Capturing Summer: Taking Phone Photos

I’m going to tell you now, I’m not the type of photographer that subscribes to the school of fancy photography gear with all the bells and whistles.  I definitely believe the old line, the best camera is the one you have, and it rings true with my personal work….especially in summer.

Capturing Summer with your iPhone

Capturing summer with your phone

As much as I love photography and get a thrill from perfectly exposing a photo or manipulating the shutter speed to create movement in a scene, I am lazy.  Like, really freakin’ lazy, y’all.  And I’m forced to be active and move by my two small children for most of my days, so when I have a chance to do something that is just a little bit less work, there are times I take the shortcut.  And in photography, that shortcut happens to be using my iPhone.

When we went to Iceland a few weeks ago, I got off of the plane with my finger mashing on the shutter, filling up memory card after memory card.  Until around day 4, I hit a wall.  I didn’t want to drag the camera out of the bag, take the lens cap off (I told you, LAZY!), figure the settings, and blah, blah, blah.  However, I didn’t want to not document the amazing things we were seeing either.  Dilemma.  Not really, I’m being dramatic, I used my iPhone instead and LOVE the photos I got with them. 

Capturing Summer with your iPhone

If you aren’t using your phone for your photography, you really should take advantage of it.  Modern technology is so amazing!  I LOVE my Fuji X-T2 and it creates awesome images, but sometimes, simple is needed, and my iPhone 6s totally delivers.

If you aren’t sure when you should opt for an easier way to document your summer stories, here are a few scenarios I suggest.

Capturing summer with an iPhone

When there is chaos

Story of my life, do ya feel me? But I mean when there is really chaos, not just normal chaos.  If I’m in a situation where I’m feeling overwhelmed by outside things, like my kids, or a crowd, or I’m rushed, I leave the camera in the bag and bring my phone. 

Capturing summer with a smart phone

When you already got the shot

I wanted to get this motion blur shot of a waterfall we visited in Iceland.  As soon as we got there, I set up my tripod and it was the first photo I got.  After that, I wanted to just enjoy the hike and experience, so I put the camera away and carried my phone only, taking a few snapshots of my husband and I getting soaked and being tourists in the massive fall.  It was awesome and I was in the moment, not distracted by obsessively composing photos.

Capturing Summer with your iPhone


When things are a little…dangerous.

I don’t mean war zone danger level, I mean water or dirt or whatever.  If you read this post about what I carry in my summer camera bag, you might remember the waterproof case I have for my iPhone.  It has been AMAZING!  I’ve taken it hiking, in rivers, in the swimming pool…It’s the best for keeping my phone safe and allowing me to take photos.  Since I don’t have any kind of protection like this for my DSLR, this is the safest route.

Capturing summer with your smart phone

When you find yourself spending too much time behind the camera

I shoot less when I’m using my phone, plain and simple.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have the option of manipulating the settings and taking the same shot 48 different ways, or maybe it’s because I’m in a different mindset when I’m using my phone, whatever it is, I know if I’m being the obsessive momtographer, I need to put the camera away and opt for something simpler to make sure I’m still part of the experience and not some creepy photography stalking my family.

Capturing summer with your smart phone

Capturing Summer with your phone

What do you think? Are you using your phone camera as much as you can? I challenge you to leave your big camera at home one time this week and opt to document your experience purely on your phone.  Even if it’s playing in the sprinkler in the backyard, make it a point to put the camera away and document your story a little more simply…Isn’t that part of the beauty of summer, anyway?

I’ll be back tomorrow for my last post on documenting your summer story by starting a personal project!

Ashley Manley is a serial personal project shooter with a love for documenting real moments on her small farm in Central Illinois.  Aside from her family, the loves of her life are her fuji X-T2, fujinon 23mm lens, helping other photographers to stay inspired, all the black and white things, and wine in a box.  She left social media at the beginning of 2017 but she loves new friends, so visit her website and shoot her an email already!