Instagram, iPhonography and the Lazy Photographer…

Barceloneta beach.

For something different this week, I am putting together a series of images taken using a phone and the standard Instagram app.

I am usually very careful about digital image quality, but if there is one tangible outcome from lately shooting so much film it is the realization that almost anything that takes pictures is good enough for online use. Shooting with the Instagram app is almost impossibly quick and easy compared to shooting film or using a DSLR.

So can an iPhone and and an app really replace a traditional camera and Lightroom? Well…

There are a lot of limitations. Firstly, while the Instagram app is over provisioned with fancy filters and effects, it’s camera functionally and ergonomics are minimal at best. Add to this the limitations of the phone – dynamic range, high ISO, no shallow DOF, long shutter lags, painful ergonomics – and it is all too easy to get shots that looks ok when taken, but which are near useless when viewed at any reasonable size.

Street photography in particular is hard due to the lack of direct shutter speed control and the lag, but it is just about possible if you anticipate the moment well. That said, dealing with camera shake in low-light is a big problem, and what looks fine on a small phone screen is all too often blurred when viewed properly.

Mailboxes, Barcelona.

Of course, a lot of these problems could be overcome by using another camera app to take the pictures and Instagram to process them – but for now, I want to try to stick with Instagram as a one-stop process.

Surprisingly, the most anticipated problem – battery life – appears to be a non-issue. A full day of walking, taking some 400 Instagram images while also using GPS mapping – and 12 hours later there was still 27% charge left on the phone.

Partly this is because it is possible to wake the phone almost instantly using the fingerprint scanner, avoiding the need to keep the camera app running continuously. Waking and unlocking is much faster than, for example, waking the Olympus E-M5 from sleep.

Dia (slightly) sin Coches, Barcelona.

Dia (slightly) sin Coches, Barcelona.

There will be more lazy images all through this week as I try to figure out whether or not this somewhat laid back approach to photography might be useful after all – and whether it is possible to do everything, including WordPress, on a phone while traveling…

Kiosk, Barceloneta.

Kiosk, Barceloneta.

Categories: Photography, Technique

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