{Playing with Light} Westfield, New Jersey Fine Art Photographer

iPhoneography is… awesome.  One of the reasons why I love it so much is that I don’t feel like I have to lug my camera and favorite lens (my 5d mark ii and my 100mm macro) everywhere with me.  If I decided to leave my camera at home (because I’m wearing nice shoes and toting around children in their Christmas dresses on a rainy cold night, with a purse that already weighs about 500lbs from all the STUFF I have to carry to keep them entertained), I don’t feel like I’m naked.  I know that if a moment happens, my phone is in my back pocket, and it will probably take less time for me to take it out and open an App than it would for me to get my “good” camera out and all set up anyway.  It is almost a relief to carry it with me…

I know a lot of people have a lot of mean things to say about iPhone cameras… well, not just iPhone cameras, but how accessible “good” cameras are to the general public now.  The argument is that anyone and everyone believes they have what it takes to be a “photographer”.  I think a lot of professional photographers feel threatened, and with good reason.  The available technology has done two (well, lots, but I want to make a point about these two things) things to the photography business…

1) It has desensitized the client base so that many are unable to sort out the quality work against the rubbish. I’m not trying to say that client’s can’t differentiate between a quality product and a “prosumor” product, but I am saying that an over-saturated market that is teeming with technically weak work makes it more difficult for someone to be able to identify a photographer who knows the ins and outs of what they do – which would be taking pictures.  It is important for clients to research their photographer so that they don’t end up with someone like “that guy” in the commercials.  You know who I mean.  He is showing a slideshow of his portfolio and his peers are asking about the technical details. Some lady asks what shutter speed he used to freeze the movement of a dog shaking water off of his coat and he said something like, “Um. Fast. Very Fast.” A professional would never respond like that, and if they did, it would be in jest, not because of a lack of understanding of the technical aspects of their field.

2) The technology, and in turn the over-saturation, has made it so that photographers today have to really push what they are doing to be seen.  It is important to be original, be different, stand out.  It is important to be connected to what you do, to feel what you are shooting, to have it represent what you are and who you are, and to have your images impact your viewer.  So, in otherwords, its hard to just go out and take a nice picture of a flower or a cat these days.  There has to be an element about it that makes it different.  It has to illicit some sort of emotional response from the viewer.  iPhone 4s and other devices with great little cameras that produce great little pictures are really challenging the professionals out there to be a step ahead of the public, and these days, that is getting to be more and more difficult.

That being said, I try to remember those things, but not take them so seriously.  Yes, everyone and their kids has access to great cameras these days, but I don’t really feel threatened by that.  In fact, I think it is great that people see what it is about photography that I love so much.  Photography isn’t something that I do.  It is an extension of who I am.  I am a mother (three cheers for making little people). I am a wife. I am a sister. I write. I take pictures.  And now that I have a camera on my phone, I always have a camera with me.  I may not use it all the time (though I do take pictures every single day, November doesn’t count), but it is there, and I won’t miss a moment. Ever.  And despite my love for my iPhone, I still have pride in what I do because I understand the technical details of my “good camera”, and this understanding also allows me to get so pretty cool pictures with my iPhone too.  I don’t know everything there is to know, but by shooting every day, I learn something new every day, and I have a pretty strong understanding of light. Practice, practice, practice!  And this understanding of light translates to whatever camera I have, and it allows me to learn the little perks of those cameras as well!

So that’s it. I love my iPhone camear. I love my Hipstamatic App.  I don’t leave home without it. Ever.  I would not have gotten the above shot if I didn’t have my phone with me.  I would have gotten something much much different.  But, the camera didn’t do the work for me.  That shot was intentional.  I knew that shooting through the raindrops on the window from a moving car was going to give a seriously cool affect. I wasn’t disappointed!

1 comment
  • I needed to read this. I’m feeling a little lost photographically. I’m trying to find my voice, my style. I’ve decided to try a little edgier and am working on colabirating with a queen (as in drag). I’m a bit hesitant about the backlash I might receive. It will be unlike anything I’ve ever done. But this is that uniqueness you are talking about. I’m comfortable with the idea or I’d not have suggested it. I need to worry less about what I think others say react to and more explore more what makes me sing through my images. Thanks.