As much as I would love to always carry around my camera, the pure weight of my Canon 5D Mark II, even without a lens can be a burden. Also, leaving it in my car all the time is just foolish. However, with the advancement of mobile camera optics, it makes having access to capture a moment in just a split second, nearly foolproof. The quality of smartphone optics far outweigh many cheap compact point and shoot cameras in a lot of cases, especially in low light conditions.
It seems everyone is taking pictures of everything, all the time. Which is GREAT because, I don’t think enough people realize how important photography is. It’s much more than just fine art or something pretty to look at — it’s documentation, proof, memories, and life. You never know what tomorrow will bring or how the world might change.
Not too long ago, I was reading something and they quoted “just because you have a camera, doesn’t make you a photographer.” I’m not sure how I feel about that statement. I certainly don’t want to put others down.. or degrade the craft or talent that comes with having a creative eye. But what makes a photographer? Well a photographer, is someone who takes photographs. So, perhaps it should of been written as “…does not make you a professional photographer.” I mean the sheer act of taking a photograph, technically, makes you a photographer, or does it? Why would anyone be offended by that statement, or rather agree with it. Do they feel that you need to technically be able to handle a more advanced camera then that of your cellphone or a disposable? Do you have to know about technique and rules? Has the popularity of mobile photography + filters lowered the standard of fine art photography? Does the addition of lenses built for mobile phones count? So many questions can arise…. I feel it’s the next big debate, like the one about post processing and photo manipulation – when is the line crossed?
Some of my close friends who would never consider calling themselves a photographer, have shot really SUPER images, with interesting angles and composition, even compelling stories. Does that discount the art of photography because an iPhone lens captured it? I guess my point is people are too touchy and I will admit seeing people constantly walking around taking photos of everything from a spec of dirt on the ground to hardware that looks like a face, the food on their plate does get old and annoying but it is also wonderful that they are seeing the beauty around them and want to share it with the world. They are also generally sharing these photos through social media outlets, or photo sharing sites like flickr, or apps like Instagram… giving everyone a peek into our near anonymous lives all across the globe, or as I like to call it, making the mundane matter.
Lately I have not been doing anything much in the sense of photography professionally, while my life is on hold for other things, like college, and business, and work. I do find myself snapping away at the glimpses of beauty that nature displays to me each day, and I wanted to share what I’ve been up to.
This post wouldn’t be complete without some quick tips for getting the most from mobile photography, here’s my best advice.
Get in close. Try not to use the camera zoom so much as it reduces quality and increases the likeliness of camera shake, much like your SLR would. Treat the camera as if it was a prime lens (a lens that is fixed and does not zoom) and move around to get a better perspective.
Notice the small things. You don’t have to have a macro lens to bright the tiny details to life. Some of the most beautifulest things are often right in front of you, and over looked.
Look for color. Learn to see light and color. Fixate on it, when you are walking around just seek color, say them in your head. Look for colors that compliment or contrast each other, they are all around and are pleasing to look at.
Post-process in apps. That’s what they are there for! All digital images need to be processed after capture. A digital camera is only capable of capturing mid tones, and often need adjustment. There is a plethora of applications out there to enhance your photos.
Composition counts. I find the most visually pleasing iPhone photographs are very minimal. It may be a personal preference since I am a minimalist photographer (and I keep my life simple too!). Check out my blog for other general tips for photography, the same rules apply and the same rules are meant to be broken.
Shoot both orientations. I have carried this over from my skill set, whenever I shoot a gorgeous landscape I always shoot one image horizonatal and one vertical. You get more of the view that way.
Shoot Panoramic. I have been in love with Panoramic Photography for many many years, and I was super excited to hear that Apple built a panoramic feature right into the Camera app. You don’t need an iPhone 5 to reap the benefits of panoramic photography, there are free apps out there that do a wonderful job.
Think diptych and triptych. If you aren’t pleased enough with your ability to tell a story, or the whole story in one frame, take multiple exposures and combine them into one frame using any of the many free apps specifically made for this function.
Capture what you love. If you love the urban scrawl of people on the street, or the way your shoes contrast with the concrete or grass, capture it! If you have a passion for food, or sunrises, do it every day. You will get better and you might just stumble upon a career path you never knew you had in you.