For christmas I picked up a fancy pants new camera, an Olympus E-P5 and a couple of lenses (more details to come). Frankly I love it. I’ve really enjoyed amateur photography for a while (as you might have guessed from my personal blog and attached photos) but getting into the nitty gritty of photography and having a camera which can produce top quality photos as well as a selection of lenses has been a great blessing which I am thankful for.
However, despite my joy for my new camera, I am grateful that I learnt photography on a smartphone (well at least the fundamentals) rather than an expensive DSLR. I know it might sound crazy but I’m sure once you read my reasons below, you’ll agree.
So if you’ve considered getting more into photography, it’s better to start with a smartphone (or basic point and click) than splash the cash on an expensive DSLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens system.
1. Smartphone cameras make you focus on composition
The simplicity of a smartphone camera means you can focus on how to compose a good image rather than focusing on special settings to make your photos look good. This means you can’t blame the settings for your bad photo, you have to focus on your skills (or lack of). I’m certainly not a master of composition or lighting but learning on a smartphone has made me know that I should focus on them more than the fancy pants settings.
2. Smartphone cameras are easy to use
A fancy DSLR requires a lot of messing with the settings to get the right photo, sometimes even when you use it in automatic. A smartphone is simple, just point, click and fire. This means you don’t have to worry about the lenses you have, the ISO, shutter or other settings.
There are some apps which are like that but the majority aren’t, they’re simple and all you need to do is tap on the point you want to focus on and then press to take a picture. Simple.
3. Smartphones helped me learn the basics of editing
Smartphones make it really easy to edit photos because you have the ability to edit photos on the same device you took the photo on and the editing apps are really easy to use as well. Tools like Snapseed and VSCO cam help to make your images look better and (as David Molnar says) “Edit your pictures, to recreate how you felt when you took them.”
4. Smartphones are extremely portable
One of the keys to photography is going to somewhere worth photographing…which very strangely can be everywhere. If you sit at home all day long you’ll soon tire of the objects around you, but everytime I go out, there is something interesting to take a picture of. As the old expression goes…
the best camera, is the camera you have with you.
Smartphones are so portable and are so often with you that they encourage you to go out and take photos. This is something I really wanted to keep and helps explain my choice for my choice of camera.
5. You’ve probably already got one
Nowadays, almost everyone has some form of camera on their phone. These can be great for capturing a document that you need to scan and they can also be a great entry point for photography. If you don’t know if you’re going to really get into photography and are worried about buying that (semi/very) expensive camera. You can pick up your smartphone and go from there.
I’m really looking forward to improving my skills as a photographer and getting to grips with all the fancy shooting settings but I don’t want to forget the valuable things I learnt from shooting on a smartphone and continue to improve in composition, lighting and insuring that I keep getting out and taking photos.
A selection of iPhone photos
Oh and just to show you some of the photos I was taking on my smartphone, here are a selection below.
Please note, the featured image was not taken by me, all other images were.