Dennis Calvert

Light Painting, Photography, and Other Creative Endeavors

Phoning It In

A few years ago I went for a walk one morning during a heavy snow. A teenager approached me and introduced himself as a photographer. He asked if it was ok to make my portrait and then pulled a cell phone out of his pocket. I liked that he wasn’t letting a lack of gear get in the way of his ambition. The ability to be a photographer is in everyone’s pocket. I even have an entrepreneurial friend who photographs all the products for his online store with his phone.

I went through a long phase this year where I pretty much only brought my phone when I went out on photo walks. I use my phone to capture ideas while I’m location scouting for future shoots. I don’t carry my camera to family events as much as I used to either. For everyday life, my phone has it covered.

I’ve developed a simple image workflow with my phone. It starts with capturing files in RAW. Most phones can do this. Second, I use manual controls for the camera app. On my Galaxy s8, the standard camera app has this feature. If yours doesn’t, there’s definitely something in the app store. Being able to at least control exposure time and ISO makes a huge difference.

After the image is captured, I import it into Lightroom mobile. From there you can can do all of the typical photo editing you would expect. The app is free, but has some nice additional features if you have a paid subscription to Creative Cloud. One cool feature with a paid subscription is that the files will sync across all of your instances of Lightroom CC. If you have the app loaded on your laptop, all of the images from your phone will be available to edit on your laptop as well.

Here are some examples of what you can do with a cell phone

Shot with my phone


dennis calvert

I used to carry a camera with me everywhere I went. My cellphone does a good enough job for daily life these days.