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In the Light: Portraits with a Nokia Lumia 1020

In the Light: Portraits with a Nokia Lumia 1020 by Dave Norbut

My first love in photography was capturing people. There is a delicate balance in simultaneously capturing raw spirit and beauty.

There has always been something about looking at a good portrait, to me, that is just mesmerizing. For a long time I have struggled with making portraits that I am happy with, or enjoy looking at myself. I feel after many years, I have finally only just begun to understand light.

This series of images was shot in the span of 2 days at each subjects home. I feel the mood is heavily impacted by how comfortable the subject is. In my early days of taking portraits, I thought all you needed was an interesting character, throw em up against the wall, get close, boom boom, done. Looking back it seemed a very harsh way to do such work. With this series, I spent some time, I took my time, I let my subjects move freely and let them dictate when I snapped the shutter. They told me when they were ready, just with a look or a movement.

The 1020 let me control my exposure, it made capturing the light very simple. It gave me control, much more than I would expect from a mobile device. There is no editing necessary when you can control the camera before you snap the shutter. I was even able to view the image in black and white as I was photographing, also a beautiful thing. I shot everything the same, manually controlling the exposure, in black and white mode through an app called Proshot. I was really interested in seeing how the camera would perform and I was not interested in manipulating the image once I started seeing the results. The soul is the subjects. The mood is in the light. The 1020 silently and reliably performed the task at hand. As someone who is becoming less and less interested in the gimmicks and filters and squares of mobile photography this device is doing a fine job for quality photographs.


  1. It great to see a mobile device showcased for capturing rather than editing! I’m always excited to see your portraits Dave and it’s great to see the evolution in your work. These are fantastic!

  2. I am a big fan of ProShot and this series really shows how beautiful it behaves with black and white photography.
    Truly stunning!

    • Thanks B! the black and white on proshot is excellent

  3. Your portraits turned out great! I to have been loving the 1020 thanks for the tip on the app I’ll give it a try.

  4. I just had a light-gasam.