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Quick Tip: The Best Camera is the One You Have With You

I like to take pictures using my phone. Each photo I take represents a precise moment in my life —…

I like to take pictures using my phone. Each photo I take represents a precise moment in my life — a memory, a place, an object — something that captures my imagination or inspires me in some way. While some people fuss about buying the latest cameras and the latest lenses to make the best possible photographs, I’m not one to lug a large camera around. My iPhone is always in my pocket, ready to capture these random moments during my day and my travels, for I’ve found it’s true that the best camera in the world is the one that I have with me.

Here are some of my recent favorites in the gallery below. From left to right, a new friend I made on a trip to Spain, deep, fresh-fallen snow on coniferous trees, and a summer storm chasing us along the highway. All of these shots are moments I was able capture because my phone is always in my pocket.

Mobile apps in many popular flavors

With your phone in your pocket, you’re ready to capture any thing or event in the moment. WordPress.com’s mobile apps come in iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Nokia, WebOS, and Blackberry flavors, making it a snap (whoa, punny!) to moblog on the go. Simply grab your phone, get the shot, and upload it to your WordPress.com blog. Tomorrow, Cheri Lucas will cover how to use some of the mobile apps. Today, I want to encourage you to get out and take photos with your mobile phone so that you’ll have some fun shots to upload.

Pick a photo challenge and snap to it

Looking for some inspiration? Here at Daily Post, we publish weekly photo challenges using photos we’ve taken ourselves. We enjoy coming up with new imagery each week to encourage you to capture pictures that reflect the theme as you see it through your lens. Here are a few suggestions on getting started with phoneography:

  • Go out for a walk around your neighborhood and do a study on the color “red.” Take a few photos that say “red” to you. Maybe it’s a candy wrapper, a bird, even a street sign, perhaps a wreath — what did you find that was red? Snap away.
  • Experiment with composition. Notice the photo of my Spanish friend above: he’s off to the side, literally marginalized, which lends resonance to his status as a stray dog — a dog without a home. Select any subject — a tree, your favorite tea cup, the egg you ate for breakfast — and experiment with where you place the subject within the frame. How does the photo change when you frame the subject on the right, left, center, or at an angle?
  • Using only five photos, document a day in your life. Be choosy! Which activities or objects best represent what happens during your day? You might choose to capture the tie you wore, the view from the table at which you ate lunch, the bus stop after work, the book you’re reading, and your baby girl’s hairbrush — the one you used to brush her hair after her evening bath. Which five photos best represent a day in your life? Is five too many? Snap three photos, or snap one photo that best represents your day.

The beautiful thing about phoneography is that it lowers the barrier to participating in challenges: grab your phone, grab your coat, and take a photo walk in your neighborhood — you never know what you’ll encounter, but with your phone at the ready, you know won’t miss capturing that unique moment in time.

70 Comments

  1. Thank you Krista! This is a terrific topic and opens the door for more bloggers to use what they have to take a photo or two. I like your gallery shots too. My phone (not an iPhone) takes inconsistent photos but, now and again, it surprises me with a decent one.:-)
    Eliz

  2. Reblogged this on M. Burgess Taylor Photography and commented:
    A lot of people keep telling me that I need to get such and such camera. Well the truth is, the picture is only as good as the photographer, not the actual camera. Here’s another person who agrees. Sure, having a better camera makes it possible to get a variety of pictures that you might not have been able to get with your phone or with your point and shoot, but if you learn how to take good pictures then the camera just becomes a better tool and it’s not the camera that is taking the pictures but the photographer.

    1. One thing I was told a long time ago is that the camera does not matter. As long as your composition fits within the restraints of the camera, you can get great pictures.

    2. As long as you’re only using the pictures for blogging, then phone cameras will do the trick. For other uses, though, is when a DSLR is needed. Personally I WordPress blog my photos from Flickr, the hub for my photos on the web.

  3. Reblogged this on The Daily Dilly Dally and commented:
    No arguments from me on the basic premise and I try to have a camera with me as often as possible. The whole Phoneography Month thing is getting me down though… can I be the only person left on the planet who despises the whole mobile phone culture and refuses to carry one? I want to be left in peace when I am out with my camera. Why on earth would I want to be at everybody’s beck and call when I am away from my desk, or to disturb the peace of the scene I am snapping with a stupid ring tone blaring out at the most inappropriate moments.

    1. PB, I agree with you in general, but only you have the option of controlling tghe technology. You can have your cake (cell phone) and eat it too (Cell phone powered off) and take those photos with a camera not on the cell phone.

    2. While the theme is phoneography, everyone is encouraged to use the camera they prefer. I hope you’ll share some of your shots!

    3. No, you are very far from alone. I use my phone to make phone calls and check my calendar. I use a camera … one of several … to take pictures.

  4. Totally with you! Thanks to Instagram and my iPhone, I am a phoneography addict. In 14 months, I’ve posted almost 1000 pics. It’s just so much fun!

    Cheers!
    G-LO

    Instagram: @boozedancing

  5. I use my phone for photos, too, and many of them are what I call my inspiration photos – those that may inspire or go along with something I want to write in the future. I love your idea of documenting my day with five photos. Keep the great ideas coming. These photo safaris sometimes bring focus to an otherwise scattered day.

