iPhoneography, The New Genre Of Photography
Instagram And iPhoneography Combine For Social Power
I was doing some research on the newest genre of photography, iPhoneography, and found a claim that stated, “10-percent of all photos taken in the lifetime of photography were done in the past year due to the infusion of smartphones in the world population.” While I’m not sure how accurate that statistic is, I can honestly say, between iPhones, iPads, Droids, Galaxy’s, HTC’s, and tons of photography apps, obviously photography has exploded to record levels.
iphone photo processed through Instagram--a popular app for iPhoneography.
Though we’re not talking about an explosion of professional photographers, in fact, it’s probably safe to say there is a decline in full-time professional photographers due to so many people with cameras today (PWCs) along with the dramatic changes in the stock photography business models. Not to mention the world economic woes hasn’t helped professional photographers.
While stock photography is another world, iPhoneography is an exploding new world thanks to iPhones equipped with higher resolution cameras—in fact, back when Nikon introduced the Nikon D2Hs in 2005, the resolution of that top professional photojournalism camera was only 4.1 megapixels. An iPhone 4 touts five megapixels and the new iPhone 4s not only bumped up the resolution to eight megapixels, but according to Apple, it’s 33-percent faster than its predecessor, includes an A5 processor with a built-in image processor with face detection, plus a 26-percent improved auto white balance system.
iPhone 4 photo of Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Though it’s no digital-single-lens-reflex (DSLR) camera, the iPhone 4s does include a flash plus an auto-focus lens with an aperture of F/2.4 and a backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that allows 73-percent more light. This camera phone also includes a hybrid IR filter designed to deliver better color accuracy than the iPhone 4. Regardless, it’s not only some camera, but this is the kind of quality to expect and be improved upon in the future, not only from Apple, but from all smartphone major players like Sony, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc. So it’s no surprise, the explosion of photography and more specifically, iPhoneography, is startling.
As an example, one place where you’ll find the biggest bulk of iPhoneographers is Instagram, an iPhone app with photography filters that had only 100,000 users in Oct. 2010 and two months later broke 1 million users. As of Oct. 2011, Instagram was up to over 12 million users! Though it seems like a cult at times, it’s such a powerful social media that you’ve got celebrities like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Snoop Dogg and others using it too—basically it’s the “Photo Twitter” social network of today and it’s even used by Klout to rate a person’s social power (social networking influence). Though I signed up early for it, I didn’t really start using it until earlier this year when Klout added it to their social influencer metrics. (See Free Instagram Website Using Tumblr)
Here are two of my iPhoneography photos utilizing Instagram filters.
Instagram is so powerful that companies like Starbucks and Burberry plus television giants like MTV and ABC World News use it too. Instagram seems almost like a hybrid Facebook and Twitter in that it uses #hashtags (Twitter) plus comments and likes (Facebook) with an emphasis on visual communication, photos. The cool thing about Instagram, though it’s an iPhone app, is that you don’t need to shoot every photo with an iPhone, in fact, you can upload photos taken with your professional camera and post produced using products like Adobe® Photoshop into your iPhone using iTunes. Just be sure to hashtag your Instagram photo with #iPhoneography as it’s one of the biggest trending tags for Twitter and Instagram that will help bring your photography more marketing exposure.
While the iPhone and all smartphone cameras are limited with the lack of image sensor size, non-interchangeable lenses, and other high-end features found in popular DSLR cameras, the growing market share will obviously cause research and development to attack those limitations—as Apple says in their television commercials, “Why would anyone want to limit the iPhone?”
iPhone 4 photo of the Banff National Park area in Alberta, Canada.
Steve Jobs is in heaven away from all his board meetings, but I’m sure Apple will continue his evolutionary tradition and I predict future iPhones will probably include interchangeable lenses and new photographic accessories. I wouldn’t be surprised if future iPhones come complete with Carl Zeiss or Leica interchangeable lenses—Apple is the leader in smart phone photography and I’m sure they want to stay on top and staying on top means giving the consumer something better than their competitors.
The big giant I’m sure Apple is watching is Sony. A few days ago it was leaked that Sony has a new smart phone designed to “outmatch Google’s flagship Galaxy Nexus.” This new camera is reported to sport a 13-megapixel camera and a 4.55-inch display. Sony just filed the trademark “Xperia ION” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this month and many believe this is the name of their upcoming smartphone camera. Obviously iPhoneography is a genre based on iPhones, though we might have to funnel all smartphoneography into one catchall genre, phoneography, as smartphones start becoming more like DSLR cameras.
Professional photographers realize the power of the iPhoneography genre and one of the most influential photographers with social media, Jack Hollingsworth, teaches classes on iPhoneography. Jack’s photography is not only marketed by the top stock market photography houses like Corbis, Getty and Blend Images, but Jack is ranked by Klout as one of the top three most influential persons in photography through social networking. Jack claims on his professional photography website that he’s “iPhone obsessed…shooting the most powerful work of his career.” In 2011 Kodak presented him with the Excellence in Connection Award “for his achievements in modern technology, social media, and blogging among photographers.” Jack is followed by thousands of people with iPhone cameras on Instagram too.
Just like Jack, I’ve taken a serious liking to the iPhone as a camera in my photographer’s toolbox that adds a new photographic style capability along with the fun, social media power of Instagram. As an example, every photo in this blog post was taken with my iPhone 4 (yes, don’t have the iPhone 4s yet) and while some were post produced with Adobe® Photoshop, others were post produced with the Instagram filters on my iPhone. As they say, the best camera for a photographer is the one in their hands at the time they capture the photo.
The sun was setting on my way home from Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, so I stopped and took this photo to add to my iPhoneography portfolio.
I took these photos on Christmas Eve while visiting Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. The irony as a professional photographer, I carried two other cameras with me, my personal Canon 5D Mark II and photographer friend Jack Werner’s Nikon D200 that I borrowed with a wide-angle lens because the Banff excursion was not planned on this visit to Canada, so I needed a wide-angle backup. I took one photo with the Nikon, none with the Canon, and the rest of my photos for the entire trip with my iPhone. I then posted some of them immediately to Instagram, something I cannot do with any DSLR camera instantly. I took some nice photos, but just as important, I utilized social media for social networking immediately—now that’s instant social power through photography as it happens.
Within seconds of capturing this photo with my iPhone 4, I uploaded the image to Instagram which "pushed it" to my Facebook wall and tweeted it automatically off my Twitter account.
Perhaps the major DSLR camera companies should look at an accessory that attaches to their camera bodies to transmit immediately to Instagram—and if you have your Instagram account push to tumblr, Twitter and Facebook like I do, that’s a marketing multiplier.
So whether you believe or not the statistic that 10-percent of all photos taken in the lifetime of photography were done in the past year due to the infusion of smartphones in the world population, iPhoneography is a major star and doesn’t appear to have the short life of a supernova. Certainly iPhoneography is shining super bright with future potential, much like the iPhone itself. And if you were to ask Jack Hollingsworth he’ll probably tell you, “The iPhone may just be remembered as the most influential capture device ever in the history of photography.”
With that I close and ask you to please don’t forget the men and women that proudly serve to protect your freedoms for many of them were not able to spend their holidays with their family and friends. God Bless them all! Rolando.