Phoneotograpy – Cell Phone Photography

You won’t see anyone uploading shots from their cell phone to stock agencies any time soon, but it is still a fun way to take a break from the DSLR while still nurturing your creative spirit.  🙂

Why is Phoneotography so Great?

Cell phone photography is great because of the limits it creates.  When we are restricted in one area, we are forced to compensate in another.  With a cell phone, we are shooting with very poor optics, little control over shutter-speed and absolutely no control over aperture or ISO.  In essence, it reduces photography to composition.  This is a good thing.

Phoneotography is also great because it doesn’t take expensive gear.  Most cell phones today have a camera.  In fact it is hard to buy a cell phone without a camera.  Many (perhaps all) have some sort of simple editing software inside the camera, while app phones offer more advanced editing possibilities.

Lastly, you won’t take photos if you don’t bring your camera.  It is quite tempting to leave your DSLR at home when you go out with friends, to the grocery store, or for a jog.  Having your cell phone camera with you always, increases your opportunities to take photos giving you no excuse NOT to take photos.  How many times do you pick up your phone in any given day?  Why not take a photo one of those times!

Editing the Photos

Here are a few of my favorite editing programs for the iPhone.  PS Mobile, CameraBag and Photogene

p_88_81_C1A234ED-14E7-47C2-B683-FF810603E154.jpegPS Mobile Mobile is Adobe’s introduction to the mobile editing market – and with seemingly everything from Adobe, it is very well put together.  At the price of $0 you really can’t go wrong.  Image editing is very smooth and intuitive.  The app a simple editing interface for crop, rotate, flip, exposure, saturation, tint, B&W,  sketch, soft focus, and a few instant effects.


p_99_81_5AD97AFC-3372-4F0B-87E0-5BAF11752732.jpegCameraBag CameraBag is a great little instant editing program.  You select your photo, select your photo effect and bang – instant art.  Editing programs like this are fun toys – and perhaps only toys (an Rasmus Rasmussen so finely blogged about) and reduce your creative input to a simple button clicks.  In other words they don’t exactly give you creative freedom. But then again, we are working with a ‘toy camera’, and doing this just for fun.  All said, it is a fun and a great way to quickly play with different looks.  Worth it’s price at $1.99


p_90_82_ABD9A846-A481-40D0-9196-6A393DF6E91B.jpegPhotogene Photogene was my go-to mobile photo editor before Photoshop stole my allegiance.  I can’t imagine it being easy to sell a photo editing app for $2.99 after Photoshop decided to give theirs away for free.  Photogene is however, a very respectable editing program and one which actually provides more levels, individual color editing than the Photoshop PS Mobile app.  I have to say that I like the UI in PS Mobile a bit better, but I miss the individual color correction in PS Mobile which Photogene offers.  An really, $2.99 – it’s not a big deal for an app like this.  We photographers cry at selling our pictures for dollars, surely we can support a software programmer with $2.99!  The app gives you control over crop (with fixed aspect ratios if you want), flip, rotate, sharpen, sketch, a few effects, levels, exposure & contrast, saturation, color temp, RGB levels, text boxes, and a healthy selection of frames.


External Links

My Phoneotography blog

Cellular Obscura – Editorial photographer Shawn Rocco with some great shots.  Shawn appears to be one of the first people to really embrace the cell phone as a valid photography tool.

[Discussion on Microstockgroup – Phoneotography]

About The Author:

Tyler Olson works as a microstock photographer who also runs the MicrostockGroup forum and blog. Being so closely involved in the microstock community as a submitter, forum moderator and blogger, Tyler is able to keep updated in the constantly changing microstock marketplace.
Posted on November 9th, 2009 in Editorial, Reviews | tags: , , ,
  • I love my phone photography!