Camera vs Smartphone

2013-10-07 08:31
If ever there were two things intrinsically intertwined it would be travel and photography. The advent of the smartphone, along with the rise of social media, has seen the traditional DSLR camera significantly challenged.

We chat to #Igers fundi Thoban Japppie about his passion for travel photography and source a few tips for those of you who are into all pics filtered.

Born & raised in Cape Town, Jappi has also lived in Jozi for 12-years. He confesses he is self-taught when it comes his chosen field of audio production, having produced the likes of the Mark Gilman Show. In October 2012, he partnered with Roy Potterill, to start up Mobile Media Mob (MMM). As a Content Agency, specialising in visual communication MMM uses Instagram in conjunction with Twitter & Facebook, to drive client campaigns through the production and distribution of unique visual material, to leverage companies or brands with their chosen consumers.

Tell us about your passion for mobile photography?

My passion for mobile photography can be traced back to the first photo that I posted to Instagram, on September 11th 2011 - up until then, I did not consider photography as a creative outlet - least of all as a business opportunity.

Prior to being bitten by the Instagram bug, I only ever used my entry level Sony Cybershot for family snapshots, and played with a friends DSLR once, but found it quite intimidating.

In contrast, shooting photos with my mobile phone, was a lot less complicated, and fun. Plus the fact that I always have my smartphone on me, means I can capture moments as they occur in my daily life - and share them instantly with my friends, family, and followers via my social media platforms.

Like many newbies, my initial foray into mobile photography was littered with pics of family pets, food, and other stereotypical Instagram shots, but as I got more immersed in this field, I started to develop an "eye" - and soon I was seeing shots everywhere. The positive influence, support and feedback from my friends & followers, spurred me on, and I joined the local Instagram community, called IGers for an Instawalk - a prearranged meeting, where Instagramers get together, and walk around an area / neighbourhood / location, taking photos.

This involvement with fellow IGers cemented my relationship with Instagram, and mobile photography, truly inspiring me to do more. With my interest in photography totally peaked, my [amazing] wife bought me a top class Compact Camera, the Canon G12, and I attended a 6week night course at the CapeTown School Of Photography.

This was of immense value, as it educated me in the fundamentals of photography, and made me appreciate the importance of composition, light, and subject matter. After successfully completing the Compact Camera course, I felt more comfortable with a 'normal' camera, but my mobile phone is still my camera of choice.

On a recent trip to the USA, I shot 50 images on my G12, and over 2 500 on my iPhone.  In summary: I'm passionate about mobile photography, because it offers me a way to express and share my creativity in a convenient, accessible way.

To quote a photojournalist friend "Instagram improves your visual literacy!"

Out cold on the 6, NYC. (Thoban Jappie)

What’s your favourite mobile camera and why?

The iPhone is my preferred and favourite mobile camera. I'm currently using an iPhone 5 [would love the new i5S] and previously had an i4S and a 3GS. I've been an Apple user for countless years - their products dominate every facet of my personal & professional life! I'm most comfortable with the Apple UI, the i5's processor is super quick, and i like the iPhone camera's picture quality. The vast array of apps available in the Apple AppStore, is also a big drawcard…

Biggest fail when it comes to mobile photography?

Selfies and coffee photos! :) OK, all jokes aside… In my opinion, the biggest fail is over edited photos, and excessive use of HDR.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. (Thoban Jappie)

Top three hacks for mobile photography?

1. Check your light - use the best available natural light to capture your subject. Consider moving / repositioning the subject, so that the light works for your shot. Be sure to focus on, and expose your subject correctly, to capture a clear, sharp image. Watch out for shadows and how, or where they fall. Be careful about shooting directly into the sun - flares are nice, but can sometimes blowout your pic. Experiments with artificial light can deliver some cool results.

2. Compose your shot - think about the photo you're trying to capture, and arrange the subject accordingly in the shot, thereby guiding the viewers attention. Use the "rule-of-thirds": position the subject in one third of the shot, thereby allowing other interesting elements to be visible in the frame. Adjust your perspective, hold your mobile up high, down low, or shoot from above, or below - lending a unique angle to the shot.

3. Know your apps - editing a photo is fun, and can elevate a good shot into a great shot! Use an app to straighten, sharpen or brighten a photo. Try adding colour and contrast, or crop unwanted detail out of the shot. Use filters to achieve a retro feel, or add a vignette to lend mood. You can blend images together, add typography, textures, and really create something arty! My top apps are: Snapseed, VSCO Cam, PicFX, Afterlight, Blender, Squaready, Over, PicFrame

One World Trade Center & Lower Manhattan Skyline, NYC. (Thoban Jappie)

Must have gadget when it comes to mobile camera?

1. GorillaGrip or a small/mini tripod: good investment, but make sure you get a GripTight clamp too. It slots onto the tripod, and holds your mobile device securely. The tripod will enable you to take long exposure, or slow shutter photos, eliminates unwanted shaky hands syndrome, plus if used in conjunction with a timer, it means you can setup the shot, then step into frame, and be included in the photo.

2. Olloclip: clip-on lenses that enable the mobile camera user to take fisheye, wide angle, and macro shots.

St Agnes Church, NYC. (Thoban Jappie)

What springs to mind when we mention the following:

After Google, the search engine i use most frequently.

Where good videos live.

My curated view of the world - great images, shared by the coolest community.

Looping video snippets, that i can tweet.


Downloaded it early August, but still haven't tried it out.

Had to Google this… :P

Top of the Empire State Building looking West towards the Hudson River, NYC. (Thoban Jappie)

What would you recommend for those just getting into it?

Have fun! Get out there and shoot! Join a photography based social platform, where you can share your images, and be inspired by the work of others.

Bernal Heights Park, San Francisco. (Thoban Jappie)

What do you think the next biggest trend in photography is?

The gap between DSLR and Mobile is closing… Mobile sensors are getting bigger & better, and some DSLR's are Wi-Fi enabled. It all bodes well for photo enthusiasts.

Already on Instagram, why don't you suggest your pic for our photo of the day
and mention us in a comment on your pic and we'll check it out!? If not, follow us on Instagram.

Also hook up with your preferred community to get involved in an instawalk: igerssouthafrica, igersjozi, igerscapetown, igersDurban

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