In 2010 I travelled to northern Sri Lanka to document the post-war recovery efforts. I left my iPhone at home that time, worried that it wasn’t a ‘real’ camera and that I wouldn’t be taking the job seriously.
Recently I was presented with a similar opportunity to shoot in the sub-continent – as a blogger for World Vision Australia – but this time I couldn’t wait to use my iPhone. Two years later, it had become my camera of choice for documenting such a journey.
World Vision Australia is the Australian branch of the worldwide international charity that works with developing communities. One of World Vision’s key fundraising initiatives is the child sponsorship program, matching individual donors to a specific child and community. I was lucky enough to be asked by World Vision to join three other Australian bloggers – Eden Riley of Edenland, Kelly Burstow of Be a Fun Mum and Carly Jacobs of Smaggle – to document both the sponsorship program and the organization’s development projects throughout northern India. Over nine days we visited child journalist projects in the slums of Delhi, women’s training and farming projects in remote villages and other efforts. Eventually, Kelly, Eden and Joy (our World Vision social media officer) got to meet their sponsor children.
Creating a dialogue
As the group’s ‘token’ photo-blogger, my intention was to do a rolling photo documentary of the trip, presenting my photographs as a series of short snapshots, or ‘stories,’ of our experiences. At each site I tried my best to take photos to show what was happening but also to learn enough about the story to try and provide honest and accurate captions.
I shot more than 2,000 photos with my iPhone throughout the course of the trip. I was able to capture, edit, narrate, sequence and share a series of photos all from the phone the same day as they were taken. I decided to use Instagram and Twitter as the primary means to share the photo stories each day, so that followers (my own and those watching the #WVAIndia hashtag) could follow our itinerary in real time.
What this also meant was that followers could also connect with the trip by adding their own comments and questions almost instantaneously. This is, I think, the greatest advantage of shooting with a smartphone while travelling: the connection provided by social networks and the ability to share the work on daily basis. By using Instagram and Twitter, the photos became interactive: people were able to engage with images and ask questions about both the images themselves and the journey in general. Commenters also shared their own stories of travelling through India, the challenges of third world development, and even their own stories of hardship that they saw reflected in the images. It was as much about the dialogue as the photos themselves.
To show you how I used Instagram during the trip, I am sharing my favourite series of photos, taken on the second to last day, while we were visiting the slum regeneration project in the town of Raipur, in Chhattisgarh. As you can see, each photo is numbered and captioned. This helps people see, while they are scrolling through their feeds, that the shots are part of a larger series of work, and where they fit into the timeline of the trip. Longer accompanying captions can be found by clicking through to the Instagram photo directly.
Getting closer with a smartphone
Another great advantage of shooting with a smartphone on such a trip was seeing the locals relax when they saw me with my iPhone. They are familiar with smartphone cameras, and many pulled out their own phones to snap photos of us in return! I recognized that they, too, wanted to preserve the moment.
This photographic exchange was a great ice breaker on a number of occasions. One time, I exchanged phones with a young man who was documenting the welcoming ceremony that had been organised for our arrival in a village outside Bilaspur. The man showed me the videos and photos he’d been recording. I showed him what I’d taken, in turn. He smiled and gave me a big hug when we left the village.
As people relaxed, I was able to take more intimate photographs. I didn’t feel constrained by having to be ‘The Photographer’ on the journey. The phone let me participate in the projects and document them at the same time. There was no barrier between me and my subjects—I was no longer hidden behind a big camera.
The majority of my photos have little-to-no processing applied. I decided that, in this context, filters didn’t add anything to the stories I was sharing. I believe that knowing the colour of the sky, earth and skin helps people better relate to the location and subject of the image.
Camera phones are not without their limits
So were there any limitations? To be honest, yes, there were two: low-light shots and close-up portraits. While most smartphones have come a long way with low-light performance, it’s still not enough when you’re in a small single room house in an Indian slum lit by a single 20w flickering bulb. Also, while it’s more field of view rather than device related, I did struggle to take close up portraits that were flattering to the subject. On these two occasions I found myself taking out the DSLR and 50mm prime.
Tips for shooting with your smartphone abroad
1. Get a good camera replacement app which gives you control over focus and exposure.
I swear by ProCamera because it’s the fastest and most stable shooting app on the iPhone. Experiment to find your favorite app for your platform.
2. Back up your photos every night!
I also bring along my PC, so I just plug my iPhone in and copy photos over. You can also set up DropBox or Google Drive for Cloud Backup.
3. Get a spare battery pack.
You will need extra battery life when out in the field. I actually had two backup batteries.
You can find all my photos of the trip on my website. They are ordered from Day 8 through to Day 1. As mentioned above, click through on any photograph for a longer description of its contents and the subsequent comments from followers. You can also find out more about World Vision Australia’s development work on their website.
