Week 5 – Camera Phone Photography

Five weeks down… some more to go, maybe like 18 more to go.

The theme this weekend was Camera Phone Photography, more specifically the photo had to be taken with a camera phone! The reason Brent chose this theme was because people complain about the gear. As photographers we are judged on what gear we are shooting with. Is it Canon or Nikon. Do we have L or N glass or are we shooting with a Tamaron, or Sigma. People use the basis of gear to judge you on your overall skill and the visual quality of the image. I don’t know how many people I have heard say something like, “you must have a really expensive camera” because they liked my pictures, or “The only way I could get a good is if I buy a 1D [or something compliment].” But what if the idea of “higher-end” gear is stripped away… Then no one can have any excuses. Hence the idea of using the camera on your phone.

I’m happy to say that this week the photos will be judged by Shawn Rocco, a News & Observer (Raleigh-Charlotte Newspaper) photographer and published cellphone photographer. About a year ago, he came to N.C. State to talk to us about the importance of the best camera is the one you have with you. Don’t let the idea of not having an SLR get you down from not capturing a moment.
Please got visit Shawn’s site and check out his photography and cellular obscura work.  

Here are the submissions for this week. Fell free to leave your thoughts as Brent Jordan and I are trying to approve our photography while having some fun.


Thanks for asking me to judge. Photo 1 is first, 2 is second, 3 is third. Why? Photo 1 is the cleanest of the compositions. The frame feels balanced, not awkward.

Photo 2 has much better light and subject matter (and not because it’s a girl in a bathing suit) and an “almost” moment, but it needs a different crop or a different composition. If the photographer moved so the girl was on the left it would feel more balanced. Or if they moved so there was nothing but water (or forest or mountains) behind her, that would have helped too. Moving a few feet in either direction would have moved this to first place.

I like the angle of Photo 3. I applaud the photographer for using an “extreme” angle by getting above the subject matter. But this needs something more to it. The composition feels okay, but it needs a better moment, or something more graphic to elevate it to a higher placing in the competition.

So, I like the idea, but (after seeing your work in the other categories) I’ll be honest, these don’t hold up. I hate to say that, but I can see the talent (of ideas and execution) in the previous themes and these aren’t on the same level.

And it’s not the technical quality. It’s the composition and/or subject matter that detracts from these photos. Because of those distractions, you’ve almost proven the point you were trying to dismiss with this theme.

A camera phone is still a camera. It’s still a tool to deliver your vision. And they’re all so good today in terms of quality and shutter delay, that for moments like the ones you’ve shown here, they’d be competitive against expensive SLRs.

Plus… because the content is all so different, it makes it harder to compare and contrast for judging purposes.

I say this was a practice run. Do it again. Pick a sub-theme, let’s say “blue”, or the idea of “heat”, whatever. Push it a little like you did in the prior contests, and shoot something that will make people question whether it was shot with a camera phone or a “professional” camera.

I look forward to seeing those results!



Brent   9
Jordan 1
Luis      5