Is iPhoneography Really Photography?

May 8, 2015


IMG_8316_V2The photography world has been blown wide open since the advent of the iPhone. An evolution of the art and craft of photography has occurred. Most people now have a smartphone with a camera on them at all times, so, photography, once a painstakingly slow technological process has transitioned into “iPhoneography,” Today everyone can be a photographer; to be honest, many are quite good.

Like many of us I was surprised to find the iPhone to be photographically liberating. It allows me to capture a photo, test an idea, or just have fun shooting – anytime.

I use my iPhone for personal photography almost every day for one reason or another – documenting or capturing social memories. As a professional photographer, my iPhone has become an essential tool for scouting locations, recording sun positions, testing ideas, sending photos to clients for immediate feedback on shoots, etc. I have found that, along with the transition to immediacy, using an iPhone as a professional photographer offers some wonderful benefits for creating art.


For most of my advertising photography or larger fine art pieces, the iPhone does not produce files of the appropriate size and definition for the output – be it large prints or ads – that I require. It does, however, produce wonderful small prints, and is perfect for almost anything digital – such as Instagram.


With one button retouching apps, I have the opportunity to play with “artistic” tools and filters that provide hundreds of alternatives instantly.  Seeing photos in real time, making adjustments, then shooting again until you achieve your vision is of  phenomenal value to the photography process. Ten years ago this process took days or weeks to see even one or two alternatives. That’s what is so useful about “ iPhoneography :” the immediacy of the process. The instant feedback.



So what’s the real benefit of “iPhoneography?” To me, the key benefit is that the iPhone is always with me, and because it is there I am always shooting. It has allowed me to expand my mind to see other alternatives, developing my craft in ways I had not considered before. The result: I’m always exercising my mental vision, seeing not only what is in front of me, but envisioning an end photo that may often be wildly different than the real scene. Don’t get me wrong, I have always thought photographically, but the immediacy of the iPhone allows me to capture “photos of opportunity” more quickly. With the iPhone ready at hand, I can produce something tangible, and this allows me to convey my vision to clients in a more relatable way.  Sometimes as I flip through the iPhone photos I have taken throughout the day, I find a “look” that I like so much that I reproduce the same shot on a larger format camera, utilizing the iPhone photo as a guide. A captured moment could end up as a finished work of art, an idea for a future photo, or it could simply allow me to expand my horizons visually.

With that said, I’d like to share some of my “ iPhoneography ” with you.

And, If you are not already, please follow me on Instagram: @jimmywilliamsphoto Here’s the direct link:

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