My iPhone is making me a better photographer

I frequently find myself shooting with my iPhone - even when I am also shooting with my Nikon D700 - and really enjoy the creative process behind iPhoneography.  I have been thinking about this a lot, and started noticing some things about how it is changing me as a photographer.  Most importantly though, I have come to realize that my iPhone is making me a better photographer!

If you read my iPhoneography app reviews, follow my iPhone postings on this site, or subscribe to me on Facebook, you will notice that I take and share my iPhone photos pretty often.  I enjoy it quite a bit, and even more so now that I have the iPhone 4S.  It’s a great camera - considering that it’s a phone - and I use it a lot.  I think just about everyone is using their phone as a camera these days, which I consider a good thing.  I read a statistic somewhere that the most popular camera on Flickr is the iPhone…no surprise there.   

What this means is that more and more people are creating images and having fun, and I think that is one of the main points of doing it.  It’s fun.  However, I have also noticed that using my iPhone so much has gotten me thinking about other things related to photography, and I feel like it is helping me improve my overall photo skills.  So, I thought I would share these thoughts and I would love to hear your feedback.

  • Are you shooting with an iPhone?
  • Are you learning new things and growing as a photographer by doing so?

So, here are 5 reasons why the iPhone is making me a better photographer:

1.)  Improving my compositions...

First and foremost, the iPhone gives you a limited field of view.  In other words, unlike your DSLR or even your point & shoot, there is a semi-fixed field of view (although I do know that you can zoom a little, or add the Ollo Clip to get a few more options).  There is only so much that you can get in the frame, so it is making me think more and more about my composition.  That’s a good thing for anyone that wants to take photographs. 

I take the time to find the best-looking comp and get it right, and (yes, I know) I even use the grid lines to help line things up sometimes.  I find when I am back using my Nikon D700 (my “real” camera), those lessons transfer.  When you get used to “thinking” before “doing”, that’s a good thing.

This also causes me to look at things differently.  With a couple of lens options on my Nikon D700, I can cover just about any range needed for a photo, but not so with the iPhone.  I end up looking at things differently when shooting with my iPhone and that’s a good lesson for all of my photography.  It’s important to adjust your POV, search for the best composition, and then shoot.


2.) Thinking about the light...

Though the iPhone camera is good, it is limited, so unlike with my full-frame Nikon where I can fire off a bunch of HDR brackets in order to compensate for lighting challenges, with the iPhone I need to be extra sensitive to where the light is coming from.  That’s something I continue to think about.  How is the light hitting my subject?  How is it affecting the mood of my shot?   This also ties back to #1, in that adjusting your composition to compensate for the light is a key element of composing the photo in the first place.


3.) It’s just so convenient...

With my iPhone, I can shoot anywhere, anytime.  What this means to me is that I have no excuses - I can always get a few shots in per day.  They aren’t all going to be great (or even good) but that’s not the point.  The point is that every day I have an opportunity to hone my photo skills, regardless of where I am.  Practice makes perfect, and now you can get in good practice even without lugging your “real” gear around!

Most of the time when I travel, I bring along my Nikon gear and tripod.  But sometimes I just don’t have the time, so it stays at home.  But – my iPhone is always with me.  Even if I have no time for “real” photography, there are always a few moments I can steal for myself here and there, scattered throughout the day.  You only improve at something if you continue to practice, and photography is no different.  

The convenience factor also extends to processing.  You don’t need long periods of uninterrupted time to process RAW files in Lightroom or Photoshop.  You can literally process an iPhone photo in a matter of seconds – at any time!  Just don’t do it while driving. But while flying?  You bet!! 


4.) Always keep learning...and experimenting!

There are so many photography apps you can use on your iPhone.  There’s really an endless array of creative options out there, many of which I would not normally think of when processing my normal DSLR photos.  I think a lot of us have a fairly common routine we use to process our shots, and therefore there are lots of other options that we don’t ever explore, much less even think about.  But with the iPhone and associated apps, it is so easy to experiment with just a few taps, that you can always experiment and learn new techniques, which you can then transfer over to your regular DSLR photos.  

I have experimented with iPhone shots that ended up inspiring me to try something new in processing my Nikon files.  The variety of apps really can fuel your creative process, which extends over to other areas of photography.  Getting creative and experimenting is educational and fun!


5.) It’s so much fun!

Taking and processing photos with an iPhone is so easy and there are so many great apps that make it fun.  It reminds me that it's really about enjoying the process of photography as much as the end result.  Whether you are shooting or processing, I think iPhoneography is great fun.  

It fuels my excitement as a photographer and my passion for all forms of photography.

Another part of the fun of iPhoneography is that you get a tantalizing preview of what you captured while traveling.  I don’t process photos on the road – all my processing is done at home – so taking iPhone shots of the same scenes I am shooting with my Nikon just gets me excited about what I captured and how it might look when I process my Nikon RAW files later.

Lastly, another part of the fun of iPhoneography is that you can totally just go shoot and not be “serious” about it.  Here’s the thing – I think a lot of us pick up our DSLR and automatically go into “serious mode”.  You might subconsciously think “I am holding a serious camera, therefore I must take serious pictures”.  That’s part of the beauty and the fun of the iPhone – it doesn’t “feel serious” so I often end up shooting stuff I would not normally aim at with my Nikon.  I think that helps expand my range and it certainly opens my eyes to new things when I am out there shooting.  That’s fun in my book!


Well, that’s it for today folks!  Thanks for stopping by, and let me know your thoughts on how iPhoneography is changing you as a photographer!  Cheers!