For a lot of photographers out there, the smartphone is the ultimate of what a convenient photography tool should be.
For photographers who prefer to shoot with their smartphones, convenience is a higher requirement than the ability to control exposure and or to shoot in RAW.
But today we are not going to concentrate just on the capacity of the smartphone to capture images.
We are going to learn about ways our smartphones can contribute to the entire process of making photos; some without directly actually making the exposures.
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A Smartphone Is The Perfect Tool To Get Our Composition Right
A smartphone is an easy shooter. It does not weigh you down with all the exposure equipment. Something you would normally associate with shooting with a DSLR. That leaves just the tasks of framing, composing and shooting in your hands. When you do that, at least at the beginning of your career, you learn from your mistakes and eventually become a better photographer. Someone with strong composition skills.
Additionally, a smartphone does not have a lens that can zoom in. And that means just like wielding a prime lens you have to move around to make a tighter or wider composition. In that sense, a smartphone camera does the same thing to your photography as a prime lens does. It inculcates a habit of moving to get a better shot, rather than standing at one corner and zoom.
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Shooting with a fixed lens holds you in good stead for years to come. Even when you can afford expensive zoom lenses the habit of moving your feet to get a better composition will always set you apart as a photographer. You will always be able to find camera angles, and places to shoot from that others will find simply impossible. At least you will never be a lazy photographer shooting from a distance.
Once you master the basics of composition, you would be able to pre-visualize images upon walking into an area. You truly become one with your camera. You can then move on to the next important level in photography, and that is manually controlling your exposures.
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Thanks to a concerted effort by smartphone programmers all around the world, new and exciting apps find their way to app stores every day. It is easy to find an app to meet your needs in just a few seconds. What better way to advance your photography skills than to download and install apps that help you become a better photographer? Let’s find out how.
- Tools which give you the exact timing of sunrise and sunset plus the point on the horizon where it is going to rise or set are some of the basic things that a landscape photographer needs.
- Then again the same goes for the moon. As a Milky Way photographer, you would love to be able to predict what you can capture in the night sky even before you ever set your foot outside.
- Being able to learn about weather forecasts for a particular day are again some of the other inputs one needs on a day to day basis, especially for a landscape photographer.
One such tool is the photopills app. This one has a host of features. So you can preplan any of your creative nature photography assignments without having to become a master in astronomy or weather.
Use Your Smartphone’s Led Light To Assist In Focusing
The continuous beam of white LED light that some smartphones can emanate these days can come in handy in some situations.
These lights can help you pre-focus on your subject when there is not much light to go around. The built-in LED light is often underestimated. It works well in really dark situations, throwing in just the right amount of light to produce a well-exposed image.
Using Your Smartphone To Guide You
It has happened many times. While driving to remote locations for photo tours, I have lost my way. I have found local knowledge to be useful when I lose my bearings, but I always make it a point to cross-check local information with GPS.
- Google Maps have been my go-to app for most of my travels.
- Another useful app to keep track the exact location your pictures is Geotag Photos Pro.
An Always Available Internet Connection
My camera does not have an Internet connection. At least not yet. Soon, I might be able to ditch my phone altogether and browse the web on my camera (well, phones have evolved to have cameras, so why can’t the opposite happen as well), but for the moment I have to be content with carrying two different devices.
The benefit of that is I always have a standby internet connection. Unless I am exploring caves or so far away into the wild so that no signal from nearby mobile towers can reach me, I do have the ability to access the internet, power my apps and get any information that I might need on the fly.
Works As My Ready Access To A Digital Portfolio
Though not directly a big help in improving my photography, but my 7” tablet helps me in other significant ways. When I am traveling or out on an assignment, I prefer to travel light. For once, a printed bulky portfolio does not make sense. If I meet a prospect, I offer him/her to check out my portfolio on my tab. That’s the easiest way to show my work and make a good first impression.
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I always keep at least 20 images on my tab and keep updating them so as to showcase my best work always. To round things up, I exchange contact information with the prospect so that I can follow up with him/her later on.
Smartphone Stock Photography
Believe it or not, your smartphone photos are a way to make yourself a buck or two. How? There are micro-stock websites that look for images shot with smartphones. They work the same way traditional microstock websites work. The pay can differ, and at most times it takes a lot of time to build a portfolio and finally see some money trickling in.
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Sometimes the pay you receive can be very small. However, if you are looking to make this a career, you will find this a learning experience. You will know if stock buyers are accepting your images, i.e., your work is as good as you think it is. You can then move on to better-paying avenues once you have the confidence.