Mobile Photography For the Dedicated Camera Photographer

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Sadly, there are loads of photographers out there that don’t accept what a phone is capable of while mainstream culture embraces the art that can be created with them. Then there are the photographers who just don’t get it–and ask questions like why it’s so hard to have manual control and a fixed aperture. And why does the high ISO output suck?

A man named Evan wrote an email to me recently saying talking specifically about a letter I wrote that’s all about embracing flaws in an image. He says “It’s like you’re apologizing up front for bad quality…which you are not.” Evan states. “Show the work, warts and all. There is no need to explain away ‘flaws.'”

And he’s right: these flaws can be embraced to create works of art which still completely count as being a photo and stretch the imagination on what a proper photograph really is.

Minimal Gear

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With Mobile Photography, you don’t need a million lenses: though you can give you various ways of interacting with a scene. However, most shooters just use one lens–the one on their camera phone. Embracing the one lens one camera philosophy, you’ll keep your gear minimal and instead force yourself to create new images without getting new items.

The old adage “Keep it simple, stupid!” sticks well here.

It’s All About the Content

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Mobile photography doesn’t rely on trickery for good images, instead it’s all about the content. Shooting a portrait? Your beautiful bokeh won’t be a tool you can use here: instead you’ll need to find a way to make the image visually interesting in an otherwise flat space with no immediate visual depth besides shapes and composition.

You know the old saying “F8 and be there?” Try more like f22 in terms of depth of field. But by thinking in a new way you’ll get it.

More in the Moment, Less Technical

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While photography with a dedicated camera can embrace the idea of capturing the moment, sometimes the technical parts of it can get in the way. With a phone, it makes it easier for everyone. To that end, that just means that you need to try harder or think in a different way.

The truth of the matter: if your work is seriously that good, it doesn’t matter how you got it. What matters is the end result.

More Artsy Fun, Less Snobbery

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As stated in a previous section, mobile photography is all about the moment, fun, and embracing that you can fix or enhance something later. In some ways, it holds true to the standards of both Lomography’s culture and digital. It’s more about getting the shot and transmitting fun, emotions and freedom into the images you create.

And seriously, that’s it. Working within confines but also with some more elbow room in some situations is what mobile photography is all about. Don’t make it anymore complicated than it needs to be.