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My Experience with iPhone Photography

Before I left for Portland, earlier this month, I struggled to choose which camera I wanted to bring with me. I have two cameras — a Nikon D5000 and my iPhone 4S. Each camera has it’s own unique advantages. For example, my Nikon is fast and the image quality is stunning. On the other hand, my iPhone camera is tiny and it enables me to take stealth photos of people, pets, and places. Plus, it’s lightweight!

Since I travel lightly, I opted to leave my Nikon at home and take photos solely with my iPhone in Portland. A few friends told me that I’d regret leaving the big camera behind, but I didn’t. Walking around Portland, without the big Nikon weighing down my backpack was a nice change. In addition, carrying the iPhone and Olloclip in my pocket was convenient and I was thrilled with the quality of my travel photos!

I tell my students that they can capture everyday magic without a big and expensive DSLR. My trip to Portland reaffirmed that belief. In a lot of ways, using a point and shoot is freeing. The iPhone camera is a fantastic tool and it’s shown me, yet again, that photography isn’t about the type of camera I own. It’s about seeing the world with clarity, enjoying tiny beautiful moments, and remembering morning views.

What kind of camera do you travel with? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Be well,

P. S. You can view my recent travel photos on Instagram. Also, read this interview with Ben Lowy. He talked about shooting images with his iPhone in war zones and in everyday life. It’s a wonderful read!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • patti February 26, 2013, 1:42 pm

    i have a smallish oldish leica and an iphone 4s, and i have always hauled both of them on my travels.
    the leica battery charger is annoyingly bulky….so last year i took three overseas trips with one tiny backpack, and left the leica at home.
    i was delighted with the iphone photos!
    i found that i didn’t look so touristy with just a phone in my hand.
    i found that i took more photos because i always had a phone in my hand.
    i adore the hipstamatic app….so many different effects to capture moods and atmosphere. it suits my style because i don’t do a great deal of photo-editing.
    and of course being able to email iphone photos directly to friends or my evernote or a flickr account is very handy on the road.

  • Paul - The Kind Little Blogger February 26, 2013, 2:26 pm

    Though, I am keen to buy a new camera–perhaps not a DSLR but maybe a “prosumer” point-and-shoot like the Canon G15–I absolutely love the capabilities of my iPhone 4. The way I see it: it’s with me always, so a moment isn’t safe from my digitally capturing it. The quality is good–not great–but what it loses in that department it makes up for in its lightweightness and plethora of neat apps like Instagram.

    Check out some of the snaps I took hiking last weekend–it shows you a little bit of the South Australian bush: http://www.thekindcleaner.com.au/blog/tramping-in-deep-creek-conservation-park/

    • Tammy Strobel February 27, 2013, 9:53 am

      Awesome photos Paul! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Sarah February 26, 2013, 5:39 pm

    I have a Nikon DX and it can’t take a bad picture. I’ve lugged it all over Europe and while it was a hassle (the BF calls his “tourist badge”) I wouldn’t trade those beautiful pictures for anything. It’s made me want to be a photographer.

  • Neens February 27, 2013, 5:50 am

    I just sold my Canon 30D and all the lenses that went with it last month. I love photography but I hate carrying stuff, so after I got my iPhone 4s I just stopped using it. I’m going to sell my Canon Powershot, as well. I remember reading about the Olloclip in one of your blog posts a while ago, and it’s been on my wish list for ages. I eventually found a brand new one on UK eBay for just £39 ($60) and now I just want one of those iPhone telelenses and I’ll be all set! 😉 The other fun thing with iPhoneography is that it’s so easy to upload photos to flickr and other apps. Instead of just sitting in a camera for ages, my pictures gets used right away. I love Hipstamatic as well, but I’m even more addicted to Instagram. I’ve also got an IFTTT recipe set up which sends a copy of any new Instagram photo directly to my e-mail and to Dropbox. That way I can use it on my computer right away. Gotta love technology! 😀

    • Tammy Strobel February 27, 2013, 9:54 am

      Right on Neens! I love my Olloclip. It’s so much fun. 🙂 I’m addicted to Instagram too. It’s my favorite social network. Thanks for reading!

  • Laura Bradshaw February 27, 2013, 6:44 am

    I own a Nikon D-60 which I love but rarely use – bulk, weight, battery etc. I also own a Sony point and shoot which has become my “good camera” b/c it has 12 mega-pixels, and I like that when I want to blow up a nice photo for hanging on the wall, nothing works as well as a very big file. I use my iPhone 4s constantly and love, love, love the Ollioclip I bought, I believe as a result of another post Tammy made. My phone is pretty trashed – kids, life, and my contract renews in May. I must say I’m looking forwrd to the iPhone 5 camera. It may bump the Sony into irrelevance. My niece will be happy about that since she will be gifted with the Sony.

  • Heather February 27, 2013, 7:42 am

    I love that you brought this up! I shoot with my iPhone 99% of the time, there are many moments in my life, in my family that would not have been captured without it. I think that it’s often underrated but someone can have a fancy camera and still take pics with no soul really.. it’s in the eye of the beholder no matter what device you are using!

  • Joy @ Joyfully Green February 27, 2013, 10:35 am

    Absolutely gorgeous photo of the woods! Looks like it belongs to a fairy tale.

    For light trips, I pack the Canon Powershot (which my husband calls “the bra cam” because it could fit in my bra, if need be!). Even though it’s so tiny, I often forget to bring it, so thank goodness for cameras on phones and iPads!

    By the way, I just finished reading your book “You Can Buy Happiness”–really enjoyed it! Inspiring.

  • Maria Northcutt February 27, 2013, 10:43 am

    The iPhone camera is a good light weight alternative indeed. I use it if I have to walk or ride my horse many miles. If I travel with a vehicle my Nikon is coming along 🙂

  • rachid February 27, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Great post thank you so much for sharing your exeperience with us.

  • Kaylin Lydia February 27, 2013, 4:52 pm

    I only started taking pictures after I recently purchased an iphone. Before this, I never ever considered photography because it wasn’t “my thing” and I wasn’t going to try something new when I had to buy an expensive camera. Since using the iphone, I have come to love photography and view it as my new favorite artistic expression. I have considered purchasing a Nikon D5000 to take “better” pictures and get more “serious” with my photography. But after a lot of thought I realized what I love about photography is taking spontaneous pictures and I can only achieve this with my iphone. Great pictures!

  • Katie February 27, 2013, 6:01 pm

    This is a timely question for me – I went out in the field for work today and brought my Canon PowerShot (point and shoot) and realized the battery was dead. I ended up using my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone and was surprised at the quality of the pics. I ended up taking a lot of pictures today and felt “the flow” for the first time in a long time. I think I’ve been hung up on carrying around a large camera, and so I haven’t been taking many pictures. I found using my phone freeing and will be doing it far more often!

    • Tammy Strobel February 28, 2013, 7:56 am

      Right on Katie!!! 🙂

  • Ekta February 28, 2013, 1:48 am

    Namaste Tammy,

    I was using a digital cameras. Samsung, Olympus and Sony.
    Now i got Iphone 5. Can you suggest me a lense for it.


    • Tammy Strobel February 28, 2013, 7:55 am

      @Ekta – I use the Olloclip for my iPhone 4S. I believe they make one for the iPhone 5 too.

      • Ekta March 4, 2013, 3:33 am

        Thank you. I placed an order last week. I will recive it in a day or two. Thanks again 🙂

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