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[Op Ed] Why I Moved to Mobile Photography

[OP Editorial] Why I Moved to Mobile Photography by Sony Arouje

Originally posted here.

I am passionate about photography and ended up buying a Nikon DSLR back in 2007. Since then I have fallen in love with photography. A year or two ago I stopped taking photos. It’s not because I lost the passion, it’s because my responsibilities held me back from roaming around with my camera. I wanted to spend time with my son  instead of in the streets or in the woods.

I saw a lot of opportunities to capture in my daily life but it was difficult to carry my SLR every where especially to work. One device that is always  handy was my mobile but I never used it, because I had an iPhone 3G, and the camera quality was pathetic.

Recently, I switched to a Lumia 920 and started experimenting with the camera. I would say Lumia 920 has an awesome camera. It’s low light capturing ability is wonderful. After a couple of days with Lumia 920, I realized that the opportunities for mobile photography are endless. I decided to explore the potential of mobile photography that I had also explored with my DSLR.

I always loved street photography but I am reluctant to go to the street. One reason is, I am very shy to gout in public holding my camera. Another reason is the subject will always be tense in front of the big black DSLR camera. This will reduce the chance of capturing the mood that I intended. I would also have  to face the questionable stares of onlookers. When I replaced the DSLR with my mobile, I became very comfortable. No one noticed me, my subjects were more relaxed and I was able to capture the mood I intended. You all will be seeing the result of my mobile street photography in coming days.

I love taking portraits, there are many portraits in my collection. One thing that applies to both street and portrait photography is the subject should be relaxed. You will never get a good portrait from a tensed subject unless you are shooting a rock. Getting a good photo of my son is very difficult. He will try to pose for the shoot when ever I take the camera to take a shot. I like to capture the mood, when someone poses for a shot, I think the photo will loose the mood. Using a mobile as a camera, my son will never notice it or wont feel as tense.

One thing I really enjoy is Nature photography. In nature photography, I don’t need to care about whether the subject is tense or relaxed. No one bothers when taking a photo of a flower or river. I tried couple of nature shots using Lumia 920. All shots came out very well.

Lumia 920 have a fixed 2.0 aperture so that left me the option of playing only with exposure. Combining with right technique and tools, I am able to take good looking photos. One of the hurdles for me in mobile photography was how to know the amount of light as there is no light metering. I couldn’t find that answer yet. To overcome this situation before taking the shot, I decide the area of interest. I tap that area on the screen, so that the camera will calculate the desired exposure for that particular area. For e.g. if I want to take a silhouette, I will tap the brightest part of the scene. So the camera will adjust the exposure for the bright part and underexpose the subject.

Post processing is one of the crucial parts of photography. One of the advantages of mobile photography is that I can process the photos in the mobile and upload it from any where. I don’t need to get back home to process my image.The Windows phone store has some good photo processing apps, see the summary section for more details.


I moved to mobile photography doesn’t mean I won’t touch my DSLR again. My Nikon is still a big part of my life. It’s impossible to replace a DSLR with any fixed lens, fixed aperture device. In DSLR I have freedom to choose the aperture, I decide the exposure, I can change lens, I am in total control.

So where will I fit mobile photography? in my daily life, the place I feel difficult to carry my SLR. As you read this far then you might be interested in mobile photography and you might be curious to know my tools.  In my previous posts I explained about the Camera apps and Post processing apps I am using in my Lumia 920. You might be also interested to see some of the photos taken using Lumia 920, have a look at my tumblr page.

Contact Sony:
Twitter // Flickr // Website // Tumblr // Facebook // Instagram


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your insights and tips. You have inspired me. Those are some great shots! Jen

  2. Thanks Brad for posting this article in wearejuxt. Thanks Jennifer, glad to hear that this article inspired you.

  3. Great Sony!! Way to go………………………………:-)

  4. Great shots, Sony. Like you, I’m not ready to give up my traditional gear yet, but my cameraphone has been an asset in catching shots not possible with my DSLR or rangefinder. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Mobile photography has helped me to “see” my world differently – always looking for the shot and noticing things that I never noticed. I enjoyed your op ed

  6. I love your portraits!
    And I’m using the Windows Phone (Lumia 800) as well :) But for me an easy post processing on mobile device can compensate its limitations (comparing with DSLR).
    Congrats, Sony!

  7. Nice essay


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