Edith Levy

Toronto Digital Photography Club

Phoneography – Taking Big Pictures with a Little Lens

I’m a photographer! I use a DSLR with various lenses to photograph the people and world around me so why would I want to use my phone or any other mobile device to take pictures? That’s easy sometimes it’s the only camera I have with me and really any camera is better then no camera. There are other reasons of course and they include but aren’t limited too:

  • It’s convenient
  • It’s easy
  • It’s less intrusive than a DSLR when doing street photography
  • I can take pictures with my phone when I’m doing long exposures with my DSLR
  • There are 1000’s of Apps that let me get creative on the go and many are free.
  • I can upload to social media and share my images right away

What Do You Need To Get Started

  • A smartphone with the ability to take pictures (which is just about any phone today) – iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, etc.
  • Instagram – it’s free and it’s like twitter for pictures. You can share your pictures with friends easily and follow others. If you want to follow me on Instagram @EdithLevy
  • Camera+ – (I love this camera app) or your phone’s native camera
  • Snapseed – my go to app for processing

One of the keys to getting started with Phoneography is to get yourself organized so that you know where all your important apps are. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create folders so that when you’re in the field your apps are literally at your fingertips when you need them.

Image 1



I create 3 separate folders to keep all my apps organized (and this method was created by photographer Justin Balog)

  • Darkroom folder – I keep all of my processing apps in this folder. My Photo editing apps include:
    • Snapseed
    • 100 Cameras in 1
    • PhotoToaster
    • HDR FX Pro
    • Dramatic B&W
    • BlurFX
    • Grungetastic
    • Glaze
    • Mirrorgram
    • TangledFX


  • Camera folder – I keep all my cameras together with the exception of Camera+ which is onthe first screen of my iPhone. All other camera apps are in the folder and they include:
  • Camera Awesome
  • Hueles
  • 645Pro
  • Pocketbooth
  • Light Camera
  • Hipstamatic
  • MPro


  • Photo Tools Folder – For tools that I usually use in the field such as:
    • The Photographer’s Empheris
    • The Longtime Exposure Calculator

Image 2


Taking pictures with your phone is quite straightforward. Being consistent and following these simple steps will ensure that you come away with good images. As with all photography be sure to be mindful of composition. Open your favourite camera app and tap the screen to focus.

Image 3


The square box will appear on the screen indicating where your focus point is. In most apps where ever you decide to focus this is where the camera will meter. This is similar with the spot metering system on your DSLR. It’s for this reason that my go to camera app is Camera+. The focus and exposure are separate in this app. You would tap on the square to focus then set your exposure point anywhere on the screen, via the circular aperture icon, to set the exposure as in the image above.

Take the picture and if you like it the way it is then great…you’re done. If you’re like most of us you’ll want to enhance your image using an image-editing app. The app that I use 99% of the time to edit every image is Snapseed. It’s intuitive and will allow you to crop, straighten, adjust brightness & contrast, bring out detail in your shadows and so much more. I may give my images a final artful touch by using other apps and apply presets to further give life to my vision.


Original Image straight out of my iPhone taken with Camera+

Image 4_Original



Final Image edited with Snapseed and the Toy Story preset in PhotoToaster

Image 5_PhotoToaster



Finally don’t forget to share your work on Social Media. Whether its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Google+ there’s a whole community of Phoneography shooters that you could be a part of.


Edith Levy is a member of the Toronto Digital Photography Club and her work can be found on www.edithlevyphotography.com