But after writing, re-reading and having some follow up conversations around those posts, I’ve realised that both could still seem pretty complex to the beginner or outsider.
I know if I was reading these posts five or six years ago when I when I would have probably guessed that a Takumar was a Japanese motorbike and the Carl Zeiss was merely the name Sony used for those lenses on their HandyCams, I would have found them complicated.
Then it dawned on me that I also make photographs in another way, that’s far simpler than either of those outlined.
One that goes back to my roots of, let’s call it Intentional Photography, over a decade ago with simple Sony camera phones.
Regular readers – especially those who most enjoy my thoughts and photographs around 35mm film – might be shocked to find out I also shoot with an iPhone.
Yikes, what a sellout eh?
Here’s how I use my 2013 model iPhone with its 8MP Sony sensor – and why I enjoy it.
Following the structure of the previous two posts, let’s start with the lens.
1. Simplify Lens Choices.
The iPhone only has one lens. I believe it’s 33mm (35mm film equivalent) and f/2.4. It focuses pretty close. It also zooms of course, but I hardly ever zoom.
2. Simplify Settings.
I use the Hipstamatic app, where you can change the “lens”, “film” and “flash” settings. You can save different combinations of these three variables as “favourites”. I’ve found two or three favourites I like and tend to stick with those.
You can also switch to Manual mode where you can adjust ISO, shutter speed, exposure, focus, zoom and white balance. But I ignore all of these and let the camera do everything auto.
There’s also the ability to choose a range of aspect ratios. I sometimes use 1:1 as I like the challenge of square photographs (and the synonymity with classic Polaroids), but mostly I revert to the 3:2 ratio I’m so familiar with from using 35mm film and my two Pentax K DSLRs.
3. Simplify adjustments.
I just point and shoot. The only thing I adjust, occasionally, is the “favourite” I’m using, ie the combination of lens, film and flash. Oh and sometimes I just wait to make sure the lens is focusing on the right subject in the frame.
4. Simplify editing.
I tend to scroll through the images on my iPhone then just download the ones I like to my MacBook. The vast majority get scrapped, just like with my film and digital images!
5. Simplify processing.
Again, there is virtually none, I just download the photos I want to keep , then share my favourites of those online.
Conveniently, the Hipstamatic app does allow for a bit of post processing within itself. Every time you take a picture it also saves the original version, ie as the camera would capture without any Hipstamatic presets.
This means you can adjust the Hipstamatic lens, film and flash effects independently on a photo already captured, if you wish.
I confess that whilst I rarely do this with the photographs I’ve already made with Hipstmatic anyway, I have shot photographs on other digital cameras, then saved them to my phone to process via Hipstamatic as I really like the look!
The best way to sum up how I see and use my iPhone with Hipstamatic is as a modern Polaroid.
Hardly any settings to change, very much a point and shoot, and a distinctive look to the final photos.
Whilst I’ve been very pleased with the images made, I wouldn’t say I’d made anything stunning or classic, or to rival my best other digital or film photographs.
This is mostly because the Hipstamatic photographs have always been fairly spontaneous, and when I’ve not deliberately gone out with one of my usual cameras.
If I did leave all my “proper” photography kit at home and ventured out with the iPhone and Hipstamatic with more deliberate intention once or twice, I wonder what kind of images I might be able to come up with.
Food for thought…
Do you every just leave all the “proper” kit at home and shoot with just your phone camera? What kind of results have you got, and how do you feel about using it?
Please let us know in the comments below.
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