Are Camera Phones Killing The Art Of Photography?

By @TheMarkDalton

“Should I buy a DSLR? Is the camera on my phone not enough now? Everyone keeps talking about how good cameras are getting on phones so is the age of the DSLR dying?”

First off, yes. The camera on devices such as the iPhone 7 Plus or the Galaxy S8+ are insanely good. Cameras on smartphones are getting more impressive every single year. They are fantastic point and shoots.

I feel the question really should be more along the lines of “are smartphone cameras killing the age of the point and shoot?” instead of the DSLR because if you want to take stunning shots, if you want full and total control then you are going to need a DSLR.

Is everyone now a photographer?

There are more photos being taken and being shared than ever before. It is not a bad thing by any stretch and the cameras that are taking these photos are of a good quality for the most part.

I shot a wedding earlier this year and there were camera phones all over the place. Heres the thing, the photographer knows how to frame the shot in a way that makes it look special and it is his or her job to make you look your best in your wedding photos. That won’t necessarily happen when you have people taking photos like mad on their phone, you end up with strange faces, closed eyes ect.

Then you want to be the first one to share the photos of your big day and what you typically find now is that people beat you to it and share poor quality snaps straight to Facebook. Really I think we should start moving towards weddings where there is one person allowed to take photos on the day and thats the wedding photographer. Sure it might annoy you that you can’t share photos on Facebook as the day unfolds but guess what? Its their big day, not yours.

Total control

Some have argued that the quality of top end smartphones can surpass a DSLR. I don’t agree, I think they are close to an entry level DSLR which is pretty damn good. They are good enough but when you want the next level you need a DSLR.

It is all about details, my S8+ will take a really nice shot but it won’t ever give me the same level of control when I take a shot on my Nikon. I can’t edit a photo from the S8+ in the same way that I can edit a RAW photo from my DSLR and I won’t have the same level of control and flexibility when shooting on the S8+ as opposed to the DSLR either.

Anyone can use a camera, that doesn’t make them a photographer

It all boils down to the simple fact, something I have been saying for years…anyone can pick up a camera and take a photo but that doesn’t make you a good photographer. There is an art form to photography and you can buy all the gear in the world, it won’t necessarily mean you are going to be taking stunning photos.

We practise and hone our skills constantly, we try new things, we get creative, we think of shots a different way, we understand how to frame, we know how to take something simple and make it look stunning. All these things are skills you need to work on for years, the camera can’t do any of this stuff for you.

I have seen people buy stunning cameras that are really expensive and then complain that it is taking rubbish photos. Heres the thing though, the camera is not taking a rubbish photo – you are taking a rubbish photo. The camera is simply a tool.

No photographer should be fearful of photography being a dying art

The decrease in the cost of gear along with improvements in technology have made photography more accessible and that is a great thing. People should not feel excluded because of price. The idea that photography being more open means your work won’t stand out as much is just wrong. I look at it as a challenge to rise up to, the playing field is starting to level out so now I can show just how good I am.

It means that as a photographer we have to work harder, get more creative, think of new and exciting shots. Sure, people will try and ‘do it themselves’ and instead of hiring a photographer for a wedding they can go and buy a €300 camera and get someone to take photos for them on the day. If thats the case then you are not a client I would probably want to work with anyway but the challenge is to show why that is not a good choice through the work I put out.

Now we have to show why we call ourselves photographers and not just a person with a fancy camera. We have seen this countless times through the years, the ebook was going to kill print, apps were going to kill newspapers, digital was going to kill vinyl and so on…there is room for both and has been for years.

Now we just have to work harder to perfect our craft because while people may have access to the equipment, there is a good chance they lack the passion for it and that is a big difference maker.



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