Tips from the Pros

We here at electric city/diamond city like to imagine ourselves as superheroes of arts and entertainment journalism. Yet, even our enormous egos have an end. Were we to run as fast as The Flash or gain the ability to split ourselves in two, we still couldn’t make it to all the worthwhile events and epic evenings going on in The 570. Back in the day when we had to settle on the limitations of print, it didn’t bother us so much. But now, faced the wide open pastures of online publishing, the human reality that we can only be in one place at any given time, is wreaking havoc on our self-esteem.

The latest edition of contains a “You Shot It” gallery of albums waiting to be filled with images by you and all of our readers who regularly get out and live life. We know what we’re looking at ­- we want to see what the world looks like from your point of view.

Forecasts suggest the number of smartphone users will double in the next four years. If you’re not using one yet, you almost definitely will be before 2016 presidental hopefuls start debating. And whether you opt to use an iPhone or a non-apple alternative, the fact remains these tiny little computers that just happen to have phones in them, are changing photography. The latest editions have cameras of such an astonishing high quality, even professional photographers are raving about the possibilities of use.

Case in point, jet setting Scranton-based photographer Rob Lettieri ( is so confident about the photographic possibilities of iPhone he’s willing to risk your wedding on it. If you’re interested in the opportunity, email with your summer 2012 wedding date and venue (sorry, limited to Scranton). Use the subject line “iPhone Wedding.” One lucky couple will be chosen. See samples of his iPhoneography on Instagram (roblettieri) or at Rob Lettieri Photography on Facebook.

Most smartphone users we know don’t wander more than a few feet from their phone, providing unprecedented access to the magical moments that might otherwise slip from memory too soon. staff photographer Tom Bonomo, also owner of Eyedesignstudios Photography in Dalton (, shoots with his iPhone4 every day.

“It’s so much easier to snap a photo with your phone than to carry another camera with you,” he said. “The best camera is the one that’s with you… Images aren’t about megapixels, they’re about stories and moments.” His favorite apps include: Instagram, Camera+, Best Camera, Hipstamatic and Snapseed.


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  • Experiment with different levels & angles. Move close to your subject or back up to show more of the scene.
  • Light is the language of photography. Watch how the light shapes your subject.
  • Pay attention to colors and textures.
  • Most importantly, take lots of photos.


  • Hold the shutter button and steady the camera (especially in low light). Gently release to create your photograph.
  • Use HDR setting under camera options on static/still scenes for more “pop” in your images.
  • Experiment with black and white
  • Try the “Miniatures” app for time lapse video. It’s super cool in busy scenes like Times Square/Grand Central Station or The Mall at Steamtown.
  • Hold your thumb on the shutter and pretend you are getting a call in those “sneaky” situations where you don’t want to be obvious. Try not to look at the image near the people you just photographed. The results can be interesting.
  • Organize your images weekly by backing them up and creating folders or galleries on iPhoto or Flickr or Picasa.

O’DEA DESIGN of Scranton (via twitter)

  •  Use a steady hand… and don’t rely on the built-in flash- try to have decent ambient light.

(See the photographer’s cell phone pic gallery at

  • Rest your camera phone on or against any flat surface to help keep it steady. A bottle or draft of Yuengling works fantastically; wide mouthed Martini glasses not so well.
  • Your phone doesn’t have a viewfinder, so why hold it up in front of your face? Photos taken from waist level are reminiscent of your grandparent’s snapshots taken by cameras with only waist level viewfinders.
  • If there are lamps or bright sources of light in your picture, try to hide them behind your subject. It will help control your exposure and usually create an interesting halo around the subject.
  • Try to hide signs, as our eyes tend to navigate toward words and will be drawn away from the subject
  • Trust your eyes. If you’re looking at a pretty sunset and you have to squint to see what’s going on, chances are your camera is going to have a difficult time capturing that moment. You should be able to comfortably see information in the darkest areas of an image as well as the brightest spots before taking the picture.


  • Iris: the utilitarian qualities of Photoshop with quirky filters similar to those found in Instagram
  • Percolator: coffee-inspired app that creates a bubbly rendition of your photos – a graphically whimsical quality not available with any other app
  • PhotoCopier: applies filters to recreate the look and style of artists like Degas, Gustav Klimt, Dali and Picasso – you can also mimic films like The Godfather, The Matrix, Beetlejuice and Tron
  • Strip Design: cool layout app that storyboards images and creates a half-tone effect similar to a Sunday comic strip – thought bubbles can also be added

See the photographer’s cell phone pic gallery at

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