I decided last month to do a series of photos of my dog using an iPhone, instead of my trusty DSLR. I’m not sure what that would be similar to for a painter or sculptor, but we can definitely say that an iPhone is not the ideal tool. It presents a lack of control – I can’t tell it how quickly to react, I can’t tell it how deep or shallow the depth of field should be, and I can’t tell it to change the lens. It’s a sort of general tool that will get a decently exposed photo in many situations, and that’s about it. Just like any tool, the quality of the work it produces depends heavily on the operator’s knowledge.
The first few photos I took were fine, as you might expect. They were nicely composed, and cute. How could my fuzzy friend not be? But I ran into some problems with things like motion blur – Heidi gets excited when you simply look in her direction. Sitting still is not her strong point. Some of that might be corrected through additional lighting (more light means it takes less time to make a proper exposure), but some of that is simply the nature of the iPhone, and its slower response time. This was clearly an exercise that would force me to stretch and exercise my creative muscles.
With a little practice, some lighting know-how, and some strategic planning, I managed to get a shot that I was very happy with. I went ahead and had it printed on canvas, and it is now displayed prominently in my living room!
I plan to continue with this project, and see what else can be done within the constraints that an iPhone presents. I may or may not do more portraits of my dog. The main rule is to work with an iPhone for my camera. Stick around to see the results!
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the images below. Click on them to see larger versions, and read comments about them.