Mobile Memories

I have been the proud owner of an iPhone for almost 6 months. And it’s become like an appendage for me. I use the phone daily, although I rarely actually call anyone on it. It’s a gaming device, a way to access Facebook and Twitter, an email tool, and a GPS when I can’t figure out where I’m going. But perhaps most of all, it’s my camera.

I have a proper camera. It’s not fancy, but it takes pretty good photos and it can shoot HD video, too. And yet the reality is that I don’t have my camera directly on my person all that often. It’s usually in my desk drawer or tucked into my diaper bag. I don’t necessarily bring it along on every walk, and sometimes by the time I manage to pull it out the moment I wanted to capture has passed. And this is where my phone, which is always readily at hand, comes in.

My love affair with my phone’s camera started when I downloaded the Hipstamatic app. I liked the idea of shaking my phone, getting a random combination of photo settings, and snapping away. The shots weren’t all winners, but enough were. Plus, the imperfection was kind of the point. I wasn’t spending a long time getting the best possible framing and then editing in Photoshop. I was snap-snap-snapping away, getting an old-school low-fi look, and loving it.

Then I read something online about taking great photos with your phone. I wish I remembered where, because I would totally link to it, but I don’t. Anyways, the gist was that the Camera+ app for the iPhone is really pretty cool. Somewhat serendipitously, I happened to have an iTunes gift card, so I downloaded it. It has all the old-school feel of Hipstamatic, but instead of choosing your settings before you shoot, you apply them afterward. You shoot and edit right on your phone. I crop, adjust the light levels, apply a filter and choose a frame, and I’m done. I get consistently better shots, but they still have that low-fi look to them. I’ve fallen in love with my phone’s camera all over again.

There are a lot of things that aren’t so great about having your phone with you all the time. Like the pesky business of always being connected. It’s not always easy to separate work and play when you can check your email from the local playground. But I love that as long as I have it, I can capture the little moments of our lives right as they happen. That part is pretty freaking cool.

My pet dragon

Me and Hannah at the library

Hannah looking at a book

Jacob with his improvised basketball hoop

My girl

Jacob arranges letters on the fridge

There are a lot of pros and cons to having a smart phone. I know that I waste a lot of time with mine, for sure. But I also know that one day, I’m going to be glad to have the photos I shot with it.

What about you? Do you have a camera phone? Do you find that it’s easier to use that for photos than an actual camera? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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    1. Add me to the list of iPhone/camera/internet/ipod users. My husband and I have had cell phones over the years but we haven’t had one in three years because our van was equipped with OnStar which included a hands free phone. But we have been in situations where a phone would come in handy, like at the grocery store or when I take the bus to work so I mentioned to my husband that we should get phones. Just like that, I went to work one day and when I came home I had a brand new iPhone. It’s so shiny! And I love the camera. Our camera broke last year and as yet we haven’t replaced it because the phone takes great HD pictures. I haven’t downloaded any apps for it yet though because as much as I love to take pics, I’m not fancy like that. lol But I agree, it’s way more convienient to take pics with my phone than to lug around a camera. Oh and the other fun things about the phone: my girls love taking silly video’s of themselves and I am personally addicted to Smurfs :X.
      Tanya’s last post … Tag TeamMy Profile

    2. Thank you for sharing those two apps. My dh has an iphone & loves to try out different apps, but hasn’t done any camera ones yet. I’ll also see what is available for my bb. I have captured so many special moments with my children with my camera phone because, as you say, it is always handy. I snag shots of those brother kisses or reaction smiles I would miss if I grabbed the camera and turned it into a “say cheese” moment. I’ve even snapped a few without them knowing and those are often some of my mose favorite for their ordinary special-ness.
      Zoie’s last post … The Punishment for having sex while poorMy Profile

    3. I have a Droid, which I love, and while I do take pictures on it pretty frequently I wish the program I use captured better photos. My husband downloaded some nifty app that puts cool effects on photos, like Instagram but for Droid, but I too impatient to download & learn how to use it. For now anyway.

