What smartphone photography has given me in this 2020

2020 rewind: What smartphone photography has given me

Posted on Dec 12th, 2020

A year of reflection and change

2020 was a tough year, we all know that. What I want to do with this article is to talk about what smartphone photography has given me this year.

Personally, it was a year of pause and reflection. The total lockdown in Italy from March to May gave me three months in which to stop and think about what I was doing, with my life and with my photography. These were certainly dark months, on the one hand the fear of the pandemic, on the other the uncertainty about the future of work.

I have to be honest: they haven’t been very creative months. I didn’t have and didn’t feel the desire to photograph. I didn’t even feel the creativity to do new online content with courses or live streams that was full around at that time.

It was a period of reflection for me. I’ve read a lot trying to figure out how to improve myself and my business.

   I suggest you to give a look at all the “learning and inspirational” articles I wrote: you can find contents about Lightroom, Photoshop, Capture One Pro, photographic techniques and culture:

What smartphone photography has given me in this 2020
A photograph taken on the Italian mountain this summer 2020. I took the photo with the iPhone Xs in manual mode using Halide Camera App in Raw Dng and Developed the photo with Capture One Pro.

Summer: a photographic restart

After this period of calm, when we were able to return to go out normally, and resume our life (at least here in Italy), the best time of the year has also arrived. The one in which the days become longer and the colors become intense: the summer months.

With the beginning of summer I wanted to make a change: after years of using the Android system with the OnePlus smartphone, I decided to go back using iOS.

The reasons were not due to the fact that I felt bad with the OnePlus smartphone (I had a OnePlus 6T), on the contrary, I still consider it a very good, excellent device, but the fact that it lacked a true synchronization of the photographs with all the Apple computers that I use it daily for work.

In this regard, the Apple Photo system with iCloud is in my opinion clearly superior to Google Photo (and with the arrival of Apple ProRaw, the whole workflow is even more successful).

So I bought an iPhone Xs second-hand and started taking pictures again with it.

Started photographing again? After 18 years? Yes, I must say that I tried to have a different eye. And tried to feel more the moment I was living, thus bringing home the emotion I was feeling at that moment.

Also thanks to the commission of an important job for the tourism board of the “Friuli Venezia Giulia” region in Italy, after months of being stopped at home, I found myself exploring beautiful places that I had not personally seen before.

Smartphone photography, in this, has given me great freedom: knowing that I have a small but always ready-to-use device in my pocket, with the versatility of shooting in Raw Dng format, has allowed me to capture many images that otherwise would have gone lost.

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A photo that left a mark on me

In these galleries that I have shared with you here are many images taken this summer with the smartphone. But I would like to focus in particular on a photo, born from a truly unique and unrepeatable moment: I was by the sea relaxing during an early August afternoon. The sky was dark and I was reading a book.

Suddenly, in the sky, a gap opens up in the clouds that lets the sun’s rays pass. At the same time, exactly under my sight, two boys with beautiful red canoes were resting at the end of their training.

At that moment, having my smartphone with me allowed me to photograph this moment that otherwise would have remained only a memory in my mind. This is perhaps one of my favorite photos of this 2020.

What smartphone photography has given me in this 2020
One of my favorite shots of this 2020. A unique moment that I managed to stop thanks to the fact that I had the smartphone in my pocket.

Technical Notes on smartphone photographs taken

For all of this photo I used the Halide Camera App which I had heard about for a long time and which I missed on Android. It is true that there are other excellent apps for manual shooting on Android (such as the camera within Lightroom), but the graphical interface and manual management of the shot with the raw dng format on Halide are really excellent.

This also brings us to another new aspect for the end of this year: the introduction of Apple ProRaw in Apple’s default camera within the iPhone 12 Pro series models. In this way it will no longer be necessary to use external applications for shooting in raw dng format!

Speaking of the aspect of managing Raw shots for post production, all the photographs were developed with Capture One Pro, using my Custom development profiles created specifically to quickly develop smartphone raw photographs. If you are curious about these presets, subscribe to the Newsletter as there will be some interesting news about it soon!

   I suggest you to give a look at the smartphone review page where you can find other articles about smartphone photography :

A photograph taken in my hometown, Trieste. I took the photo with the iPhone Xs in manual mode using Halide Camera App in Raw Dng and Developed the photo with Capture One Pro.
A photograph taken in my hometown, Trieste. I took the photo with the iPhone Xs in manual mode using Halide Camera App in Raw Dng and Developed the photo with Capture One Pro.

What was your experience with smartphone photography?

To close this article, I would like to know your experience with smartphone photography, and if there was a shot you took that left its mark on your heart and mind (you can also report it sharing a link).

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