5 Ways The iPhone Has Transformed My Photography

I’ve written recently about how moving to Baltimore has changed the look of my photography.  And it has, in a major way.  However, the other thing that has really cemented itself into my work recently is…my iPhone.  I’ve been thinking about my work a lot these days (living in a city full of artists will do that to you) and I’ve realized just how critical my smartphone has become to my photography.  After giving this some thought, I’ve come up with the five primary ways in which my iPhone has changed the way I interact with the world photographically.


1.  I’m able to capture beautiful moments that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to share.  We’ve all been in that frustrating situation where you see something striking – a sunset, a beach, a waterfall, even a crowd of people – and you’re not able to share it with others because you don’t have a camera with you.  I almost always have my phone with me, which helps to ensure that I’m not the only one able to witness a moment of beauty.  As an example, the photos below are some that I took during a down moment during a 6am fueling shift on the boats I work on.


2.  I have the opportunity to document moments at home that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.  I do keep my cameras at home, but they’re often locked away in a cabinet, in a bag.  They may or may not have a charged battery or an empty memory card.  Being able to simply grab my phone makes it much more likely that I’ll be able to document my personal life.  I do a lot of this particular work because it’s also the work that has often fascinated me when it comes from other photographers.  There’s something revealing about candid photos that I have always found very striking, and I hope that my own work tells a story as well, while also serving as my own personal visual history.


3.  I find that I pay much more attention to the details of my life.  I’ve always said that the world looks different to me when I have a camera in my hand, and now that I quite literally have one in my pocket at almost all times, it means that the kind of hyper-aware state that used to come with a 20lb camera bag has now become my life’s status quo.  I not only look around more, I see more when I do.


4.  I find that I have many, many more photos of my friends and the other people in my life than I used to in the days before smartphones.  I had a camera with me much of the time while I was in college, but pointing a large camera at someone is much more obvious and obtrusive (and arguably invasive) than pointing a phone at them.  I find that I’m able to capture much more personal moments (at least of my friends) with my iPhone than I ever would be able to with my DSLR.


5.  Last but not least, the small, unobtrusive nature of my iPhone means that I can carry a camera in situations where I would normally be unable to.  Reenactments are a great example of this – I can’t carry my camera bag, or even just my DSLR, without it being obvious that I’m carrying around a piece of modern technology.  But, my iPhone fits conveniently in my waistcoat pocket, so I can pull it out at convenient times to make sure that the hobby I enjoy so much gets documented.


So, that’s the five biggest ways that the iPhone has changed my photography – there are many more ways it has done so if you start to get into the details.  I’m curious to hear from other readers, both those who are photographers and those who are not, about how this little piece of pocket-sized technology has changed your photography.

  • As a professional photographer, have you heard of Light (light.co) and would you think of buying one?

    November 4, 2015 at 4:06 am