Mobile Photography / iPhoneography | A New Pair of Eyes

Blue Door in France Gourmande in the Kitchen
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On January 9th 2007 the iPhone was born and changed photography and the camera market forever.

Five years later there are millions of camera phone enthusiasts and mobile photography has gone mainstream.  People can now visually document every experience and event in their lives and share those moments through social media.

iPhoneography/mobile photography is, at its essence, a form of mobile art and expression.  In the words of Chase Jarvis “the best camera is the one that’s with you.”  Your phone is always with you, ready to capture the little moments of life that might otherwise go unrecorded.

Montpelier City Gourmande in the Kitchen

Its portability, ease of use, and availability has helped to nudge photography into popular culture even more than before.  People are capturing images that express what they’re seeing, where they are, what they’re feeling, and what’s going on around them.

I left my DSLR at home this past summer when I traveled to France and exclusively used my iPhone to capture all the images from my trip.  It was freeing to walk around without any heavy gear and be able to spontaneously capture the little details of the city that caught my attention.  I was captivated by the ornate decorations on the doors and took a whole series of image on just that subject.  It forced me to really step back and notice my surroundings.

Montpelier Door Knockers Gourmande in the Kitchen

Mobile Photography/iPhoneography is less about the camera and more about the person using it.  The images you capture with your camera phone can be intimate, documentary, spontaneous, or just fun, but they are from the heart because they are in the moment.  What I also love about mobile photography is that it encourages creative vision and allows us to play with our images in countless ways through apps and filters.


What about you, are you a mobile photographer?  And if so what are some of your favorite apps?



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  1. says

    I did a 100 day personal photo a day project this summer using only my blackberry or my iPad (so I could use all the funky apps). It was great fun but, oddly enough, it also really clarified in my head the type of photography I want to do – and it’s not mobile or app based. I love the process of using my DSLR – how it slows me down, makes me think, the challenge of getting it right in the camera. I also realized that I love clear, clean, strong images free of noise, and I prefer full frame to square. I feel that so much iphoneography is actually post processing which to me, becomes more and more digital art (which there is nothing wrong with – it’s just a different medium of art). I still use my mobile devices several times a week but, my first love is still my full frame camera and the process I go through with it to capture an image.

  2. says

    I love this post and on my recent month long vacation, I didn’t lug my DSLR around; only my iphone. What you said about it being freeing…YES! Although I had been to my travel destination many times before and will go again, so I didn’t feel the pressure to “get the shot” b/c there will be other chances, it’s amazing that you felt “brave” enough to leave the dlsr behind on a trip to France!

  3. says

    Oh yeah, I’m big time an iphoneographer! 🙂 My favourite apps: Camera+ and Istagram.

    Hi, my name is Zita and I’m an Instagram addict. 🙂

  4. says

    I don’t own an iphone, yet, but it’s in my plans to get one sooner or later. I am fascinated by the shots you can get with it and I am intrigued by the chance of taking more photos in a more spontaneus way. That said, I won’t allow myself to become a photo-maniac that take pics of everything all the time; and I won’t let this easy way of taking pictures substitutes completely my DSLR camera. They are two different types of photography and I will consider them complementary rather than exclusive.

  5. says

    I wish I had an iPhone (as a matter of fact I own no mobile) just to take pictures of what I see when I don’t have my camera with me… Those clicks are wonderful!



    • says

      No mobile phone? You must be one of the few left. 😉 Some days though I think it would be nice to be disconnected and not distracted by the phone.

  6. says

    My phone has a terrible camera, though my iPod touch does okay. It can’t compare to the iPhone’s camera, as I’ve played around with friends’ phones, but it does the job. I used it often in China last summer!

  7. says

    These photos are amazing and I can’t believe they were taken with your iPhone. My husband takes wonderful photos as well with his iPhone but I can’t seem to get great photos with mine. Maybe because its been dropped one to many times. This post gives me hope though and I plan on trying to use it more and leave the big camera at home.

  8. Anthony Allan says

    My name is Anthony Allan and I LOVE taking mobographs. I have seen mobile photography grow in to a cultural phenomenon. That word may not be correct as I see it being another form of media expression that is here to stay. Mobile photography is personal expression. Its an opportunity for you to express your world in your way and through your own eyes. Without the boundaries of lenses Isos and f-steps. I find I focus more on the content and less on the technicalities of the shot. And that’s what makes mobograhs great. You are able to break the rules will establishing news ones in an area yet unchartered. I wish all happy journeys. And most of all trust your eye, trust your heart, and always take mobographs.

