Does your camera make phone calls? How many megapixels is your cell phone? Doesn’t makes sense does it?
With the increasing popularity of built in cameras with our cell phones today, it’s no longer a question as to whether you’ll use it at all but how often you’ll use it. It seems as though there is as much emphasis on the cameras in the phones today as there is memory, battery length and amount of apps we can store. I recently saw a TV commercial for a phone with a camera and the only thing they talked about were the features of the camera, nothing else.
I admit, when I started using a cell phone to actually make calls, I thumbed my nose to the cameras on them. I deemed them useless and a gadget rather than a useful tool. I’m a part time professional photographer who has been investing in and upgrading digital SLR’s since they were invented. Why would I even consider using my phone to take a photo? Granted, I have always preferred an alternative to taking my CompactFlash cards out of my cameras, hooking them to a card reader, saving them and editing them just to be ready to upload to sites like Facebook. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to a half an hour. Now I’m doing it from my phone on a pretty regular basis and don’t regret it for one minute. I’ve seen the light (pun intended). My profile photo below was taken with my phone to post here and on Twitter. It took less than 4 minutes to have it ready and uploaded.
Statistics on the popular photo sharing site Flickr demonstrate how far behind I am in regards to what devices are being used to capture the majority of digital photos today. Flickr has the ability to track the type of camera used for every photo that is uploaded to their site via the embedded EXIF data usually saved when the photo is uploaded. They admit that sometimes it’s not an exact science but it’s reliable enough to show what devices are consistently being used the most. See where I’m going with this? To date, the top 4 ‘most popular cameras’ of Flickr users are the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 & 5S. Naturally, they also top the 4 out of 5 ‘most popular camera phones’ on the site with the Samsung III in 5th place.
Now, the question is, for those not uploading to sharing sites like Flickr, Facebook or Instagram, what happens to these images after they’ve been taken? Do you plug your phone in and save the photos on a regular basis? Do you just keep adding and adding to the gallery on your phone and forget about them? I regularly take my removable cards from my DSLR’s to empty and format them for continued use. I’m of the opinion that we, as phone photographers, don’t make enough of a habit of emptying our phones or saving those photos on a regular basis. Does this put them in jeopardy if we lose the phone or if it breaks? Sadly, that’s a resounding yes.
Do yourself a favor. Plug that phone in, make a copy of the photos to your computer or tablet. Keep them on your phone to use as a portable photo album if you like, but have at least 2 copies. Storage is cheap, memories are priceless.