iphone photography
January 26, 2012 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Blog photography advice needed!

I recently started a makeup blog, and I could use some advice about photography. Right now I am using my iphone 4 camera, and while it’s sort of adequate if the light is decent – I try to use only natural light - my photographs really don’t look as good as I want it to. In particular the colors are not accurate enough. Here is a typical photo that I’m planning to post soon.

Is there anything I can do with my iphone camera to make the colors more accurate?

Can you recommend general resources for learning how to get better photographs from my iphone?

If you think a real camera is needed, what is the least expensive camera you would recommend? I don’t want to invest a lot of money into the blog when I don’t know if the blogging thing will “stick.” I will be using it to take photographs of stationary objects from approximately 6-12” away.
posted by insectosaurus to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would not rely on an iPhone to take pictures that require color accuracy. You can improve the accuracy of the color by using a white balance / color picker card (like, but not necessarily, this) and then adjusting the "white balance" in Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture (and probably also iPhoto). You take a picture of the card in the environment you're shooting, and then a photo of your subject; on the computer, you adjust the white balance so that photo of the card matches the known colors on the card and apply those settings to the picture of the makeup.

If it were me, I'd find a little Powershot to take the pictures. Ideally, you'd want one that shoots in "RAW," which is an image format like jpeg, but allows more control. Failing that, really any modern point and shoot is going to be fine. I like Canons, but that's just because they're better (I keed).

Obviously, you don't need to use it just for blogging! Do you not have a regular camera?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:44 AM on January 26, 2012

No - I don't have another camera. I used to have one, but it disappeared in my last move, and it was ~6 years old anyway - given how much digital camera technology has changed, it's probably not much of a loss.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:50 AM on January 26, 2012

The Pioneer Woman is known for taking pretty great blog photos, but she started out basically knowing nothing about photography. If you search back through her site you can find blog postings that talk about how she learned, how she got better as she went along, what equipment she used, etc.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:53 AM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't do much more than get a color calibration card to include in your shots, and balance the colors as well as you can based on that.

Why? Because you're not printing it, so color accuracy is only going to be as good as the accuracy of the monitors people use to look at it. Which likely won't be great.
posted by supercres at 12:18 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'd simply repair each shot with photo editing software of some sort. The GIMP can perform this. Many free photo management tools can, as well: Picasa is one, depending on your definition of "free." Simply "auto colour correct," or "auto balance," or both.

Here is a version of your image with some really basic work done. My guess is it's better, but still not great.

To achieve greatness, continue to use natural light whenever possible, but also include more background items (also lit by natural light) in your photos. I searched for "nyx dusty rose" and found a bunch of shots like this one. Blue sky, green foliage, pavement, an arm. All lit by the sun. This helps the camera itself choose a good white balance, and it also helps programs like Photoshop and the GIMP determine the proper white balance automatically, which is nice. I found it hard to guess at a good white balance with your provided shot because it had so little context.

Lemme know if that makes sense.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 12:20 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

"This one" above is supposed to link here. I swear I pasted it right. I don't know what happened.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 12:22 PM on January 26, 2012

tapesonthefloor - that makes a lot of sense, thank you so much! Your version of my photo is definitely more color-accurate than the original, and I tried auto-color correcting the original with pretty good results as well.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:01 PM on January 26, 2012

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