  6. I agree phone/camera technology has improved, but there are also great pocket-size cameras with long zoom. If I go on a trip, I take both. And,I like the idea of a phone camera challenge encouraging people to experiment. Will you be doing one on lomography?

  7. I’m going to get a new phone, Galaxy S-3, I’ve been without a smartphone quite sometime.. miss taking photos with it, I can’t wait.

    Perro is just adorable, amazing photos!

  8. I hate taking pictures on phones. The few times I have done so were because I failed to have a camera in my bag. That no longer happens. These days, I have a camera with me everywhere I go. To that end, I’ve acquired two high quality, very compact P&S cameras that shoot RAW and JPG and have high quality optics. So I’ll skip this exercise. I don’t like telephone photography. To me, telephones are for communicating; cameras are for taking pictures.

    Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I have a fundmental belief that anything that does everything does nothing well … and that includes people, applications, kitchen appliances and cell phones.

  9. Always have my iPhone with me – not so much as a phone but for the camera! Nice photos – and I appreciate, though don’t always participate, in the Weekly Photo Challenge.
    I have a Beagle sanctuary. That poor dog is matted, needs cleaning, brushing, and food; he may get some of that from sympathetic locals or he may not let anyone near him. Excellent photo of a dog in need – there are so many in Spain and around the world.

  10. I am very pleased with the quality of photos taken with the Samsung SG2. I love taking spontaneous pictures of interesting things that I see here and there. But I also enjoy taking pictures with my camera. – it’s used more when I go on a planned photo expedition. :D

  11. i have been trying to keep my camera with me more often for this exact reason! but i’m contemplating getting an iphone so i can have a better quality one with me that is easier to haul than a dslr….i love the exercises you detailed, i’m writing them down now!

  12. Reblogged this on Brave New Web and commented:
    Want to get comfortable with blogging? Here’s a great way to start. No, you don’t always have to write a long post. Sometimes a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

  13. During the photo challenges, I always use my camera phone. You’re right. What you have now is usually the best camera. I have seen people use Pro cameras and they still suck.

  14. Too right! I love a good camera, and I especially love my 35mm camera, but my phone is always the camera to take the best shots in my day-to-day life :-)

  15. totally addicted to my camera phone and it takes good pictures, like the the spaceship like clouds above the Target target store I snapped just a few minutes ago :)

  16. I’d say that 99% of the photos on my blog were taken with my iPhone. It’s just a lot easier to transfer them to the site using the WordPress app on the phone.

  17. Hate to sound like an idiot, but I don’t have or need a “smart phone”. Rather stick to my camera…so, can I use said camera to upload to The Daily Post?

  18. 100% agreed. Ever since I switched to smartphone, it’s all I needed to take pictures and blog on wordpress. Great pictures and speedy blogging :)

  19. My iphone is THE BOMB. I have all of this crazy gear and I can tell you, some of my best photos are taken with my iPhone 4. Who knew?

  20. This is so true – the best camera is the one you have – mine alas, despite my son and daughters protestations and offers to buy me a new digital one is an slr minolta 22 years old – and nothing matches what i snap with it, only i believe, like said in the blog because it record for posterity only what i want to keep and does it superbly – there is one more such – my book of poems – which i capture like my snaps becuse i know that snap of my mind will never return or replicate – and i do want to return to it to find out how i may have felt in that rare moment.

    1. a photo is only valuable if it can last forever in your album like a poem you wrote can in your book of poems – i have so many of both that never leave me alone – like?? my mom who i lost at the age of 4 – but she never really left me cause shes always there in all those photos – for ever more.

  21. I love having a camera in my back pocket. Plus my iPhone is so versatile, I feel. I can capture the smallest moments and artistic shots that usually I don’t have my DSLR for. Plus I just love my iPhone in general , so that helps too. :) I need to start adding more photos to my blog anyway, and this is the perfect opportunity to. A lot of the photos I’ve used on my blog anyway are my own, whether with my iPhone or with my DSLR.

  22. Reblogged this on mikemattice and commented:
    I have never taken a good photo with my phones (but I’ve never had a “good” phone. However, I often carry my digital camera, and I’m not a professional (I know, because I know a pro!), but I feel I have taken some wonderful pictures. BTW, the difference between a pro and me is a pro makes photographic art, and I sometimes take good pictures.

  23. I have an ongoing phone photo blog (the term phoneography is new to me, but now I can add that tag to my posts!) on WordPress, but I have yet to successfully blog a post from my phone – I usually drag my chosen pics off the phone to my laptop and upload them through the wordpress media library from there.

    I use an Android Galaxy III (since Christmas) – and the WordPress app automatically downsizes my photos to a tiny 500 x 375 pixels, which I don’t find acceptable. I can’t find anywhere in the app settings to change this annoying except (just now) by double-tapping the photo after I’ve inserted it into the post and using the image setting slider. Is this the only way?

    Would love to learn a more convenient method if it exists.

  24. Phoneography is like taking analogue lomography to another level. I’m a quite a die-hard film photo fan but I love phone photography too. The best camera is the one that’s in your hand whenever you need it.

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