Your Phone Is a Camera—So Use It!

Today’s smartphones have quite decent cameras and quick Internet access from almost everywhere. It is an ideal combination that lets you keep snapping practically nonstop. And if you’re the kind of photography fan who has lenses instead of eyes and sees the world in compositions, then this will be a great opportunity for you to get even better and promote your work.

Phones are pushing the simpler compacts off the market. And it’s not really surprising, because modern smartphones sometimes produce much better results than their slightly dumber photographic competitors—simple compact cameras.

And what’s more, your phone is always at hand, because unlike compacts, it can do a number of other things, while compacts have only one function—taking pictures. So why carry a compact in your pocket when your phone will be in your pocket anyway? It will also take up even less space, and can also serve as a telephone, calculator, or letterbox?

At the Ready

Usually you’re carrying your phone with you, and so it’s right at hand. And so when an unusual situation that’s worth photographing arrives, you don’t have to fret that you left your DSLR at home. Just pull your phone out of your pocket and start taking pictures.

The important thing is for your phone to be fast enough and for your camera to be no more than a couple of clicks or taps away. Even when the phone’s locked. Modern phone cameras react quickly and start taking pictures almost immediately.

They give good pictures even under bad light. So the chance that a shot will run away from you is very small. You can take high-quality mobile photographs using e.g. phones from Samsung, Sony, LG, or Apple.

Without your telephone at the ready, you might miss out on shots like these.

Without your telephone at the ready, you might miss out on shots like these.

Your Spy Camera

Practically everyone has a phone today. So nobody will give you nasty looks if you pull out your phone and take a picture. And that’s the best thing about it—lots of people will simply ignore you, so you’ll be able to take natural-looking photos, and nobody will turn their face away. A phone won’t anger or scare people the way a DSLR with a telephoto lens would.

Even my dog ignores my phone. But when it sees my camera, it knows I’ll be taking a picture, which means it will either run away or expect a reward.

Even my dog ignores my phone. But when it sees my camera, it knows I’ll be taking a picture, which means it will either run away or expect a reward.

Composition, Composition, Composition

When taking pictures using your phone, you don’t worry about technical questions. There’s no point—it’s all on automatic anyway. Concentrate on what’s most important in photography—focus on composition. More than ever, use composition and give your photograph a story and a dynamic as your way of expressing how you see the world. If you stumble at first, don’t worry. By shooting often—even on a phone—you’ll always be learning and always be practicing composition.

One wonderful thing, from a learning perspective, about phone cameras is that they (usually) have fixed lenses. Of course you can “zoom” them, but then the image quality drops so rapidly that nobody will even have to tell you not to. Because of this, you generally use only the camera’s basic depth of field. That will prepare you for the use of fixed lenses—which are optically and technically superior to lenses with a transfocator (a zoom).

Always practice your composition when you can.

Always practice your composition when you can.

Interesting weather, interesting city? Why not use the camera in your phone?

Interesting weather, interesting city? Why not use the camera in your phone?

Where Should I Publish My Phone Photos?

Well, first of all, don’t take them completely seriously! Take them as a way to make your life as a photographer more pleasant, and above all, take them. Try to give yourself a “challenge” of publishing a photo a day on one of the social networks, choose a suitable #hashtag, and stick to your challenge. Your fans and subscribers will get used to the fact that you’re an active photographer and that alongside your classical camera photos, which demand more care, you also publish phone photos—which they’ll surely enjoy too. If they need the services of a photographer, they’ll be glad to turn to you, because they remember you—because you’re active.

Browsing your phone-photo posts will also teach the people around you that photography and photographs are not just about big, thousand-dollar cameras. They’ll realize that they too own a phone and yet they’re not taking pictures as good as yours… yet. Maybe you’ll convince them to think about how the photographer is important, and not just the camera.

Why not take pictures nonstop? After all, you can!

Why not take pictures nonstop? After all, you can!

Phone? DSLR? Why Not Both?

Certain photographers—above all the old school—look at phone cameras with disdain. Let’s keep in mind that we can’t change their minds, but meanwhile technology is moving forward, so as for us, why not embrace it and give it a try?

Take it as a new way to improve yourself and above all a new chance to take photographs. Of course, that doesn’t mean that when you start taking more pictures on your phone, you’ll automatically stop using your camera. Mobile cameras are simply a way to take pictures at the times when you don’t want to carry a heavy DSLR around with you, or you just can’t take it with you for some reason.

Last updated 14. December 2015

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Author: Majo Elias

I’ve been taking pictures since 2004. When I was starting out, I photographed almost everything. Later my style solidified and I began photographing people almost exclusively. At the moment my main genres are fashion and advertising.

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