You don’t have to spend tons of money to learn photography or the art of taking great photos. A comprehensive app like The Photo Guide is all you need.
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Social networking platforms like Instagram seek to make ace photographers out of us all. But, despite the best cameras and the world’s best smartphone at our disposal, not all of us can take those “WOW” photographs.
There are possibly two reasons for that. One is the lack of understanding of the rules and principles behind good photography. Second…the inability to see the world in a different light – as the professionals do.
But that doesn’t mean we cannot capture magical moments and stunning views with our devices. We just need a little help and guide from the experts. Naturally, that can be a costly affair.
BLUE BOX’s recently updated iOS app The Photo Guide is the perfect solution for anyone who cannot afford expensive photography courses but still want to learn everything there is to know about photography.
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Whether you are terrible at photography, a newbie or an old time photographer, The Photo Guide promises to help you find something in its lessons that will make you wiser to the art of taking photos. I had an opportunity to check out the app and here are my observations.
The Photo Guide UI
If you are a newbie wanting to learn the ropes, the UI leaves you in no doubt where to start. The Home page displays beautifully designed sections that focus on various aspects of photography. Right at the top is the section for beginners. This is followed by articles on Image Composition, By Example, Equipment and so on.
Inside each main category are various topics with sub-topics. For example, the For Beginners Section starts off with the Introduction, followed by Getting Started, Camera Settings and so on. Inside each topic are various sub-topics like Aperture, Focus, Shutter Speed, Motion, Camera Settings and so on.
All the articles are well formatted and easy to read. You can favorite a topic if you want to get back to it later, you can mark as read and you can even adjust the font if you favor Serif as opposed to Sans Serif and the big font as opposed to the smaller one.
Another nice touch – all technical terms in the articles are hyperlinked to the glossary. Tapping the links will reveal a popup explaining the term in detail. This in-article linking adds a nice level of convenience as you don’t have to leave the page to learn more.
Many key aspects of photography are taught using photographic examples. When you tap on a photo and then tap the menu bar at the top left, you can see more details such as the EXIF and Location data as well as the Camera settings used to capture the images. In some cases, you can even interact with the image by moving the slider across the photo.
At the end of each topic, you will find a list of related topics to help you quickly move on to related concepts.
The Phone Guide doesn’t just teach you the concepts and principles behind photography, it also offers comprehensive information on various photography tools. There are topics on different types of cameras, lenses, lens filters, storage media and other equipment used in the industry. Understanding these different equipment and their purposes will help you make the right investment if you’re in the market for one.
And The Photo Guide doesn’t just limit its teaching to DSLR photography. There is an entire category dedicated to iPhone & iPad photography. After all, the iPhone camera is the one we always carry around and its powerful camera lens can be used to capture brilliant photos. You only have to take one look at Instagram to know what I mean.
This section covers all the major camera settings in the Camera app and offers tons of tips to take great iPhone photography. There’s plenty of great stuff to learn here and the app has covered every aspect of photography you can think of. Not only will newbies learn a lot, but photographers with advanced skills can also find plenty of information that will improve their skills.
At the end of the guide is a Quiz section that lets you test your knowledge. There are over 215 questions divided into 3 categories :- Basics, Composition and Equipment. Once you select an answer, you can instantly see if you answered correctly or not with a brief explanation of the correct answer. The quiz section is intended to help you identify areas where you can improve your learning.
Another useful section in the app is the Foundation, which explores deeper fundamentals of photography that is a perfect fit for users wanting to understand the theoretical principles that are the foundation of this art.
In all, the Photo Guide is pretty comprehensive without appearing to be so.
And I love it.
For a number of reasons.
Design & UI
The design and UI of the app is just perfect. A table of contents and big thumbnail classification of topics based on functionality makes it super easy to navigate. Its easy to find a topic of interest and the Search functionality improves this further with its convenient auto suggestion feature. Articles can be easily favorited or marked as read. And the images are aplenty with rich metadata.
In simple words, the app has 300 articles, more than 1,000 photos, over 300 glossary entries and more than 215 quiz questions. And all the content is updated so you’re not learning something that is outdated.
You can learn only so much in theory. The Photo Guide offers tons of practical tips and tricks to help you take that perfect shot when you are on the field. For example, the tip on how to find the right perspective or angle of view in certain situations can offer a completely new way of seeing things you never thought of before.
The next time you are ready to take your shot, these little pieces of information come to mind. And suddenly, you’re thinking of a zillion different ways in which you can improve upon that boring shot you were planning to take.
My Favorite Section
I own a Nikon D3300 but I am simply terrible at it. So I turned my focus to iPhone photography. And I’m pretty terrible at that too! Which is why I love the section on iPhone Photography. This one is packed with tons of great lessons and tips that I believe will make a great photographer out of me. Truly!
What I’d Like to See
The Photo Guide is awesome at many levels. I’d like to see The Photo Guide offer video lessons and exercises that will help me put my learning to practice. Another area is quizzes. They are not a 100% challenging or learning focused as I would like. For example, I don’t really need to know that 1 second is displayed as 1” or what PPI stands for. Its just too trivial and an educated guess will pop up the correct answer most times than not. Instead, having exercises that let you think about how you can apply concepts in the real world would be great.
In conclusion, I believe that The Photo Guide is a priceless app that every photo enthusiast will love. Its definitely an app that must reside on every photo enthusiast’s iPhone. Whether you are a newbie or an old pro, The Photo Guide offers plenty of learning that makes it worth every pie.
Just recently I spent quite a bit of money on photography courses at Udemy. I just wish I had known about this app sooner. The Photo Guide not only offers more learning material than the courses I bought, it is also highly cost effective.
If you are keen on learning photography I highly recommend The Photo Guide. This one is sure to be your best on-the-go guide for all times. The app is currently available on the App Store for a discounted price of $4. The offer is valid until the end of the month. So grab it before its gone.
Check out the app and be sure to tell us what you think.