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Why Mobile Photography? Getting started.

Hello everyone, this is my first blog. And before getting into all technical, aesthetics and post-processing details, let me talk about why mobile photography is even a thing these days. And what’s the importance of the same.

Before you start reading further, let me be clear about one thing. I won’t be writing these blogs for photographers out there, who already know iso, shutter speed, aperture and whole other technicalities and no matter the device, they can still pull off the amazing photos from mobile (like me!). I’m willing to write for helping normal people out there so that they can create better photos than they currently do, for whom photography is just a small part of their lives. It’s natural that you think something is beautiful that’s in front of your eyes, maybe on a vacation or simple hangout. It may be a stunning waterfall, lush green western ghats/forests, mesmerizing sunset colours or simply any natural landscape, and now you want to click it as beautiful as you can to store it in memory. Or, it will make a kickass Instagram post for you after 2 months of inactiveness and you would love to make some people jealous. (Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, we all enjoy this factor now, with our changing social fabric). Sometimes, you may just want to have good photos of your party or small events like anniversary and birthday and it’s too much to call the photographer for the same. Right?

Whatever may be the reason, the bottom line is, in this world, with these tiny devices, we all are photographers some or other day. And being able to click better photos than the rest of your friends is just a proud feeling right (you can brag about credits without even being a photographer). So, it doesn’t hurt to gain some knowledge for the same, especially when it’s free (and given by me :P)

So, what made mobiles so important in recent 2-3 years even with all the advanced cameras out there? FREEDOM & FLEXIBILITY. Even with all the professional kit and 4-5 lenses, on solo travel, I won’t take a camera with me. Why? Because it’s too much to carry along with a tent and other stuff. And with the mobile, I can click acceptably good quality pictures which can make noise at least on the Instagram screen (if not for enlarging) and that’s important. The freedom and flexibility I get with the mobile just don’t compare with having a heavy camera around in exchange for a little compromise on quality. That’s my reason. I can still run with the mobile and hike up to the mountain to catch that amazing sunset, enjoy it, and be able to click it (even if not as amazing as my DSLR) That’s a good bargain.

Coming to why you should consider mobile photography even as a serious hobbyist (without being a photographer) is because many factors as mentioned below. In recent 2 years, I have never advised anyone to buy DSLR (even when they badly wanted one, thinking it will improve their photography skills in a day). And those who still bought it regretted it later.

1. Automode. Let’s be honest, mobiles have improved far better than DSLRs in recent years. Their Automode is just amazing. I hate to say it, but DSLRs still cannot click auto HDRs as better as mobiles do. That’s a huge advantage for someone who doesn’t have to know iso, aperture etc. technical stuff but still want to take better photos.

2. Cost advantage. You can literally save at least 50K of your hard-earned money by going for good mobile and not a camera.

3. Freedom. You can always click photos. You don’t have to carry bulky cameras everywhere. And in many situations (like after office farewell party) you won’t be even able to bring cameras

4. Retouching/Quick sharing. You can edit/process your photos quick and within 2 mins it’s already on Instagram making a buzz. (remember the good old jokes on guys with a camera who never give your photos? I’m one of them)

5. Learning curve. Mobiles help you to learn photography better (than cameras) and let you play with perspectives/framing before you decide that now you want to go for a camera.

That brings us to the next most important point.

Does it mean mobiles are replacing DSLRs? Or can do in the future?

Well, sorry to disappoint, but the answer is NO.

Both have their pros and cons. And both are different. Even the industry leaders and professionals sometimes click photos with mobiles (for the reason of having mobile now with them). But on the other side, when some photograph is important for you, you just won’t click it with mobile. No matter the hardships, you will carry your workhorse with heavy glass on the top of the mountain, to make it once in a lifetime click. That’s what separates extraordinary from good. Cameras are meant for professionals and mature hobbyists. Those who know what RAW images are, noise, a whole lot of technical stuff, they can invest time in post-processing and photography is a big part of their passion/lives/career.

Let me put it this way. If you are a passionate, professional, trained and mature racer, you can think of buying the racing car as it will be the perfect choice for your requirement. But if you want a car mainly for commute, and still have a thing for a bit of racing, and you won't mind having a little thrill on weekends, you can settle for something like Swift (I'm just making it up, but you understand right). In this scenario, buying a racing car is not just impractical but also a waste of money. In short, don't buy a KTM if your need and profile belong to Activa. Buy KTM only when you can ride like a KTM rider.

Also, technically, mobiles won’t be able to match the DSLRs anytime soon because of their Sensor size. They are tiny sensors, whereas DSLRs have robust bigger (full-frame) sensors. And all the advantages of having a good camera starts with a bigger sensor size. You don’t have to know all the physics behind it, because honestly, it’s boring (for someone who is only interested in photography and not how cameras are made).

Having said that, mobile photography has created equal opportunities for everyone, and it is breaking the monopoly of rich guys who can buy cameras and call themselves photographers (sometimes with all the average pics) and I feel that’s important. Now everyone can be a photographer with their Redmi Note 5 and it feels like fair competition. Earlier, it was a rich man’s hobby. Also, just to give an example of how serious mobile photography can be, last year Vogue’s cover photo was shot by OnePlus.

I feel that’s more than enough for an introduction blog.

Moving ahead, what you can expect to know/learn? Let me help.

1. There’s still ‘Photography’ in the word ‘Mobile Photography’

2. Different types of photography genres that you can shoot with mobile. Know what interests you.

3. Understanding the importance of ‘Light’ in photography and how to use it for your advantage.

4. Understanding Framing/Composition/Perspective

5. Exposure and Auto mode hacks. How to create better images.

6. Understanding Dynamic range, why it’s the MOST important thing and what’s NDR (natural dynamic range) and HDR (high dynamic range)

7. Manual Mode with mobile. How to use it and when to use it.

8. Post-processing/editing the with mobile. The secret behind colours in my photos (by using Snapseed)

9. How to shoot better party/indoor/portrait photos with mobiles

10. Landscape/Travel photography with mobile

11. Street Photography with Mobile.

12. How to click better sunsets (my eternal love!)

13. How to do Astro Photography / Stars with mobile.

14. How to do slow shutter/long exposure photography with mobile

15. A quick lesson on Mobile Videography

That’s it for now folks. I hope I gave you better insights on Why you should consider mobile photography and why it’s a thing. Let me know if you have some suggestions for me in the comments or connect with me on WhatsApp/social media. I would be happy to talk.

Wait for the next article if you liked it.

Stay safe. See you soon! :)

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