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50 lessons learned about mobile photography

74
Photo by Misho Baranovic

We love this 50 Things I've Learned About Mobile Photography List (and iPhone Photography) by Misho Baranovic, an accomplished mobile photographer and Connect contributor. You'll find some universal truths in there and maybe a few things you disagree with, but Baranovic's list is guaranteed to get you thinking, and laughing, too.

We have a few favorites from the list:

Foodies should pay close attention to #10: 

10. Remember, a hot breakfast tastes better than a cold breakfast looks.

Are you guilty of this potentially dangerous move? 

17. Don’t edit and cross the street at the same time.

Yes, breaking the rules is a good thing:

29. Learn to use a rule of thirds grid then learn to live without it.

And, perhaps, the best one of all:

3. Taking a photo is much more fun than liking a photo.

Which ones are your favorites? And what would you add to this list? 

Comments

Total comments: 74
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (Jul 23, 2013)

Great list! My favs are 48, 49 & 50! :)

0 upvotes
absentaneous
By absentaneous (Jul 22, 2013)

there is just one truth to learn about "mobile" photography:

1. mobile photography is just photography. so get over the "mobile" photography nonsense because it makes you appear stupid not cool.

2 upvotes
chj
By chj (Jul 20, 2013)

lol, the "real" camera snobbery is hilarious. It's actually the majority of comments. Why are you even here? This is a website about mobile photography (aka camera phone photography). Feeling insecure about your $3000 investment and the fact that you just saw an iPhone image that kicks your ass? Is that why all of you come here to hate on camera phones?

Yes a DSLR is better than a phone camera. But in some situations, a phone camera is just as good. Don't start talking about picture quality, clarity, etc. Only people in DPR and similar forums care to zoom and analyze pixels. For others the measure of a good photo is ... the content of the photo. Pixels are not subjects.

3 upvotes
f8andshowup
By f8andshowup (Jul 20, 2013)

The only one worth reading:

37. Pick up your old camera. You don’t have to shoot everything with the phone.

Camera phones suck. I use mine, and every time I do I miss my DSLR. I love my camera phone for depositing checks with my bank app, taking pictures of things as I disassemble them, and using the tool at hand when no other is available.

I desperately hope that the general public will tire of photography with phones, digitalcams, AND SLRs. Maybe then the serious shooters will get their jobs back, and morons like the person who fired the PJs at the Sun Times will be flogged in public. I do think it's possible that we will tire of the constant barrage of garbage photographs, and finally remember that quality photography matters.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
brdeveloper
By brdeveloper (Jul 23, 2013)

What is quality photography? What is art? I liked my Nokia N8, a pretty nice all-in-one solution. Now I have a Galaxy Note and usually I have to carry my Pana LX3 together.

I have some film and digital SLRs and they stay in the cabinet most of the time. I would be a happier photographer with a compact all-in-one solution like Nokia 808 PV.

I don't make money with photography, but I consider myself an artist.

It doesn't matter if I don't have the most aseptic, sharpest photo making device in everyday situations, I just want to have a barely decent camera when the inspiration comes.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
RobG67
By RobG67 (Jul 20, 2013)

#1. Don't. Just don't.

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Jul 19, 2013)

"31. Great photographers don’t care what you shoot with. They respect vision not tools."

Translation: I use a subpar tool but consider myself everybit as legitimate as someone who uses a REAL tool actually up for the job.

Hey, works for me. I think I'll claim myself a chef while microwaving a Hot Pocket or Stouffer's meal-in-a-box.

Frankly, given how cheaply you can get something like a second-hand Sony NEX-C3 and Sigma 30mm f/2.8 & use an Eye-Fi card, there is no excuse. If that's too much weight or hassle for you, you don't deserve to be taken seriously.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 20, 2013)

I have big 'real' cameras too Larry. Does that help you take me seriously?

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Jul 20, 2013)

I don't mean any ugliness to anyone PERSONALLY, it's the CONCEPT. Regardless, the main thing is, snapshooting I get that. Casual users doing "selfies," sure. But when you're a pro & count yourself as someone accomplished, why not use the GOOD tools, even if the tool isn't the point, a good tool certainly is fundamental towards OBTAINING the point.

