Let the light paint your story


Blog by Dali Ma Photography, Phoenix Aperture, California Fashion Photographer based in Orange County.

What Do Smartphone Cameras Mean to Photography

It is not uncommon anymore to see Smartphones with high resolution cameras and all the fancy digital tricks for photography. As a photographer, I'm constantly torn between carrying a smaller camera, a smart phone and compromising the quality of my memories, versus carrying a professional DSLR and compromising my experiences.

However this seems to be a personal struggle, and this blog is gonna focus on photography, especially fashion photography, and how smart phones have changed it, and how it'll still remain the same in a lot of areas.

Instagram is a huge impact

We cannot avoid talking about Instagram Filters, when talking about smartphone photography, or iphoneography, as branded by Apple's marketing team and its followers. And there are many ways Instagram filters excel at. It changes smartphone photography into amazing masterpieces by covering up the lack of true resolution (megapixels doesn't mean clarity, sometimes it does the opposite. Large megapixels with a smaller sensor simply means your camera needs to do a lot of guess work to fill in the pixels not fed by the sensor data), as well as giving your images an amazing antique, or retro effect.

And more importantly, people like sharing, in this day and age. Instagram provided a prolifc channel for everyone to share their lives, artistically.

However, once you blow up the images,  if they actually can be blown up, details begin to emerge - the lack of depth of field, the lack of smooth transition from your bokeh to the focus point. Filters don't mean everything.

Depth of field isn't everything, as Apple implied during their iPhone 7 launch

One of the major strength of DSLRs or professional cameras, comparing with smart phones, is the depth of field, or blurred background, in daily language. Having such effect with instantly transition your photo from amateur to profession, and you from a selfie taker to a professional, or does it?

iPhone 7 plus has this new dual-lens outfit, that it can optically then digitally create the depth of field "illusion". I've personally seen a few sample photos taken with such "weapon" on iPhone 7 plus, and I'm not convinced. The bokeh is far from smooth or real, and sometimes the iPhone 7 plus camera just gets it wrong.

But that's not the main thing. In this day and age. Shallow depth of field, or blurred background, is no news to anyone who hangs out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any social media for that matter. Everybody has seen depth of field done right, or wrong.

But at the end of the day, composition is key, your eye for beauty is key, especially in fashion photography. Famous magazines like Vogue, famous photographers like Mario Testino, use depth of field if and only when necessary.

Are smart phone cameras revolutionising photography? Yes, there's no doubt about it. How people tend to take photos, the subjects and how they share them are all dramatically changed. But there's still the core and pure photography left in fashion photography, that is the composition, and the eye for beauty. And Dali Ma at Phoenix Aperture aims to deliver exactly that.


Dali Ma
Fashion Photographer
Based in LA and Orange County, California