思维


『snapshot』也是自由和主觀的東西,所以我的Snapshot不會是你的Snapshot,這也是這種照片特別之處。例如我的snapshot相對抽象和Graphic 。



甚至有一些有名的攝影師是用 iphone 拍攝的。這證明了攝影中技術只是其次,內容和美學才是最重要的。當然,我也是相機及攝影技術發燒友 ( 例如我會買A7R來”聞相” XD),但有時 技術上的限制,其實可以是一種創意的訓練。

iPhone 攝影術(一) 培养破格思维

其實『Snapshot』和 Lomography 的理念有異曲同工之妙。它們都是主張即興和隨性的拍攝。這說中了關於攝影的智慧 : 如果你能1) 捕捉住某一時刻(Capture the moment),2)捕捉光線和色彩,3)做出漂亮甚至特別的視覺畫面, 所有其他的事情,比如分辨率,清晰度,甚至散境,已變得次要。


我傾向於把照片處理得非常平面、刻意用Framing減去透視、立體 、和輪廓去把事物變成抽象;尋找質感、尋找Pattern、尋找Geometric Shapes、尋找不尋常的並列、減去垃圾Element、尋找荒謬、把物件的其中一部分框出來、裁剪不同的特徵來誤導觀眾。同時,我極愛方型構圖!

另一個密切相關的方法是『冥想攝影/Contemplative photography』。到網上搜尋一下,你會發現一些有關的文章和照片是關於『用新的角度去看東西』,我之前並不知道這個術語,也沒有參考任何其他人的作品,但我覺得這個概念跟我在做的東西有點類似。只是純粹從自己『心』和『眼』出發。

iPhone 攝影術(一) 培养破格思维


iPhone 攝影術(一) 培养破格思维

畢竟排除所有技術方面的考慮後,攝影最重要還是你對周遭事物的感覺和熱情,這個動力促使你捕捉那一瞬間的畫面: 有共嗚的氣氛、充滿戲劇性的時刻、一些特別動作、一種微妙的表情。一個純粹的色彩和構圖、光的美麗、一件愚蠢令你發笑的事、甚至是模糊了但有感覺的照片。如果你有打開你的『心』和『眼』,你會發現每天的生活中也有很多不同的微細感覺。

攝影本是自由的。我也順應工具的特性去影響我的Approach。例如我的 iphone snapshot有較少的”capture the moment” 而相對抽象和Graphic 。當我使用另一個媒體,我又會有不同的玩法。



今年,我有新的玩法。請密切關注我的下一個iphone攝影術 !

我的 Instagram


文:Kwai Bun 桂濱 

我的攝影博客 :

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我是一個實驗者。喜歡嘗試不同的攝影方法和研究不同的相機。 我相信透過研究每一種方法的獨特性,便能誇領域地互相啟發。甚至創造新的方法。從單反,無反,Lomography,iphone,大片幅;  從街道,STUDIO,人象,抽象 ;  後期處理,傳統菲林,暗室,閃燈。 從視覺藝術的判斷,到鏡頭的 MTF Chart。 不敢說我有很多經驗,但我試驗的種類繁多。希望可以跟大家分享。我本身是一間廣告及動畫公司的創意總監及創辦人。

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