This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional)
Smartphone is an irreplaceable camera in its own genre.
my Instagram here.
Technically it’s zero weight comparing to bring any extra camera. And it’s always charged, with memory, and always with you. The instant sharing and photo effects app differentitates it from any other camera you could use. And naturally, it influence greatly the photos you will take with it.
While most people use it causally for social or documentation purpose, there are some striving to make some difference out of it. Of course, even the latest powerful camera in smartphones are still lack of optical zoom, offering only a general purpose 30-ish mm eqv. and the resolution/ resolving power is still well below many cameras.
a good Instagram photo usually looks bad if you view it on big monitor. It stays good on the smaller smartphone screen. Hence we need some special strategy.
I wouldn’t think it can produce enough resolution for a full screen view. That’s why i regard it as “thumbnail photos” or “sticker” photos and the photos i showed here are also a montage of smaller tiles.
So what is my approach in getting these thumbnail photos good?
Someone would say “snapshot”.
I agree and I personally think the philosophy of using it has something in common with using lomography cameras, in the perspective that they are both intended for snap shot and mostly use it casually. The significance of “snapshot” is that it frees you from traditional photographic way of too much control. Just pick up and shoot! The technical quality isn’t great anyway, no details, low dynamic range, no bokeh.
I should correct “Just pick up and shoot!” to “I see, therefore I shoot”
It sounds obvious, but think deeply. How many times while you have a real camera in hand, that you have the urge to shoot something before you see something? It’s 2 completely different way to taking pictures. Yes, the later is a more proactive act, but also has a fatal flaw that you usually end up taking pictures just because you want to, not because you see something good.
On the contrary, the key mentality of Snapshot is that, you see before you pick out your camera. And that usually takes better photographs and less garbage ones. And more importantly, that trains your eyes better and better. For me, snapshot with iphone does train me up, and quick.
To make good photos of a snapshot, it’s purely your eyes and your heart. Afterall, excluding all technical considerations, the most important thing of photography is still your eyes. And by “heart”, i mean the more sublime level: your passion, love, towards what you see or your subject. And the impulse that drives you to capture the moment. Usually you see beauty in that moment, or some vibe of atmosphere, or some drama, some action, some expression of your subject. Have you ever seen a scenario, or the great nature, that actually touch your soul and your tears is about to drop? If you open your heart and eyes, you will find many tiny versions of this feeling in your everyday life. A pure beauty in color and composition can touch you, an absurdy that makes you laugh, a caring father with his new-born baby will let you see love, etc. Emotion is the key here. It can be a beautiful lights, It can even be blurred photos like these!!!
Everyone’s path is different. And everyone is hunger for different pictures. For me, I spent most of my iphoneography in capturing beauty in my everyday life. If I analysis my photos:
I tends to make things very graphic, very flat, sans-perspective, sans-3D, sans-silhouette, abstractize objects, seeking textures, seeking patterns, seeking graphical shapes, seeking unusual juxtaposition, sans-garbage objects, creating ambiguity by rotating photos, creating absurdity, framing part of a whole, cropping defining features to misled audience, etc. And I exclusively love the square composition.
Another closely related approach is “Contemplative photography”. Google it you will find articles and photos about “seeing things in fresh perspective”. I didn’t know this terminology before I find that the concept is quite similar to what I’m doing. Only that practitioners usually use normal camera to do it, which results photos of different qualities. I didn’t reference any others work but starting my approach purely from my heart and eyes.
I didn’t know what’s more to write, except following my heart to shoot more of what I like, no rules, no norms, just what please you.
Happy iPhoneography 🙂