That's not to say you have to use the likes of a Nikon D4 or Canon 1D-X, even a Canon Rebel or Nikon D3200 will do. My snapshooting wife has a D3100 kit I paid $270 for & it smokes the IQ of a $5k Nikon D2x. If you snub someone for not using a D4, yes, that's being preoccupied with the tool.

However, given the advent of mirrorless IQ & portability, why compromise? Have you seen how small a Sony NEX-3N & Sigma 30mm prime are? We're talking Nikon D5100-D7000 quality on your HIP, it's so small even the D5100 looks like a monster next to it, & with an Eye-Fi card you're connected. Or there's a Sony RX-100. There are many size-saving options.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Michael de Ruijter
By Michael de Ruijter (Jul 19, 2013)

The title is misleading. It should read "50 Opinions I have formed about mobile photography."

These are not lessons or facts, they are opinions.

2 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 20, 2013)

Never said they were either. It's clearly an opinion piece.

4 upvotes
Michael de Ruijter
By Michael de Ruijter (Jul 21, 2013)

Fair enough. And don't get me wrong, I agree with several of your thoughts.

0 upvotes
Matthew Blumenthal
By Matthew Blumenthal (Jul 19, 2013)

Seems like a pretty good list. As they said, we don't have to agree with everything. There is certainly enough here to make it worth the time and thought it took to do it, read it, and consider it.

3 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jul 19, 2013)

#1 is "1. There is no ‘magic’ app.".

What is that then:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/magic-2013/id502588466?mt=8

0 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 20, 2013)

You got me :)

0 upvotes
photoramone
By photoramone (Jul 19, 2013)

I like very much # 50... Shoot for you, and no-one else.

1 upvote
D200_4me
By D200_4me (Jul 19, 2013)

#44 is actually my favorite :-)

2 upvotes
ljclark
By ljclark (Jul 21, 2013)

Mine too.

0 upvotes
babalu
By babalu (Jul 19, 2013)

Re the dog behind the counter photo : a rarely lucky snapshot
I'd say. The paw on the notebook, ready to note down your
orders, the ears pointed at attention, and the slight tilting of the head to one side are classic, and "humanize" this friendly dog to a high degree . A great caricature of your standard utility-shop clerk, if it were not so crowded with goods on display that distract the attention from the main subject. Maybe a slight crop would have been better ?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

It depends on how you define luck. But agree that it's rare. Unless I go back to the hardware store where it probably plays out everyday. Yes a bit of selective editing would bring out the dog. I wouldn't crop though - i like the mess.

1 upvote
TomJD
By TomJD (Jul 19, 2013)

On the other hand, the clutter of all the hardware and paperwork makes the discovery of the dog within all this busy-ness a nice surprise.

2 upvotes
Mike Walters
By Mike Walters (Jul 19, 2013)

Again, I cannot understand why there is such a differentiation between 'mobile photography' and 'photography' Its all the same thing. Lots of the comments made were appropriate for all photography.
I just dont get it, specialising in mobile photography!!!!! We didnt get people popping out of the woodwork saying 'I am specialising in compact photography' or 'point and shoot photography' or 'DSLR Photography'.

The mobile phone is just one of many different tools for taking a photograph.

5 upvotes
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

Context is important in all photography. what a image is shot with may not be relevant when considering an image photographically, however, there is an inherent commonality between people with these devices who are beginning to explore photography.

If they first learn about photography from a mobile device and then apply the lessons learned when shooting with another camera the context is suitably applied at the right time.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jul 19, 2013)

I have to agree that context matters. When I was a photo student we were taught to look for odd juxtapositions--unrelated things going on in the background, for example. Nowadays, anything can be removed or combined in Photoshop so there's little reason for the viewer to think this type of image is even genuine.

1 upvote
Maurizio Mancioli
By Maurizio Mancioli (Jul 19, 2013)

Mobile photography is undeniably important, and it should be more and more examined, but this lady's comments are poor. They didn't deserve such visibility in DPreview's site.

0 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

I'm not a lady. Why are they poor?