    4. I don’t have one, and I’m starting to feel left out.
      BUT I spend 90+% of my time at home, and there is a dead zone here, so what really would be the point for me other than another thing to lure me with a screen. I have a friend that travels overseas quite often and she finds hers an absolute necessity with the map-aps, directions, restaurant reviews, email ability, flight schedule checking, confirmation making, tourist coupon finding device that also entertains when their flight is delayed by weather (or volcano)! So when travelling is more often for me, I’m defintely getting one!
      *pol’s last post … Involuntary ExerciseMy Profile

    5. Well I just downloaded the app. I can’t wait to try it!!
      Christine’s last post … My superpowerMy Profile

    6. I love my iphone! I’ve owned it for about a month and a half now and I use it as my point and shoot camera. The quality is awesome, especially outside where there is lots of light and the delay doesn’t matter. What app did you purchase? I love the film frame look on your photos!

    7. Okay, I totally did NOT want an iphone before.
      I hate you.
      allison’s last post … Wordless Wednesday- Random Pictures of Eve Rockin the TudeMy Profile

    8. I’ve been loving it too! Too funny that both you and I should write about it this week: http://www.activemama.com/2011/02/19/camera-for-fun-baby-photos/

    9. Ok now I want an iphone even more than before! I have already sent the link to those two apps for the camera to friends who have been complaining about their iphone photos and they are thrilled!
      eva’s last post … Covering Up Is A Feminist IssueMy Profile

    10. I am in love with my iPhone. Unfortunately so are my kids. I’ve had to start hiding my phone so they don’t either start begging for it, or just up and run away with it. I really need two iPod touches…
      Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves’s last post … Be the Leader- Wednesday of Few Words linkyMy Profile

    11. YES, my iPhone is like my only camera. We do have “a real camera”… I just never use it. Who needs it when the iPhone is already an extension of my arm. Funny you should blog about your iPhone because i just blogged about disconnecting from my iPhone for the past long weekend. Which, is no easy task. At times over the last couple years I have both loved & hated my iPhones (yes, I dropped & cracked the screen on iphone #1 – but it still works, so I still carry it around as an emergency “gameboy” for the kids). loved because of the photo feature, and the super-quick access to all things media. Hated because of the super quick access to all things media. It’s SO easy to get distracted, to pull yourself away from reality, get engaged “elsewhere”. Yet… when you don’t have it…
      kelly @kellynaturally’s last post … Disconnecting- Reconnecting- and Finding BalanceMy Profile

    12. count me in as ‘in love with the smartphone camera app’
      since i disagree with paying high data rates i can’t call my milestone droid a smartphone as it’s hardly ever data-enabled (but i do pay a ridiculously low monthly charge for the phone call stuff) until i hit wifi.
      but i do get all the gadgets etc a smartphone comes with – i highly recommend Vignette as a free hipstamatic-type android app (awesome)

      i also highly recommend downloading pics (there’s a great flickr free app for android too) as much as poss ever since the SD card wiped itself :(

      in fact, i bought the milestone because of it’s camera specs – as good, if not better in some lights than my olympus mu, and always handy
      pomomama’s last post … wordless wednesday- would rather be at the beachMy Profile

    13. safandbenjamin says:

      You may also like Instagram – it has some great filters, and a social media feel as you can publish to a feed that your follwers view! And it’s a free one!

    14. I also love having a camera with me, always. Sometimes, I’m just too tired to bring the “big” camera, but I’m gonna have the phone anyway. I just have to get better at holding it still and not blurring the shot!
      Lady M’s last post … A Boy and His ToasterMy Profile

    15. I got a used iphone just for the camera — I needed a new cell phone, and the tiny point&shoot camera I always had with me had died. But I don’t have a cell phone plan that allows me to go online – it would be way too expensive, and anyway, I don’t think I’d want to be connected all the time.
      Francesca’s last post … and for my niece!My Profile

    16. Cheryl @ Mommy Quit Her Job says:

      Yes! I do use my smart phone as a camera and I love and have those two apps you mentioned.

      Unfortunately though I have the very first iPhone that was released so the camera isn’t the best quality. So I can’t develop the photos like I want to. But it does it a good job of capturing the moment when I don’t have my point and shoot with me (which is most of the time because I’m always forgetting to put it in the bag) and I can easily email off photos to family members who miss these moments :)

      I know I’ll have to upgrade soon but just waiting to save a few more pennies. Or alot more in iPhone’s case ;)
      Cheryl @ Mommy Quit Her Job’s last post … NestingMy Profile

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    1. […] thing about photos is that they only capture one moment in time. A fraction of a second, frozen in the frame just as it was at that instant. If you have only that […]

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