iPhoneography 101

Urban Dictionary describes iPhoneography as: The act or practice of snapping quick digital pictures and performing post-processing and sharing from within the mobile phone itself.

I describe iPhoneography as the perfect documentress, a quick (and easy) way to seamlessly shoot what’s right in front of you. In this day and age, smartphones are everywhere and the cameras within them are getting better and better. Today I want to share some of my own tricks and tips (and favorite apps), in hopes that you find shooting with your phone as much fun as I do!

Apps, Apps, & more Apps

Half the fun of using your smart phone for photography are the wide variety of apps available to enhance and play around with your images.


Instagram has taken the world by storm. In a moments time you can snap an image, apply a filter, and share a quick thought. Make your account private (and approve who sees your photos) or public. Network with friends and family near and far (and email your IGs to those who may not have a smart phone, as I do with my grandmother.) You can use hash tags to keep images together of your own or a group you belong to, and they are constantly updating with new and exciting options.

Cost: Free


Phonto is an app I am asked about every week and a definite fave of mine. Use an image in your album, take a fresh photo, or use a plain color and add amazing text to your pictures. I absolutely love the font choices and flexibility of this app.

Cost: Free

Photo Frame & FX

It does just that. Photo Frame & FX is an easy to use app that allows you to group together 1-4 photos in collage form. You can choose various ratios and even (gasp) round your corners.

Cost: Free

PS Express

PS Express is a great app by Adobe that has endless possibilities, but what I use it for most is straightening and occasional cropping needs. I am a stickler for my horizon lines but when I’m trying to catch a quick photo of my kids or a fleeting moment I’m not always thinking of my angle, so I find this app rather helpful.

Cost: Free


Squaready was designed for use with Instagram. It enables you to share a photo on Instagram while keeping the original ratio of your image. Instagram automatically crops your picture to a 5:5 square – but with Squaready you are able to add a border to your photo, as seen above.

Cost: Free

Tilt Shift Gen

Tilt Shift Gen gives you the look of a Tilt Shift lens, allowing you to control the lens blur – from the shape, opacity, and size. It’s a nifty little tool to use when you want to bring the focus to a certain point in the image (such as my son’s thumb and tomato plant in the images above).

Cost: 99c


VSCO Cam is my no questions asked favorite app for filter/enhancement. It’s a simple and easy platform that gives your photos a unique, film-like quality with loads of options from adding grain, to fading, to bumping contrast.

Cost: 99c


Then What?

Printing, Displaying, & Enjoying

Just as we’ve become accustomed to keeping the digital images from our cameras in technological storage, the photos we capture with our phones just may see a similar fate. Here are a few creative ideas for getting them printed and out of your phone.

A Book

Kimberly Dunbar had her Instagram images printed into some beautiful 7×7 hardcover Instagram photo books by Blurb. The website has an application that quickly brings your Instagram images into the platform allowing for an easy and fun creation process.

I recently created a small coil-bound book through Paper Coterie of my daughter’s first months, through the lens of my iPhone. I uploaded the images to their site and within minutes had created a simple book my kids love to look through.

Wall Collage

Tracy Larsen recently shared about her 20×20 framed collages on her blog. I love the look of these photos together, they tell such a story – each in their own individual way. Tracy created blank templates in Photoshop and printed through Sam’s Club, trimmed to size, and framed. Gorgeous!

Becky of HB Photography had her poster printed through Printstagram. She ordered a 20×30 poster and says “I chose to display them in poster form so I could pack a
lot of day to day memories of the boys just in to one small space!”. Printstagram has endless options for printing your Instagram photos, including books, boxes, and even stickers.

Just… print!

I love that Tracy also uses her iPhone pictures for their families Project Life albums. Not only is she documenting such fleeting moments but she’s actually focused and intent on printing them so that they can flip through these pages for years to come.

I hope that you’ve been inspired and encouraged to not only enjoy shooting with your phone, but to bring those images to life by printing and displaying them.

I’m always on the lookout for new and creative ways to play with my iPhone images, what’s your favorite app?



Angie Warren lives in Northern California with her husband, 3 kids, and German Shepherd pup. She has a background in writing, photography, and art; and is currently teaching a photo course at a local High School.

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  1. *Sigh* I still have a flip phone…

    • Many are in your boat Steph! I have quite a few good friends without smart phones. Hopefully you can reference this if one day you make the switch 🙂

  2. Sweet! I just downloaded two of the apps that you mentioned. I like the ideas for what to do with pics afterwards. I think the books might make nice Christmas gifts. Thanks!

  3. Oh, I loved this post. I alternate between loving my phone to capture in the moment pictures and feeling bad for not using my ‘real’ camera. Thanks for all the great ideas from apps and how to display the pictures.

    I read your post on the book you made of your daughter over at Paper Coterie, how fun to see you here! 🙂

    • I too struggle with this Breanne! The majority of our summer was captured through my phone, I finally had to accept it’s ease and make sure I’m pulling the “big guns” out every so often too. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I really liked the collage of many small pics which the author created in photoshop. Do you know if this template or similar one is available? Photoshop and I don’t get along.

  5. what a wonderful post! thank you for covering the idea from editing the original shot to the family mementos, you’ve shared so many wonderful ideas. i am looking forward to getting an iPhone in a couple months (finally due for an upgrade, lol). i’ll be pinning this post so i can get started on family action photos right away 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing all of this great info Angie! I was wondering about how to do some things on instagram lately and you answered my questions with great little apps 🙂 I have already downloaded them and I cannot wait to use them now.

  7. WOW. Totally overwhelmed. IN A GOOD WAY. I love all these suggestions. I have Instagram and Diptic, and that’s it. I will get the Phonto one asap.

  8. Hi,
    Thanks so much for sharing your iPhone photo ideas! I downloaded a few of the apps you mentioned and I love them!

    I am an avid user of Instagram and I especially love to print the square 4×4 pictures that I create. I found that the app PostalPix works really well. They have really reasonable pricing and their service is outstanding – each time I’ve used it, my pictures have arrived within a week. So, for anyone hoping for an easy way to print Instagram pictures (or any square pictures from your phone), I highly recommend PostalPix!


  9. this is a very much informative post for the new comers like it thanks for it

  10. Such an excellent post Angie – one to bookmark and return to again and again!

  11. DeLene M Oppelt says:

    Your tips are wonderful! I am going to use many of them. Love your Blog, so good of you to share.

  12. Rachael says:

    This is so helpful and informative, thank you for sharing!!

  13. Just saw this and will be downloading some more editing apps to go with PicTapGo – my new fav editing app at $1.99 – because it is AWESOME!!!!!!

  14. Great List. One of my favorite apps is vsco cam. its so easy to use.

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