Dec 5 2011

Cell phone pictures after two months.

Yesterday marked two months that I have been taking pictures with my phone and posting them to Mytubo which is a photo sharing site for Android phones.  In that time I have posted just over 500 images and learned a lot about what other people like and don’t like in an image.  The first thing to note is that because the images are small they need to be simple to catch peoples eye.  A cluttered image is likely to be ignored.  The other thing I’ve learned is that what I like and what is liked are two different things, this is a good thing though it gives me the freedom to do my own thing without falling into the trap of taking pictures that you know others will like.  I have to say this with a bit of a proviso because how can you not take pictures for others if you also want them to look at them.  With such a large social application there are bound to be differing opinions about what is art.  In fact there are really multiple communities of people occupying the same virtual space.  There are people who are sharing with their friends trying to out cool each other with post of themselves doing things.  There are people taking pictures of themselves for what must be many different reasons.  There are people taking pictures with cameras other than there phones and posting them.  There is also the group that I consider myself part of and that is people taking pictures with there phones and sharing the world around them.  I think that from within whatever group you belong it probably seems like this is the coolest use of the technology or the right way to do it, but they are all equally valid. 

 Oh there goes the “Like” notification on my phone I better go check what’s happening,  bye but in the mean time here are a few of my latest.

Nov 13 2011

If the best camera is the one with you what if you have two?

Part of the fun of photography for me is playing around with different cameras so I often have more than one with me.  A side benefit of this is that I regularly have similar images from two different devices to compare.  Sometimes the difference can be striking and you think maybe I’ll just make this one disappear other times it leaves me with the quandary “Just what is good enough?”  If an image will never be printed and it contains all that you want to convey then is say, a cell phone camera good enough?  I think the answer is yes but how do you know that at the time? 

What if you come across something that you want to print and you  are restricted by the camera.  Let me be clear, cell phone cameras have some serious limitations at this time.  One they don’t have an optical zoom or any way of altering the focal length other than expanding the image digitally which looks like crap to put it mildly.  Another is they have limited dynamic range, you are  just not going to get any detail in shadow areas without over exposing the highlights.  Also a major frustration for me is the shutter lag, or the time from when I actually tell my camera to take a picture and it does.  It’s horrible with my HTC Evo 3D I’ve had to develop a one second anticipation plan.  See the motion, feel the motion be the motion press the shutter,  crap I missed it.

I see it this way, cell phone cameras are ideal for social media and online sharing.  They do not replace a dedicated camera for all things but compliment them.  Why not when you see something really cool take a picture with a “camera” and then share your experience with a cell phone.  Maybe I’m taking this too seriously but I know I won’t feel that way when I really want to take a picture and I have the right tool to do it.

Here is where for me good is good enough.  One is shot with my Nikon P7000 and one is with my HTC Evo 3D, not necessarily in that order.


Oct 27 2011

October Cell Phone Pictures

Here are some of what I consider my better Cell phone images since my last post about using the phone in combination with the social media photography app “Mytubo”

Yes it’s a lot of images but taking lots of pictures helps fuel creativity, at least that’s what I tell myself.

Oct 19 2011

Cell Phone Picture Sharing

Tackeling the entire spectrum of cell phone cameras and social picture sharing is a bit too much in one blog post.  However the effect in how they relate to photography is of particular interest to me. 

As difficult as it may be to admit, much of photography can be described as an attempt by the photographer to reproduce an image they have previously seen and liked,  even if that image is one of their own.  You might find this a harsh statement but it is something that even occurs subconsciously.  The photographer may not be directly attempting to reproduce something but everything we have seen and remember affects our visual judgment.  Paintings, television, magazines and definitely advertising of all types play a roll in determining what we consider to be “stylish”.

Do not post pictures of weird faux animal heads it creaps people out!


Several new genres of photography have emerged through cell phone imaging.  There is the “these are my feet shots”, the “#me” pictures of people not yet afflicted with age.  And the supremely popular “CAT” hash tag.  The tendency to follow and create based on what is popular is brought to a new level through instant feedback within image sharing apps.  Why wouldn’t I want people to like my images?  If you really want to give up and go strictly for what people like have a look at what images have the highest popularity.  Soon you will be taking pictures of your cat lying in flowers at your feet. 

Note cat not cute enough, find cuter cat!

There are exceptions to this rule as I have discovered, dandelions gone to seed can be very well received.  🙂



It’s not all bad though, as a photographer it is an opportunity to have people see your images and also a chance to develop better composition skills.  Look closely at an image you intend to like and think about what makes it appealing.  Is it the content (#cat) or a matter of colour or maybe how something familiar looks different when photographed a certain way.  You can definitely use photo sharing apps to improve your image making.  The strength of these services is that you get immediate feed back (yes I am aware that was one of my negatives too, subtle difference)  They also reward good simple design.  A tiny cluttered thumbnail will be ignored more than a simple graphic element. 

 In the end though don’t take it too seriously, and enjoy photography, even if no one else likes a picture if you do that should be enough.  In a future post I intend to talk about composition within a square frame, which is the format many of the social photo sharing sites use.

Apparently I can't judge my own images I don't really like this one but it was one of the more popular ones this week, go figure.


Images that include the sun are also very popular, sun set, sun rise, sunflower, just plain old sun, but not aSUNder.


UPDATE  at the time I wrote this I was unaware that Duncan Turner had posted about Mytubo as well here is a link to his thoughts about the subject

DLTphoto . Also I unintentionally proved my point about recreating images that we have previously seen as I produced one that was very similar to one of Duncans. 


Aug 31 2011

RIP photo apps.

I would like to celebrate the birth and death of photo apps all at once.  Nothing brings a fad to a quick end like overuse.  I should disclose my hypocrisy right up front, one of the first pieces of software I downloaded to my new phone was a photo app that adds that alternative process look to an image and makes sharing it online simple.  And that’s the part I really like,the ease of sharing, but not every image needs to have an added layer of  faux  film.  I’m sure that millions of pictures are yet to be taken and processed this way but a little restraint couldn’t hurt.  Now I’m off to the app store.