With the release of each new cell phone comes the advancement of every feature of the phone, especially the camera. With the phone cameras that we have today, anyone can take a great photo, and that’s exactly the problem.
Having professional-looking photos taken of you is, or at least should be, something special because this kind of photography is not a skill that everyone has. Getting photos of yourself done used to require paying a photographer to use expensive studio equipment, and now it is as easy as swiping your finger. For example, on the iPhone X, the camera features a wheel of studio lighting setups with the ability to change lighting in real time.
Camera features like this that you can carry around in your pocket are degrading to those of us who train for years learning to perfect the craft that we plan to practice the rest of our lives. However, I realize that photo jobs are not in jeopardy of being taken away from us because, let’s be honest, no one is going to take their wedding photos on an iPhone (if you do, I hope it doesn’t last long).
The great advancements and availability of phone cameras have come too far for us to go back now. As a photographer two and a half years into a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, I sometimes feel belittled by the ability of cellphone cameras. In the case of the iPhone X, using studio lighting in reality is not as easy as a push of a button. Don’t get me wrong — I am cognizant of the fact that there is great competition in the arts world, so I cannot get upset over someone being better than me. But in this case, the competition is supposed to be between artist and artist, not artist and device.
Photographers are well-versed in just about every realm of photography, from abstract to documentary work. We are not just learning to point and shoot with our cameras, but to think about composition, framing and subject in every photo we take. We know digital, film and studio photography and so many others. We know how to not let the camera limit us and to control it in the way that we want to.
We must all remember that it is not the camera that makes the photographer; it is the skill set and ability you have as an artist. Using a camera that does all the work for you shows absolutely no measure of your skills as a photographer. You don’t control phone cameras; they control you and limit the photos you are able to take. Your picture might be a great Instagram post, but don’t ever think that means you can do what we do. Leave it all to the professionals.