Photography has evolved dramatically over the centuries, with some of the most notable changes happening in the recent past. It was only a few short years ago that people would carry around their MP3 player, cell phone, and digital camera. Now, most consumers have smartphones— the device that offers all of those technologies combined.
Mobile photography has created a cultural shift in the past few years. Combined with the social media revolution, 2021 looks a lot different than 2005.
Here are five ways mobile photography is changing the world.
The Rise of Selfie Culture
One of the biggest shifts caused by mobile photography is the rise of selfie culture. While people started taking self-portraits years previously, mobile photography transformed how one takes photos of themselves (and how often).
The word “selfie” was recorded as early as 2002, but it didn’t really take hold until a decade later, when smartphones became a household staple. In 2013, it was deemed the Word of the Year by the Oxford English Dictionary.
Now, selfies have become a cultural phenomenon. There are endless selfie poses for girls, filters and augmented reality components, and a significant shift in marketing practices to incorporate selfie-taking. In essence, selfie culture wouldn’t exist without mobile photography.
Enhanced Editing Capabilities
Another significant shift in the world of photography is enhanced on-the-spot editing capabilities. Photographers can snap a photo, either with their phone or camera, and edit it on the spot. Cloud technology allows photographers to keep working on their edits from a mobile device, and the integration of filters and editing apps can transform a photo with the click of a button.
These enhanced editing capabilities have allowed for the rise in influencer marketing and assisted with time management for professional photographers. No more spending hours on Photoshop in a dark room to meet a deadline; you can do it all mobile with presets developed and shared by other creators.
In the past, sharing images was an arduous process. Large files would have to be copied to a disc or USB fob, then manually transferred to someone else or taken for printing to a specialty shop. Going back further, photographers would have to fight with storage on a floppy disk or print doubles if they wanted to share images.
Now, cloud sharing makes it possible to instantly share photos with hundreds of people with the click of a button. Friends can share their images on social media and tag others to provide an instant update in the moment. Professional photographers can provide secure access to high-resolution photos via the cloud, streamlining delivery times and minimizing production costs.
Endless Photo Opportunities
Once upon a time, photographers would have to juggle film or memory cards to ensure they had sufficient room for any special moments that arose. This limitation led to being intentional with taking photos. Now, it’s not uncommon for someone to snap dozens of photos a day, retaking a shot until they get it just right.
Mobile photography has created endless photo opportunities. It’s also altered how we handle photos after they’re taken. Many of the photos taken every day are never printed, staying in digital form forever. It’s also created cultural shifts in etiquette and ethics.
Easier Traveling and On-the-Go Photos
Finally, it’s easier than ever to take photos on the go. Travelers who wish to document their excursions aren’t tasked with carrying around heavy or expensive equipment. Instead, it’s as simple as pulling out one’s phone, pointing it at the surroundings, and capturing the shot.
So what does this paradigm shift mean for classic photographers?
For professionals, the rise of self-proclaimed photographers may seem like an increase in competition. However, when applied in a business setting, the quality difference between dedicated photographers and those who rely on the technology rather than understanding composition speaks for itself. Still, brands are moving toward influencer-led marketing and away from traditional practices, such as stylized photoshoots.
These changes to the world of photography will continue to evolve as time goes on. It’s an exciting prospect to consider how mobile photography will continue to disrupt the photography industry over time. The key is to adapt, continue learning, and focus on your craft.