When people ask me “what camera do you have?”, I say two; a Fuji X-T10 and a Nikon D600. I use my Fuji for 99% of my Street Photography and my Nikon for Event Photography (although I recently used by Fuji for the first time at an event and loved it!). The truth is I have three cameras, the two I have just mentioned and the camera on my Moto 4G. However, in reference to the latter, I never use it. Never. So, last week I decided that I would spend some time only taking photos with my smart phone.
The reason this came to mind is because I am of the the mindset that you don’t need an expensive camera to make great photos. People are so quick to run out to the store, spending hundreds, if not thousands, on kit and come home thinking they have found a solution to the poor photos they are making. What is even more frustrating is that people are letting their Uncle Jim take photos at an event because he has just bought a Canon 5d Mark IV, then they get upset when the collection of images don’t capture the atmosphere of the event - Yes but the image quality is great!. The Uncle Jim reference is most likely sour grapes on my part, mainly because he is taking a spot away from me. That said I am confident I can take better photos on my Moto than he can on his Canon. And so can you.
Now of course, I am not suggesting that if you are a paid photographer, you should sell your kit and use your Smartphone. For those that know the craft - of course a professional system is the way to go. But for those who just enjoy taking images, for themselves and their friends - there really is no reason to go and break the bank. Also, pro photographers like to shoot on their down time - and just having your smartphone is enough to get a great photo.
Sunshine in London
We have been very fortunate in recent weeks, in the fact that London has had some glorious sunshine. In every aspect of photography, lighting is crucial, and it is even more so when using a camera that would struggle in poor light situations. With the sun out and my shorts on, I went to my local park to see what wonderful opportunities I would have when taking images on my smartphone. The first thing I noticed is that when using my smartphone, it made me think more. I did not rush to take a shot but spent more time on focusing on finding the right moment. I must have spent an hour walking around and was still out as the sun was starting to drop. Walking through the grass, I noticed a couple holding each other whilst looking out towards the sun. Jackpot. I approached them in a manner that Bear Grylls would approach a dangerous animal, and slowly dropped behind them to get the angle for the shot. Like always when taking a candid shot, I had that “they might move anxiety” so I had to be quick. Thankfully they were deep into their embrace and I was able to come out with this...
As social media is the only way to tell if you are good photographer or not (sarcastic tone - just in case), I posted the image on my social pages and as anticipated, it was received extremely well, including by those with more in depth knowledge of photography. As soon as my image was accepted by the social masses, and I had got my validation - I started to become a little obsessed with Smartphone photography. I wanted to take portraits, architectural images, event photos - all with the motive of making eye catching photos.
Not content on just taking Smartphone images, I started to hunt down other photographers who had made compelling smartphone photography. I found a wonderful image by Fadi BouKaram, a Beirut based Street Photographer. What struck me first about the image was the balance, it was composed in a way that made me instantly settle and feel content when viewing it. It also provides wonderful colour in the night sky, and has a raw and dirty vibe to give it that extra punch.
Fadi is a wonderful Street Photographer, and someone I am very much looking forward to hearing speak at the up and coming Street London event in August. You can see more of Fadi's work here -
Another photographers work I found was by Travis Jensen. He did a project of Street Photography, only taking images on his iPhone. It was documented in an article here - Meet Travis Jensen: The Pro Photographer who shoots with an iPhone. You can see more of Travis's work here - travisjensenphoto.com
Get out your Smartphone now!
So the challenge is set. Put your pro camera down and go out and use your smartphone. It will keep you refreshed and challenged and also give you another perspective on photography. You will soon see that your phone camera does not need to be only for snaps of your dinner and memorable moments with loved ones. You can, and will, make images that make people think "wow, that is a great shot". So please, get make your shots and send them to me, I would love to see them. You get them to me by contact me here - Contact Dan.
As some of you may have seen already, I am running a month long offer for you to get the chance to win a free photographic print. Giving you the opportunity to select from either my Print section of my site or my Instagram, I will select one person to be able to hang a print of their choice on their wall. All you have to do is enter your email into the form below, and you will be in with a chance! The winner will be announced on Tuesday 1st August.
Thanks for reading.