Ipads For Photographers

After buying my wife an Ipad 4 for her birthday and having a sneaky play myself I had a light bulb moment where an idea was born.
Being a tech head and a photographer I decided to combine the two, incorporating the Ipad into some of my pictures and injecting a little fun into the process as well.
I took three different pictures using the Ipad in different ways to show what you can do with a little bit of thought and imagination.
Below are all three pictures with an explanation of how I achieved each one, enjoy!



The Christmas App

This was my first picture which being December had to fit the Christmas theme.


This is a self portrait and was the hardest shot of all three pictures.
I set up my Nikon d300s and 50mm prime lens on my Manfrotto tripod with extended cable release attached so I could fire the trigger from where I was sitting.
I tried the 50mm as I wanted to use the wide aperture to make the tree behind turn into Christmassy bokeh goodness but I just couldn't get the focusing at such a shallow dof and auto focus was just not happening.
I gave up with the nifty fifty and switched to my Nikkor 16-85 instead and decided to go less bokeh to make my life that little bit easier.
I zoomed in to around 30mm so the tree filled the background then placed my torch in front of the tree where I would be sitting to manually pre focus on the torch.
I switched off the room lights and played with my exposures in manual mode trying to underexpose slightly to bring out the colours of the Christmas lights.
Once I was happy I got my Nikon SB600 flash gun and fixed a red gel to the front to add a lovely splash of Christmas red to the Ipad.
My flashgun was placed on the floor right in front of me with the head pointing directly at the Ipad.
I manually set the flashgun to 1/32 power knowing I only needed a little burst of light as not to overpower the image.
If I needed more or less light from the flashgun I just moved it back and forth instead of changing the settings.
My flashgun was fired using my Yongnuo trigger and receiver.
To light my face I used the screen of the Ipad and needed it to be bright so I used Google's home page which is basically all white. 
The Ipad's screen was not bright enough to illuminate my face and keep it sharp so I had to increase the ISO to 800 and open the aperture to f/4.2 to get a fast enough shutter speed to stop blur in my face but also light it enough to bring out the detail.
Even though I am pleased with this shot doing it on my own was very very hard as I couldn't get the focusing on my eyes which on a larger image they are out of focus.
This picture also took quite a while due to having to check the back of the camera after every shot and when I sat back down I was sitting in a slightly different position, this meant I was more out of focus or not central so had to try again and again and again.

Post Processing 
I cropped to centralize and get rid of distractions.
I increased saturation to make those colours pop and brightened up my face a bit.
I played around with my eyes increasing the whites and adding an extreme green colour, I've over done it but think it fits in with the shot itself

Settings
  • Shutter speed 0.3 seconds
  • Aperture f/4.2
  • ISO 800
  • Nikon SB600 1/32 power

Purpose of the Ipad in this shot was to act as a fill light, job done :)


The X-Ray App

For picture number two I thought it would be great fun to have the Ipad act as an x-ray machine


Another self portrait which involved lots of picture taking to get the exposure right and the placement of my my flashguns.
Taken with my Nikon D300s and Nikkor 16-85 lens placed on my Manfrotto tripod.
I was a bit bored of using plain backdrops so tried to spice it up with something a little busier.
My house is a busy place thanks to our children and can get a little cluttered so finding a decent backdrop is not easy.
I settled for the kitchen door as I had another idea to light it from behind adding an additional splash of colour.
I pre focused on a light stand in place of myself in front of the door.
I placed two Jessops 360 AFD flashguns on stands behind the door just below shoulder height with the heads tilted towards my head, this was to cut down on hotspots.
I decided on blue gels on both Jessops 360 AFD's to match the colour of the x-ray itself, these light also added some blue highlights to my hair which was a nice touch.
The two Jessops flashguns where set to 1/4 power.
To light me I had my Nikon SB600 on a light stand with a silver umbrella, after experimenting I placed this flash gun to camera right just above head height pointing directly at me.
The Nikon SB600 was set to full power utilizing the silver of the umbrella to get that crisp clinical look.
All three flashguns where fired using my Yongnuo trigger and receivers.
As I was by myself I set my camera to timer mode so after pressing the shutter button I had 5 seconds to get into place which was a challenge in itself lol.
You are probably saying to yourself why didn't you set the timer to 10 seconds or more well I couldn't be bothered going through the settings.
Once everything was ready to go I got the Ipad and switched on the Google home page which is going to help in post processing to add the image of the x-ray.
I took loads of pictures doing different expressions until I had a few to play with, I also had a load of unusable pictures thanks to being in slightly different positions each time I stood in front of the door which looked odd if my head was not on the middle plate of glass.
I wanted to give the impression  that via the Ipad app you can use the on board camera  to act as an x-ray camera showing the picture on the screen itself.

Post Processing
De saturated myself to give the impression of not being well.
Boosted saturation of the blue back lights.
Lifted shadows.
For the x-ray I found a free x-ray picture and pasted it into Photoshop.
Using layers and masks I placed the x-ray image above the base image then deleted parts of the x-ray image until it fitted onto the screen of the Ipad.

Settings
  • Shutter Speed 1/125 sec
  • Aperture f/8
  • ISO 200
  • 2 x Jessops 360 AFD's 1/4 power
  • 1 x Nikon SB600 full power

Purpose of the Ipad in this image was to act as an x-ray machine, job done :)



O P I       Nails

For picture number three I wanted to do a product shot which didn't include me ;)



My wife had a box of OPI nail lacquers delivered and as they where so colourful I thought they would be great for a picture.
So out comes my sheet of black acrylic and placed on our kitchen table which is great for reflections.
My wife lined up the bottles of nail varnishes whilst I set up my Nikon D300s,Nikkor 16-85 and Hahnel cable release placed on my Manfrotto tripod.
I needed help with this shot as I needed someone to operate the cable release as I was working in bulb mode with no set timings.
The backdrop for this shot is actually made with our Ipad.
I searched around for a nice drawing app and found a lovely free one called neon glow where the colours are really punchy and vibrant.
With the Ipad in portrait format I drew thick blue lines across the Ipad from left to right, appox 5-6 lines.
With everything set up I pre focused on the nail bottles and then switched off all lights to get it as a dark as possible.
I asked my helper to lock the cable release which means in bulb mode the shutter wont close until you unlock the button and release it.
Now the shutter was open I held up the Ipad with the screen with the blue lines on facing the bottles and I moved smoothly from one side of the picture to the other in one movement, do not move back across the picture.
Put the Ipad down then get a little torch, I used a Maglite pen torch with a narrow beam.
I then swept the beam across the nail varnish bottles in smooth movements concentrating more light on the darker bottles and less on the brighter ones.
Make sure you keep the light moving otherwise you will get hot spots and it will look unnatural. 
the amount of time you use with the torch is trial and error and a bit of guess work.
Once you have finished with the torch release the button and close the shutter ending the exposure.
This way you won't have the shutter close half way through the picture.

Post Processing
Cropped image to concentrate more on the colourful bottles and add that nice top to bottom symmetry.
Due to the long exposure the background was showing through in the black areas, I selected the black areas only and painted over them with a black brush to make them totally black.
I boosted contrast and saturation.
Spent a bit of time with the clone brush and spot removal tool to get rid of reflections, dust and imperfections.

Settings
  • Shutter Speed 27 seconds
  • Aperture f/16
  • ISO 200


Purpose of the Ipad in this image was to use as a creative background light, job done :)

This is just a few ideas I had but there is probably millions more, give it a try yourself and don't forget to experiment and have fun.

Please feel free to follow my blog or twitter feed or leave a comment.