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Although some might consider it sacrilege, many photographers are embracing the technology in their pockets and shooting using their smartphones. With the rise of social Apps such as Instagram, many photographers are finding it quicker and easier to engage with a larger audience to get their work noticed. (See other reasons photographers are starting to use Instagram).

The Instagram hashtag #mobilephotography has amassed over 3,000,000 tagged photos from mobile-photography enthusiasts and professionals alike. Which ever camp you sit in regarding the popularity and credibility of smartphone photographers, it's clear the movement has now become more than a small niche. So we wanted to find out the "three Ws" - (Who, What, Why!):

  • Who is using using their smartphone to capture beautiful images?

  • What smartphones and apps are they using?

  • Why are they using such small devices to capture such big moments?

 

 

Thomas Stewart

Glasgow, Scotland

instagram.com/tsstewartphoto

Smartphone Photography by Thomas Stewart

 

When did you start shooting on your Smartphone and why?

I started shooting with my smartphone since 2013 around the time when the iPhone 5s came out, at the time I was using other cameras but once I started shooting with that iPhone I could see the potential and after seeing the different images I could get from this small smartphone i was amazed by the images I was getting. From then on as the phones and camera got better every year I knew I was right to trust my instincts.

 

Why do you like shooting with your Smartphone?

There are many reason why I like to shoot with my smartphone, I guess the first reason would be that they are always improving the native camera on the iPhone, every year since the iPhone 5s it has got better, improving in all area. Secondly I guess the knowledge of no matter where I go I have my camera with me at all times, there is never a moment that I have wished or need to assemble my equipment to take a shoot, also meaning I will never miss a shoot no matter where in the world I am at the time.

 

Smartphone Photography by Thomas Stewart

 

What Smartphone and Apps are you using to create you images, and do you use any additional gear?

The smartphone I use is an iPhone I have had every generation and with the new iPhone 7 coming out I can't wait to start shooting with the dual lens. With regards to apps I use to edit my images, I mainly use Enlight, Snapseed and VSCO. Additional gear I would have with me would be a couple of tripods, MeFoto Roadtrip travel tripod, Jody Gorilla Pod Magnetic tripod. The lens I use to use was Olloclip lenses but now have been using Moment lenses.

Top 3 tips for Smartphone Photographers?

- Never leave home with out you smartphone.
- Even if you are surrounded with people using their big DSLR cameras never be scared to get in to position you need to take your shoot and always take your time to check your image before you leave the location
- Lastly have fun the more you enjoy it the more it shows in you image.
 

 

 

Georgia Barlow

Auckland, New Zealand

Smartphone Photography by Georgia Barlow

 

When did you start shooting on your Smartphone and why?

Since I was first given a camera at age 13 I have been interested in photography. Unfortunately, I gave up when it died, but upon buying an iPhone 4s my interest was piqued again. Then my friend gifted me an olloclip 4 in 1 lens set (wide-angle, fisheye, and 2 macros) one Christmas and I have been hooked since then. I am particularly inspired by macro photography.

 

Why do you like shooting with your Smartphone?

My phone is always with me so it is easy to access and is also less cumbersome than a big camera. For street photography it is much subtler to use, and it is small which is helpful for macro photography allowing me to easily get close to my subject. There are also a multitude of great apps available, which are fun to use for editing.

 

Smartphone Photography by Georgia Barlow

 

What Smartphone and Apps are you using to create you images, and do you use any additional gear?

I use an iPhone 5S currently. I use Mextures for 99.9% of my edits – it can achieve many amazing looks through layering all kinds of textures. Snapseed is a must-have app for any mobile photographer – it is free, has lots of functionality, and is my second most used app. Union is a great app for double exposures, but these can also be done in Enlight, which has many other amazing effects and is basically a jazzed up Snapseed. VSCO and Lightroom are apps I would like to get into using more, but from the experience I have had with them I can definitely recommend them. On occasion I will use the editing tools in Instagram and EyeEm before posting a photo. I have the whole collection of Olloclip lenses, but I use their 3 in 1 Macro clip-on almost daily. I also have a Kenu Stance Tripod, which is perfect for macro photography. For Christmas I was given a portable charger, which is great if I want to go out shooting for a while. The Apple Earpods are also useful as you can use the volume buttons to shoot the photo in order to minimise vibration and get a clearer shot.

