Once in a while I see people lament that they don’t have a good camera to take photos. They wish they had a snazzy DSLR with which they could take nicer photos for bookstagram. The thing is, as beautiful as photos taken with DSLRs can be, it’s not just about the camera. Yes, clarity and sharpness do matter, so a good camera does make a difference. However, in many cases our smartphone cameras are good enough to produce quality photos.
DSLR vs. Smartphone Camera
In order to determine if a DSLR is really necessary for book photography, I photographed the same set-up once with my iPhone 6 and once with my Nikon D3200. Then I post-processed the photos, trying to achieve the same brightness and tones.
Based on the comparative photos I took, I’d say it’s pretty clear that you can take good photos with a smartphone camera as well. At first glance, you can’t tell that I didn’t use a DSLR for the iPhone photo. Both photos are bright with vibrant hues. The details are clear for both light and dark tones. However, the shadows do look cleaner in the photo that I took with the D3200.
Still, I think that this comparison proves that it is not necessary to use a DSLR if you want to join the bookstagram community. What matters more is good lighting and thoughtful framing of photos.
When is a DSLR Necessary?
Low Light Situations
A DSLR can make a big difference when taking photos in lower light conditions. Say, you’re only able to take photos late in the day after work or school. When the sun is nearly setting but you don’t want to use artificial lighting or don’t have good lamps, it’s still possible to make use of natural light with a DSLR. You’d need a tripod too but since it’s possible to control shutter speeds, a DSLR would produce far superior photos to a smartphone camera.
The other situation when a DSLR is necessary is to achieve bokeh. This photo that I took of Scarlet with the bokeh hearts would’ve been impossible with a smartphone camera. Slight bokeh can be achieved with a smartphone camera but only with much difficulty and not of shaped bokeh lights at all. A DSLR does allow for much more experimentation with light.
Technically, a smartphone camera suffices for book photography. In fact, posting photos on Instagram means that the differences become even smaller. Photo sizes are reduced when uploading photos on Instagram, so things like shadows definitely won’t break a photo. Now, if you post high-resolution photos on your blog or intend to print out posters, then maybe an upgrade would be worth it.
Did you ever think your current camera was not good enough for bookstagram?
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