My 3 favorite iPhone photography apps

iPhone is the best camera phone on the market today, and for many of us, it’s the primary tool we use to document our lives.

As a freelance photo/video guy who uses a fancy camera, but who also enjoys capturing life with my iPhone, here are the photography apps I use to give my shots just a little more punch.

Pro HDR X ($2)

]HDR photography (high dynamic range) essentially captures more details in an image. In standard pictures, details are lost in the bright or dark areas, so that the main subjest is properly exposed. Pro HDR X captures more detail in both the lights and dark of your image, making it pop more than a normal shot. The iPhone in-camera app has an HDR option, but I find this app works much better.

Shot with PRO HDR X in iPhone 

Shot with PRO HDR X in iPhone 

VSCO Cam (Free)

This is the app I use most because it enables me to fine tune my images to look just how I want them too. Yes, it has cool filters, but VSCO also offers a full range of editing tools like exposure, temperature, contrast, highlight and shadow adjustment, saturation, tint, grain and a few others. It’s a fun tool to play with if you’re new to the art of photo editing, as it lets you easily see what certain adjustments can do to alter the look and feel of your image.

Shot and edited with VSCO Cam on iPhone 5

Shot and edited with VSCO Cam on iPhone 5

Diptic ($1)
This is a simple app to combine photos together into one image. Great for flyers or invites or just another way to creatively share the images you take.

Images shot with iPhone 5S and edited in Diptic to share a thank you card I received from a client.

Images shot with iPhone 5S and edited in Diptic to share a thank you card I received from a client.

There you have it. There are certainly lots of other great photography apps out there, but these are the three I’d miss the most if they were taken away.

4 tips for choosing your wedding videographer

weddingvideo

 

Somewhere at any given time, a recently engaged woman - let’s call her Bri - is drinking red wine on a couch with her girlfriends and a box of Kleenex, watching wedding videos. 

You know it’s true. 

And like so many before her, the combination of wine and cinematic romance is too much. It’s decided. She and (let's call him Jim) must have a wedding video.

Besides her father who will be footing the bill, who could blame her?

In this day in age, when a year of planning and savings goes into one day, why not make an awesome video to document it? 

So the decision has been made. But now what? 

If you’re like Bri — excited about the idea of a wedding video, but wondering where to start, this list if for you. 

It’s a list that comes from four years of experience filming weddings, lots of mistakes, a few wins, and about 500 hours of testing the recipe for a great film. 

1. You have to jive with your videographer

When you bring a videographer on, you’re going to have to tango with them from the moment you sign the contract until months after your wedding during their editing process. You’re going to want to make sure that before you sign anything, you’re tangoing to the same beat. 

Being filmed all day when you’re not used to it is an experience. Whether it’s a good or bad one is entirely dependent on how well you jive with the person behind the lens. And more important, the quality of your film is directly related to the degree of rapport you and your fiancee share with your videographer.

If you Jive, then you’re comfortable around each other, and your videographer will know the little nuances about you that will make your film uniquely yours.

So go online, send some emails, and setup some coffee outings with some filmmakers. Which one do you feel gets you as a couple. Which one is asking the right questions? Which one shares your sense of humor? Which one do you Jive with?

2.  Their films story-tell, not cookie cut

A bride once told me:

“There has yet to be one wedding video that you’ve created that has not made me cry.” 

I say this not to brag, but to make a point that the reason she cried was because I did my job. It's not rocket science. It's not even really storytelling. It's just being a good conduit for someone elses story. 

The truth is, most couples' story could bring grown men to tears, but it can only happen if their videographer takes the time before the wedding to get to know them enough to find that story and tell it authentically.

Compare as many videographers as you can and see which videos stand out to you. Why do they stand out? Why did one film make you cry when another didn’t? 

3.  Wedding videos are a team sport 

I used to shoot weddings solo and I wouldn’t recommend it. There is just too much gear, too many balls in the air, too little time and too many places to be at once for it to go smoothly. Choose someone who will send at least two people out on your wedding day. 

I will say there are exceptions, and I have nothing against people who do it solo. One could argue there are even some benefits to this approach, but if I was going to hire someone, I'd want at least two shooters. 

4. You pay for what you get. 

There are no discount big box stores, coupons, or black Friday sales for quality wedding films.  Filmmaking is a craft, and a well-put-together film takes thought, preparation, physical demand, expensive gear, people, and editing time. I’m not going to suggest a price, since they vary so much, but I would budget at least the amount you plan on paying your photographer, and perhaps more. No need to dismiss someone based on price, but be skeptical of someone who tries to sell you a highly discounted package. 

In the spirit of transparency, my 2015 rate starts at $7900. I could do a whole post on pricing, but boiled down, it's a rate I've arrived at based on what I feel I'm worth, and also what I need to run my business and pay my bills. A lot of folks charge less than me, some charge more. But my clients know what they're getting and they're happy with the investment they make with me. 

To sum it all up. Wedding films are a personal investment and though I've never had one made for my wedding (I'm not yet married), I know from talking with clients that a lot of thought (and stress) goes into finding the right person or studio. This list certainly isn't exhaustive, but if you Jive, seek out Story, choose a Team over solo, and Budget realistically, you'll be off to a good start. 

 

Weminuche Wilderness Adventure

In August 2014, myself and five mountain mates forged our way through a 37 mile strip of the Weminuche Wilderness, nested in the San Juan Mountains in SW Colorado. 

We departed from Silverton, a small mountain town straight out of the Wild West. From there, we took the Durango Train, an old steam engine that felt like a slow motion roller coaster through the mountains. When the train dropped us, there was nothing but a raging creek behind the tracks, and a path leading into the mountains in front of us. Here are a few shots from our happy trails. Thanks for stopping by!