Previous Next

MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY has become a full-blown movement. From San Francisco to Shanghai, amateur and professional photographers alike have been experimenting with various shooting and editing techniques on their mobile devices, finding they can achieve comparable and sometimes even more creative results than with their heavy cameras.

It’s been a few years since I switched into the smartphone realm, and my life as a traveler has changed completely. As an avid “fauxtographer,” as I like to call it, I believe the images taken and edited on phones and tablets can give professional photographers with expensive equipment and software a run for their money. Photo ops are often spontaneous and unpredictable, which is why being able to snap a quick photo with your phone over a traditional camera is sometimes a better option, especially while traveling. It’s a perfect hobby for travelers in transit.

While most traditional photography principles (composition, rule of thirds, etc.) also apply to mobile photography, there are some ways in which they differ thanks to the added versatility of portability and instant editing options. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shooting and editing with your phone or tablet.

This post is sponsored by SanDisk. Click through to read more of life’s stories, told from memory.

About The Author

Larissa Olenicoff

Larissa Olenicoff is a travel addict and iPhone photographer with a passion for Europe in particular. Her travel blog The Blonde Gypsy is a colorful whirlwind of eye-candy, travel tips, and unexpected adventures that seeks to inspire world travel while simultaneously providing insight into the culture and landscape of destinations. You can follow her travels and iPhoneography there or on Instagram @theblondegypsy.

  • Picfari

    So many pictures are taking via mobile these days, thanks for the tips on the apps. There are so many out there it gets overwhelming with which ones to choose sometimes! Great read!

    • http://www.blonde-gypsy.com/ theblondegypsy

      You’re welcome and I totally know what you mean about it getting a bit overwhelming. You just have to experiment with them and decide which work best for you.

  • Amalia Maloney

    Wonderful article! Both helpful and inspiring. I’ve loved using Instagram and people love my photos. Now I’m encouraged to start looking into and using other apps as well. Thank you!

    • http://www.blonde-gypsy.com/ theblondegypsy

      Great! You’re welcome

  • Ssquared

    Non-intrusive and covert photos of strangers, if published, are problematic. Do strangers have rights. Should permission be sought? What are your thoughts on this?

    • http://www.blonde-gypsy.com/ theblondegypsy

      My thoughts are that this is a very complicated subject in which everyone seems to have their own opinion and whether or not permission should be sought depends entirely on the circumstances (country laws, where you are photographing, who you are photographing, etc, etc)

  • Mantra

    Great article, and wonderful photos. Thanks. It’s really helpful!! I’ve downloaded some of the apps you mentioned. :)

    • http://www.blonde-gypsy.com/ theblondegypsy

      Thanks, I’m glad you found it useful :)

  • ben keys

    Hi Larissa.

    These are some nice shots and you’ve clearly got an eye for photography.

    But your notion that “…images taken and edited on phones and tablets can give professional photographers with expensive equipment and software a run for their money.,” seems a bit unrealistic.

    So long as you’re happy with low-res, noisy, over-processed images… well, perhaps.

    But many of the people carrying around full-size DSLRs and a bagful of lenses are doing so in order to capture crisp, realistic, high-res photographs of the places they visit and your smartphone will never do this.

    Yes, smartphones are ever-present and yes, a retro-filter can make anyone’s photo look ‘better’, but I’d rather see travel photos which are sharp and clear, with minimal processing than another goddamn Instagrammed image of feet on a beach.
    But then again, maybe that’s just me.

    Keep shootin’

    • http://www.blonde-gypsy.com/ theblondegypsy

      Hi Ben,

      I appreciate the comment and the compliment though I have to disagree with you on a few things.

      While you are absolutely right that smartphones are not capable of producing high-res photographs like DSLRs, some are quite capable of producing “crisp, realistic” ones that unless you are a photographer, you would probably never be able to tell what it was shot with, nor care. It is for that reason alone that I still stand by “…images taken and edited on phones and tablets can give professional photographers with expensive equipment and software a run for their money.,”. At the end of the day it really just comes down to what the images are being used for and by whom. This piece is geared towards travelers.

      As for filters, this is truly a matter of taste, photographer or not. Some people enjoy their effects on an otherwise mundane or unoriginal shot. I’ve said it a million times before: a DSLR is like rock and roll, mobile photography is like pop. While mobile photography “pop” is easier to produce and consume in many aspects, traditional DSLR “rock and roll” can never be replaced. But there is still room for both.

      With that said, you keep shootin’ as well :)

  • Deb

    what a helpful article – thank you for the apps I wasn’t aware of – I do end up using my iphone quite often although find outside my camera is so much more effective! Again – loved it – especially the way you had “intermission” with links – creatively done!
    Smiles from SF – hope you have time to scan my stuff and give me some pointers soon
    Deb

    • http://www.blonde-gypsy.com/ theblondegypsy

      Happy to hear that, thank you

Being sensitive to how you approach and interact with local people is crucial to...
Don't let the travel memories you make evaporate once you're home.
Typically, I will scout a location during the day, with a vision in mind of how it will...
When I get together with other photographers, we speak another language.
Paul Sullivan rounds up various apps that can help you take much better pictures with...
Tips from influential photographer and Matador Ambassador Colby Brown.
Print photography magazines are still alive and kicking. Which one is your favorite?
Al Smith claims he is more an entrepreneur than a photographer.
Since you probably spent hours researching and comparing different digital cameras to...
Lighting is still the most important factor when shooting on your iPhone.