RECENTLY, I was invited by Phoneography Cebu to talk about fashion photography, but the challenge was to shoot using just your camera phone. I was stressed thinking that I can’t use a strobe. Fortunately, we were treated with models, makeup artists and beautiful gowns. I know it can work especially that camera phones nowadays are surprisingly good with functional software controls.
The event was a success, but what made me think about it is during the sharing after the workshop. One attendee asked me how to improve in photography. I said you just have to do it more often and keep on challenging yourself to do better than the last.
His next question was, “How do I know if I’m getting it right?” I thought about it for a few seconds, and I asked him if he likes my photos. He said yes, so I asked him why he likes it. He said because it looks a lot better than mine. So I told him that we always know a good photograph from a bad one. Deep inside we know if it looks good or not. We just sometimes fool ourselves that our work is good enough. It’s never enough.
I see a lot of people who have no background in photography and take photos using just their phone and the result is surprisingly amazing. After looking at the photos, you end up asking yourself that if they can do it, what worth do I have as a photographer if they can do it better than me? One attendee asked me about my reaction if I see such photos. I said that it’s actually a combination of appreciation and hurt.
I always appreciate a good photo whether it comes from an amateur or professional. Whether if it’s coming from a phone or DSLR. However, It also hurts me to see that an untrained eye can see it. I have to admit it, it hurts and these are the situations that wake me up and pushes me to practice and research more to become better.
Putting camera technology in a phone opens a lot of opportunities for non-conventional photographers. We all have the artist inside of us and access to this type of media allows people to practice and bring out the artist in them. It’s an interesting future, I’m sure. It’s going to be more colourful, I guess, as the quality of cameras in our phones keeps getting better.
However, no matter what technology we have in our hands, the basics of photography and the characteristics of light will never change. One will never become an expert without studying, understanding and practicing. Keep on shooting, everyone!