Top 3 tips for Smartphone Photographers?

- Treat it like a camera – if you know the basic principles of photography and apply them you will be able to get great photos. Iphonephotographyschool.com is a great website to check out if you want to learn more about how to use it from shooting to editing.
- Edit your photos – you can greatly improve the quality of your photos, even with a natural edit done in Snapseed. Get creative with it as well – there are loads of great apps you can unleash your creativity with.
- Shoot often – the more frequently you shoot the better your photos will get. This year I have undertaken to take and edit a photo a day (sometimes I will just edit because of the constraints of studying) and then post it online. As I look back I can see how my style is developing and the quality of my photos and editing has improved greatly. If you’re serious about getting better, challenge yourself and you will be surprised at the result!

 

 

Kanichi Fujiwara

Kanagawa-ken, Japan

instagram.com/kanichi_fujiwara

kanichiphoto.com

Smartphone Photography by Kanichi Fujiwara

 

When did you start shooting on your Smartphone and why?

I changed my phone to iphone5 on October 2012, at the same time I began to take pictures. I used SLR camera at work, but I always uploaded pictures on my blog and facebook which were taken by my iphone, because I can upload pictures in real time. I want to put my sentiments on pictures and share my sentiments through my picture.

 

Why do you like shooting with your Smartphone?

If I use my iphone when I want to take picture,  I don't have to bring a big and bag to store my SLR camera and it's not a good body posture when I'm shooting. It's one of attractive features. A dowdy man can transform into an able photographer in a moment faster than Superman!  But more important is that I want to tell the truth - everyone can take beautiful picture with smartphone.  We don't have to have expensive SLR camera or high performance lenses. Of course we need techniques a bit,  but we need more pure feelings  and well-honed sensibility than techniques.Techniques of taking beautiful picture is not money and tools.We can find our own potential and expand the possibilities through taking pictures.

 

Smartphone Photography by Kanichi Fujiwara

 

What Smartphone and Apps are you using to create you images, and do you use any additional gear?

I'm using iphone6s to shoot and Snapseed to edit now. I usually change details, contrast, and chroma. When I can't tell and express 100 % my feelings through an original picture I took, I use editing an app to make up for the expression of my feelings. I think an editing app's role of expression is 10-20% of the total picture.

Top 3 tips for Smartphone Photographers?

- There is not a BEST picture or WORST picture. Showing the way you are individuality, it's the most important. Don't be afraid of someone's opinion, Let's take many pictures with your style. Pictures are not competition, it's the way of self-expression. The valuation basis is people like your picture or not, and people can feel something when they see your picture. Pictures are like a mirror to show you your true character. People have a free spirit can take pictures which can show your life.
- Don't use an app and edit your picture too much. If you edit a picture too much, you may think it's beautiful, stimulative, and perfect. But you will think this picture is boring later. An app is like a spice. Spice can make food more delicious, but you know you don't want to eat foods that tastes only like spice. The main thing is to take original picture. Apps are just a supporter.
- Its very important to have many view points. I know you think the pictures taken by smartphone are low quality, and picture is shallow. But let's make good use of this weak point and change the weak point to good point! 

 

 

 

Danny Openshaw

Manchester, UK

instagram.com/opethshaw

Smartphone Photography by Danny Openshaw

 

When did you start shooting on your Smartphone and why?

It was around about a year ago. After having the same phone for about 7 years, I finally lost it. The best bottle opener I ever had, and of course I could call and text people, so it did the job. I’ve never really cared for all the extras that phones do these days but I took the plunge decided to get an iPhone 6. I took couple of photos and I was sold. The camera itself is impressive but with all the apps/ add ons you can get your pretty much unstoppable. I decided to finally get an Instagram a few months ago, just to test the water with my phone-photography.  

 

Why do you like shooting with your Smartphone?

I love how simple the whole set up is. My main background is film, and I do own a DLSR but I could never get into photography. I never really felt confident using it, the set up and bulkiness always put me off going out and taking photos. With my phone, its fits in my pocket, it does most of the work for the initial set up, all I have to do it play with the focus point and exposure. I find it easier to capture “moments” and real life, out and about. Plus the touch feature works really well with a lot of the editing software I use on my phone.  

