"The best camera is the one that's with you." - Chase Jarvis

I believe that 100%.  And many times in my life, it is my iPhone.  I have a feeling you may feel the same. At least consider it. I feel like a need to give just a little back story on my journey into photography.  I will try to keep it short and sweet.  And apologize in advance if it seems like a "Dear Diary" entry. In August 2010, I gave birth to my third (adorably precious) son.  Pretty soon after I began my struggle with depression.  My life in all aspects was perfect, but I could not convince myself of that.  This smothering feeling went on for months.  After all my tears and prayers, God finally showed me a way out.  

Now don't laugh, but I really feel this way.  My dear husband knew I was struggling, and to bring up my spirits he gave me an early Christmas present, an iPhone 3GS.  What a sweetie! Honestly though, it was not the immediate trick we were hoping would pull me out of my slump. A few weeks passed, and I was still feeling down.  It was not until my friend started posting images of a snowy sunset using a new app called Instagram that my heart started to sing again.  When people ask how I got started in photography, I have to credit God for using my iPhone and Instagram!

I knew I wanted to capture that beautiful light and colors that was present in my friend's pictures.  I quickly downloaded IG and began falling in love with photography.  Back then, my phone was our only camera since I had misplaced our point and shoot.  Of course, my first images were of my boys, our life together, and nature.  And trust me, I did not start out as a natural.  I did not know anything about how to expose or compose my images, nor did I edit them in anything other than an IG filter, but I craved more.  Below are my first three posts on IG, and yes, there is grunge on my son's face.  

Instagram was truly my first photography teacher.  I learned about different terms and techniques, and I was eager to try them out.  The first time I heard the words "rule of thirds" and "golden hour" was on IG.  I was using the camera on my phone to document my life and learning along the way.  I sought out and participated in (and won a couple) challenges on Instagram to develop my skills and push my confidence.  I met friends along the way who supported and encouraged my new found passion. I love that the majority of them are still around to push me to improve. 

Using a mobile phone as a camera has evolved so much.  Mobile cameras seem to improve with each new phone created. More megapixels, forward facing cameras, and low f-stop lenses are just a few recent additions.  There are even attachments you can put on your phone's lens to create different looks.  Think fisheye, macro, even telephoto lenses. I do not own these, but I am a huge fan of the images they helped create. (and I am not opposed to trying them out.  hint hint!)  Another great bonus, you can do everything on your device.  Shooting, editing, and sharing your images can be done in the palm of your hand. It is like having your dslr and computer in your back pocket.    

You should never think less of your camera on your smart phone! I have seen iPhoneographers take ordinary moments and turn them into works of art.  I would love to share a few of my favorite inspirational iPhoneographers with you.  First up is @littlecoal.  I have known Eric since before he became IG famous. He's pretty amazing.  Another favorite is @gnicholson3.  George has a great eye and captures his southern landscape perfectly. A mama who inspires me with great lifestyle images is @angdoran79.  You must check them out and tell me if you agree they make art out of their everyday lives. And of course I have to mention my group of local iPhoneographers, #igersokc.  I love meeting up with them, going on photo walks, and sharing our lives through photos.  I'm certain there is a group of local iPhoneographers close to you! Want to find me on IG?  I am @fslmama. :) I shoot with an iPhone 5 now if you were curious.

My iPhone continues to be my go to camera when on the go or times when I am unable to use my dslr (more often, when I simply do not want to lug it around).  Truth be told, moments are moments whether or not they pass by your eyes or through the lens of a dslr or a smart phone.  They fly by too quickly and need to be documented before they are gone.  I am writing this to show you that you do not have to be shooting with a Canon 1DX (or a D3x for you Nikon folks) to make a beautiful image that captures what matters most.  

I cannot wait to share more with you through this series.  In my next post, I have some tips on how to use your iPhone to get great images as well as some of my favorite editing apps.  iPhoneography is what kindled my love for photography, and it continues to hold my heart.  

(All images from my IG feed. That sure was fun going back through all of them to find a few of the oldest ones for the post.)

Allison Wheeler is a lover of lifestyle photography from Norman, Oklahoma. Her eyes were opened to photography by toying with Instagram in 2010. She got a camera soon after and learned to use it by documenting her life with her husband and three young sons. She now happily does the same for others, from births to weddings and almost everything in between. To see Allison's most recent work, visit her Facebook page. She often gets on Pinterest to avoid cleaning her house.