4 upvotes
Maurizio Mancioli
By Maurizio Mancioli (Jul 19, 2013)

Sorry about the lady, got confused...
-50 reasons is asking a bit too much from the reader's patience, the good ones end up "buried" in the weaker ones.
-Too partial. You cannot declare that there are no good selfies. There are some great ones. Some artists just work with that.

0 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

No problem Maurizio. Understand what you're saying. The selfie comment is me being a bit cheeky. Nearly all mobile phone selfies I see are self interested rather than artistic. But there are always exceptions and I have a few friends and peers that shoot incredible self portraiture. Particularly @kce7 on Instagram.

0 upvotes
Nikonworks
By Nikonworks (Jul 19, 2013)

When is this site going to get back to real photography?

An 'Accomplished Mobile Photographer"?

He must be the world's first.

1 upvote
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

There are a few us specialising in mobile technology and its impact on photography. I'm not sure i'm 'accomplished' but i've done a few things.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

You're as irrelevant to the future of photography as the potential these devices represent for the future of photography is irrelevant to you.

1 upvote
Mrrowe8
By Mrrowe8 (Jul 19, 2013)

Thats an incredibly ignorant statement and I hope ur just being funny .. Mobile photography is photo's future and combined with the (" this isn't photography " which is what people said about digital ) digital photo tools is a powerful tool to create stunning dynamic images ..
Am I the only one that remembers when people thought that auto focus wasn't anything but a fad ? Same thing here and please have lots more articles on this important developing area of photo

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 19, 2013)

BTW - the dog behind desk photo is just hilarious. A typical example where any camera in hand is much better than even the best camera in your pack or at home.

5 upvotes
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

Agreed, and dogs don't care what you took the photo with too which is why people love dogs.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 19, 2013)

Its all about why you take photos and how you can accomplish this. If a phone camera works for your needs, then it works. For some people and some task it does not work. Then a "real" camera is needed instead. Or maybe no camera. Because for many people no camera works.

2 upvotes
Simon Says
By Simon Says (Jul 19, 2013)

rule #1, there is no rule

0 upvotes
ZorSy
By ZorSy (Jul 19, 2013)

#30. It’s hard to tell the difference between a mobile, digital and film print (up to A3). Hmmm, are you absolutely sure about that one, in particular A3 size? Unless it's a bad printer or a poor eyesight.

0 upvotes
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

Yep!

I've seen printed phone images up to A3 for the Head On Photography Festival in Sydney.

Even professional photographers who attended agreed that the images can print as well as DSLR images.

We toured the show with three Magnum photographers at the exhibition opening and their feedback about the print quality was great.

The printer was ARTHEAD in Sydney. Maybe you could consider what a good printer can do?

2 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 19, 2013)

That you have seen good images, printed at A3, taken with a mobile camera does not mean that mobile cameras are a good choice for making high quality A3 prints. As misha said - the first 10,000 images are the worst ones, but for mobile phone images it might be the first 100,000. True? I dont know, but its a good way of putting it.

0 upvotes
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

Roland, the point is that you can. You can - I'm not that you must.

I'm not telling anyone what to shoot with, I'm simply helping people re-consider the overwhelming prejudice against print quality from a mobile phone. If more mobile photographers were interested in printing images I think photography as a whole would benefit.

I don't expect anyone to sell their DSLR for a mobile phone.

I just think it's easier to start taking good photos with a mobile phone if you get off the high horse. ;)

1 upvote
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

Unless you're trying to to capture a smallish building, whereby the high horse would help reduce vertical convergence. A type of perspective distortion.

1 upvote
Mrrowe8
By Mrrowe8 (Jul 19, 2013)

Depends on which school of thought you fall into for what a photograph is ? Sounds like your in the stiff Alfred Steiglitz / Ansel Adams school of the camera is the all seeing eye and do nothing to it as well as a photo must be in shape focus and printed in how black are my blacks and white my whites ... I believe in more of the Man-Ray idea that an image only requires as much focus or as much or little noise( back in the day it's was grain ) as it takes to create the atmosphere an image needs ...

1 upvote
JWest
By JWest (Jul 19, 2013)

Also depends on the height of the horse.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 19, 2013)

@Oliver. Personally I don't like using a phone for photography. And ... I don't particular like to use super compact cameras either. I wan't something more substantial to hold and I want some real buttons for control.

