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Book Bag: The iPhone Photography Book Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

29 March 2021

This is the one book by Scott Kelby that the author himself says you don't need. Because you (with your interchangeable lens camera) are beyond mere iPhonography. Instead, Kelby has a bookshelf of more sophisticated books for you to dig through.

Except who has the patience for advanced study?

And anyway the deep dark secret is that the camera (and the lens) is just part of what's involved in making a photograph.

So we found that even in these humble pages, there is a great deal to be learned from Kelby's engaging one-lesson-a-page approach.

It's engaging because you can just thumb through it looking at the pictures and come back later for the text. And that text is to the point because it has to fit on one page with that big picture hogging a lot of the space.

The book does mention the iPhone, of course. Everywhere. But let's look at the contents to see how much more ground the discussion covers.

It begins with a chapter on iPhone Camera Essentials and continues with chapters on How to Compose Like a Pro, Photographing People, Posing People, Travel & Landscape Photography, Other Cool Stuff to Shoot, iPhone Camera Tips & Tricks, Organizing Your Photo Library, Editing Your Images, Incredible Apps That Can Take Your Photos to the Next Level, Awesome iPhone Accessories and Photo Recipes.

That last chapter is packed with advice for shooting food, flowers, nightscapes, pets, still lifes, concerts and more.

So, you know, he covers the subject of making photographs (with or without an iPhone) pretty thoroughly.

But how does he cover it? (I hear you.) Well, he tells you himself:

I wrote it where, basically, it's you and me out shooting with our iPhones, and I'm giving you the same tips, the same advice, and the same techniques I've learned over the years shooting traditional camera.

See what we mean? The iPhone (any smartphone, really) is just a device to talk photography and get the goods in 250 pages, a lesson per page.

Do you need this book?

Well, if you've got an iPhone, consider this the encyclopedia that didn't ship with it. Just to take one example, we looked up Apple's new ProRaw format in the index (it's in the P's not the A's) and saw it's mentioned in two places.

We went to the second, at the back of the book, where authors usually indulge their verbose side and found only a one line mention in a tip about preserving detail in highlights (the tip was to use ProRaw).

Disappointed and not expecting much, we thumbed back to the first reference on page 10 and found, among other things, this:

Now, just a heads u: these Apple ProRaw files are much, much larger in size than the normal JPEGs or HEICs. In fact, they're about 25 times larger, so if you don't have a ton of free space left on your iPhone, yo might want to pass on shooting in ProRaw all the time, and just toggle it on when you're shooting something really important where you need the best quality possible.

Which is good, sound advice. But maybe you want to dig a little deeper. Kelby will hand you the shovel:

Speaking of file formats (and if you feel like nerding out for a sec), Apple's ProRaw files are based on Adobe's DNG (digital negative) format. This is an open-source standard Adobe created years ago to keep us all from having to deal with every camera company using their own proprietary Raw version. Unfortunately, the big camera companies didn't really adopt DNG like we all hoped, but Apple is using it for the ProRaw, so high-five to them for their forward thinking and sticking with what, we hope, one day will actually become the industry standard it was designed to be.

That's quite a historical nugget buried there to reward your digging. More than you bargained for, probably. But it's the kind of bonus coverage from a guy who's been there from the beginning that permeates the book.

We could say more, but you're better off reading Kelby.

The iPhone Photography Book by Scott Kelby, published by Rocky Nook, 250 pages, $29.95 from Rocky Nook (or $29.95 at

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