I’d love to hear from other photographers that use smartphones for photojournalism and if there are any other advantages or challenges that you find with the device. I’d also love for you to share any photos that you’ve taken by posting a link in the comments section below!
Misho Baranovic, @mishobaranovic, has worked as a photographer for many years and is prominent in the emerging practice of mobile photography. His street photography has been exhibited internationally and in 2011 he held his first solo exhibition, New Melbourne, in Melbourne, Australia. He is a founding member of the Mobile Photo Group, and the author of iPhone Photography.
|First, Let me check its expiry date. by rajeev22675|
from Best Photo of the Week
|Dairy Way by BodkinsBest|
from Best Astrophotography Landscape #4
Residents of a Paris street plagued by Instagrammers, selfie takers and music video crews are asking the city government for a weekend and evening ban to give them some peace.
The adapter plugs into the Osmo Pocket's USB Type-C port and features a 3.5mm TRS jack to plug in various external microphones.
Checkout allows Instagram users to select products for purchase and make payments directly in the app.
GauGAN as it's known, can create photorealistic images from basic drawings using the power of artificial intelligence.
The EOS RP is Canon's latest full-frame mirrorless camera, with diminutive dimensions and a diminutive price. Find out how it stacks up and get our thoughts in our early review.
Montana judge Dana L. Christensen has ruled the Republican National Committee did not infringe upon the copyright of photographer Erika Peterman after they took a photo from a Democratic candidate's Facebook page without permission and altered it to use in a derogatory promotional mailer.
Nikon has launched updates for three of its programs to address various bugs and glitches that could cause crashes and unwanted results.
LEE Filters has launched the LEE100, its next-generation filter holder that improves the design and looks in all the right places.
With the arrival of some much-needed sunshine and final production firmware for the Panasonic S1, we've been able to get outside and really start putting the camera through its paces.
Importing, culling and tagging photos is about to get a whole lot faster and look a whole lot better with the impending arrival of Photo Mechanic 6.
On its own, the FTZ adapter retails for $250 and when bundled it dropped the cost to just $150. Now, Nikon is offering it for free with all Z6, Z7 purchases in the United States.
Profoto said it spoke with Godox back at Photokina 2018 and continues to contact Godox in an effort to stop it from marketing its V1 light.
Product renders in Italian publication Notebook Italia show an unusual design that conceals all cameras with the help of a slider mechanism.
Canon says its new EF 400mm F2.8L IS III and EF 600mm F4L IS III lenses can suffer from an intermittent flickering when shooting video in M or Av modes with certain cameras.
Leica recently announced the Q2, a digital rangefinder with a fixed 28mm F1.7 lens. It's a heck of a lot of fun to shoot with, but is it right for you? Based on our time with the camera, and its specifications, we've examined how well-suited it is for common photography use-cases.
Now that our Panasonic Lumix S1R has final firmware, we couldn't wait to get out shooting with it - and we also tried the high-res mode, which combines files to get 187 megapixel images. Because sometimes, 47 megapixels just isn't enough.
In this article, travel and landscape photographer Mitch Green encourages us to spend more time in the the field.
the lens lacks any electronics whatsoever and is constructed entirely of glass and metal. Of course, that comes at the expense of weight — this thing weighs in at 1.1kg / 2.43lbs.
Drones can be useful tools in urban areas, where they're utilized for everything from news reporting to building inspections, but flying in these areas requires careful preparation. Here's what you need to know to do so safely.
Hasselblad has released a new cable release and USB double battery charger for its X1D medium format camera .
After a report published by NBC News, Flickr has taken heat for allegedly letting IBM 'scrape' photos for use in its facial recognition datasets. But the problem isn't what it seems on the surface.
Samyang has announced the impending arrival of the AF 85mm F1.4 FE lens for full-frame Sony cameras.
Some Photoshop shortcuts are simple and obvious. Others, not so much. Here are 15 shortcuts that are actually useful.
Twitter has redesigned its in-app camera for easier access from the timeline screen.
Independent cinema lens manufacturer SLR Magic has announced it will offer all of its existing MicroPrime range in the Fujifilm X mount and has even created a Fuji-specific 12mm lens.
We've updated our buying guides with three more cameras: the Canon EOS RP, Nikon Z6 and Olympus E-M1X.
CFexpress 2.0 cards will come in three different form factors, each of which will offer different maximum speeds.
Lensbaby has added a third tilt lens to its Optic Swap system, this time a 35mm lens, adding to the existing 50mm and 80mm options.
Sigma has released firmware updates for a number of its lenses as well as its EF-E adapter to address various errors and features with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.
We've added the Fujifilm X-T30 and Sony a6400 to our 'Best Cameras under $1000' buying guide. These two mirrorless models pack in a lot of features for just $900 body only.