We get so caught up in 'pro' equipment that we often forget that there are other alternatives. Let's explore how the iPhone can be one of those alternatives.
The iPhone is an excellent mobile phone. It is smartly designed, fast, and capable. It also integrates really well with the calendar, contacts, and email systems on your desktop and laptop computers, whether Mac or Windows. Plus, its outstanding ecosystem of apps extend that “play-nicely” aspect to other functions.
Because we all know that the camera you have with you takes better pictures than the one you left at home or in the studio, it makes sense to make your mobile phone a real part of your photographic process.
I used the lo-mob app on my iPhone 4S for this image.
Time-Saving Apps for Social Networking and Experimentation
The camera in the iPhone is not exceptional compared to many other smartphones, but it does become outstanding when combined with the apps. The basic functionality of the iPhone camera, combined with the good GPS and accelerometer inputs, becomes magic when used with various apps.
The apps are perhaps the major plus of the iPhone as a camera system. And that is an important way to view the iPhone—as a system. It is a camera, computer, software and Internet connection in one. This makes magic.
Compared to your bigger, more serious camera, the iPhone makes working on images and sharing them a breeze. You can shoot, process and upload images on the iPhone in less time than it takes to transfer your big camera images to the computer. This speed and efficiency can be particularly helpful if you are using social networks to build your brand, to create anticipation and excitement about upcoming events or projects, or to share “behind-the-scenes” stories of a photo shoot.
Some apps are very sophisticated in their own right and might require significant time in Photoshop to reproduce the same effect. The huge number of apps available gives you many variations in effects as well as the ability to experiment with new approaches, such as easy panorama shooting.
Restore a Sense of Play to Your Work
For many photographers (who can become as stale and jaded as any other professional over time), the iPhone has brought back a sense of fun to their photography. This playfulness is both refreshing and capable of flowing over into their mainstream photography—opening up new avenues for sales or commissions.
Accessories Make a Decent Camera Even Better
The camera itself is no slouch. Keep in mind that except for sensor physical size, the 3MP camera of the iPhone 3Gs, the 5MP camera of the iPhone 4, and the 8MP camera of the iPhone 4S compare well with pro-level DSLRs introduced not that many years ago.
Because of the sheer number of iPhones out there, a rich range of accessory lenses can greatly expand the optical range of your iPhone. For example, the Photojojo iPhone Lens Dial provides a cool rotary dial with three lenses attached, plus a handgrip and tripod socket.
A growing number of professional photographers are already making great imagery with iPhones. For example, pro photographer Dewitt Jones who is a long-time columnist for Outdoor Photographer magazine is very active in using the camera in his iPhone. There are many more.
Of course you can also use the iPhone to support your normal photography with pro gear. Using the iPhone's GPS makes it great for documenting found locations you want to return to. In addition to using the iPhone’s camera, I use apps such as Things to organise shot lists and lists of gear to bring on shoots.
So if you've been treating your iPhone as a toy, remember that out of play comes some great creativity. Do you agree?
The image below shows the effects of the Dynamic Light app on my iPhone image.