Wait, Is Everyone a Photographer?

While stunning DSLR photography is wonderful and certainly has its place, smartphone photography is becoming more and more common – and more and more influential.

‘Tree Backlit by Sunlight’ by Sheldon Wood taken with a camera phone.

‘Tree Backlit by Sunlight’ by Sheldon Wood taken with a camera phone.*

Wait, is Everyone A Photographer?

It’s an interesting debate. Whether the Chicago Sun-Times made a big mistake in firing their entire photo journalistic staff or not, one thing is true: the superb quality – and value – of typical cameras embedded in smartphones today is incredible. Most of us are toting this dazzling technology in our pockets, backpacks, cars and handbags every single day.

So what are we doing with that technology? Do we even realize how much power is in our possession?

We do. We’re probably (and unfortunately) just taking it for granted, or maybe we just don’t know how to really use it. Given the ultra sophistication of today’s sharp, innovative camera phones, some which offer lightning fast processing and some truly amazing technologies – like, for example, being able to take burst shots with one snap and merge them into an amazing night photo; beautifying a portrait automatically; creating animated photo-video hybrid images; or erasing unwanted objects – that many people have simply never used before. To learn more about how these technologies (and many more) work in your phone, check out our technology section on this site.

We’re living in a time of sharing content like never, ever before. This is our time to move and be moved. Or we can choose to sit by the sidelines and watch (which is fine, too.) There’s so much content out there, one can simply peruse great stuff if they choose.

For those of us who want to participate, how can we learn to maximize that technology in our hands and take truly beautiful photos? We’ve found some really valuable tips and tricks. They’re fun – and easy!

  • When taking a portrait, don’t cut at the joints, for example, frame between the shoulder and the elbow.
  • Photograph people under large shaded areas, or next to big windows as it’s the most flattering to the skin.
  • Look for bright colors and items with high contrast in colors.
  • Try different compositions. Don’t just put your subject smack dab in the middle of the frame. Think of your frame as nine boxes that intersect. Put your subject in one of those intersections. It will make the photo more interesting.
  • Try editing on the go with Snapseed or Aviary and Perfect365.

And here are some the best tips and tricks of the web we’ve found:

  • This blog, Grumbles & Grunts, offers some terrific insights.
  • Another worthwhile article we found from PC Magazine gives some additional guidelines, for both iPhone and Android users, plus some worthwhile apps to check out.
  • And, last, but not least, here’s a great resource of information from National Geographic.
Surf self-portrait taken using a camera phone

‘Surf Self-Portrait’ by Curtis Gaston taken with a camera phone (yes, the phone survived).*

While our smartphones will probably never replace the brilliant quality of the digital SLR – nor are these type of photos likely to replace the time and talent of Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalists’ work – they certainly have their place.

It’s just up to us to find our own point of view – then capture and share it.

*Photography credits:

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