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Why Taking a “Selfie” with a “Camera Phone” is Never a Good Idea

It seems that everywhere you go today, whether it’s a prom, wedding or casual night out everyone is using their ‘camera phone” to snap photos to document the event. For those of you who know me and have taken classes with me, you are acutely aware that I am not thrilled with using a “camera phone” as a camera and that you should be using your camera to take photographs. I say this to all of my students and I have a very definite and strong opinion about it. However, talk is cheap so I have decided to give a very simple visual reference to show the stark comparison between a ‘camera phone” and a ‘real camera”. Additionally, I would like to point out the pros and cons of both just to be fair and then you can make the decision of how you want to capture the most important moments of your life.

Let’s take the ‘selfie’. This has become a phenomenon of our current culture. It’s great to take a self portrait and photographers have been taking ‘selfies’ with their cameras long before the invention of an iPhone. For me personally I have tried to do this on occasion and am positively horrified at the results.

Here’s why your ‘camera phone’ is the worst thing you can do for your image:

  • The lens is exceptionally small-have you actually looked at how little the lens is? The quality is totally inferior to any other camera whether it’s a point and shoot or DSLR.

  • The lens is super wide angle which creates several problems:

  • Wide angles lenses create distortion-shooting with a ‘real camera’ with a wide angle lens will do this also. That is why there are specific lens recommendations for shooting portraits.

  • Wide angle lenses have a large depth of field so there is no ‘bokeh’ or loss of clarity to create the feeling of the subject popping off the background.

  • If the ‘camera phone’ is tilted up or down it creates even more distortion. This can make faces look long and narrow, and bodies look like large heads with small feet.

  • The ‘camera phone” tends to shoot at a higher ISO than you necessarily need. Using higher ISO’s will create noise which will change skin color and reduce overall picture quality.

  • The flash on a ‘camera phone’ is harsh and completely unforgiving. A harsh flash will show more lines on your face than you would like.

GOOD “selfie” taken with Nikon D3x, 105mm lens, self timer

BAD “selfie” taken with iPhone

I am fully aware of the counter argument that I will be given on this:

I don’t want to carry a camera. My phone is always with me. It’s easier It’s faster

I get it, but I would rather be inconvenienced by carrying a camera and take the time to set up the shot, download it and then send it to the world. The last thing i would want to do is plaster the image taken here with my iPhone to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. The iPhone image doesn't even really look like me!??

Using a ‘real camera’ to take a photo has its very obvious cons like the above mentioned. But you can’t argue with the quality of the image. Taking a great photograph takes some time and you need to know how a camera works. Photography is a wonderful hobby and you, your family and the events of your life deserve to be captured in the best quality possible by learning how to use a ‘real camera’.

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