Field Notes: Phone Pictures

Every now and then, I get questions about what camera I used, what kind of lens I put on to take a shot, and what kind of camera do you need to get great pictures. While as much as I like to geek out on gear, I really prefer chatting about the process or techniques used when you take a picture.

Take this for example. While we were out at Yosemite last weekend and stand around in the parking lot of Sentinel Meadow, waiting for a friend to pick us up. We decided to have some fun taking photos of each other. It was pitch black outside, no moon, and no street lamps in the parking lot.

The equipment: iPhone 6 + iPhone 5S + 2 flash lights + a plastic bag + a few friends as lightstands

The setup:

-iPhone 6 for the photo

-iPhone 5’s flash in a 45 degree angle, aiming down.
-A flashlight wrapped in white plastic bag, in the other 45 degree angle, aiming down
-And the other flashlight, pointing straight behind the head, to give that fashiony edgy look.

The results: (edited in iOS VSCOcam app)

Not too shabby eh?

Considering the iPhone’s camera sensor probably maxed out on the ISO setting and we really used only what we have in our backpacks. I’m not at all saying that a camera phone can replace a good professional grade camera.

But here are some of my points:

a.) Just because you don’t have the best equipment, doesn’t mean you can’t take great photos. It’s about knowing what your camera can or can’t do and using them properly.

b.) Just because you DO have the best equipment out there, don’t let your camera dictate what kind of photos you should take. Not everybody should be a landscape photographer, milkyway shooter, or do timelapses. Do what you like, and don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise.

c.) Just because you have a basic camera or kit lenses or just a phone, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try taking good pictures. A little creativity goes a long way. Simple things like proper composition, or standing closer (or further away) can make any shot better.  A great picture is valued  more than the amount of pixels, sharpness, ISO setting that it contains.

d.) The best equipment is what works best for what you do. Not everyone need a D800, a Leica M9, or a Canon 5D Mark XLIV Hulkbuster. For some street photographers, an iPhone could be their best choice, for travelers and hikers a compact mirrorless, for hipsters a polaroid. Use the camera that makes you WANT to take more pictures, and LETS you take the pictures you want.

That’s my rant. And here’s some of my  other favorite pictures that I took with an iPhone.

You can find more of my iPhone shots on my VSCO grid or follow me on my Instagram.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In