Thursday, 14 May 2015

Phone Photography - Who Would Have Thought We'd Be Seeing So Many Phone Images?!

Phones and cameras have been advancing in terms of quality, speed and low light performance literally glued to each other over a short, however really turbulent period. Just 30 years ago, what we are doing with our mobile phones today, used to be sci-fi.
A photo taken with BlackBerry Passport using the Camera++ app with the HDR function on and then retouched on the same device.
I do have a dSLR and a bunch of lenses for when I need to be creative and get all those great retouch possibilities afterwards at home or the office for various client and own projects. Of course, no phone camera beats the low noise capabilities and the various lens-propelled image enhancements of a dSLR.
A photo taken with a Nikon D90 dSLR in RAW (NEF) format at dawn and enhanced in Adobe Photoshop CS6.
Even though my dSLR is older than my phone, the latter still has some catching up to do. I know that this type of comparison may not be fair at all considering the size of the sensor difference and everything that actually makes a professional camera what it is.
But where do a good camera phone and a regular camera really intersect in terms still image capabilities and video?
First of all, I like taking close-up macro photos. This is an area where, I can say, my BlackBerry is rather good. I can admit that blurring of the background may not be so nice and the lack of interchangeable lenses could be a little bit of a pain for the final result but I can retouch the images straight away and upload them for all my friends to see. The latter advantage is, of course, applicable for all photos taken by phone.
Secondly, I like, and who doesn't, landscape shots. This is where a phone camera, and especially a good one, comes in really handy. With a little bit of retouch and choosing a good angle, your images could start to look really nice and professional. The more you experiment with a good higher class mobile phone camera, the better you will become.
Third, I am really fond of shooting video on my BlackBerry Passport device! This just feels great! The stabilization of the camera, the colors and quality in daylight are all things worth mentioning. I appreciate the ease of use and how I can just take nice casual videos without having to think too much what lens I have on and how I could edit the material afterwards. 
Here's a small bit of advice when shooting video:
Make sure you hold your phone so that the wide side of the video window is at the bottom. After all we all have wide screens nowadays, and while tall screens may become a thing of the distant future it's really frustrating watching "tall" videos, feeling like peeking through a door frame.
When it comes to portraiture, however, I always use my dSLR. I am just used to controlling everything and taking my time using thoroughbred computer/Mac software to re-touch and make things as nice as possible. This is one area I'd not even think about using my phone. 

My final words of wisdom would be:
Do not try to replace your dSLR with a phone and vice versa. It just won't work. Anyway, try and become as good as you can using both. After all, it's the hand that wields it.

Please comment, share and let me know if you found this useful. Here's another nice image (try to guess if it's a dSLR or a phone camera image).