We all know that the photographic capabilities of smartphones are incredible. The miniature camera(s) on the digital phone are both a huge benefit and a major influence on the purchase decisions. They are a vital selling point.
I want to take a few lines here to say something else about the smartphone. I am hugely grateful to the iPhone in particular. To this day, I have over 45 photography apps installed on it, down from 120. And it was through those apps that I honed my skills.
The phone was always in my pocket when the DSLR and associated lenses were too inconvenient. iPhoneography was simply brilliant for business trips, a walk or a visit to a museum. But it wasn’t just the capability that made the difference. Having a tool that could take pictures made me look around differently. Snapping a shot on my iPhone was great until I realised the light was wrong or the composition was distracting. There were apps that let me compensate. And apps that let me publish immediately. I learned from each of these activities.
And I have probably learned something about photography from each of the fifteen thousand photos still on my phone as I type this. I don’t need to carry 15,000 photos but there they are, about 1200 photos for each year I’ve had the iPhone.
If I was advising anyone on photography today, I would say practice with your phone. Use your DSLR or whatever you prefer but also use your phone. You could use Snapseed to develop your images. Or take a look at 645 Pro if you want more control of the camera settings. Noir is simple to use yet teaches you so much about black and white photos. If you are serious about the quality of the images, avoid the filters of Instagram and the like. Get it right before you go to post.
I also wrote about this a year ago though from the perspective of more portable DSLR cameras like the Fuji X series.
And I was asked recently about how to start. I was standing with a big lens waiting on some moment or other. The lens conveyed my authority perhaps. There I was on the pavement and I said ‘I trained myself with my phone. So I’d say start with your phone’.