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DESIGN | 2 Years Ago By Peter Liu

How To: Use A DSLR & An iPad To Take Great Instagram Photos

Old Lahaina Luau hula performers
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At the risk of angering the iPhoneography police, I recently started using my DSLR to improve the quality of my Instagram photos. Don’t get me wrong. I love the camera that comes with my iPhone 4s with its wide aperture and low light response, and I use it a lot, even when I have my DSLR with me.

I owned an iPhone 3GS before this, so the difference in quality between the two was dramatic to me. In fact, the camera was the main reason I upgraded to the 4s to begin with. It’s just a matter of time before the phone camera gives the point-and-shoot a run for its money.

With all the amazing apps available for iPhoneography, you can do some truly amazing work. With ProCamera and Camera+ for example, you can control exposure and focus separately, and shoot several frames in rapid succession. But there’s only so much a tiny camera in a phone can do. There are times when I need manual control over the aperture, shutter speed and ISO, or a low-noise sensor that shoots at high ISOs, or a fast lens with a good deal of reach. Someday perhaps, the camera in my pocket will do everything I need, but we’re not there yet.

The workflow for this is actually quite simple, but it requires a little thought and a few pieces of gear.

Image Of Dancers In HawaiiWhat You Need:

  • A DSLR with a versatile lens that has a decent zoom range, preferably something like an 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 or equivalent.
  • An Apple iPad with enough storage to hold all the photographs you’ll be taking.
  • An Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit.
  • A card reader to use with the iPad Camera USB connector if your camera doesn’t use SD cards.
  • Alternatively, you can use an Eye-Fi with the iPad app, but it may be less reliable or convenient, depending on the availability or quality of your wifi connection.
  • Some iPad apps to tweak your photos if necessary, such as PhotogeneSnapseed or Adobe Photoshop Express.
  • Instagram installed on your iPad.
  • Internet connectivity, either built into the iPad, or something like a Verizon Mifi.

What You Do:

  • Shoot with your DSLR.
  • Import your photos into your iPad using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit.
  • Retouch your photos as necessary on your iPad.
  • Start Instagram, choose the photos you want to share from your photo library, add effects as your heart desires.
  • Share. That’s it!

Some Tips:

  • Shoot right the first time. Be mindful of your exposure and composition. If you have to edit or retouch, it will slow you down.
  • Remember that if you want to fill an Instagram frame, you will most likely have to crop the photo within the app, so plan your composition with that in mind.
  • Do not erase the card after importing! Accidents can happen. You don’t want to lose any of those precious photos. Wait until you’re in a quiet place where you can organize all your images and be sure you haven’t left anything behind on the card.
Image Of Dancers In Hawaii

For a more detailed technical workflow oriented towards live-tweeting events, check out my photo blog.

Author Avatar Image Representation

Author: Peter Liu

Peter Liu is a professional photographer, social media consultant and scuba diver based on Maui. A former Silicon Valley geek with more than 25 years of experience in the computer industry, Peter left the corporate world in 2004 and accidentally began a new career as a photographer, only to find himself using his technical and management skills after moving to Hawaii, where he helps businesses weave digital technology and social media into their strategies and plans. Recently, Peter has found ways to blend his love of photography with his social media consulting practice, adding a new and unique, creative dimension to his work. Connect with Peter on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Facebook.

3 Comments

Glenn

October 4th, 2013

You will get a grand piano experience at an ideal price.
(by the way you can get this digital piano on sale at Amazon here).
Buying a piano doesn’t have to be a daunting experience.

[Reply]

Just desire to say your article is as amazing. The clarity on
your submit is just great and that i could assume you
are knowledgeable on this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to grab your feed to stay
updated with imminent post. Thank you one million and please carry on the rewarding work.

[Reply]

azhrawr

January 27th, 2014

Instagram: @azhrawr
http://instagram.com/azhrawr

With Regards to DSLR Photos:

I have had a love hate relationship with Insta for a while and only recently embraced the system.

I only upload mobile snaps despite having some great dslr photos awaiting processing including awesome African wildlife photos.

Likewise, I enjoy profiles where all the artist used was a phone since it levels the playing fields, gives everyone a stripped down medium and puts the focus on your composition, your eye, your creativity and your dedication as opposed to your technical knowledge and your gear.

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.I know I will probably embrace it at some stage, starting with an eye-fi card for my V1. In the end, as long is it is still instagram and not latergram, your medium should not really matter.

You can find me on insta @azhrawr .

I know the quality of some photos is not ZOMG, but that’s not the point of this medium is it? That’s just a bonus.

[Reply]

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