iPhoneography Hack | Boost Your Instagram


“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough” – Robert Capa,  War Photographer, Life Magazine.

But getting our iPhoneography shots close can remove the context. We only have one lens (or two in some cases)!

Why You Need To Know This

This technique adds a feeling of drama, depth, and intensity to your images. Your main subject will be more prominent and stand out from the background.

We can move backwards, we can flip to landscape, we can even add external lenses for different fields of view. But, we don’t need to.

We have a feature already built in. The Panorama.

When it’s used as intended, you can capture a vista and landscape in stunning perspective. To read more about how to make great Instagram Panoramas, check out this article and free template.

Instagram Panorama

The Panorama feature is not really intended for close up work, but that is how we are going to use it.

iPhoneography Hack

The first thing you need to know is how to hold and move the phone. Sweeping your arm across the landscape is fine when your subjects are far away. That ain’t gonna cut it for this!

We don’t want the phone to move. AT ALL!

We only want it to spin in place.

This reduces the relative movement of foreground objects against our background (parallax).

Pinch your phone between your fingers, top and bottom if you can. You then keep your hand as still as possible whilst you spin the phone for each frame.



The whole look of this technique relies on bringing your main subject in close. Frame up your main subject first and then fill in the frames around it. Get as close as you can without your subject leaving the edge of the final frame.

For a final image that will be in landscape format, hold your phone in portrait, spin horizontally and ensure your subject doesn’t leave top and bottom. For a final image that will be in portrait format, hold your phone in landscape, spin vertically, and ensure your subject doesn’t leave the left and right of the frame.

How Many Frames?

The more frames you take, the longer and thinner your final image will be.

You don’t need as many as you would think. I like to keep my final images squarer for the Instagram format. This means that you will probably only need three or four frames for your final image.

It’s similar to using the Brenizer Method with your Mirrorless camera. Where you can fake the look of a Medium Format image with a crop sensor. You don’t need as many frames as you think. More on the Brenizer method here.


These are a selection of images that I took with this method. I’ve also taken the same scene normally, trying to get the same subjects in the frame by moving back. As you can see, they just don’t have the same feeling of drama to them.


Add-on Lenses

There are some add-on lenses available. Especially for iPhones. But, when you use a different phone, like my Nexus 5x, finding them can be difficult and they are not as good. If you’re lucky enough to have an iPhone for your photography, here are a few lenses that you might want to consider. Although I prefer to carry this technique over extra gear.


This is what you need to keep in mind to make this technique work for you
  • Hold the phone as still as possible
  • Spin the phone, don’t sweep
  • Get in close to your main subject (but keep it in a frame)
  • Take the shot of your main subject first and then fill in around it
  • Five shots maximum (we don’t want things to be too wide!)


I’ve written about this technique before but I wanted to have another crack at it. Since then, I’ve really used it a lot and I’ve learned a lot too.

I use this hack all the time. There are times when I just need to get a shot, and my phone is the obvious and quick choice. Even when I always have my Sony with me!

Being able to grab a new perspective, that others might not know how to get, will really boost your Instagram photography game.

This isn’t the same as simply moving closer and it more closely matches using a wide-angle attachment. The thing I really like about iPhoneography is that it uses a camera we all have with us. It’s quick for those moments that just happen. You don’t need to bring a lot of gear along.

Having this technique in your bag weighs a lot less than carrying additional lenses.

Thanks for reading this far. I hope you found this useful. Let me know if you used this technique by tagging me on Instagram ; look me up on Twitter; or drop a comment below.

Thanks again, have a great day, speak soon, watch less, create more,

Ta Raa!



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