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Why I Value Phone Photography

It seems to me that there are two main camps when it comes to phone photography.

There are those who are firmly in the ‘phone photography is not real photography’ camp and those who believe that our mobile cameras can produce images that are often as good as, if not better than, some DSLR or mirrorless cameras.

I don’t fit myself firmly into either camp.

I love the feel of the ‘real’ camera; I love its grip in my hand, I love changing lenses and getting different perspectives on my images and I love editing the raw images.

Yet I don’t dismiss my phone camera. It is there when the big camera gets left behind, it has the ability to capture decent images, and it ensures that I can do photography at any time and in any place.

On a recent walk in the countryside I discovered just how valuable this phone in my pocket can be.


On a sunny Saturday morning I found myself with a 45 minute timeslot to fill while waiting for a friend. I decided to take a walk and explore the surrounding countryside. I set off down a pedestrian path along a main road but soon discovered a more interesting by-road, which I began to follow.

As soon as I turned onto this road my senses were assaulted by the smells and sights of early summer – wild garlic, hedge blossom and meadows full of buttercups.

I was immediately transported back to childhood days and I knew that, as well as enjoying the experience and the sensory walk, I would have to take some photos.

I was very glad to have a reliable camera in my bag – namely, my phone camera.

In my opinion, it can be a mistake to believe that all you can do with a phone camera is to grab some shots from the regular standing position, as this is so far from the truth.

On this occasion, being able to use my phone for photography brought 5 main advantages:

I didn’t lose an opportunity to capture some images in an unexpected location.

There can always be an opportunity to do some editing afterwards. In this image I reduced the clarity and vibrancy for a more muted look.

I could be spontaneous - I turned a corner and this tunnel of trees was in front of me. I love the way the light shone through.

I was able to follow the light. I like the way half of this image is in shadow and half is in light.

I had a chance to experiment and learn.

In this image I shot the buttercup from below, a perspective not usually seen.

Getting down low and shooting through the foreground gives a more unique perspective than shooting from the position of a standing adult. By using portrait mode I was able to blur the background.

I had a memorable photography experience as well as having a memorable country walk.

The abundance of green caught in the sunlight meant that there were images everywhere.

My conclusion as to whether phone photography is real photography is this: if the phone camera helps you enjoy photography and capture images you might not otherwise capture, then it's real photography and that's good enough for me.

What do you think?

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