How Colin Roberts Takes Stunning Landscape Photos With His iPhone

I’m really excited to share this interview with Colin Roberts, a talented photographer who takes stunning photos with his iPhone. Colin’s images capture the beauty of the English countryside, making the most of amazing light and bad weather, and often including himself in the photo. He also takes wonderful photos of his children, and has a creative eye, making use of interesting props and special effects. In this interview you’ll learn more about Colin and how he creates his incredible images with an iPhone.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I’m from Berkshire in the UK. I live in the English countryside with my wife of 12 years, Louie and three children, Ethan, Danuel and Indiana who all feature in my photography.

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I’m an admin assistant for a large supermarket chain. I used to be a manger in retail but recently stepped down to concentrate more on photography.

How did your iPhone photography journey begin?

I’m now on my 6th iPhone, and with each model I use it more and more for photography. With my latest model, the iPhone 6, it’s never been so easy to leave my DSLR at home.

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In January 2012 I discovered Instagram, but it wasn’t until June of that year that I realized the potential for showcasing images. It was then that I started to upload my professional images.

What inspires you to take photos with the iPhone?

The inspiration is simple… the instant access to a camera. Also, the position of the lens on the iPhone makes certain shots possible that you can’t take with a DSLR, such as really low angle compositions.

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Do you have a preferred photography genre, or do you like to experiment and try out new ideas?

Landscape was my first love in photography. Recently I’ve begun adding people into my landscape images more and more. And I’ve also been experimenting with other forms of photography.

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Do you have a preferred time of day for taking landscape photos? 

Theres nothing like getting up early and going out on location for sunrise. The light just before and after the sun rises is phenomenal at times.

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However the images don’t come without some degree of planning, in terms of checking the weather and scouting locations.

What tips would you give to beginner iPhone photographers who want to start taking more interesting pictures of landscapes?

Photography for me is all about composition. If you haven’t got the composition right, then there’s just no point looking at anything else. I think I have a gift to be able to just glance at a scene and tell right away what composition will work. Yes, use the rule of thirds, but don’t be afraid to break the rule!

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Plan your location, check the weather, be up early in time for sunrise or stay out late for sunset. In the winter months the sun is lower in the sky producing more shadow interest for longer during the day, so it may be cold outside but don’t be afraid to go out.

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The best shots are taken when you’re out in extreme conditions. For example, most people avoid going out in the rain, but to me it’s an opportunity.

Tell us about your #indianatakesme series on Instagram.

#indianatakesme started a few weeks ago, inspired by the popular Instagram series #followmeto by Murad Osmann in which he photographs his girlfriend holding his hand and leading him towards a particular destination.

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I’ve taken a different twist and have my daughter Indiana face me. The idea is wherever we go, or whatever we do, we will take a shot of me holding her hand and her looking back at me. I envisage the series going to more elaborate places as time goes on.

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I guess the main reason for the series is a kind of photo diary of my daughter growing up and seeing how she changes over time. I plan for the series to continue until she is grown up.

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

I always use the native camera app. It does everything I need it to, and has also been improved with the latest iOS 8. I do find other camera apps a little over complicated.

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What are your favorite apps for post-processing?

I used to use Snapseed, but I’ve recently moved to using Fotograf. I like how it’s laid out, the filters it offers and the adjustments that you can use after the filter is applied.

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Do you use any iPhone photography accessories?

A mini tripod is a must for me as I feature myself in many images, and until last week it was the only accessory I used. Now my only other accessory is a selfie stick.

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

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I often place myself in my images. I’m the quickest and easiest model in any situation, and a person adds a lot to what would otherwise be just another sunset image.

I only performed minimal edits in the Fotograph app, adding a little warmth and darkening the shadows a little for that silhouette.

In all my edits I try and make the image as close to how I saw it at the time of shooting. I hate over processed images and will keep any edit as minimal as possible, getting exposure, etc. right in camera at the time of shooting.

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I took this photo of a camera with the iPhone held just a couple of millimeters from the surface of the table. You can use this technique of shooting close to any surface, resulting is some really interesting angles. This is where the iPhone comes into its own with the position of the lens. I processed the image with some simple edits in the Fotograph app.

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This is a very recent image taken in the field next to where I live. I saw the sun setting, so I ran to the field to capture it. I used the flood water to reflect the light. I used the Fotograf app to just warm up the image a little and a small increase in shadows.

A lot of professional photographers don’t take mobile photography seriously. What’s your take on that?

Mobile photography is a serious business nowadays. There’s a lot of money to earn with stock agencies now accepting images from mobile devices, as well as Instagram being used for advertising by big brands.

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You have a large fan-base of over 88,000 followers on Instagram. What does the Instagram community mean to you, and what effect has it had on your photography?

Instagram has certainly made me change my style of photography and I guess adapt my work. Whenever I shoot I’m always thinking “square.” I also never shoot in anything other than landscape as there’s more option for cropping in landscape orientation.

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The Instagram community is huge, and provides instant feedback on your photography, be it good or bad. And I wouldn’t be here talking to you without the people who follow me, some of them for two or more years now.

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I’ve had marriage proposals and declaration of love, but mainly a lot of admiration and appreciation of my work. I get questions from time to time asking for advice and I always try to help where I can.

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

Get inspiration from the online resources available. A good one is Pinterest for gathering photo ideas. I will often search Pinterest for ideas and inspiration as well as following some of the big names on Instagram.

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Secondly, experiment with various subjects, lighting and working with people. There’s a photo opportunity in everything.

Which iPhone photographers do you admire the most?

Eric Ward produces some awesome work of varying subjects. Also @genyvb, @thatsval and @pchyburrs to name a few.

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Where can we see your iPhone photography?

You can see my iPhone photos on Instagram. My photo feed is a mix of iPhone photos and DSLR images – the iPhone photos are all tagged #iphone.

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