Thoughts and brain dumps

Thoughts and brain dumps

By Andy Hawthorne. Words, photos, code and running…

26 Dec 2019

Point and Shoot Photography

Reading time: 3 minute(s) - 500 words

'A photo'

How easy is it? See something, raise your phone, point and shoot. We all do it and many of us do it quite often. The bigger question is, are any of these photos any good? And by what measure are we judging?

I took this photograph while on holiday in Christchurch, Dorset.

Here’s what I saw:

  • The impressive sky
  • The slightly battered looking boats
  • And the other boats in the background

I thought: that’s a photo, right there.

Phone out, load the camera app, tap the button. Done.

Here’s what the camera did:

  • Sorted out the focus
  • Sorted out the exposure based on the light levels etc.
  • Gathered the scene available and caught the image
  • Stored it in my phone

Which is awesome. I got the shot I saw in that moment and that’s all that matters, right?

All the magic stuff was handled by the phone/camera. I’ve learned that the photo was taken with:
ISO 25, f1.8, shutter speed 12481 and a focal length of 4.25mm.

Does any of that matter? Or is getting the shot the main thing?

Wait a minute, though… I did do something here. I mean, it was me that chose the view. And how to frame the photo. It was me that decided to tilt my phone to include more of that impressive sky. Also, it was me that decided the framing was okay because the boats on the left and right of the shot sort of lead your eye in…

Smartphones CAN capture good photos

I’ll be honest, I’m pleased with the above photo. Not least because my involvement in it was the same as if I was stood with a proper camera.

I’m not claiming it to be a good photo - I’m not certain that it is. What I know is: it’s the photo I managed to get in the moment that I saw it.

And that’s why I’m arguing smartphones do work for taking good (whatever that means) photos.

Keep ‘em raw

By the way, I’ve not edited the photo in any way. No tweaking or editing. No filtering or other manipulation. What you see is what travelled through my phone camera lens and painted itself in pixels.

I don’t believe in tweaking photos. Aside from making them monochrome (I do that from time to time). I like to know that the photo is as it was when I took it.

That might just be me, but there it is.


Anyway, yep, smartphones can do the business when it comes to decent photos, I’m sure of that bit at least.

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