  9. says

    Love you first picture, Sylvie. Did you edit it–if yes, which app?

    I’m Apple crazy. Period. I feel nothing compares to the quality of images from apple products-macbook, iphone, ipad, you name it. iPhone camera is simply amazing–it has improved so much since iphone 2G–very handy to click those fleeting special moments. You know what, I particularly love using it as a notepad to click away info instead of typing it while shopping, or capturing anything interesting while browsing the net–call it another way of pinning 🙂 And oh, those free apps like Water my photo, transphotos,etc are amazing to play around with.

    • says

      I use it as a notepad as well, it comes in handy when you need to remember something. As for the first image, believe it or not the door was really a bright blue and the building was very dirty. I think they must have just painted the door. I did do some post processing to increase the contrast between the building and the door but not too much, can’t recall what exactly I used.

  10. says

    Sigh. Again, I wish I owned the iPhone. Alas, I don’t use my mobile phone for much because the quality isn’t that great. Perhaps with my next phone, but it likely still won’t be the iPhone, unfortunately.

    Your images are gorgeous, and I like that you were able to capture France in such a portable way.

  11. says

    I love the fact that the camera phone has inspired people to capture moments that otherwise would have been gone forever aside from a memory. I love Instagram so much…

    Great photos, Sylvie!

  12. says

    I’m not as much of a “Mobile” photographer as I would like to be…mine are not as clear as the ones that are taken with an iphone 😀 Love all of you detailed shots!

  13. says

    I love taking photo with my iphone and instagram is my fav . But the husband installed some amazing aps in his android phone and these aps have some fun cool effects to try on. Sometimes I wonder how our life was when we didn’t iphone !!

  14. says

    I use my iphone a ton and never get photos as amazing as the ones you’ve captured. How on earth do you do it? I had assumed it was in part due to your superior equipment, but clearly I can’t use that excuse anymore!

  15. says

    I love the quality of your phone photos Sylvie! I think I’d be paranoid not to have my dSLR with me. I’ve just switched from years of a Blackberry to an iPhone and love the photo quality. I agree it’s freeing to feel you don’t have to lug stuff and won’t be left empty handed if a photo moment happens (which it always seems to when I don’t have my camera). I’d be curious to know YOUR favorite applications for phone photos? I’ve played with Instagram and love the vintage filters but am no means skilled with it yet.

  16. says

    I don’t own a proper camera (I seriously need to invest!) so all my photos are taken with my iPhone. I’d be really interested to know which, if any apps, you would recommmend? Your pictures here are gorgeous and your site provides such wonderful photography inspiration, thank you!

  17. says

    Great post, Sylvie. No matter what medium you use to capture photos – I love your work.

    I just recently entered the the mobile photography ring,so I”m still working my way through the it all.

  18. says

    I have just started playing with my iPhone more and some of the apps for photos and whilst I will probably never use it exclusively I do love the freedom it affords – on quite a few weekend trips I have lugged my camera and never even taken it out of the bag and just used my Iphone. Now I know more about apps for cool effects, I am hooked. And I *just* started sharing pics on Instagram – I love how it’s connected me with people I might “miss” during the day when I am not online – it’s definitely less overwhelming than Twitter to keep up with and prettier 🙂

  19. says

    I had and iPhone 3GS before, and the camera was not good, so I was always with my camera Canon G11, but now, I do have an iPhone 4, (Not the 4S unfortunately…) but the camera is really nice, and I think you can make great pictures with it even if the camera is not the best, everything depends of the moment, the person, the mood… When I went to the US during this Xmas holidays I brought my camera but I only made pictures with my iPhone, it’s easier to carry, it’s more intimate, and I have a Mac, so my pictures are automatically streamed from my iPhone to my Mac! I also have a Nikon D80, but I only use it when I want to make pictures for my blog. I really liked your article!!

  20. says

    I don’t think I could ever leave my DSLR at home on a trip – I would get heart palpitations!! 😉 But I must say that my HTC phone and its camera have changed my life – I can capture amusing little vignettes or details that I would not normally bother taking my camera out of its bag for. But as other commenters have said – the 2 are complementary and one can never replace the other.