Create Abstract Art with an iPhone & a Torch
All photographers have to start somewhere, and whilst for high-end commissions, quality gear may be essential, during the time that you are building up a portfolio and learning all about light, shadow & composition, a simple phone camera & one light source can yield surprising results. This blog is all about accessible art – all the following shots were all taken at home on an iPhone 5, using available light which anybody can do.
The first subject is nothing more than a bangle laid on an A4 piece of paper, lit by a torch (from the Pound shop!) I folded the edge of the paper over to create more shadow – you can do this, and more at home yourself and here’s how:
Take an interesting object – something that might create a dramatic shadow & place on a piece of white paper on a table – don’t just plonk it in the middle, consider the rule of thirds. http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/
Lie the torch on the table and move it all around the subject until it casts a shadow you like. Switch ALL the house lights off, yes even the TV – this is best done during the evening with no other light which might detract the effect. For extra texture, try tearing or cutting the paper.
Frame your shot holding the phone firmly with 2 hands, zoom in if necessary although bear in mind, this may cause extra fuzziness (grain). Either lean on the table to hold as steady as possible – or tuck your elbows into your body for support if photographing from above.
Hold still for several seconds whilst the camera focuses, wait a few more seconds and then click with as little movement as possible – remember, the slightest shake can blur your shot.
It’s surprising how close-up the iPhone will focus, but you do need to be patient whilst it searches for something to focus on. If it doesn’t focus on your desired point, gently touch the screen on your focal point and wait a few more seconds for the camera to refocus.
The following shot is an ordinary glass tumbler placed on a sparkly tile underneath a kitchen downlight. I added perspective by twisting the corner of the phone to create distortion, rather than photographing flat on.
And here’s the apple icon on my iMac with the keyboard reflected by kitchen lights.
This is a small sculpture of a double bass player lit by a torch against a propped-up piece of white paper. The smaller images are the same sculpture but with a tin foil background, and a wider view of the set-up.
For the purpose of this blog, all images are unedited other than cropping, no filters, no colour correction, contrast or borders etc – I wanted to show how you don’t even need to leave your sofa to create fun images that add to your portfolio. Have a go yourself — we’d love to see your results.
For anyone interested – the photograph below is the only one taken on a professional camera (again unedited so you can judge the results for yourself)
Some other resource to inspire you:-