I recently had a chance to finish iPhone Photography Pro, a video course by professional photographer and iPhoneography expert Matt Kemp. In this review you’re going to find out what’s covered inside this course and what are the good and the bad things about it.
iPhone Photography Pro is hosted on Udemy, the world’s leading online learning platform. Udemy gives you lifetime access to all the courses you buy, so you can complete the course at your own pace and always go back to previous lectures if necessary. If you ever get stuck, you can always ask Matt a question and he’ll get back to you shortly.
All the lectures are available in HD, and you can use the Udemy iOS app to follow the course on your iPhone and iPad. This app also allows you to save the videos for offline viewing so you can follow the course without an internet connection. After completing all the lectures you’ll get a certificate of completion for this course.
While iPhone Photography Pro is rather short (about 2.5 hours of video + text), all the videos are concise and to the point. There’s something new and interesting to be learned in each lecture, and no time is wasted as you’re going through the course. The lectures themselves are of high quality and relevant graphics are included whenever appropriate.
The course is divided into 8 sections (with conclusion in section 9), and the sections progress from the basics to increasingly advanced topics. Even if iPhone photography is new to you, you won’t have a problem with this course as it progresses gradually starting from the very beginning.
Section 1: Your Camera
The first section explains different tricks and features of using the iPhone’s camera… in iOS 6. There are some significant updates to the Camera and Photos apps in iOS 7, but they are not covered in this course (nor in any other iPhoneography video course so far).
Matt is going to update the course for iOS 7, but it will likely take some time before the update is released. All current subscribers will of course get the update for free.
Even before the update, there’s still a lot to be learned from this section. For example, Matt gives tips on how to hold the iPhone correctly and how to use some of the more advanced photography features like AE/AF lock and panorama mode. I never even realized that you could also use the iPhone’s panorama feature vertically until going through this section.
Other interesting things that are covered in Section 1 include tips on how to take a photo in which the same person appears more than once, and a discussion of the iPhone camera’s limitations along with tips on how to overcome them.
Section 2: Basic Composition
This section is all about composition, including a detailed discussion of gridlines, intersection points and diagonals. While you may have heard of these concepts already, Matt has added his own touch and tips to each of these common composition techniques.
Section 3: Advanced Composition
This section of iPhone Photography Pro builds on the basic composition techniques from the previous videos. First, there’s a great video on leading lines, which is a very useful composition technique with many creative applications.
In the second video Matt returns to the discussion of diagonals, demonstrating why diagonal placement works well in many different photography situations. Matt then goes on to talk about dynamic tension, which is a situation in which the eyes are unsure at which parts of the image to focus on.
Finally, Matt discusses contrast in composition, which can be both visual and contextual, or even better – both at the same time.
Section 4: Colors
Prepare to be impressed if the color wheel is not a part of your photography toolbox. In this section Matt explains how all colors can be categorized in the color wheel, and makes a distinction between harmonizing and contrasting colors, which can be used to either create harmony and tranquility – or excitement and liveliness in the photo.
Section 5: HDR
This section starts with a text introduction to HDR, where this photography technique – and when one should and should not be using it – is explained in great detail. Matt also explains HDR in a video lecture, where I picked up the great tip to always expose HDR images for the highlights, not the shadows.
Section 6: Lighting
Any great photographer will tell you that photography is all about light, and that the first step to becoming a better photographer is to start studying light. That’s exactly what you’ll be doing in this section where Matt explores various light directions and distinguishes between hard and soft light.
Section 7: Scenarios
Even if iPhone Photography Pro only had this one section, it would still be amazing. In this section Matt covers different shooting scenarios including portraits, babies & children, nature & landscapes and macro photography. Each shooting scenario is explained clearly and thoroughly, with videos showing exactly how Matt takes photos in each situation.
For example, the portrait video is about 10 minutes long and throughout the video you can see how Matt is taking great portraits with the iPhone – and what the iPhone screen is showing throughout the whole process. Throughout these videos, Matt shares many interesting tips and techniques that you can directly apply to your own photography.
To give you an example of how Matt covers the different scenarios, here’s a short sample from his Landscape photography video.
This section of iPhone Photography Pro has contains the best hands-on iPhone shooting tutorials that I have ever come across. The videos in this section are shot from the iPhone’s perspective, meaning that you see exactly what Matt saw through his iPhone while he was taking some great photos.
Section 8: Editing & Apps
In this section – for the first time in this course – Matt goes beyond the built-in functionality of the iPhone and covers a few interesting photo apps. After explaining the basic editing features in iOS 6, Matt goes on to cover SlowShutter Camera, ProHDR, iPhoto and Pano.
The video on SlowShutter demonstrates how to use this interesting app to capture stunning photos of water flow, and how to get the somewhat confusing settings of this app right. Next Matt covers ProHDR, covering both the automatic and manual HDR settings, as well as the editing tools that are included in this app.
The next two videos focus on iPhoto, which can be quite challenging without someone to guide you through the app. Matt does exactly that, showing you how to edit photos in iPhoto. Finally, Matt shows you how to use the Pano app to take panorama photos, and briefly mentions some useful iPhone accessories.
- Outstanding coverage of composition, colors and shooting scenarios
- Videos show you exactly what you see on the screen of the iPhone
- Matt’s knowledge and experience as a professional photographer
- High-quality lectures packed with great information
- 30 day money-back guarantee
- The course is rather short (about 2.5 hours of video + text)
- Limited coverage of photo editing apps
- The Camera app has changed in iOS 7
iPhone Photography Pro is a great course with outstanding coverage of composition, colors and different shooting scenarios. As an acclaimed professional photographer, Matt shares many really unique tips that help you shoot better photos with the iPhone.
The course itself is well-designed and the videos are of high quality, often showing you exactly what Matt was seeing through his iPhone while he was taking photos. If you want a course that teaches you how to shoot better and more creative photos with the iPhone, you can’t go wrong with iPhone Photography Pro.