Book Review: “The Art of iPhone Photography” by Bob Weil and Nicki Fitz-Gerald
The curators of our friends at iPhoneographyCentral have published a great new book that is due to ship soon. “The Art of iPhone Photography“ by Bob Weil and Nicki Fitz-Gerald is an excellent book with a broad range of tutorials and is an great choice to learn a lot of iPhone photo techniques quickly, no matter what your skill level.
I’ll explain. The book’s publisher, Rocky Nook, graciously provided me with an advance copy. Keep reading for my full review. >>>
This book is the brainchild of Bob Weil and Nicki Fitz-Gerald who together run iPhoneographyCentral.com, one of the first websites in the community to seriously share iPhoneography and iPhone art “recipes” and techniques. Many of iPhoneography’s top artists have shared their techniques and insights there over the years.
“The Art of iPhone Photography” features contributions from dozens of the top photographers and artists creating today. These are all A-listers — iPhoneographers and artists who regularly push the envelope of technique and processing. Most of those contributing are also working professional photographers and artists outside of the art.
The book includes excellent, very comprehensive tutorials from Jack Hollingsworth, Dan Marcolina, Sheldon Serkin, Cindy Patrick, Karen Divine, Paula Gardener/Jasharn, ©arlein, Alan Kastner, Souichi Forusho, MissPixels, Robert and Edina Herold, and many, many others. Most of these artists have been creating and sharing iPhone art for years. I really like the group approach that Bob and Nicky have taken here. It adds many different voices and viewpoints to the mix.
Recognizing that there’s a broad spectrum of iPhone art being created today, the book is divided into two parts — Photography and Illustration/Fine Art — a great approach that lets the book cover a broad range of topics while still keeping its focus.
The parts are further broken down into sections by overall artistic style, such as landscape, surreal, abstracting graphic in the fine arts section and people street and landscape in the photography section. Content flows logically.
The book begins by teaching you how to capture better photographs with Paula Gardener and Jack Hollingsworth’s excellent tutorials. Both of these professional photographers share their insights on photography – composition, lighting, technique. I’ve shot with Jack and he’s always giving great advice and techniques from his 30+ years in the business. Here he gives some gems.
Each tutorial goes into great detail, not only with techniques but with the artists’ insights and the creative process as well. Every artist is very generous not only with their techniques but also how they created the peace. This way you not only learn how but why. Like a lesson from a great instructor, you learn the theory as well as the technique.
Each tutorial spells out at its beginning what you should learn, the apps that you’ll need, and the backstory of the photo from the photographer, which is often a fascinating peek behind the scenes of the creation of these great images. At the end of each tutorial there’s a summary that wraps up what you should’ve gotten out of it.
One of the great things about this book is how quickly each tutorial gets personal. This is less like learning from a textbook and more like being tutored by an old friend.
“The Art of iPhone Photography” covers a broad range of photographic and iPhone art essentials and techniques, including lighting, focus, composition, retouching, color correcting, processing, compositing, blending, masking on iPhone, adding texture, collage and much more.
The book itself is beautiful. Its layout is clean and flows very well. It’s easy to read through or just go back and find what you need. In addition to the detailed tutorials, this book also includes galleries of images with the apps the artist used to create them with, allowing you to experiment on your own.
Each tutorial is excellent. They are all very thorough and detailed, taking you through all the steps to re-create the studies presented in the book. Tutorials are very easy-to-follow regardless of your skill level. Even the techniques for complex composited images are extremely clear and straightforward. This book removes the mystery of many of these techniques. The combinations in which the artists use them is often simple yet brilliant.
Not only do the artists share their processes and settings, but they also share why… often, which I find helps me to learn and understand the techniques much better than mere repetition. This book is valuable because it helps to instruct “why” things are done a certain way.
The artists not only go through the basics, but they also share some of their very cool signature tips as well. It’s the details in these “signature tips ” that can really set an artists’ work apart. These are gems that a straight tutorial often doesn’t deliver and helps to add a lot of unique value to the tutorials shared here. The tutorials not only share the artists’ favorite apps, but a detailed explanation of why.
I’ve got several sample pages below. Be sure to check them out in the gallery below.
“The Art of iPhone Photography” Sample Pages
Click to View Gallery
Reading through the tutorials, especially the fine art tutorials, I was amazed at the creative journey many of these artists took with their images and how often times the original image or images evolved into something new and wonderful that barely resembled the finished result.
In the end it’s all about creating a piece that tells a story, captures a moment, invokes an emotion, or a combination of the three. “The Art of iPhone Photography” can expand your tool set to help you achieve this.
The Bottom Line
“The Art of iPhone Photography” is an outstanding gathering of iPhoneographers and iPhone artists, sharing their techniques and telling their stories. It’s also a revealing look at the toolbox — the apps, hardware (and in some cases natural media techniques) that the artists use regularly to create these works.
What I like about this book and how-to books in general is that you can learn a heluva lot of knowledge in a very short period of time. Having a copy of the book also gives you the flexibility to go back and review techniques that maybe didn’t stick the first time.
I really like how the tutorials are fleshed out with details and easy to follow, regardless of whether you are familiar with the concepts or not. I love the backstory from each artist which adds a more personal touch to each set of images.
This book is an excellent resource for iPhoneographers and iPhone artists of all skill levels. It covers a broad range of styles and techniques. It covers them all extremely well. It weighs in at over 300 pages and there’s a lot of information here, but it’s all well-presented and an easy read.
I like the great overall balance of tutorials presented here. But once it gets going, “The Art of iPhone Photography” is fairly heavy with image processing tutorials. If you’re looking for a volume that focuses more on photographic technique, you will love the first section of this book, but I might also recommend Misho Baranovic’s excellent “iPhone Photography: How to Shoot, Edit and Share Great Photos” which mainly focuses on the hows and whys of capturing better photos in your device.
“The Art of iPhone Photography” draws upon the years of tutorials and tips shared on iPhoneographyCentral.com, except the techniques here are explored here in much greater depth than in other media. This book takes some of the best tutorials from many of today’s top iPhone artists and expands upon the techniques used to create some of iPhone art’s iconic images.
iPhone art is constantly evolving. Even if you have other how-to books, this book will help you keep up with these latest apping techniques that the faster processors and more powerful apps allow.
Whether you are an iPhone photographer looking to hone your composition and/or processing skills, or an iPhone artist looking to learn new techniques, you will find a lot of great useful information in “The Art of iPhone Photography”.
I thought I knew a lot, but this book still left me saying “wow!” several times. This book is filled with terrific techniques and tips that anyone can learn, use and adapt to their own iPhone art. Highly recommended.
“The Art of iPhone Photography”
by Bob Weil and Nicki Fitz-Gerald
Available August 28, 2013
Available for preorder on Amazon.com for less
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