Horizontal panorama of Punta di Campomoro in Corsica shot with a smartphone camera
Punta di Campomoro, Corsica, France 2016. Horizontal panorama captured with Apple iPhone 5 © Amaury Descours

I imagine that like 77% of French people, you have a smartphone. And that you’re one of 82% of smartphone owners who take pictures with it!

With a thumb slide, you activate the Camera application, you tap the screen without further adjustment, and bam you have your picture. Simple and fast, right?

But are you really satisfied with your smartphone photos?

How is it that with such an easy to use camera, the overwhelming majority of your photos remain totally banal or mediocre?

There is an extraordinary paradox of smartphone photography.

The smartphone is the easiest camera in the world to take pictures, but the most difficult on to make great pictures.

I’m sharing with you the six reasons for this weirdness.

Reason #1. Smartphone Photography is Very Demanding With Your Subject

How many times have you complained about your smartphone being triggered at the wrong time?

Because it may have to do something else in the background, your smartphone is not always as responsive as you would like.

And during this time, your subject may have flown away, changed lis position, in short you have not grasped him in his best dispositions.

As a result, your smartphone forces you to have a very static subject or to anticipate a lot.

Reason #2. Smartphone Photography is Very Demanding With Your Shooting

How many times have you complained about your smartphone because your photos are too dark, too light or too grainy?

A smartphone, like any camera, requires you to master the photographic shooting settings.

But because it only has a very small sensor, a smartphone’s exposure must be set with extreme precision on your subject.
And as soon as it gets a little dark, the increase in ISO sensitivity quickly makes a grainy image.

Reason #3. Smartphone Photography is Very Demanding With Your Composition

How many times have you complained about your smartphone because of distorted or messy pictures?

Because your smartphone only has a wide-angle fixed focal length, you need to be very close to your subject to get a tight frame. But the closer you are, the more you distort it because of the perspective effect.

And because your smartphone only has a small sensor with a very short focal length, the large depth of field makes everything sharp in your photo.

If you do not carefully choose the frame of your photo to have the subject stand out clearly from your background, your photo will look unorganized.

Reason #4. Smartphone Photography is Very Demanding With Your Light

How many times have you complained about your smartphone because of photos showing areas which become all white or all black?

Because your smartphone only has a tiny sensor, it only captures a limited range of brightness. This low dynamic range makes high-contrast scenes difficult to capture.

In addition, the sensor needs a lot of light if you want to avoid increasing the ISO sensitivity and the image grain.

Reason #5. Smartphone Photography is Very Demanding With Your Development

How many times have you complained about your smartphone because of photo retouching that makes the photo look more ugly than anything else?

Because your smartphone can only record images in JPEG format, the nuances of a smartphone shot are limited.
Any pushy adjustment of exposure or  colours may reveal unpleasing artefacts.

Reason #6. Your smartphone Is Very Demanding With Making a Print

How many times have you complained against your smartphone because of a photo print that only has amplified the visual defects of your photo?

Because your smartphone has only one sensor with a basic resolution (8 or 12 Mpix), any enlargement beyond the A4 page size makes the pixel mosaic appear.

In addition, with a small sensor, any increase in ISO sensitivity makes the image very grainy. Any enlargement will only make the unpleasant grain of the image even more apparent.

So Should You Insist On Taking Pictures With a Smartphone?

It’s clear that the smartphone does not forgive you any mistakes with your pictures. But you can also take it as a great challenge.

Because if you understand and accept the technical constraints of your smartphone, it’s an opportunity to sharpen your photographic skills.

Every level of my creative pyramid must be carefully completed, otherwise you will fail to make the photo with all your emotions.

It’s a demanding endeavor that can help you progress faster.

Is the smartphone the worst camera that exists? Certainly not!

Many smartphones now have technical tricks for having a better dynamic range, a 2nd lens with a long focal length, recording RAW image files or simulating a blurred background.

And smartphones haven’t said their last word. Every year, you can see fantastic technical achievements on new high-end models…if you’re willing to put the price.

What Do You think?

In addition to your smartphone, do you have a “real” camera? Do you believe you take better pictures with your regular camera rather than with your smartphone?

Leave me your comment, I will answer with pleasure.

Do you like what you’ve learned? Share this article with your loved ones!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.