How Limits Broaden Horizons in Photography

Our friends over at PhotoTalk have a really interesting article up about how to use an iPhone to improve your photography skills. Now, it goes without saying that a camera on a smartphone is not going to beat out a high-end DSLR any time soon. However, there is something to the notion of getting a start on less-than-top-of-the-line photography equipment.

One of the first rules novice photographers learn is how to find the subject and how to focus on it without necessarily seeming to do so at all. Over time, novice photographers learn short-cuts and tricks such as the Rule of Thirds and how to take advantage of the ambient lighting to get the shadows or highlights you’re after. Sometimes access to high-end gear can hinder a novice photographer in these tricks by making them overly reliant on gadgets and gear to achieve an effect that could more easily be gotten by relying on just the camera itself. That is one area where mobile photographers are doing an excellent job: with only a primitive camera and a few filters and effects they can add to a photo, they do their best to make certain that the underlying basis of the work — the photo itself — is sound. They know they can’t rely on things like depth-of-field to help them hide a lot of deadspace and that they can’t zoom in on something small to enlarge it or far away to bring it closer. However, they can take photos where a DSLR wouldn’t fit and they force mobile photographers to pay much more attention to the composition than ordinary.

With mobile photography becoming more advanced and establishing itself as a discipline in its own right, smartphone cameras are, more often than not, the cameras that photographers are carrying everywhere. Therefore, it is worth considering that the novice photographer learn to work well within the limits imposed on him by a smartphone camera as he may find that the confinement therein spurs greater creativity than he would have had had he been using a high-end camera to begin with.

— da Bird