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07-18-2013, 09:05 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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My daughter's friends iphone pictures are better than mine with my K-5

Having teenage daughters, I find that following them on Twitter winds up giving me more information about their lives than they share with me sometimes. I also find it very helpful in getting insight about the friends they hang around with. In looking through Twitter the other day, I found myself amazed at how interesting the pictures are that they and their friends post. Especially profile pics. I found myself thinking thats a great shot of Jane, or Erin, or Emily.
All of these pics are taken with iphones or other camera phones, and many of them are great. Great because they convey emotion, mood, or personality. Not because they are shot at f 1.4 with amazing bokeh. Not because they used a beauty dish, softbox, or full frame. I have been trying for a while to figure out how to afford an FA 77. Instead, I need to figure out how to capture emotion, mood, or personality with the gear I have.

07-18-2013, 09:09 AM   #2
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Great post! I'm not familiar with your photos, but I bet they are just fine. However, I know what you mean. I sometimes spend so much time worry about the technical aspects of photography, that I forget the emotion and storytelling it's capable of.
07-18-2013, 09:17 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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Ah, the whole issue you are referring to is spontaneity and access. Your daughter and her friends behave differently with each other than they ever will with you. So, they are more spontaneous and they each have their phone with them 24/7 so they have complete access to take those shots. This is part of why I own a Q and my K-01 is Yellow instead of Black. I find that I get completely different reactions from people to those cameras over my K-5IIs (which I would prefer to use). The genuineness of the emotions, the more relaxed presentation by the people, and the resulting images are a real issue and the main reasons I own those cameras too.
07-18-2013, 09:19 AM   #4
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Good post. I guess it's all about emotion, either in the picture or drawing it out of the person viewing the photo.

07-18-2013, 09:51 AM   #5
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Point!
When I am on amateur models site and searching "photographs",
there is a lot of teenagers and young adults with fantastic photos taken by "poor" gears.
07-18-2013, 09:57 AM   #6
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There's spontaneous candid shots which prove the best camera is the one you have with you. Also, people feel less "watched" with a phone or P&S than a DSLR. I'm debating buying a Q for that reason alone...

Then there's the "eye" of a photographer. I don't consider myself having a great eye. My best shots are passable, but I have the patience to track down insects and birds etc. I guess that's a documentarian perspective rather than storyteller... I have friends who have exceptionally artistic minds who can frame shots better than I ever do.
07-18-2013, 10:12 AM   #7
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Different kinds of photos, eh? Different tools for different situations. My i phone is OK for web posting and spontaneous situations, but it falls apart in low light situations or if you want to blow the photos up at all.

In the end, though, the gear isn't as important as the photographer and the situation. Narrow depth of field, in many situations, is actually a detriment, even though it is the battle cry of all the gear heads out there.
07-18-2013, 10:33 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies, many excellent points by people here. You all got my point, I, like many, obsess over gear, and am always trying to figure out what the next thing is that I can buy that is going to help me get better pics. I do that because it's easy to do. It doesn't take any learning, it does not require me to get out of my comfort zone. I am a technically competent photographer, and my photos are good. I just wish I was more artistic, and had a better eye.

I like taking pictures of people, and a good part of that is art, and having the eye. I just need to work on that as much as I can, part of that is taking more photos instead of reading about gear. Don't get me wrong though, I still want that FA 77


Last edited by jake14mw; 07-18-2013 at 10:54 AM.
07-18-2013, 11:16 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Then there's the "eye" of a photographer. I don't consider myself having a great eye.
Nor do I, but . . It really isn't the camera. This was brought home to me 2x4 style recently.

My oldest daughter has been shooting consistently since eighth grade - 15 years now. She's taken photography and advanced photography courses beginning in HS and through college and now works full time in broadcast televsion - on the production side - in New York. She has a blog.

One day last February she posted an iPhone shot of Central Park, the brown shafts of winter bushes, unkempt dead grass, blown leaves and a low, winter sky. In the upper right, somewhat hidden in a bush, right in the eye of the Golden Spiral, is a dusky female cardinal. On the ground, right along the outer line of the golden spiral, is a bright red male cardinal, apparently looking down for seeds. Just a TINY spot of the brightest red in the browns and grays.

I emailed her about the composition and she replied though she of course knows all the rules, that she didn't intentionally compose the shot at all, it was just a quick snap with her phone - just a quick snap, but she knew it was right - while she was out on a walk with a friend.

She was pleased though that I got the idea she was tired of winter and she considered the birds harbningers of a coming spring.

Last edited by monochrome; 07-18-2013 at 01:27 PM.
07-18-2013, 12:18 PM   #10
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Phone cams are evil...

I haven't used mine much for people shots, but it is truly disturbing what good work can be done with the phone...

Flickr Search: samsung on fotostevia


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07-18-2013, 12:51 PM   #11
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HI Jake,

I don't shoot people much, but when I shoot candids, my best have been with medium to long teles (100mm-200mm) with a DSLR. By standing off, I reduce the camera/lens intimidation factor, and people rarely know they are the one being photographed. I can be across the room but still shoot tight, as I prefer head shots. A major advantage in shooting a DSLR vs a compact or phone for candids is the OVF. With an EVF, what you see on your camera's VF has already happened. With an OVF, it's still a challenge to capture the right moment, but especially with my aging reflexes, being able to view the scene without VF lag, it's a lot easier for me. The perspective is different, but for me, capturing the right moment is more important, so I could care less. Withe faster teles, you still can get reasonably narrow DOF, so subject isolation is rarely an issue. I've found that my subjects rarely are aware I'm shooting them. All they might know is that the camera is pointed in their general direction.

My favorite lens for this indoors is the DA* 50-135. It's big, but it's sharp wide open and silent, and usually long enough for what I want. Outdoors, I favor my Tokina 80-200 f2.8 AT-X. It's big and the screw drive focusing is noisey, but the sound is really not evident to the subjects at the distances I'm shooting at.

Scott
07-18-2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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Great post!

Those cell phone cameras are awful (but to be fair are getting better). Yet that does not stop them capturing great images!

Brings home the point that one of the advantages of the Pentax systems (K and Q) is that they are not large compared to some - yet generally performance wise remain competitive with those system.
Small size + portability is an advantage.
07-18-2013, 12:56 PM   #13
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In Joe McNally's "LIFE Guide to Digitial Photography" he talks about shooting a portrait of a schoolgirl. He tells her that the best thing she can do is ignore him, which she then did. This is reflected in the portrait he took, where she is focusing on the building blocks she's working with. So much of people pictures is their state of mind at the time of the shot. (I'll happily settle for a DA 70 if I can't get a FA77).
07-18-2013, 01:13 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
Those cell phone cameras are awful (but to be fair are getting better). Yet that does not stop them capturing great images!
Lens the size of a pin head backed by a sensor the size of a piece of confetti, but truly amazing the quality of some of the images. That being said, I find mine to be a cumbersome photographic tool, particularly in bright light.


Steve
07-18-2013, 01:30 PM   #15
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Nice post dad. I have to do my Facebook "creeping" on the sly or else my teenage daughter goes ballistic. I've been very impressed with what teens today can do with their phone cams and software filters within minutes. I hope I live long enough to see the longer term impacts on fine art photography.

M
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