Shooting with iphone

Shiozaki HarunoNot so long ago, when I began to really get into photography, I decided it was time to go for a big camera upgrade. I went for a 5D Mark II with a 17-40 L lens, and have been shooting with it for about a year or so now. It’s a really nice setup, and I always love shooting with it, but once and a while it’s nice to try and see what happens when you leave the world of fancy DSLR cameras and go back to basics.

So it was time for a challenge: Leave the fancy camera behind, and shoot with just a phone!

iPhone 6The big reason I wanted to give this a try was that I recently upgraded phones, ended up getting rid of my faithful iphone 4 for the new iphone 6. I must say that everything works soo much smoother! It’s crazy how after only a few years technology feels sluggish and outdated compared to the latest & greatest. Obviously being a photographer, I was curious about how good the camera is in the new phone, so I figured the only way to find out was to shoot a bunch of figures with it!

For those interesting in my phone wallpaper, you can find the original image here:

Shiozaki sunsetI must say it felt incredibly weird going out to shoot at first- I’m so used to having my heavy DSLR strapped around my shoulder that it was almost liberating to have my camera of choice fit inside my pocket ^^;. It definitely felt a bit strange not having manual controls when you’re used to having complete control over focus, shutter speed, etc. Luckily I found the app Manual, which really helped a ton with photos like this Shiozaki pic, where I could easily keep her exposed correctly despite the bright sun behind her.

Mako FlowersGoing with the theme of using only a phone, I also tried using only VSCO cam to post-process my pictures. I was really surprised how capable some apps are for editing photos! I guess I’ve been living under a rock using my old phone (⌒▽⌒)ゞ

Suzuha iphoneWith a fixed 2.2 aperture and lack of a good zoom, one of the things I definitely learned is that location is absolutely vital, at least when it comes to figure photography. Since you don’t really have the benefit of really shallow depth of field, it’s important to make sure you can frame your shot just right when it comes to the scale difference between the figure and the background.

senbon-miku-nendoroidLens flare is pretty crazy, especially without the benefit of a lens hood.

onodera nendoroidThe huge benefit of shooting with a smartphone is the large, bright screen; but more importantly, tap to focus! I can’t tell you how much easier things were with tap to focus… usually with my DSLR I have to frame the shot over one of the autofocus points (the 5D Mark II only has 9!) or try and use manual focus using liveview. Since the 5D doesn’t have a tilting screen, shooting on the ground like this would be a huge pain, but with the phone things are a bit easier!

Onodera and Tsugumi nendoroidsAlso tried a bit of studio shooting, and the iphone seemed to hold up well! Obviously I can’t really use the built in flash since I can’t bounce it off the ceiling, but with some extra lights thrown in it seems to do a nice job.

Mako and Ryuko WaterOverall, I think it was a really fun challenge to do! Sometimes we take the equipment we use for granted, and it’s nice to go back to basics to help make sure you’re getting the most out of whatever equipment you’re using. It’s important to remember that composition, location, and subject are much much more important than any equipment you use. I like to think that doing this challenge has helped my photography a bit, if anything I guess I have a good handle on how to use the camera on my phone ^^;.

One of the other things I realized is that shooting enough to post a new photo everyday is really, really hard. Not just from the sense of taking the time to take the photos, but also coming up with new ideas and ways to snap my figures. I honestly don’t think I could do this all the time, but I’m sure if I did my photography would improve tremendously!

I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos! For my fellow photographers out there, if you’re used to taking photos with a fancy DSLR, I challenge you to try shooting everyday with your phone for a bit. Who knows, you might just be surprised at the results!

Thanks for looking!

10 thoughts on “Shooting with iphone

  1. Modern phone cameras became quite useable these days,
    You took nice pictures with it, especially the last one ^^
    Without the abilities of raw files, you have to capture pictures
    with the right environmental lighting to get something convincing.

    Still I feel better when using my camera in general.

    Touch focus is probably the biggest + advantage compared to our DSLR’s
    though most newer big camera models also are equipped with it recently.

    • I think for the most part I’m definitely going to stick to my DSLR for photography purposes, but it is nice that cameras in phones are getting much better with time. It’s great to have a somewhat decent camera that I can fit in my pocket for random snaps.

  2. I’m really happy that you did this, because it actually helps me a lot! I’ve never had the money for a fancy camera, so being able to use my phone would definitely benefit me. I really want to start doing figure photography more often as well. u.u’

    • Actually, I think my biggest issue is not being afraid to take my poor figures out of the house. They just kind of sit on my desk while I brush away dust with my finger.

      • I’m glad the post was helpful! You should definitely take up figure photography, it’s a lot of fun 🙂
        It’s definitely worth a try to take your figures out and about outside. I was a bit intimidated myself when I first started out, but after a while you get used to it. Now I take even really expensive figures like Suzuha out and about with ease!

  3. Nice shots man. I’ve been thinking about challenging myself by creating a blog and solely updating it through content created on my iPhone, so both text and photos. I’m terrible at keeping my current blog up to date so I thought maybe this would motivate me to be more active.

    • I will say it can definitely be motivating when you present yourself with a challenge like this… I will say that I probably haven’t shot so many figure photos in a short span of time than I have when I was doing this.

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