What is Smartphone Photography?

smartphone photography

Mobile phones have grown in leaps in bounds in recent years in functionality and features.

They’ve also changed tremendously in the looks department. Just a few decades ago the market was flooded with feature phones with all the interesting form factors, and now we have Smartphones with the typical bezel-less front view and a set of powerful cameras on the back.

The camera has always been one of the most sought-after features in a Smartphone, which led to vendors making groundbreaking improvements to help users take the most stunning photos. Since built-in Smartphone cameras have become very advanced, everyone can freeze moments in time at the drop of a hat.

What is Smartphone photography?

Smartphone photography is a style of photography that relies on a smartphone’s performance to take great artistic shots. As we know, Smartphone cameras used to lag behind DSLRs in terms of capability, but with how companies have been pushing the envelope to enhance this integral aspect of every Smartphone, the gap in quality between both devices is getting narrower.

But even with that, Smartphones aren’t a replacement for DSLRs because there are things the latter does better at. On the flip side, people are drawn to Smartphone photography because it offers benefits. It keeps you from the hassle of carrying a hefty camera and accessories everywhere, like add-on lenses, a tripod, etc.

It also doesn’t draw attention. People are more likely to stare at you when you hold a DSLR than a Smartphone. Photography is different from taking random pictures because there are elements that need to be considered to make a shot perfect. Light, color, and composition are some of them. It’s not something to overlook because it takes dedication and hard work to be a good photographer.

Evolution in photography: DSLR, Mirrorless and Smartphone

DSLR camera

Digital cameras changed the way we took photographs. It’s fairly easy for us to snap photos now with a compact camera, but back then, the process of developing them from the film was more elaborate. Right after a photo was captured, it wouldn’t show up until it’s further processed in a dark room. These have become scarcer by the day because technological advances in photography allow us to circumvent the impracticality that comes with film cameras.

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That being said, they’re still admired for the unique vintage effects provided. Today is all about digital cameras to which the DSLRs belong. They’re revered for their impeccable quality and high level of customizability. DSLRs have become the primary option for professional photographers because they can produce high-resolution images, which are important when transferred onto large media like billboards.

Quality-aside, DSLR cameras aren’t perfect. If your price is a concern, they may fall out of your favor. Besides, they’re also heavy and require knowledge to operate.

Mirrorless cameras

Choosing between a mirrorless and a DSLR is no easy feat because they have pros and cons. And although the DSLRs are often touted as the pinnacle of photographic technology, there are aspects where mirrorless cameras can challenge their bulky counterparts. They both offer swappable lenses and a variety of accessories. And they come in a broad range of prices.

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For those wanting a compact camera without compromising quality, mirrorless cameras would be the surefire option because they shine in this area. But if a bigger selection of lenses is the top priority, DSLRs take the cake because the versatility is unmatched. Besides, they’re ahead in terms of battery life, which makes a difference for outdoor photography.

As far as image quality is concerned, both can deliver awesome shots. Mirrorless cameras have come a long way given that their smaller sensors are used to translate to poor low-light performance. Fortunately, companies have taken note and come up with chips that can reduce noise.

Smartphone cameras

Smartphone cameras have gotten a lot better since the day the VGA camera was introduced. This was considered good in its heyday but falls short compared to what modern Smartphones have to offer.

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The good news is it only took off from there. The resolutions keep increasing with new releases, so do the features. The number of cameras packed into a single device has also gone up. It’s not uncommon to see Smartphones with more than 2 cameras these days. They can give digital cameras a run for their money because the quality is next-level especially on flagship devices.

But are they’re ready to knock DSLRs off their throne? While quality can be hard to distinguish to the untrained eye, they are still differences if we look further into the capability of both cameras. That said, with all the great features like Image Stabilization, autofocus, ISO control, and HDR, you can be a pro with just a Smartphone.

Advantage of mobile phone photography

1. Portable

Smartphones have the advantage of being more compact than the likes of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. DSLRs are especially impractical to carry around, so it’s not worth the hassle unless you aim for top-notch image quality.

Smartphones, on the other hand, are easy to store in the pocket. They are reliable for taking spontaneous photos. Precious moments can easily fleet before your eyes if booting up the camera takes too much time. Since Smartphone is at your fingertips all the time, no moments will ever be lost again because launching the camera app is easy.

2. Easy to use

Ease of use is another reason why some people prefer to use Smartphones for taking pictures. If they want better quality, they will invest in more expensive models. DSLRs aren’t in the same boat because they take some knowledge to operate.

Besides the basics controls, there are a lot of other things to familiarize, like exposure, perspective, composition, etc. Most DSLRs have a bunch of knobs and symbols, which can discourage novice users. If you’re not ready yet, a Smartphone with a superb camera setup can be an alternative.

3. Good quality image

Gone are the days when mobile phones took blurry and grainy photos. Well, it’s still a thing, but up the budget, you’ll get models that can take remarkable pics in bright or low-light settings.

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These high-end devices produce images with quality up to par with some digital cameras. In fact, they can do it better with proprietary tools from the manufacturers to boost sharpness and balance.

4. Instant sharing

It feels fulfilling when our great shots are appreciated by others. And to let them know about your photography skills, the share menu on your Smartphone can greatly help.

There’s no need to manually upload pictures to hosting sites. All you have to do is tap on the sharing options. You’d be prompted with a list of services you can use to send the photos to acquaintances.

How to choose the best Smartphone for photography

1. Camera lenses

There’s a striking difference between older and newer phones in terms of rear cameras. We’re mostly familiar with single-camera setups, but now it’s not hard to find Smartphones with several cameras crowding the back. It’s not without reason because each sensor has a different use.

The primary sensor is the one we’ve known for years, used to take standard pictures. It’s also known as a wide camera. Another addition to the lineup is the ultra-wide-angle lens, which comes in handy to capture a larger scene.

And then, there’s the depth sensor lens that helps bring out the creative potential of the primary camera and is responsible for the bokeh effect. Meanwhile, the telephoto lens has the ability to capture distant subjects.

2. Aperture

Aperture refers to the circular opening of a lens’s diaphragm. It determines how much light can reach the sensor, which eventually affects exposure.

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The wider the aperture, the brighter the image will be. This becomes important when you use the Smartphone in low-light conditions. Other than that, aperture also alters the depth of field in an image.

3. Resolution

Resolution is used to measure sharpness. To produce a large-scale print with good detail, it’s of the utmost importance to capture the photo using a high-res camera sensor. Otherwise, it will appear pixelated. Higher megapixels also give you more cropping options while preserving clarity.

4. Image stabilization

Image stabilization is necessary to improve image quality despite the small movements occurring while a photo is being taken. It helps fix motion blur because it’s difficult to keep the hands steady when holding a Smartphone. With this feature aboard, the risk of taking blurry footage can be minimized.

Final Thoughts

Photography isn’t just about high-tech gadgets. It’s all about conveying a narrative with a picture from your point of view.

With the development of smartphones in recent years, interest in mobile photography has risen, with many praising their practicality and ease of use. It makes sense given the ease with which Smartphone cameras can be obtained.

When you find anything worth photographing, all you have to do is pull your Smartphone out of your pocket and snap before the photographic scenario vanishes.

Furthermore, as built-in Smartphone cameras have improved over time, it is only natural that people will resort to them to capture memories.

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