Us bloggers have it somewhat easy nowadays, in terms of actually becoming a blogger. We don’t need big, fancy cameras with multiple lenses anymore thanks to advanced iPhone cameras making it a hell of a lot easier to create quality content without the [extensive] price tag. It’s no longer about the camera, it’s about the photographer and the skill they can bring to whatever device they have.
I’m a huge advocate of believing that you don’t need a camera to be an amazing blogger and you can take incredible photos with near enough whatever phone you have, as the skill lies in the person and the editing. At the start of my blogging ‘career’, I used my old iPhone 5s for a lot of my posts and even now, pure laziness means I use my iPhone for a lot of photos, blog and otherwise. That said, I did invest in a camera in the form of the holy grail Olympus Pen and I must admit, I do love it. However, I get a lot of use out of my iPhone for quick, easy blog and Instagram photos too.
Both photos taken in same area, with same artificial lighting. First photo is with my iPhone 8 Plus, second photo is with my Olympus Pen E-PL7 and the 45mm lens.
Your success lies in your passion, so hold onto that and you’ll be golden.
I actually really prefer using phones for photography; it puts the ‘Insta’ back into Instagram. Gone are the days when you’d snap a photo of your surroundings and upload it with the Valencia filter, there’s several stages to creating an Instagram photo and it takes a lot of fun out of the app. I often take my camera photos in a RAW format as it’s easier to edit them, so I transfer the files onto my laptop to brighten and convert them into JPEGs. After this I have to put them onto Google Drive, save them onto my phone, and then finish editing them on there. If I want to use them in a blog post, it’s back to the Drive. It gets pretty tedious so I’ve just stopped caring about Instagram.
It seems as though the desired effect for a lot of Instagram shots, mainly outfit shots, is no longer that dreamy depth of field that I would desperately try to achieve without the proper tools. We want a beautiful, full background that is perfectly in focus and filled with beautiful colours. Photos with that iconic blurred background are still lusted after, especially by me, but not for Instagram. I’m all about trying to make it a fun app again and stop trying to make it a business, she says as she has a business profile. I want to be more carefree about what I post and if that means less brand collabs then screw it! I’m not crying…
Top photo was taken using my iPhone 8 Plus using the flash, bottom photo was taken using artificial lighting on my Olympus Pen E-PL7 and the 14-42mm lens.
iPhone vs Camera – should you invest?
If you’re currently having to choose between the two, or you’re just not sure which one is more worthwhile investing in – I got you.
First up, the iPhone. Lightweight, multifunctional and crazy useful. Having a nice camera and phone all in one makes travelling and being out-and-about so much easier. At events and things (not that I’ve been to any recently) it’s easy enough to just bring out your phone and snap a few photos. Photos are right there ready to be edited and uploaded, and the quality doesn’t slack either which you can hopefully see from the examples throughout. Instagram, for some reason, tends to favour iPhone photos over camera photos in terms of the algorithm – your photos will likely been seen more if they’re from your mobile.
It makes me feel a LOT better shooting outfit photos on my iPhone, it’s less obvious what you’re doing. Most of my Paris photos were taken on my phone, and it doesn’t feel as awkward as lugging out a massive camera and striking a pose.
The lack of extra weight in your bag plus the ease of being able to snap on the go makes the iPhone 8 plus a must-have for me.
Top photo was taken using my iPhone 8 Plus and artificial lighting, bottom photo was taken using my Olympus Pen E-PL7 and the 45mm lens, also with artificial lighting.
The Olympus Pen is every bloggers’ dream camera. The bodywork is just beautiful, slightly retro, and very instagrammable. Price wise, the Pen is probably cheaper than the iPhone 8 Plus in the long haul. You also have a lot more freedom with your shots, what with being able to change lenses and alter settings as and when you need to. The remote control feature is one thing I could never give up – being able to see what I’m shooting via my phone is the most useful tool available.
It took me a while to figure out how to configure the settings to get high quality shots on the Pen, but once I did, oh man. That quality that can’t really be recreated by the iPhone 8 plus. I’ve started to shoot in RAW image files which I then edit and convert on my laptop, and I’m ridiculously happy with them. It does take a little longer to edit but the photos are absolutely worth it, and now I want to shoot people all the time because it’s so HD and satisfying. I’m still getting the hang of using the Pen to the best of its ability and I learn new things each time I shoot, and it’s nice to see that my photos are finally getting a little better.
If you’re wondering which of the two to invest in, it all comes down to what you want to use it for and what you feel more comfortable with. They’re both lightweight and compact, probably of a similar size to be honest, and both take amazing photos. I’ve not tried the 8 Plus in lowlight yet but I don’t think it’ll perform very well, but then again the Pen thrives in daylight or studio lighting as well so there’s not much competition there.
Top photo was taken with my iPhone 8 Plus with natural lighting, bottom photo was taken with my Olympus Pen E-PL7 with the 45mm lens and natural lighting.
I lean more towards my camera when I’m indoors and shooting, and more towards my iPhone 8 Plus when I’m out and about.
Being comfortable when you’re shooting is important, I’ve only now started to become comfortable with shooting outside and not shying away when someone walks near us mid-shoot. The phone is obviously the more discreet choice for outfit shoots, as it’s not glaringly obvious what you’re doing. The camera also isn’t too obvious as it’s not a massive DSLR, but it may turn some heads. I love both these devices and get equal use out of both of them – I could manage without the Pen and I could also manage without the 8 plus.
The best camera is the one you have with you. [Jay Maisel]
What do you use to take your blog photos?