Why I love shooting with my iPhone even more than my DSLR

My love affair with the iPhone was born out of convenience. Heavily pregnant and desperately nesting, I had no time or energy to pull out my DSLR & go through the rigmorall of hooking it up to the churning harddrive of my aging computer.

At the same time, I kept seeing tutorials on Pinterest for taking better iPhone shots. This immediately appealed; I knew that amazing iPhone photos existed, and the convenience and in-built excuse to never put my phone down ticked all the right boxes in my mind.
 Although those tutorials, as it turned out, weren’t massively enlightening, they inspired me enough to get me started. & then, like anything, I just kept trying & learning & practicing, and quickly fell in love.

There’s a charm to the flaws in an iPhone photograph. Like a Lomo light-leak or a Diana colour cast, the iPhone cam has its own tell-tale foibles & features that years from now we might add a preset to recreate. High-quality DSLR photographs are undeniably beautiful — and there are many occasions when only my Canon will do — but an iPhone photograph has its own unique brand of magic too.

Strange as it may sound, I find the limitations set by the iPhone liberating. I’ve often found that constraint somehow encourages creativity — when not every picture is possible, you have to work more imaginatively to create the image.

Photography can be a bit of an ‘old boys club’. There can be a fair amount of snobbery — who has the best kit, following the rules & ratios. Undoubtably the traditional ways work brilliantly for many, but they also invariably lead to that style of image that is so prevalent on amateur photography forums online: high def, over-saturated landscapes; Mountain bikes and sports cars silhouetted against the sun. Lots and lots of photographs of birds, doing bird-like things.

Technically they’re very accurate and impressive, but for the most part, they’re desperately lacking in heart and soul.

iPhoneography turns a lot of that on its head. In smartphone photography, everyone had the exact same piece of basic kit. The variables are limited, but creativity is not: it’s a level playing field where composition and imagination take centre stage, and the old rules don’t really apply. It’s no longer about how long you spent studying: instead, it’s about what you see, about photos that make people think and feel and smile. The picture means more than the process, I suppose.

There are lots of photographers sharing DSLR work on Instagram and many are super talented and worth following. Yet the accounts that most excite and inspire me are always iPhone only. iPhone photographers are redefining the pro-photography world — yep, we’re getting paid for this — and photography is changing because of it.

But really, when did we decide that convenience was a bad thing? When did the aim become to make creativity and art as inaccessible as possible, an exclusive club that only the elite could buy into?
 iPhoneography is totally open access. It may be pink glitter playdoh to the ceramicist’s fine porcelain clay, but in the right hands, it can still make something beautiful. & it’s right there, in your pocket, ready to go 🙂


Originally published at meandorla.co.uk on March 21, 2016.