Years ago, taking photos on a mobile phone seemed unthinkable, considering the low quality that phone cameras had at that time. Nowadays, many people are now taking more photos over their phones rather than their digital cameras as technology has made it possible for phones to match the image quality, if not exceed, that of digital cameras.
In my case, I have found myself using my phone more in my photography, especially for taking casual shots that I do more often, while I still use my regular DSLR to if I want to capture more detailed or artistic photos. Besides, a phone is more handy for me to carry around for casual photography.
The phone I’m using by the way is an iPhone 5s, which I have found to be very good in taking photos with its true-tone flash that provides really good low-light performance and its burst mode which helps me take action shots better.
But recently, I found myself taking the capabilities of my iPhone’s camera to the limit when I was invited to attend a friend’s wedding. I originally intended to use my DSLR to take photos of that memorable moment. Unfortunately, my DSLR had to undergo repairs at a local camera shop. Thus, I was left with no choice but let my iPhone do the job.
For this job, I made sure to bring some extra tools for the job. Considering the iPhone’s battery life, I brought two chargers: a regular one and a portable one to make sure I don’t lose power in the middle of the event. I also brought a special tripod mount for my iPhone (and a tripod of course) just in case.
I also used some special lenses that can be attached to my iPhone to maximize and extend its capabilities when it falls short on its own. I have a wide angle/macro lens, fisheye lens that I could use for some fun shots, telephoto lens to extend the zoom capabilities of my iPhone, and a polarizer lens which helps reduce glare on my photos that is caused by sunlight.
COVERING THE WEDDING
The wedding I attended was a garden wedding, so during the ceremony we were outdoors where the lighting present is a natural one coming from the sun. Apart from the polarizer lens, I also made use of my iPhone’s built-in HDR function to balance the exposure of the shots. If you are not keen on using the iPhone’s built-in HDR, there are also 3rd party apps available that provide HDR functionality to your phone.
Speaking of apps, I also have a number of iOS camera apps on my phone that help improve my built-in camera’s performance, depending on the need and situation. Camera+ and Procamera provide better exposure control and wider angles. Slow Shutter Can is also another good app that control’s the phone’s shutter speed so you can create artistic DSLR-quality photos. These apps are helpful especially if you have do not have any special lenses available.
And being someone who is guilty of having shaky hands at times when I hold the camera, my iPhone being connected to the tripod via a special tripod mount helped lessen those blurry shots I tend to take from time to time. Plus, this special setup also allows me to take more creative shots, something I would not gotten under the regular setup.
As I noted earlier, I made sure I got things covered, especially with regards to my phone’s battery life. But apart from the extra chargers, I made it a point to disable unnecessary apps running in the background to save battery life. Another important thing I did was to turn off the cellular signal of my phone so I would be able to take photos without being interrupted by phone call that would ruin the moment, so to speak.
THE SAME PHOTOGRAPHY RULES APPLY
The tools may be different but the same rules in photography apply. Composition still plays an important part in the photo. As a photographer, I make sure the photos I take with my phone have those qualities, regardless of the phone’s limitations.
And sometimes, knowing your phone’s limitations also helps spur one’s creativity, trying to go around those limitation with creative solutions that will turn out just as nice as they would if taken by a regular camera.
Once I was done, I was ready to process the photos I’ve taken. I managed to process and upload some of them to social media accounts like Instagram and applied some artistic filters when necessary. For the other photos, I edited them on my computer before uploading them to make sure they would turn out ok.
Overall, it was a unique but satisfying experience to have been able to extensively use my iPhone to cover an entire wedding like that of a documentary wedding photographer. While the quality may not match that of a photo taken by a DSLR, the output is still very good and in some cases, looked better with the iPhone. In the end though, what matters more is that your camera gets to capture the priceless memories a wedding brings about, whether it’s a DSLR or an iPhone.