Street Photography with an iPhone

Street Photography with an iPhone


As a professional photographer, I can honestly say that I would never use a mobile phone, be it an iPhone 4s or otherwise to shoot any sort of professional assignment. Can you imagine being commissioned as a PR Photographer, and out comes your iPhone and your start shooting. In your wildest dreams never…………..or am I being naive and narrow minded.

Often I have been in Westminster covering MP’s supporting such, and such a campaign, taking PR photographs of various MPs’ signing petitions, when they have either asked me to take a shot of them on their mobile phone, or their aid has done so, and within seconds its posted on Twitter, and I have to confess that on screen the quality doesn’t look too bad – the key is, get it well exposed and it will look OK (note the reluctance to write good). Much better then the grab news shots that have appeared in newspapers taken by citizen news reporter.

I have used my iPhone to take images of things I need to remember – bottle of wines, phone numbers on vans and so on – it’s an aid mémoire. I have also used it as an aid to loosen up, when taking street photography but have always deleted them. I love using the Hipstamatic, for my own use and ‘playing about.’ After reading on a few forums, of people raving about images from the iPhone and seeing a half decent print that had been converted to B&W printed in a magazine, I thought I would take a real look at a photo taken on the iPhone 4s and see how it would print up.

The iPhone 4s boast a 8mb sensor, but you also have to take into account the size of the sensor and most importantly the lens, you are never going to get magazine cover quality. The pixel dimension of the file is 3264×2448, which at 300dpi will give a print of just over 10 x 8 inches (25.5cm x 20.5cm). It’s actual a pleasing format to view. My view is, providing that you shoot in good light, on a clear day, not in bright contrasty sunshine, and hold the phone really steady to avoid any movement or blurring of the image, and in post production boost the contrast up and sharpen the image slightly, and print on photographic paper; you’re on your way to get a good print.

The featured photo was taken whilst waiting for a tube. Post production, I adjusted the exposure and contrast slightly, along with a little sharpening. The ISO was 64. It looks better on screen then as a print.

A mobile phone camera and digital camera are two different mediums, and cannot be compared. Yes, they are fun to use, and you can make creative montages with the images – but is it photography? No, not for me, but it can be digital art. And great for freeing you up when doing Street Photography

If you would like to book a London PR photographer, know that I’ll not be using a mobile phone.

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