I’ve now owned three different iPhones, but I did not pay much attention to their cameras until recently. That changed, however, when I went to Iceland earlier this summer on a photo workshop led by Tony Sweet. Knowing that Tony is an “iPhone art photography” guru (he’s writing a book on it), I upgraded to the iPhone 5s before the trip and challenged myself to shoot with the iPhone as well as my camera throughout the trip. Here are some things I learned:
1) Sometimes the iPhone gave the only useful image from a location — as at the base of the triple falls at Kirkjufell, where I was unable to keep the lens on my Nikon clear of water drops no matter how often I wiped it.
2) When I pulled out the phone at a location after being “done” with my camera I found compositions with the iPhone that I had missed. For me the moral of this story is to be more diligent about working locations!
3) Processing images on the iPhone using the apps that Tony introduced and demonstrated gave me a chance to play with effects that I might not try (or have tools for) in my Mac-based postprocessing environment. Using the iPhone to shoot and process helped me “get loose” and become more open to a variety of creative urges. The challenge for me is to bring some of this spontaneity and sense of play back to my DSLR shooting and processing.
4) The iPhone is a great tool to explore panorama compositions — either with the pano function of the Camera app or by stitching a series of separate images together using an app such as Autostitch — before going to the bother of setting up camera and tripod.
Since returning from Iceland I have struggled once again to remember that the phone is also a camera (old habits die hard!), but I now know that even when the only camera I have is the iPhone I can still make images with impact.