 

Smartphone Photography by Danny Openshaw

 

What Smartphone and Apps are you using to create you images, and do you use any additional gear?

I have an iPhone 6, which to be honest I only use it for the camera now. Plus I’ve been quite impressed with the edits tools on the app store. I’ve not once used my laptop for any photo editing. The sort of basic grading/ masking apps I use are called Tadaa and PicsArt. PicsArt is amazing considering its free. RGB curves! Then if I want to get a little bit more experimental I use Glitché and GeometriCam. Both of which work for video too. I’ve bought a couple of cheap eBay, clip on lens for fish-eye, wide and micro stuff. I really enjoy using the micro lens, mainly for dead bugs next to my window but apart from that nothing really. Because of the size of it I’ve experimented with all sorts front of the lens. From water, beer bottles, clear bags, you name it.



Top 3 tips for Smartphone Photographers?

- Framing is life! You can literally find anything and if you frame it well enough, turn it into a great photo.
- Use the exposure options available before taking the photo.
- If you’re gonna use ‘Tilt Shift’ don’t over do it

 

 

 

Firdaus Omar

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

blog.firdausomar.me

instagram.com/firdausomarandco

Smartphone Photography by Firdaus Omar

 

When did you start shooting on your Smartphone and why?

It was November 2014, when I got the iPhone 6 on the first day it was released in Malaysia. I had to buy the phone as my iPhone 4 was stolen a month earlier. Prior to that, I never had any photographic affair with my iPhone 4 nor any other camera but with the iPhone 6, I found my calling to take on photography seriously. This was before the "Shot on iPhone" campaign had begun, and when they did, it felt like an approval. Later on I was approached by Apple as one of the iPhone photographer for the campaign. 

 

Why do you like shooting with your Smartphone?

It's a self imposed limitation. I like the simplicity and the limit of a phone camera and I use it to my advantage. I have never use a real camera but I think shooting on a phone is liberating as you can relieve your mind off the technical aspect of a camera and focus on the other factors of photography such as composition, and light.

 

Smartphone Photography by Firdaus Omar

 

What Smartphone and Apps are you using to create you images, and do you use any additional gear?

On the iPhone 6, I use VSCO all the time. It's not perfect, but that leaves a room for creativity. I find that preset is very helpful in streamlining my workflow. Other apps that I find useful are Touch Retouch for cloning out unwanted elements, SKRWT for lens correction and MIX for selective colour adjustment. I use Cortex Camera as well for slow shutter speed effect and night photography. 



Top 3 tips for Smartphone Photographers?

- Everyone has a camera phone. Make use of that camera and don't be discouraged by the people who belittle the phone camera as inferior, unprofessional or socially unacceptable.
- Shoot as simple as you could, as it will go a long way. Simplify the background, subtract the subject, and get it right in the frame.
- #Nofilter is deceptive. Every photo should be given a human touch. Just like the old days when photos have to be developed in the dark room.

 

 

Nadine Funke

Berlin, Germany

instagram.com/detailsofberlin

Smartphone Photography by Nadine Funke

 

When did you start shooting on your Smartphone and why?

I started taking photos when I got my first smartphone about 6 years ago. It was a very spontaneous decision, I haven`t planned on buying that smartphone. It was just always in my pocket and I love to document my life in photos. First I took photos only for my private use, but last year in November I started my instagram account and since then I always look out for new photos of Berlin for my account.

 

Why do you like shooting with your Smartphone?

I love it cause I have my smartphone always with me in my pocket or in my backpack, my whole life is on that smartphone or in one of its apps. It´s lightweight and the camera has a relatively good quality. It´s amazing what smartphones can do these days.

 

Smartphone Photography by Nadine Funke

 

What Smartphone and Apps are you using to create you images, and do you use any additional gear?

I own an iPhone 6. My favorite editing apps right now are PS Express and VSCO, sometimes Snapseed. Just a couple of weeks ago I got an Olloclip 4 in 1 lens that includes a wide angle/fisheye/2 macro lenses. I already love this lens, especially the quality of the macro lens is amazing. I want to get a tripod, but so far I work without it.



Top 3 tips for Smartphone Photographers?

- Zoom with your feet.
- Find out how to adjust exposure and focus manually with your camera.
- Find a good and regular backup system for your photos.