Mobile Phone Photography

In the modern era, the majority of people are walking around with a mobile phone in their pocket, and, therefore, this means that the majority of people also have a camera on them that can take photographs. This is known as ‘mobile phone photography’ or ‘iPhoneography’ and has become very popular over recent years, owing to the growth in smartphones, technology and social media. 

1.43 trillion photographs were taken in 2020, ‘90.9% of these were taken on mobile phones’ (Canning, 2020) illustrating just how popular mobile phone photography has become. ‘A large number of mobile photos are snapshots of daily life’ (Gray, 2012) accumulating in their thousands on our camera rolls, sometimes even becoming forgotten about unless we share them to our digital audiences on social media. These photos aren’t always works of art, but, compared to the people in the 1800’s who would often own only one photo of a deceased family member, we are extremely lucky to be able to have the opportunity to take as many photos as we’d like and to have these images recorded forever. I feel that this is also an important way of documenting the times we are living in for future generations to examine in the same way we examine photos of the past. Although, it will be interesting to see what they would think of us when they scroll through our old selfies with bunny ear filters and photos of latte art. 

Instant Gratification

Mobile phone photography gives us instant gratification when it comes to our captures – we no longer have to carry bulky cameras around, insert rolls of film and attempt to alter complicated settings. But, most importantly, we no longer have to wait for our photos to be processed in a photography lab. Instead, we have everything in the palm of our hand, simplifying the photographic process significantly.

Street Photography 

The instantness of mobile phone photography is incredibly useful when it comes to street photography as it enables the photographer to capture more unexpected moments in a shorter space of time, which can be crucial when taking candid street photos. For example, on my iPhone, I only have to press the home button and swipe to get to the camera, making this process hassle free. Also, looking back to my research on whether street photography is acceptable, I feel that people may feel less threatened when someone is taking photos on a mobile because ‘the ubiquity of these cameras, combined with their unobtrusiveness, have made them particularly effective at capturing candid moments in public spaces […] mobile photographers can get close to their subjects and not be recognised as a photographer, allowing them to get more authentic images of people’ (Gray, 2012).

Professional Photographers

There are many photographers still working today who are very loyal to their DSLR cameras and would most likely look down upon mobile phone photographers as ‘amateurs’. And, whilst I do agree that DSLR cameras have a much better optical zoom function and better specifications in general, I do feel that it is very ‘important to remember that a better camera won’t make you a better photographer’ (Iphotography, n.d.) I personally feel that the more important aspects to good photography would be composition, lighting and editing. There are lots of successful photographers who mostly shoot on mobile phones, such as Jason Peterson. Below are some of his photographs which were captured and edited on an iPhone. 

Photo Editing

Through the use of mobile photography apps, we are able to make our mobile captures look even better. They ‘give you the creative power of Photoshop, and more besides, without being tied to your desk’ (Gray, 2012). Also, the majority of these apps are free or cost very little, meaning more people have access to this compared to when photography was more expensive to pursue. Photo editing apps are also quick and easy to use. Photographer Peterson explains how, when editing his iPhone photographs, he spends ‘up to 5 minutes editing a photo – though it usually only takes 30 second to 1 minute’ (Artifact Uprising, n.d.). 

Social Media

Through the use of social media, we are able to share our photographs with a wider audience. We may limit this to just family and friends, or use social media as an influencer or to promote photography to potentially millions of followers. Many photographers now use apps such as Instagram to market their work and gain connections in the field, sometimes going onto getting paid work. 


Canning, J (2020) 1.43 trillion photos were taken in 2020 but how many were of them were captured on our mobile phones? Available online: [Accessed 5/11/21].

Gray, R (2012) The rise of mobile phone photography. Available online: [Accessed 4/11/21].

Iphotography (n.d.) How good is iPhoneography? Available online: [Accessed 5/11/21].

Artifact Uprising (n.d.) Guide to black and white photograph. Available online: [Accessed 5/11/21].

Pie Chart circle created using:

Canva (2021) Graph Maker. Available online: [Accessed 5/11/21].

Pie Chart Data From: 

Canning, J (2020) 1.43 trillion photos were taken in 2020 but how many were of them were captured on our mobile phones? Available online: [Accessed 5/11/21].

Jason Peterson Images:

Wesson, K (n.d.) How Jason Peterson takes incredible black and white street photos with iPhone. Available online: [Accessed 5/11/21].

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