Can an iPhone Make You a Better Photographer?

by Bret Edge | January 16, 2013

© Bret EdgeI’m a professional photographer and I have a confession to make: I use my iPhone camera more often than my 5D Mark II. It’s true! My iPhone is with me about 100% of the time, the 5DII not so much. It just isn’t practical to lug around a bulky, three pound camera everywhere I go. As a result, it isn’t uncommon to find me pointing my iPhone at a nuclear sunset, a funky tree or a buddy shredding on his mountain bike. The photo below was made while guiding a couple clients on a lovely afternoon in Arches National Park. I used two apps: Autostitch to create a pano from several frames and Snapseed to process the image on my iPhone. Photoshop? What’s that?

Firery Furnace at sunset, panoramic © Bret Edge

No doubt many of my colleagues find this amusing, maybe even annoying. I don’t care. You see, I believe that even serious photographers can improve their skills using an iPhone, point and shoot or other unsophisticated little camera. I enjoy the process of making photographs. I get fired up when I’m able to make a photograph of a beautiful, fleeting moment in nature. Sure, given the opportunity, I’d reach for the 5DII. When it isn’t available but my iPhone is, should I just not make an image? There are times I just sit back and enjoy the moment. Not every sunset needs to be photographed. But, there are also occasions when I’m stoked to have my iPhone so I can share the moment with friends and family.

When you first became serious about photography, what one thing helped you to become a better photographer? Was it reading how-to books and articles? Was it trolling internet photo forums? Maybe it was sitting at the local bookstore flipping through the pages of some famous photographer’s coffee table book? No? Let me guess—it was getting out as often as possible to make photographs, wasn’t it? That’s what worked for me and in conversation with my workshop clients, the act of making images has consistently been a key factor in improving one’s ability to see and to compose a dynamic photograph. Given that logic, isn’t it safe to assume that making photographs with any camera on a regular basis is bound to make you a better photographer, even if it is just a silly little iPhone?

Oak leaf on ice crystals © Bret Edge

About the Author

Bret Edge is a nature and adventure photographer in Moab, Utah. His interest in photography evolved as an extension of his life long passion for the outdoors. He is an avid hiker, backpacker, mountain biker and canyoneer. A visit in 1999 to an exhibit featuring photographs by Ansel Adams, Jack Dykinga and David Muench stoked Bret's creative fire such that he immediately purchased his first SLR camera, a Canon Rebel. In the years since, he has traveled extensively throughout the American West creating a diverse portfolio of dynamic images.

Bret's work has appeared in magazines, calendars, travel guides and advertising campaigns. His clients include Backpacker magazine, Popular Photography, the Utah Office of Tourism, Charles Schwab & Co. and Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.

While Bret enjoys seeing his work in print, he receives the most satisfaction by helping others realize their potential as photographers. He accomplishes this by leading several group workshops each year and guiding photographers on private photo excursions. For information about his workshops and guided excursions, visit www.moabphotoworkshops.com. To view a collection of Bret's images, visit www.bretedge.com.

Bret lives in Moab with his wife, Melissa, their son Jackson, and two All-Terrain Pugs named Bierstadt and Petunia.

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