Cell phones have many advantages for a world traveler and
the obvious one is size and convenience .
When I travel, there certainly is compromise in what I bring and how available that equipment is to capture what I see. A smartphone that fits in your pocket, that you can carry everywhere is a natural choice. They are not that complicated and the results are not bad for a lot of applications. And that’s why everyone is out there are taking selfies and shooting tons of content — it’s just so darn easy to do. I am not saying it was best quality, but that’s another issue that needs plenty of discussion.
The beauty of a smartphone is that it’s like an electronic Swiss army knife. Not only can you take still pictures, you can also shoot videos, and you can record sound. You can also make notes about your travels and find photogenic locations with maps & GPS. The apps and tools are endless.
When traveling, taking all your “stuff” is always a compromise and a bother. So depending on many factors you could opt to just take a cell phone with you as your main media recorder. Friends of mine just left for a month to South Asia and all they are carrying is an iPhone and an old pocket camera.
Your phone is a conduit to all your friends and family back home and you can send them updates when encountering wonderful moments in real-time. This really is the awesome thing about your cell phone, how you can connect and feel closer to people in the world.
Another aspect of the smartphone is that you can edit and tailor your photos right there on the screen; even cut videos if you so desire. It can be awkward on a small screen, but you might have time lounging by the pool. I wait till I get home to do editing on better hardware and bigger screens.
Depending on what kind of connection you have to the internet, you can upload your content (during or after your trip) to a travelogue blog or Facebook or Instagram or send photos in emails… The options seem endless.
Now that I’ve said this, you will also have to consider the quality and the limitations of that little tiny lens in your phone and the shortcomings of JPG files. I’ll discuss more about these limitations of equipment and the creative process in future articles. As you might be aware, a phone camera is fairly simple in nature and thus many of your photos and videos will look similar in perspective and depth.
I love shooting pictures and over the last decade, it is wonderful to see other people enjoying photography and recording their life as it unfolds.
I think there’s a place for your camera phone on your trip, even if it’s just only as a backup or a tool of convenience. If it’s your main means of recording your trip, you have to understand that it may not be professional quality (but then again does have to be?).
Since we’re all trying to enjoy our holidays and not get bogged down with the photographic process and gear, it might be good enough. Make it fun and miss fewer shots.
A Few Favourite Android Camera Phone Apps:
HDR Camera – get better exposures of contrasty subjects
A Better Camera – HDR and more features
Paper Camera – fun interface, only a few effects, real time effects for video
Decim8 – surprising, creative, deconstructing of your photos (also on iPhone)
Cinema FV-5 – pro video camera features
Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder – a few more extra settings then most
Power Director – slide show or video editing, nice layout, fun for a quick edit
Do you have any favourites to recommend?