In general, there are few people more skeptical of smartphone photography than professional photographers. According to many people who make their living with photography, mobile photography is weakening their artform, and sometimes putting them out of work. Other professionals, like Jim Richardson, see their smartphone as just another tool in their camera bag.

Last week, Richardson left his Nikon DLSR at home and instead took his iPhone 5S on a trip to the Scottish Highlands. Unsure at first whether it was a good idea, Richardson quickly realized that while his iPhone wasn't exactly capturing "visually profound" images, he didn't feel like he was settling for second best, either.

Richardson shared his journey with National Geographic:

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling to make pictures. Walking down the Royal Mile surrounded by all things Scottish nothing seemed worth a picture. Out of desperation I took a few glib shots. Awful! Surrounded by great subjects I could see nothing. Made me feel worse.

[...]I got a couple of pictures, not much really. Hiking back down, I was a bit befuddled. And then we detoured to admire the swans in St. Margaret’s Loch, which posed and postured gracefully, gliding up close, easy subjects devoid of angst, however hackneyed they may be. They made pretty pictures. The iPhone liked them.

[...]What surprised me most was that the pictures did not look like compromises. They didn’t look like I was having to settle for second best because it was a mobile phone. They just looked good. Nothing visually profound is being produced here, I would have to say. But it feels good, and I even noticed some of the folks on our tour putting big digital cameras aside once in a while and pulling out their cell phones when they just wanted to make a nice picture.

Check out some of Richardson's photos from his Instagram: