With every model update, the iPhone camera gets better and better. iPhone Photo Academy by iPhone Photography School is there to help you get the most out of your iPhone camera. The software goes a long way in compensating for our shortcomings as photographers. But the full power of the iPhone camera is only realized if we really understand them.
So how does iPhone Photo Academy fare in its quest to make our iPhone pictures even better? This review looks at the course content, its delivery, what it does well, and where it might improve. Read on to see if this course could bring out the best in your iPhone photography!
Overview of iPhone Photo Academy
It’s primarily made for beginners, but not only for beginners. It’s a great source of knowledge for more advanced photographers, too.
It’s a huge course with many hours of valuable content.
Who Is It For?
The iPhone is a particularly great tool for travel and street photographers. It’s small and discreet. The latest Pro models provide excellent image quality and high resolutions. Newer models also feature three lenses, giving you both a wide-angle and an optical 2x (or 3x!) telephoto zoom lens.
But the applications don’t stop at those two niches. iPhones are fairly good performers in still and landscape situations, too.
If you find yourself shooting these types of photos with your iPhone, you might consider iPhone Photo Academy.
So, what will you find in it?
Contents of iPhone Photo Academy
- The Essentials of iPhone Cameras (8 lessons, 113 minutes)
- Additional iPhone Camera Features (8 lessons, 111 minutes)
- The Principles of Great Photography (8 lessons, 130 minutes)
- Creative iPhone Photography Techniques (8 lessons, 114 minutes)
- Common iPhone Photography Scenarios (11 lessons, 155 minutes)
- Bonus: Authentic iPhone Portraits (9 lessons, 72 minutes)
- Bonus: How to Preserve the Quality of Your Photos (4 lessons, 52 minutes)
- Bonus: Secrets for Managing a Huge Photo Library (4 lessons, 55 minutes)
- Bonus: Analysis of 459 iPhone Photos (7 videos, 8.5 hours)
- Bonus: Access to Private Online Community
As you can probably see, this is a very thorough photography course. But it’s focused on iPhone users. And at a total length of about 20 hours, it’s the longest I’ve reviewed so far.
You can get this course for $49. This is a fairly standard price for a beginner photography course.
About the Creators
The course is produced by iPhone Photography School, a team of photography educators from Riga, Latvia. Consequently, most of it is shot in Riga—a beautiful and historic location. It’s presented by Emil Pakarklis, the founder of iPhone Photography School.
His style is friendly and welcoming, but he speaks a bit too slowly in my opinion. That’s why I chose the option to set the playback speed at 1.25x.
But regardless of my personal preferences, Emil is great at teaching in a brief yet meaningful way.
What I Love About iPhone Photo Academy
There’s a lot to love about this course. So let me discuss some of these points below.
Attention to Detail
Even though iPhone Photo Academy is mainly made for beginners, there are very few inaccurate or missing details from a technical standpoint. This is a mistake many other courses commit and I’m very pleased to see that it’s not an issue here.
For example, resolution and compression (which are very technical topics, especially for a beginner) are perfectly understandable from Emil’s presentation. And the course doesn’t dumb anything down for simplicity or better understandability. Emil simply explains complicated topics in a way that anyone can understand.
We can find pretty much every component of a good beginner course in iPhone Photo Academy. You’ll learn how your camera and light work, how to compose photos, various techniques for common scenarios, and how to edit your photos.
And all of these topics fit into a very thorough, but also concise and logically structured course.
The video and sound quality are almost flawless. The course is fantastically shot and edited in 4K quality. It’s a pleasure to watch.
The course has also been reshot and updated in 2021 to reflect the evolving technology of iPhone cameras.
The course web page is set up much like a YouTube page. The lesson appears in the top left, with comments from staff and students underneath. On the right is a navigation window with all the modules, which expand to show the individual videos.
The timeline on each video has chapter headings. So you can quickly scroll to whichever section you want. And if you want to rewatch a section, it’s very easy to find the exact part of the video you want.
Photo Analysis Bonus Module
It might have caught your attention that there’s a Photo Analysis bonus module. It’s longer than all the other modules combined. I didn’t watch the entire thing—only the first chapter, but I had a sneak peek into the others.
These chapters consist of Emil reviewing and critiquing iPhone photos. They are best consumed over a long period of time to allow you to fully absorb them.
The reason for this is that they teach your own personal style and taste. This is a hard thing to do. And while I don’t always agree with Emil’s points, I think he succeeds in achieving his aim of this bonus module.
I highly recommend watching at least some of these videos. You’ll develop a critical eye, which is beneficial for both improving your own work and seeing others’ work from a new perspective.
Of course, this is only one of the bonus modules that come free with the course. And even if you don’t watch every analysis, it’s always there for you to check out later.
At the end of each chapter, you’ll find a summary of its contents. These are fantastic for quickly searching through an entire chapter, especially if you’re just coming back to recap.
These summaries are brief, but they include all of the key details.
Community and Support
iPhone Photography School has an amazing worldwide community. There’s an option to leave comments on each episode of the course, and the first one has more than 40,000 of them.
They also have a huge Facebook group with lots of student activity and involvement. Finding inspiration here is easy. It’s an excellent resource and I recommend taking full advantage of it.
There are challenges in some chapters that you’re welcome to complete and upload your results to the group. You can then ask for constructive criticism and also give it to others.
Customer support is also good. The staff reacts to questions quickly in both the comment section of the website and on Facebook.
Areas to Improve
As much as I like this course, there are a few slight shortcomings worth mentioning.
Use of a Tripod
Sometimes Emil uses a tripod, which is fine. I found myself wanting to know about the rather snazzy-looking tripod head he was using. In general, though, he shows how his recommended holding technique is more than adequate for most situations.
It’s Less Attractive for Experienced Photographers
If you’re starting iPhone photography as a skilled photographer, you might not find a whole lot of new information in this course. But it will refresh some of your knowledge of composition and exposure.
It’s a fantastic choice for those starting out with their iPhones. Even as a photographer with over four decades of experience, I would be tempted to buy it for myself. I’ve been using an iPhone since 2007 and I still learned some new things about the camera app.
iPhone Photo Academy is a unique and well-rounded course for a surprisingly large photography niche. If you want to take your iPhone photography to the next level, it is absolutely worth the price.
You’ll find everything in this course that you’d find in any other introductory course. But it’s all specialized for the iPhone’s camera, interface, features, and handling. The production value is fantastic.
To standardize and compare our product reviews, we’ve decided to use a scored-based ranking system.
|Ease of Learning||
Ease of Learning
|Community and Learning Support||
Community and Learning Support
|Value for Money||
Value for Money