Why I Take Pictures With My iPhone.

Why I Take Pictures With My iPhone: The North Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire's Market Square. iPhone photo - suitable for print reproduction up to 8" x 12". (Jerry Monkman)

The North Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Market Square. (Jerry Monkman)

It’s hardly breaking news that people love taking photos with their phones and that many professional photographers have embraced the technology. It was about a year and half ago, when the iPhone 4s was released that I started using my phone for photography on a regular basis. I was happily surprised at the quality of the image files and almost immediately I began incorporating my iPhone into my daily photo routine through my Tumblr blog project, 0630.  Admittedly, as much as I liked shooting with the iPhone, I expected my enthusiasm would fade with time and I would eventually stick to using it for snapping quick family photos or photos of my parking garage location at the airport. While I did quickly realize the limitations of the iPhone’s camera compared to a DSLR, I’ve never stopped using it when I work and consider the iPhone an important part of my gear kit.

Sunflower close-up, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Sunflower close-up, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Jerry Monkman)

In addition to not performing well in low light scenarios, the main limitations with the iPhone camera are its fixed focal length, and a mediocre flash. Yes, I’ve seen the lens kits you can buy for the iPhone and I suppose someone has developed a flash synch system, but if you ask me, if you start carrying this extra gear and/or attaching your iPhone to a tripod (yes, I’ve seen people do that too,) you might as well get out your DSLR because your losing the simplicity that I think is the iPhone camera’s biggest advantage.

An American flag at the Victory Garden at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. iPhone photo - suitable for print reproduction up to 8" x 12". (Jerry Monkman)

An American flag at the Victory Garden at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Jerry Monkman)

There are five primary reasons I shoot with an iPhone, like when…

1) …I don’t have my DSLR because I wasn’t planning to shoot or when…

2) …I don’t feel like dealing with carrying my DSLR and all the stuff that goes with it. This gives me an incredible amount of physical and creative freedom. I can even shoot while on a run or a mountain bike ride and shooting feels like play when you’re not worried about digital noise, depth of field, and other things that can lead to a crippling state of trying to achieve perfection. This works especially well when…

3) …I want to explore a place or photo genre that isn’t necessarily part of my usual conservation niche, and I don’t want to end up with hundreds of image files to manage that I may or may not use in my business. But sometimes I do use my phone when I’m on a more “serious” shoot, like when…

4) …the light is only so-so and I’m not sure it’s worth shooting. Using an app like Pro HDR to shoot an image and then processing it right on my phone using Nik’s Snapseed app gives me a quick and dirty (and sometimes beautiful) look at how an image might be processed once I get back into the studio. I’ll often shoot an image on my iPhone first, play with it in Snapseed and then decide to shoot it “for real” with my Canon. When light and subject matter are ideal, I’ll skip the iPhone and capture the moment with the DSLR. However, when the light’s not doing it for me, but I think there might be a composition worth shooting, I’ll definitely try it on the iPhone first. I’ll also shoot a scene with both the iPhone and my DSLR when…

5)…I’m in the field shooting and I really love a shot and want to share it with the world immediately. There’s usually no wi-fi where I’m shooting, and I don’t carry my laptop in the field anyway, so if there’s a cell connection, I’ll shoot the scene with my DSLR, and then again with my iPhone so I can upload it to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It’s also a great way to connect with others while I’m out on a shoot by myself.

The garden at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. iPhone photo - suitable for print reproduction up to 8" x 12". (Jerry Monkman)

The garden at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Jerry Monkman)

Portsmouth Harbor dawn, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. iPhone photo -suitable for print reproduction up to 8" x 12". (Jerry and Marcy Monkman)

Portsmouth Harbor dawn, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  (Jerry Monkman)

If you love shooting with your phone, let me know why in the comments section below.

Until next time…

-Jerry

 

2 thoughts on “Why I Take Pictures With My iPhone.

  1. Your iPhone work is great. Would you include which apps you use as it helps
    others wat was used to process the photo. Very nice work!

    • Thanks Rob! I primarily use two apps when shooting with my iPhone: Pro HDR (great for handheld HDR shots) and Nik’s Snapseed for editing the photo. I’ll also use the panorama feature in the iPhone’s default camera app.

      -Jerry

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