Mobile Photography For the Dedicated Camera Photographer

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer SNAP! Pro iPhone case review images product photos (7 of 8)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 2.8

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

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Photojojo Iris Lens review product images (1 of 8)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 2.5

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

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer SNAP! Pro iPhone case review samples (8 of 21)ISO 251-1500 sec at f - 2.2

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

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer SNAP! Pro iPhone case review samples (6 of 21)ISO 501-30 sec at f - 2.2

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

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer SNAP! Pro iPhone case review samples (17 of 21)ISO 251-1150 sec at f - 2.2

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.

  • j main
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

    I get emails from this guy Chris Gampat all the time. Most of the time I skim it hoping to get some ideas that are worth a damn. Rarely have I thought that the guy was a waste of time and generally just applauded his efforts.

    Now, onto mobile photography. There is no doubt that you can get good shots with today’s camera phones. There are limitations, and creative artists learn to work with the limitations and get excellent results. I am not one of those people. I get much better shots using a DSLR. It is much more exciting for a photographer to work with a more flexible set of tools. Doesn’t mean that the phone camera stuff is not good. It just means the DSLR stuff is outstanding vs the camera phone thing.

    This article was complete bullshit and I will now block this email to my inbox.

    • deb_ch
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

      Well, one person does feel limited by using a phone, the other by using a whole DSLR rig.. To each his or her own.

      I do also believe that in many situations photographing and sharing the story immediatly would never have been possible with a big DSLR and “old new school” post processing, particularly not in fast-paced times as we are living in now..

      • DanyJack
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

        It just sounds like you are making excuses. Fast paced times? Sharing the story? Just taking pics. Can do better work with a DSLR than with a phone camera. That is the case with most photographers. Doesn’t diminish the phone camera stuff.

        • deb_ch
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

          There are just situations where a photographer cannot even take big cameras with him/her and where they “snap” much more personal pictures with a story behind them that they would not have been able to shot with a DSLR. That is no excuse, but a fact.

          • DanyJack
            Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

            I have been shooting all over SE Asia for years. Bringing a DSLR is ok in most situations. Not sure what you are referring to. Do you have any examples?