Phonetography 411: an interview with @joelallegretto

I totally geek out over photography and editing stuff. I'm obviously far from a professional but I really love learning little bits here and there and being able to better capture little moments for my family. I'm really loving sharing these Phonetography posts... so neat how everyone's approach is so different yet so similar. (<--- See. That's a geek-out statement fo sho. Lame. ;)

One of the coolest things about this blog/instagram world is the ability to meet so many wonderful and inspirational people you otherwise wouldn't have the privilege of crossing paths with. Joel is one of those people. I "met" him over the summer when I was hosting the "We Are One" fundraiser for the Earle family and he has such a wonderful heart. He's a family man through and through and a SUPER talented photographer (the real kind! ;)... You can find his photography website HERE and he's on Instagram at @joelallegretto. Here are some of his tips and tricks for snapping the perfect-pic using just your phone...

My name is Joel Allegretto, I'm an international wedding photographer currently based out of TX. I've been documenting love stories for the past few years and I'm blown away that my camera takes me around the world and connects me to such beautiful people. I'm passionate about relationships and community. I love small gatherings, traveling and being outdoors. I married my best friend when I was 20, we now have two little ones and being a dad is the best thing on earth!
What kind of phone do you have?

- Up until a week ago I used an Iphone 5, now I use a Iphone 6+. Yes it's hugs, no it doesn't bend, and I got a huge phone because I travel so much, it makes business tasks convenient and it's just the right size to put in a pocket or bag.
Do you use any phone props/gadgets/additional lenses when taking your photos?

-I currently do not use anything other than my phone. I've thought about picking up some Moment lenses but haven't gotten to it yet. I'm a bit of a minimalist so the less I have to carry or think about the better.
Do you use the native camera on your phone or an extra app for your photo taking (such as Camera+ or the VSCO app camera)?

-I use vscocam for all of my iphone photos, It's super important to me to be able to separate the focus and exposure points when taking photos. This allows me to get an even exposure, add mood to the photo and get the most out of the available light around me.
What percentage of your Instagram feed are photos taken with your phone?

-80% of my images are taken with my Iphone. I use my instagram to share stories and things I'm passionate about. Whether the photo was on my phone or camera the meaning behind it is what I find the value in. A good photo is a good photo no matter what you take it on IMO.
Walk me through your process of capturing the perfect photo with your phone.
-Good photos don't just happen, at least for me :) I put a lot of thought into my instagram feed and the images I share. That thought process is always in the back of my mind as I am shooting. I want my images and the stories they tell to be cohesive, by knowing why I'm taking photos ahead of time I'm able to curate the perfect photo. I set aside time to shoot for instagram, whether it's 10 minutes or 30 and I keep my why in mind when approaching the subject. Whether it's family, friends, nature ect I start by looking for good light, complimenting backgrounds and simplicity, then I frame my image and wait for the emotion I want to be present and click.
Tell me a bit about lighting and how you use and manipulate it when capturing your images. 

-As with any photo lighting is one of the most important aspects. It's really important to understand lighting and know how the differences affect the photos we take. I always look for natural light, It's so much prettier then any artificial light and will make a huge difference in the end result. If I am shooting outside I look for open shade and natural reflectors (white walls, pavement ect) that will bounce light onto my subject. Inside I look for window light, or open a door.
What are some of your favorite editing apps?

-I only use vscocam for editing, I've used afterlight as well but consistency is key with producing good photos and I love vsco's feel. I also like being able to take the photo and edit in the same place, which you can do with other apps as well but I just use vscocam out of preference.  
It's probably different depending on the photo, but walk me through your typical editing flow of an image.

-After taking a photo I apply a preset in vscocam, I only use one color and one BW for consistency. Then I adjust the exposure and temp of the photo if it needs it. I then adjust shadows/highlights and change the tone of shadows to an orange or green, lastly I will sharpen it one or two stops. I like to keep my editing short, it takes me about a minute to get an image processed.
Any photography pet peeves that you have?

-Watermarks. They destroy photos and serve no purpose, if people want to steal your photos let them! It's a compliment and it won't get them anywhere in the long run. Anything that distracts you from the main focus of an image is a bad thing in my opinion and If people want to know who took an image you shared they will ask and get to you. :)
What do you like most about Instagram?
-The community, each one of the people that follow me, the comments of encouragement and the people I follow. I love that we can all be apart of a growing community together no matter where we are. I have made some great friends through Instagram and booked awesome couples to work with. I love getting to meet my insta friends when I travel as well and explore together!

Any additional phone photography tips or tricks that you'd like to share?
-A tip I was once told was to stop taking photos, editing, and posting all in the same workflow. Take time to take photos and then put away your phone, edit them later and lastly put in the time to think through what you share about it. What were you feeling when you took it and why?
Thanks SO to much, Joel for sharing your little book of secrets! And if you have any phonetography/editing questions feel free to ask them in the comments section. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
You can view previous Phonetography 411 posts, HERE.

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