4 Ways iPhoneography Will Make You a Better Filmmaker

In yesterday’s post about your brain on improv, one of my suggestions to exercise your creativity was to go out on a photo safari and shoot one-take smartphone photos. Now I know a lot of my readers are filmmakers and may be thinking, “Why would I take a bunch of photos? I’m trying to be a better filmmaker.” I totally get that mindset, but I want to share with you four ways I believe iPhoneography will make you a better filmmaker.

1. More aware

When you’re walking around a city, your neighborhood, or on the streets of Kolkata, and you’re actively looking for interesting photos, it trains your brain to be more aware of what’s around you. As a filmmaker, that is a skillset you need. Your ability to set yourself apart and develop a signature style will largely be predicated on your ability to be aware of your surroundings and to see what others may not.

Being more aware helped me notice this license plate (driven by a woman).
Being more aware helped me notice this license plate (driven by a woman).

2. See more

A natural transition from being more aware is seeing more. If the former is about being alert and sensitive to the possibilities, “seeing more” is about finding more details in each shot. As a filmmaker, when you see more, you’re able to get more out of each shot.

“Crop Circles”

3. Composition

For me, a big part of iPhoneography is experimenting with composition. The more you practice, the better your composition. Practice makes perfect.


4. Grading

A big part of filmmaking is color grading your film. Just about every iPhone app comes with filters and sliders allowing you to change the look, color, and feel of your photos. I use Snapseed and Instagram. But whatever you use, think about how and why you’re adding the filters you’re adding. Try to be intentional as opposed to randomly slapping on any ol’ filter. Those skills will translate to your filmmaking.


What suggestions or tips do you have for iPhoneography? Share in the comments.

2 thoughts on “4 Ways iPhoneography Will Make You a Better Filmmaker

  1. I agree with your ideas except it should be referred to as cellphoneography. Many Android or Windows phones take very capable pics also. Of course it doesn’t sound as cool without the “i” at the beginning. I love trying to get WOW shots with my cell phone even if it is a Galaxy S6. :-). I mail some pretty good ones from time to time.

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