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Why Do Photographers Who Own DSLRs Take So Many Photos on Their Phones?

If you are a photographer, and you have either an iPhone or Android, you have, most likely, discovered the endless assortment of camera apps! Now, a few weeks ago, one of my photographer friends who does not use their phone to take pictures asked the question, why do photographers who own DSLRs take so many photos on their phones, rather than employing their expensive cameras? This question got me thinking, so here are a few reasons why shooting with your phone may actually be a good thing!

* Your phone is easier to carry, and less expensive to replace, than your camera. Personally, I don’t like carrying my DSLR everywhere I go. My camera is my livelihood, and if something happens to it, that would be a huge headache that I would like to try to avoid. So, when I see something that I like, or a moment I want to capture just out and about, I use my phone.

* iPhone and Android have really fun and creative photo apps! Whether you want to create a vintage style photo, or make basic adjustments to exposure, you will surely find many apps you enjoy. I will provide a list of some great apps at the end of this post.

* Shooting with your phone encourages you to photograph things you may not otherwise photograph, and also forces you to get creative with light and composition. The perspective and the way the light registers in your phone’s camera are much different than your DSLR, so problem-solving to get a great shot with your phone is a wonderful exercise in actually using your brain to compose the shot, rather than being in auto-drive.

* Remember the first camera phones? You know the ones I am talking about – terrible, grainy, low resolution cameras that, at the time, we thought were amazing, but now, camera phones have a much higher resolution, allowing you to create images at a fairly high resolution. Are they something you want to print at 11X14? Probably not, but they are the perfect size for sharing online.

* Many of the apps for iPhone and Android allow you to share your photos on various social-networking sites, which is also a great way of seeing camera phone photos from others and getting inspired! You would be amazed at some of the amazing photos taken with a phone, and in some cases, you may not even realize they were shot with a phone, unless someone told you.

To get you inspired, here are a few photographers and websites you might enjoy: Michael FantaLee Morris/fstoppers and Life in Lo-fi.

And, last but not least, here are a few apps, some free, and some for sale, to get you started. Some are strictly for iPhone, but the most popular, Instagram, is now available for Android (and it’s free!):

1. Instagram Hipstamatic

2. Adobe Photoshop Express

3. Pixlr-o-matic

4. PhotoToaster

5. 8mm Vintage Camera (video)

Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat.

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