Creativity is Dead: How Camera Phones are Destroying Photography

By: Sophia Hudanich

Owning a camera phone means you’re a photographer- well not really. An abundance of selfies and quick snapshots fill social media pages— killing the creativity behind photography. There’s a lack of individuality between pictures. Taking a scroll through Snapchat during a beautiful day means you’re going to see hundreds of sunset pictures being posted— all pictures of the same sunset and no meaning behind the photo. A photographer would ask how they can create a compelling picture of the sunset that is different than one you can find online. 

“It’s not enough to just own a camera. Everyone owns a camera. To be a photographer, you must understand, appreciate, and harness the power you hold!”

– Mark Denman
“Storytelling in Street Photography” by Andrej Zwitter (Image via IMDB)

Taking a step back and learning from previous photographers can help increase individualism in pictures. Even without owning a high-quality camera, there are still steps you can take to add creativity to your pictures. Take Andrej Zwitters as an example. Zwitter Focuses on “Street Photography”  and has created engaging stories from pictures that you might have passed by without noticing.

Step 1: Find your inspiration.

Before you even pick up a camera write down what story you want your photo to tell. Take time to brainstorm before you start your photography journey. The way you capture the world should be unique to you. There are multiple ways to capture a picture. Looking through past photographers’ work for inspiration could be the edge you need to create storytelling images. 

Different steps you can take for brainstorming for the perfect image: 

Creating a Pinterest board dedicated to your photography inspirations is a great way to start your photography journey. You don’t need to only add different pictures to your vision board. You can use artwork and a different aesthetic to your board. 

Start to journal! Anytime you see something that inspires you, write it down. There is no such thing as a bad idea. 

Try adding the first two brainstorming ideas together. Group your ideas and imagery inspirations together by theme. Then you’ll be prepared to create powerful images.

Step 2: Stop taking random pictures: Notice the little wonders

Snapping a picture of the beach to post to your Instagram page is not going to make you a photographer. Try taking a step back and looking for a story to tell. Find something that stands out from the rest of the beach pictures you’ve seen online. Whether it’s a bird eating a bag of chips on the sand or your friends playing a game in the ocean. Take a second to process what you are seeing, and decide what you are trying to tell from your pictures.


Think about how the image on the left makes you feel in comparison to the one on the right. 

The image on the left was shot on a digital camera while the one on the right was taken by me on my iPhone. The image on the left uses lighting to their advantage while the image on the right, taken by me, didn’t take them to consider different values. The second image doesn’t have the same effect as the first image. You can tell the photographer on the left took their time to capture a compelling shot. The one taken by me lacks a storyline.

Step 3: Step outside of your comfort zone. 

You now have inspiration. You understand how lighting can create a storyline in your photos. Now it’s time to challenge yourself. If you like taking pictures outdoors, ask yourself how can I make this interesting? Photographers are always taking chances. Try to push yourself and take pictures of something that wouldn’t have caught your attention before. Push yourself to stray away from mainstream media’s idea of social media-worthy images. Photography should challenge you. 

Photography is an art form where people can showcase their creativity, talents and unique ways they view the world. Camera phones are taking away the patience, planning and precision behind capturing the perfect snapshot. Photography is up for interpretation, but don’t let the camera phone kill the creative process behind photography. Using a camera phone will only destroy photography if you let it.

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