In the age of the selfie, here’s why you still need to have a camera

Taking photographs and capturing video have never been so popular. Walk down any street and you’ll encounter people taking and posing for photos and videos. But rather than a Canon or Nikon, most of them are using a Samsung or an iPhone.

Smartphones are everywhere. And their cameras are getting better and better every year. The latest Samsung Galaxy model, the S10, has three cameras. Others, such as Huawei’s latest model, have megapixels well into the forties.

So in an age where smartphones are dominant, is it still worth getting a proper camera? Ahead of this year’s edition of The Photography Show and The Video Show (later this week, 16-19 March), we spoke to some of the leading photographers and filmmakers about why they believe proper kit still has a lot to offer.



You don’t have to be a pro photographer to realise how important photographs are to us. They capture meaningful moments, they help us to create memories, and from weddings to birthdays they’re an almost-essential feature of the most important days of our lives.

But despite smartphones putting a camera in everyone’s pocket, we’re still having a hard time taking pictures. According to a new survey, two in five of us (40%) struggle to take great photos when the light is bad, while more than a third (36%) find it hard to see the screen in situations like bright sunlight, and one in three (33%) state that being restricted zoom capability is a frustration. As a result, they are missing out on capturing quality, meaningful shots.

‘There is no doubt that smartphones revolutionised the world of photography and immensely influenced the way we take and share our images today. Easy access to the camera give us opportunities like never before’ says Bea Lubas, an award-winning food photographer. ‘However, nothing will beat a DSLR when it comes to capturing and controlling light in your photography’

Bea will be at The Photography Show on Saturday, 16 March, leading a session at the Behind the Lens theatre on ‘Behind the scenes of a great food story’. Food photography, like photography in general, is dependent on light. Smartphone cameras are just not in the same league.

It’s no surprise that smartphones have been implicated in today’s ‘throwaway culture’: the ease and immediacy of digital technology strips away some of the meaning behind, say, taking a photo. After all, if you can take endless photos whenever you want, there’s less incentive to take time, care, and attention when taking a shot.

‘When I want a snap, I reach for my phone. When I want a photograph, I reach for my camera’ quips Jason Parnell-Brookes, a landscape photographer who’ll be talking at The Photography Show this Sunday 17th March about how to capture atmospheric phenomena. Although smartphones are unbeatable in terms of convenience, if we rely solely upon them we end up losing something precious.

‘Smartphones have come a long way in recent years to taking clear, sharp photographs’ continues Parnell-Brookes. ‘But for those wishing to take photography to the next level, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras – those that allow an interchangeable lens system – simply can’t be beaten’.

As well as encouraging you to take the time and care over your photography, cameras are much better suited to the process of selecting and taking a shot. Parnell-Brookes highlights the importance of the viewfinder which ’provides the user with viewing space to allow a considered composition, as opposed to the shiny screen of the smartphone which is often hard to see in bright sunlight’.

Commercial and portrait photographer Ross Grieve focused on the additional capabilities cameras offer. ‘With a digital camera you have better optics and sensors than just a phone. This gives you much better control over your imagery and allows more creativity. Zooms on digital cameras/lenses have much superior elements in them than a phone. Once you start using digital zoom over optical zoom the image quality will lessen. Phones have their place but they also have their limitations’

Ross will be speaking at the show on Saturday, 16 March about ‘Great family portraits’ on the Wedding & Portrait Stage, and on Monday 18 March on ‘Silent Street photography’ at the Photo Live Stage.

The Photography Show returns to the NEC for its sixth year this March, alongside the inaugural The Video Show. Aimed at all photographers, from amateur to professional level, the event puts the latest kit from the leading brands under the spotlight and offers over 500 demonstrations and inspirational seminars over four days.

With the show bigger than ever and the addition of The Video Show, it proves that there’s a genuine and growing appetite for photography and video as a craft rather than a gimmick. It shows that people care about more than just convenience, that they value skill over selfies.

Bea Lubas puts it best: ‘Whether you want to explore the magic of back-lighting technique, play around with chiaroscuro style or simply take beautiful photos when the weather conditions are not so perfect, that’s when the DSLR offers you endless possibilities and breathtaking results’

The Photography Show 2019 runs 16-19 March – buy your tickets here

Pro photographers can apply for free entry subject to eligibility criteria up to midnight on 14 March 2019.


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