Telling Stories With Your Smart Phone

This morning I stumbled across a video about taking photos with your smart phone–and in this case, an iPhone 6S/6S Plus. (I will neither confirm nor deny that I was avoiding work.)

We are taking so many more photos than ever before, which I think is amazing! And what I found fascinating is that with all the bells+whistles of the latest+greatest in cameras, you can still tell a most amazing story with the one you most likely already have in your hand….your smart phone. It’s quiet. It’s discreet. People are used to seeing smart phones out. And it’s pretty much always with you.

But when you pull out the ‘fancy’ camera (aka, dSLR), it’s more noticeable, maybe even clunkier. You kind of feel more on-the-spot if you’re taking photos on the streets. For example, I was taking photos on the streets of New Orleans with my Canon 7D. I liked the look down this sidewalk, but then within a second of preparing my shot, this man walked out of the coffee shop.


no street life web2

It’s one of my all-time favorite photos I’ve ever taken. I had loved all the nuances of the location–the bikes, the pipes. the sign, the ornate railing above the sign, the glare of the freshly washed-off sidewalk. I even wanted people in it, but didn’t necessarily want to be obvious about it. But when this man came out in his light-colored clothing, it just popped. It completed the shot. A serendipitous moment that I wasn’t expecting. Those are the best, right?

Lucky for me it all happened in an instant. But had he been walking down the sidewalk towards me, I would have felt very funny ‘focusing in’ on him and would probably have waited for him to walk by. Had he been walking down the street and I had my iPhone out…it wouldn’t have bothered me.

But how many times have you been in cramped quarters with your ‘fancy’ camera? Unless you have a wide angle on it, there’s no way in h-e-double hockey sticks that you’re gonna get the shot. As was the case with this shot.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset


There was literally about three feet between the wall and the glass counter. Enough space for people ordering and for people waiting to order. And even with my iPhone, it was still hard to get the shot. Now, even if I’d have had a wide angle lens on my big mama camera, I still would have felt odd taking the shot and still wouldn’t have used it. But subtlety abounds with a smart phone, right?

It may not be the sharpest– it’s low-lit and she’s in motion so she’s a little blurry–but doesn’t that add to the energy of the photo?

So I guess what I’m saying is, there is purpose for all your ‘tools’. I still love a dSLR, but I also love the subtlety of my iPhone.  But when all is said and done, the best camera you have is the one you have with you. And nine times out of ten these days, it’s your smart phone. It’s pretty much always with you. And you can take amazing photos with it! It’s an amazing story-telling tool.

I think the best representation of this is done in the video I watched. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. The photos he took were awesome…and, I’m sure, edited….but still. A very fascinating look at a professional photographer’s opinion on using an iPhone. And if you’re interested in another one from the same two guys, check out THIS  one.

2017-05-16T20:02:08+00:00January 28th, 2016|photography|3 Comments


  1. Michelle Bradtke January 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Like you, Kerri, I don’t like lugging my dslr around everywhere, and I use my iPhone for capturing most “every day” shots. However, I am always amazed, and pleased, at the photo quality when I do use my Nikon for travel ,etc. No amount of editing of an iPhone photo can equal what you get from an unedited dslr pic.

  2. Julie January 29, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Whoa that close up of the candidate was amazing. So crisp….
    Interesting video

  3. Sue FitzGerald January 31, 2016 at 4:53 am

    I’m waiting for the moment case and wide angle to come back into stock, so excited about the prospects. Love the idea of a dslr like trigger on my phone, plus they look so cool, lol. A little pricey but hey, the memories are priceless :-)

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