Let me perfectly clear — I’m not a professional photographer.
I didn’t major in the arts, I never studied Ansel Adams, and I still struggle to remember the difference between f-stop and aperture (they’re somehow related, right?).
That being said, I am nonetheless extremely trigger happy.
I will almost always palm my phone and scan my surroundings for anything attractive to shoot during my daily commute through Chicago. Even when our team goes out for lunch on Michigan Avenue, I’m notoriously known for lagging behind as I try to snap off a few quick ones.
It’s an addiction. I think it partly stems from a fear of missing out on a uniquely staged moment that I won’t be able to share with my friends later on. But I know it’s mostly a form of self-expression — how and what I choose to highlight in life.
This is why I now almost exclusively use my cell phone to take photos. Not only does it provide incredible convenience, but the image quality is actually darn good!
So good, in fact, that #iphoneonly has become one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram and has spawned many accounts dedicated to the art of cell phone photography:
Of course, this type of photography doesn’t have an ice cube’s chance in hell to stand up to the quality of competing mirrorless cameras and DSLRs.
But, does it really matter?
The vast majority of us are not professionals and the biggest obstacle we think we have to producing quality content is not having the “right” gear.
However, nothing could be further from the truth!
Quite often I’m asked which camera I use, which lenses I have, and what my editing techniques are, which is why people are genuinely taken aback when they hear the response “I use my cell phone.”
I firmly believe that everything we need sits right in our very pockets — including a full suite of post-production tools.
Here’s my setup:
- I shoot on a Samsung Galaxy S7.
- I edit with these free apps — Snapseed, Aviary, and Lightroom CC.
- And I have a $10 clip-on fish-eye lens from Amazon.
My gear is few, but powerful. And yours can be too.
Just remember, it doesn’t take thousands of dollars in equipment loaded up into a 20-lb padded backpack to tell your story in a visually appealing way. All it takes is desire, practice and inspiration.
You just have to get out there and be open to the possibilities.