Why Mobile Phone Photography?

I love having a camera in my pocket more than having a phone. Fortunately I can have both. The inter-web is flooded with iPhone images, and that is a fact that we can’t escape. If you are a photographer, a good camera is a great thing to have at all times. These days mobile phone cameras are pretty darn good. Mobile cameras are not a replacement for even a compact camera, not yet at least. However, if it’s the difference between getting a picture and not getting a picture, you’re better off with having a good mobile camera.

Currently Flickr has the iPhone listed as the most popular camera. The Samsung phones are the second most popular. This is probably due to the sheer numbers uploaded by each user. The list does reflect the fact that the average person is using them and uploading them. I would tend to agree with the criticisms that these uploads are getting out of hand. The images are not very good, but I have no problem in saying that these images are of low quality because the photographers are not very skilled at using these mobile devices.

Yeah, I believe mobile phones are capable of taking excellent pictures. Every camera has limitations, whether film, digital or X-Ray. The right camera for the job, but this isn’t always possible. You have to work around your camera’s weaknesses. With mobile photography, every phone is different and has different hardware specifications and different software specs.

I prefer Android over iOS, it’s not about better or worse, it’s just the way it is for me. iPhone camera software may only differ from versions of iOS. Android’s camera software differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. This is often problematic for beginner photographers, but shouldn’t be a make it or break it situation if you have a little practice.

Lately, I’ve been using an app called Open Camera for Android. This app opens up a lot of features that the stock camera app just might not give you. There are certainly hardware limitations with options, but there are plenty of non-hardware options. This app is very customizable and useful. There are plenty of automatic features and depending on your hardware it opens up a lot manual settings, like ISO and Color Temperature. I am using the LG K10 with Android version 6, AKA Marshmallow. I was previously using Open Camera on an ASUS Zenfone 2 with Android version 5.0.1 Lollipop and it worked flawlessly. If you find that your stock phone app is just not doing enough, go and play around with some other apps. Open Camera is free and doesn’t have any ads. You’ll find that a lot of other apps in the Play store are supported by ads. I find those things too annoying for my taste.

Software will not improve your mobile photography on its own, you have to understand the limitations of those small digital sensors. Mobile phone digital sensors don’t have the range that the larger sensors have. Blowing highlights is very easy to do. The focal length of mobile phone cameras are roughly at 3mm, so getting shallow depth of field is very difficult to achieve. There are lens accessories are don’t really help to achieve that, but they can help focus on smaller subjects at a close distance so there could be a little leeway. The more you shoot with your camera the more you learn how it responds. You just have to pay attention to what you camera is doing, then plan ahead.

these images were all shot over the last few days with the LG K10 and imported through Lightroom Mobile and edited.

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