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Street Photography

by Cameron Hampton 9 months ago in editing

How to use Live Photo and Adobe Photo Express on iPhone to capture that perfect moment for Street Photography

Piccadilly Circus, London (before and after editing)

There is nothing more exhilarating for me than exploring city streets with my cameras. Street photography has been my bliss for nearly ten years. One of the best things I’ve learned over the years photographing on city streets is that being inconspicuous is a great way to capture a good shot. I usually achieve this by using my smartphones. With smartphones small size and the assumption that most people that are using them are tourist taking snaps, it has become much easier to photograph candid, honest moments on public streets.

I use iPhones 12 Mini and 6S. If you use other smartphones, remember all smartphones have multiple camera options and will permit you to use a Live option. I always use my iPhone camera set on Live Photo. Both the Slow Motion Video and Burst options are also good, although not as good as the Live Photo option because they use a lot of storage space. I have a keen interest in Cinematography so I use the Live and Slow Motion options the most. It’s a wonderful way to capture the quick action of street photography and allows me to choose which particular frame to capture that perfect moment.

The photograph I’m using as an example is called Piccadilly Circus, London. Before I take any photograph I learn the best time to capture the light to best express whatever it is I want to express. The light that time of day, around 16:30, in November at Piccadilly Circus, London after a nice rain, is perfect for a more somber and pensive mood. I also knew that if I took the picture at the Piccadilly Tube Station, on a weekday, the scene would be crowded with rushing people.

I took my photograph, Piccadilly Circus, London, with my older iPhone 6S which I use as a backup camera. I always carry at least two smartphones. I set my iPhone camera to Live Photo. I walked up the sidewalk slowly sweeping my phone from side to side to picture all that I could. I took approximately 4 shots at the tube station. Normally, I will do several walk through expeditions, but I only did one that particular time because there were other places I wanted to photograph before nightfall.

After my day of photographing I took a break. I usually do this because it helps clear my mind and gives me a fresh perspective.

When I was ready to review my images, I opened the Live Photos in Media Types/Albums. I then choose the image I thought had the most potential and then tapped Edit. Because the Live Photo option records a photographic movement as if it were a 2-3 second short film, it allows me to go frame by frame and choose which particular still image I wanted to use. I tapped Live key and then tapped Make Key Photo.

This image was chosen because I wanted the foreground to be clear of people to allow the reflections of the railings in the rainwater puddles to be a focus point.

Although iPhone has a good camera photo app that allows for adjustments of contrast, cropping, saturation, etc., I recommend the Adobe Photoshop Express app. It has many options for helping to create a better photograph. Adobe Photoshop Express is free and for more options, there is a paid version. I used this app to straighten my image by tapping the Crop option. You can choose to do this manually or in auto. Then, in the Looks options, I used the Pinhole option. This is a Black and White option. I normally photograph in color. I know I can use the camera apps to change to black and white if need be. The Pinhole option added an eerie, somber mood to the image and made it look clear without destroying the mystery. Lastly, I used the Adjustments option for higher contrast. This helped to bring out the ominous clouds and strengthen the patterned railing reflections to create more mood and tension.

After that, I saved my image and uploaded my finished photograph and posted it online. I also sent the file to my favorite online company for photographic printing that prints and mounts my fine art photography. I was able to download this image to a high enough resolution to print at 9” x 11”, 22.86 x 30.48 cm.

Whether you, like me, love wandering city streets for hours on end hunting for that perfect street inspired photograph or you prefer to photograph any situation where there is movement, using the Live Photo option and the Adobe Photoshop Express on your smartphone will help capture that perfect moment.


Cameron Hampton

Cameron Hampton is a painter, photographer, illustrator, cinematographer, animator and writer.​

She now works in Georgia, London and NYC.

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