But - that's me.

And I am open for changes. I no longer demand a view finder after all :-)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Jul 19, 2013)

Mobile phones place cameras in the hands of thousands who think photography begins and ends with taking pictures.

They are as good as painters who think painting is about pushing your brush into the paint bucket and rubbing it on the canvas.

Sure sometimes it turns interesting. But 99.99999%* of the times it is not even interesting.

*Taking into account all mobile photos taken daily on the planet.

1 upvote
MdNvS
By MdNvS (Jul 19, 2013)

Mobile phones place cameras in the
hands of thousands who can't afford "pro" equipment. Money buys you travels, not creativity. Most of the best artists are/were starving.

1 upvote
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

Statistically the same could be said for comments on articles.

1 upvote
Tape5
By Tape5 (Jul 19, 2013)

Statistically the same could be said for comments on comments on articles.

1 upvote
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (10 months ago)

@MdNvS
so let me get this straight: you're saying that a starving artist would go for a $500 smartcrap camera instead of buying a$200 or even less-, 6Mpx-DSLR off ebay? Or even - GASP! - a film camera for much less?
Smartphones are for people who can afford photographic equipment (and yes a Nikon F2 is even considered PRO photographic equipment).

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HSway
By HSway (Jul 19, 2013)

The distinction between mobile and camera photography is shrinking. And nothing has changed about the photography. Particular image has to have its vital components together. Mobiles can do that.
As for the rule #3: Does this define the mobile phone photography? I fear it does. In 99% of cases. So in the line above I was thinking the rest.
Hynek

0 upvotes
Juck
By Juck (Jul 19, 2013)

#1 Get a real Camera
#2 Stop suckling at the teat of the ignorant masses.
#3-#50,, Noone who matters, cares.

Done.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

If you comment, you care :)

11 upvotes
Shengji
By Shengji (Jul 19, 2013)

@Misho: Good lord, you must get so fed up of comments like this! I've never made a mobile camera work for me but I'm under no illusions that this is down to my lack of talent (I've never made a top end SLR work for me either!!!) but at the end of the day it's a tool, and mobile cameras have distinctive characteristics.

Hey Juck, what's a real camera? Do you need it to produce a raw file to consider it "real"? Manual focusing? Do these things make it real? Maybe you are threatened because someone can pick up a tool you already have and produce better pictures with it than you can with a much more sophisticated tool? Who is it that matters? Do you think that you matter? Who are the ignorant masses? If someone likes a picture and can explain exactly why they like a picture, but that picture was made with a mobile phone camera, does that make them ignorant? What if that same person can explain to you in detail the f stop scale, if they like mobile pics, are they still ignorant?

5 upvotes
Emacs23
By Emacs23 (Jul 19, 2013)

Hey dude! Show us your photos taken with "real" camera.

1 upvote
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

2 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (Jul 19, 2013)

#31 "Respect" is spot on, (and I shoot with bigger tools).

When shooting weddings, and I'm up front and center during the processional, I always get a kick out of the sea of mobile tools pointing at me and the party. Then I'm escorted to my designated playpen on the balcony, in the far corner with a 300mm lens for the remainder of the ceremony. While everyone else is happily snapping up 10MP stills and HD video.

Which leads us to my version of rule #51: Wedding House rules only apply to the one not using mobile.

1 upvote
Digitall
By Digitall (Jul 19, 2013)

#51 Don't take cat photos
#52 Don't take food photos
#53 On selfies, be sexy, not a nerd.
#54 Don't shot weddings, travels and other important events of a lifetime.
#55 Stop taking photos to the shoes.
#56 Stop taking photos on McDonalds
#57 Let the Cap at home.
#58 Stop using filters, all photos looks the same.
#59 Your backyard is not street photography.
#60 Be creative.

8 upvotes
klopus
By klopus (Jul 19, 2013)

Good list except for:

#60 - Should be #1
#54 - Why not?
#53 - Be interesting to someone besides you

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jul 19, 2013)

#51. All your great smart phone photos are worthless and nothing without a viewer looking at it, that excludes you of course...

.

1 upvote
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

Lots of people look at mobile photos online and in print. Some are good some are bad.

