As promised here’s a link to a PDF of the Smart Phone workshop that I am giving to a private client group in Toronto this afternoon.
Smart Phone photography has some severe limits when it comes to flexibility and image quality but it has several overriding advantages. The big one is, of course, everybody these days are carrying a smart phone and every smart phone has a pretty decent camera built-in.
So what am I going to tell the group of smart phone photographers this afternoon?
First: Shoot more often. We get better by making mistakes and learning how to get better with the equipment we’re using. Whenever I bought a new camera I looked for opportunities to use it right away so I could figure out how it worked. It’s the same for smart phone photography. There’s more to it than just snapping selfies.
Second: Shoot closer by moving forward and don’t use the camera’s zoom control. Watch for messy backgrounds. Don’t be shy. Get so close you fill the frame.
Third: Pay attention to the light that’s available. Whether natural or artificial there’s a lot a smart phone photographer can do with the light that lights the scene. Don’t use the built-in light in the cell phone. It’s too harsh a light.
Four: Consider adding external lenses if you’re getting serious and learn how to use simple photo editing software. They run from $75 for a set of three to $100 each for some really good ones that can provide super-wide, wide, telephone and macro effects.
Fifth: You don’t need to PhotoShop (at $800 or so) to edit your images (which are in standard JPG format) but you do need something (SnapSeed is pretty good and free) to crop, brighten, reduce noise and print your images.
Sixth, and most importantly, I am telling these folks that they absolutely must save their images somewhere else than just on their phones. External hard drive storage is relatively cheap ($75) as is online storage (ICloud, DropBox and bunch of others) which will keep your images safe. I have five levels of backup (computer hard drive, two mirrored external hard drives, two separate online gallery sites plus I’ll burn a DVD if the images are family treasures or commercial shots I want to protect.
Here’s more good news:
Everybody is developing new apps for smart phone photography. Every smart phone manufacturer is dedicated to improving their built-in cameras.
The future of smart phone photography is very bright indeed and I can see the day coming soon when for most photographers a smart phone will be all they need.
(BTW my images used here weren’t shot with a smart phone but they could have been and online you’d never know the difference. Print the images past 11″X17″ and the difference would be obvious.)