How Koichi Miyase Takes Wonderful iPhone Photos

I’m really pleased to share this interview with Koichi Miyase, a talented photographer from Japan who takes beautiful pictures with his iPhone. Whether he’s shooting landscapes or urban environments, his choice of subject matter, light and composition always results in a stunning image. In this interview you’ll discover more about Koichi, and how he takes such wonderful photos with his iPhone.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 4

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I’m Japanese, and I live in the ancient city of Nara in Japan. I specialized in Graphic Design at university.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 35

After graduation, I participated in a marketing promotion of various enterprises and was dealing with the editing of a design magazine. Through this work I developed a deeper passion for photography.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 15

How did your iPhone photography journey begin?

I was always carrying a DSLR around, taking photos as a record of my memories. I got my first iPhone (3GS) in 2010 and discovered Instagram around that time.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 29

The iPhone 3GS camera performance was pretty low, but the editing was fun and I enjoyed using the filters in Instagram.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 42

What inspires you to take photos with the iPhone?

Currently I’m using the iPhone 6, and the camera performance is wonderful. It’s so easy to shoot, edit and share, all in the palm of my hand! I’ve become completely lost in iPhone photography.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 41

Do you have a favorite photography genre or do you like to experiment and try new things?

I think a person’s lifestyle influences their photography. I work in a city, but I like to spend the weekends going out into nature such as forests, beaches, etc.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 18

I like to shoot while exploring nature, but it’s also exciting to shoot the urban landscape.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 37

In landscape photography, good composition is essential for conveying the scale and depth of the scenery. What are your top composition tips for shooting great landscape photos?

First, a leading line is an important element that you should try to include in your composition. It helps to create depth by leading the viewer’s eye into the scene.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 30

The next important consideration is your shooting angle. I’ll usually try a high angle and a low angle to see what works best.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 21

I sometimes climb onto the roof of my car to get a high vantage point, and I may also lie down on the ground to shoot from a low angle.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 10

I also like to add a person into the scene. I love to photograph people standing in various beautiful places, such as a forest, field, coast, mountaintop, etc.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 24

Including a person in the landscape helps to create contrast with the scale of nature. It also creates empathy in the viewer, making them wonder about the scenery that the person is looking at.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 25

A lot of your landscape photos are shot in mist and fog. How important is the weather in landscape photography?

Nature and the weather can completely change the atmosphere in your photos. Rainy weather creates beautiful lush green images, and fog will add a wonderful sense of mystery to the landscape.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 9

On a sunny day, shoot at sunset to bathe your scenery in a stunning golden glow. This works especially well when photographing beach scenes.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 23

Do you have a favorite time of day for shooting landscapes?

Lighting is the most important aspect for photography. I don’t like shooting in direct light so much. I prefer the early morning or evening light.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 27

You also take stunning photos of buildings and architecture. Buildings are all around us, but many people struggle to take good photos of them. What tips would you give to beginner iPhone photographers who want to start taking more interesting photos of architecture?

I think there are various ways to photograph architecture. My favorite method is to put the most beautiful part of the architecture in the frame. For this purpose, it’s important to fully observe the subject.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 6

You should also pay attention to shadows which can bring out the beauty of the architecture. So find out what time the beautiful shadows will appear there.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 14

Let’s talk about photo apps. Are there any apps that you use for taking photos besides the native camera app?

I usually only use the native camera app. In low light conditions I sometimes use Cortex Cam. And for long exposure light trail and water flow shots I use Slow Shutter Cam.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 32

What are your favorite apps for post-processing?

First, I’ll adjust the brightness, tones, etc. in Snapseed. The brush tool in Snapseed is wonderful.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 19

Next I’ll often apply a filter in VSCO Cam, but I also like the simplicity of Picfx. I sometimes use SKRWT for correcting the perspective in architecture shots.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 7

Do you use any iPhone photography accessories?

I use a variety of add-on lenses (wide angle, telephoto, fish-eye, macro) from Moment Lenses and Tokyo Grapher.

For my self-portrait shots, I use use a remote control Bluetooth shutter release.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 12

Can you briefly explain the story and editing behind your three favorite iPhone photos?

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 1

Do you know the beauty of the Japanese cherry blossom? I took this photo in April when the cherry trees were in full bloom.

I found a floral tunnel, and waited for a boat to appear before pressing the shutter button. I didn’t do any editing on this image.

This photo was use by Apple in their “Shot on iPhone 6” world campaign in 2015.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 2

Exploring gives us the opportunity to find marvelous views. I’d passed this forestry road by car, but I was interested to explore it further so I returned as soon as I could.

My friend walked into the mysterious fog, and I took this photo from behind him. I used Snapseed to adjust the brightness, contrast and color intensity.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 3

This is the only desert in Japan. It’s difficult to shoot the ripple marks because there are a lot of tourists there.

When it’s windless, a ripple mark doesn’t show. And when it isn’t early morning, there are many footprints created by the people who’ve walked across the sand.

So I got there early in the morning on the day that a typhoon passed. This allowed us to capture the beautiful ripples and make the first footprints in the sand.

In post-processing, I started off by adjusting brightness, contrast and color intensity in Snapseed. Then I used Picfx to apply a filter (PFX15).

Do you shoot with any other cameras, and if so, when do you prefer to use the iPhone?

I own a DSLR and some cameras. In certain situations the iPhone doesn’t create the effect I want, so I’ll use one of my other cameras.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 34

For example, when I want bokeh, when I need a higher resolution, or when the use of a telephoto lens is required, I’ll use my other cameras. But I only post iPhone photos on Instagram.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 22

You have a huge following on Instagram. How important is this online community to you, and what effect has it had on your photography?

Instagram has had a big influence on my lifestyle as well as my photography. I can make friends with people all over the world through Instagram.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 31

When they’ve come to Japan, we’ve enjoyed attending Instameets together. I meet my Japanese friends every week so that we can communicate and shoot together.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 13

Instagram has already changed from an online community into a real-life community for me. The knowledge and stimulus I get from this photographic community helps to improve my creativity.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 8

What tips do you have for beginner iPhone photographers who want to start taking more creative photos with the iPhone?

I’d recommend that you go on a photo walk with a person more skillful than yourself. If you observe their shooting style carefully, you’ll learn a lot of new and creative techniques.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 26

Which iPhone photographers do you admire the most?

My favorite iPhone photographers are @cocu_liu, @joez19, @dimikangaroo, @niphisi, @nei.cruz, @nazaret, @elinlia, @macroe, @littlemycph, @koshi_another_side, @chilo and @ima_ju.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 20

Where can we see your iPhone photography?

You can see my photos on Instagram @koichi1717 and also on Tumblr.

Koichi Miyase iPhone Photos 17

It's easy to take a quick snapshot with iPhone, but most people don't know how to take full control of their iPhone's camera. That's why we created a free video revealing 7 hidden iPhone camera features that every photographer should use.