4 upvotes
PC Wheeler
By PC Wheeler (Jul 19, 2013)

Really! 50 is frivolous, indeed. 5-10 max.

4 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

Oh no frivolity!

4 upvotes
morepix
By morepix (Jul 19, 2013)

Silly news item. 50 things is frivolous. How about five? Maybe ten? Who has an interest in all that?

2 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

You know it's a bit of fun right?

5 upvotes
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

That this is a "news item" is news to me.

0 upvotes
Jonne Ollakka
By Jonne Ollakka (Jul 19, 2013)

Turn off auto focus. There's nothing you have to focus on anything anyway, everything is in focus all the time. If there's no way to turn it off, there might be a scene mode, usually mountain icon for infinity focus, that disables AF. Saves time and you'll avoid missing moments that require timing. For macro, you can turn it on again. There it will actually do some good.

2 upvotes
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

Good point, but there is no manual override in many mobile phone cameras - the Nokia 1020 (not yet released) has manual focus options.

Better to use an app that allows you to lock focus - maybe ProCamera?

0 upvotes
Impulses
By Impulses (Jul 19, 2013)

Wipe the lens occasionally, they can get quite stuffed with lint!

I used to juggle a phone and camera when on vacation or somewhere memorable I'd wanna share with friends... Often taking two pictures, one with each. Wifi connected cameras obviously solve that dilemma to a large extent (I gave in and got one myself)... There's a cheaper alternative if you have a camera you like and a recent Android phone .

Get a short 3' USB OTG cable and a small SD reader, maybe even a tiny micro USB reader that barely protrudes from the cable port (if you don't have an issue with using a micro card in an adapter on the camera)... It's fairly easy to slip the card out of camera, slip it into the reader, and then hook it up via OTG to the phone for uploading.

You'll probably end up posting better pictures too, not just cause they were taken with a camera, the process of waiting a few minutes to then review them on a larger phone display makes ya more selective by nature. Plus you can still Instagram the heck out of it if that's your thing.

0 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Jul 18, 2013)

Lesson #1: You can't take quality pictures with an iPhone no matter what masking or filters you add to it. Just live with it and resize it to 800x600.

Lesson #2: Don't be stupid and bring so many worthless accessories to make it function like a digital camera that can do everything. It defeats the purpose of mobility. Might as well bring a real camera than can do the job.

Lesson #3: Consider buying a travelzoom cam. It's pocketable, it is cheap and can take much better photos than iPhone or any smartphone. Plus you don't need expensive plastic accessories.

Lesson #4: You don't need to rush in uploading a horrible picture from an iPhone. Download it into your computer, edit it and upload it from there.

10 upvotes
Mishobaranovic
By Mishobaranovic (Jul 19, 2013)

You've just proved #31: Great photographers don’t care what you shoot with. They respect vision not tools.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
kirbysdl
By kirbysdl (Jul 19, 2013)

Photographers respect great vision, but they appreciate great tools.

Of course a smartphone can take a quality photograph. This isn't new: Chase Jarvis proved it in 2009 with "The Best Camera Is The One That's With You."

Pros show their skills with smartphones to make a point, but they still take their pro bodies and expensive glass when their paycheck is on the line. High end cameras give you more options and more opportunities to get a wider variety of shots.

Smartphone camera enthusiasts still continually proselytize and scream from the rooftops that their cameras can take good shots. Yes, we get it. And we agree. But we still prefer more capable tools when we can carry them.

7 upvotes
Shengji
By Shengji (Jul 19, 2013)

Amateurs shoot for the love of photography. They are not restricted by the need to sell their photograph.

The best pros are also amateurs during their leisure time.

2 upvotes
Oliver Lang
By Oliver Lang (Jul 19, 2013)

Your opinions are always so insightful for someone with no experience or interest in quality imagery from a mobile device.

You're more boring than the photography you despise.

0 upvotes
lattesweden
By lattesweden (Jul 19, 2013)

I ran out a quick errand from work the last winter and stumbled across a nice scene that suddenly opened up so I used what I had to capture it which was my mobile: http://500px.com/photo/29856511

Now is this better or worse than not having a picture at all which would have been the other alternative?

Best regards from Sweden!
/Anders

2 upvotes
Total comments: 74
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