iPhonography Made Photography More Valuable
Don’t listen to people that tell you that the iPhone killed the photography industry. They’re so wrong.
Photography changed a lot in the past few years. Mainly because of the increase in popularity of smartphones, and because of the massive increase in the quality of their cameras. The main change before that was the transition from film cameras to digital cameras. That switch was already considered as responsible for killing the photography industry by some old-school elitist, snobbish purists. But, as expected, that didn’t happen. The simplified process of digital photography just encouraged more people to get into photography. It also made photography cheaper and therefore, more accessible.
When the iPhone was gaining in popularity and was starting to be advertised as ‘the best camera you can wish for’, and as ‘a camera that you will always have with you’, the photography world felt threatened. Like every conservative industry, photographers were scared, and most of them were rejecting that new technology. With strong and elaborate arguments such as ‘a phone cannot take a good picture’ (have these people seen what some talented photographers do with an iPhone?) or ‘a phone will never replace my fancy camera’ (well, no, a smartphone will not compare to your $10,000 worth of gear, fortunately).
But that’s precisely the point. Smartphones are not here to replace fancy cameras. They’re making photography more accessible. Exactly like what happened from going from film to digital a couple of decades ago. Everyone now has a decent camera in their pocket. Everyone can create good quality content on the go, thanks to the smartphone. Humanity has never taken as many pictures as nowadays. Which is fantastic, that means that our era is being massively documented! If you go on social media, you will see so much content created from smartphones. Everyone has started documenting their own life, their journey. Some are trying more than others to work on their composition and to deal with pretty natural lights. But overall, more people are taking more pictures.
But does that mean that photographers will lose their job? No!
iPhone Quality is the New Standard
Because of the increased popularity of smartphones and because most of the content we’re exposed to on social media and the internet in general, the smartphone quality became the new standard in photography.
And that is a fantastic opportunity.
Take a portrait with your fancy gear and show that picture to your friends. They will be amazed at how better it is than the built-in portrait mode (or whatever other names that depth of field technology has). They might comment on your gear instead of on your photography skills, and that might annoy you. Nonetheless, the gap in quality is so massive that your photography work will stand out.
I have been working for a cocktail bar recently. Before I came to shoot there, all content and pictures were taken with an iPhone 7. Just imagine how dull the photos were looking, taking pictures of very colorful drinks in a very dark environment. Because an older phone (and even a more recent one) cannot handle such a situation, my work did stand out by a lot. The owner was impressed and ‘Has never seen pictures like that before!’. Am I crazy talented? Am I the best photographer in the world? Well, maybe I am, but I doubt so. What happened was just that I knew what I was doing, and I had good enough gear for the situation that allowed me to take beautiful pictures of these drinks in a demanding environment. Since iPhone pictures are the standard, my work stood out very easily.
People Are Still Willing To Pay For Quality Work
Another reason people are blaming iPhonography for killing the photography industry is by saying that people are not willing to pay for pictures anymore.
I don’t think iPhones are to blame for that, but more the affordability of content in general nowadays. Music is almost free thanks to streaming, same for TV series and moves. Media just became cheaper and cheaper. And while you can watch the best movies in the world for $9,99 a month, yes it is harder to understand that you have to pay a lot of money for still images!
However, as photographers’ work sand out more, it is a lot easier for you, as a professional, to showcase your talent and the value that you can bring them. That’s why people still hire photographers for their wedding or to take cute engagement pictures. That’s why companies always hire photographers, even to communicate on social media. Because having photographers’ images make a huge difference from the norm.
Because the new standard is so low in quality (and since it is not perceived as low quality, thanks to smartphone brands marketing), your fancy DSLR or mirrorless will help you create incomparably better images and that really make a difference, especially when posted on social media, which is what most of your potential clients are looking for, and which is what they are the most likely to do with the final images anyway.
Instagram Made Photography Popular Again
The photography world usually dislikes Instagram. And I understand some of the hate. Instagram is uniformizing styles in photography, which is immensely tragic, of course.
However, popular accounts are posting high-quality content, created by talented photographers, and captured with actual photo gear. Even if the style is uniform, followers of such accounts can experience what an actual photograph looks like. They can witness with their own eyes that a photographer is an artist, a talented human, able to produce outstanding images.
These same followers have access to their iPhone camera and might give photography a try, being inspired by these accounts. By trying without any technique and any control on the settings of the camera, they will not be able to produce such images, and they will, therefore, realize how much skills are required to take a good picture.
In short: iPhonography lowered the standards for good quality content. Therefore, with a good camera and a few skills, you can produce images that stand out to most people. On top of that, since Instagram is highly accessible, and since popular accounts rely on high-quality pictures, people are starting to realize how difficult capturing an image is.
Photographers are more important nowadays than ever before. Everyone needs high-quality content, and in a sea of mediocrity and iPhonographs, with proper gear and a few skills, your work can stand out! The demand for pictures and content has never been higher. With the right eye and some decent gear, you can add so much value to people!
Do you feel like you tried everything to grow on Instagram? Hopefully, what follows will be the last thing you will have to do to reach your goals.
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