Phone Or Camera | The Eternal Blogging Debate.
Tale as old as tiiiiiiime.....
That age old question that ever blogger has posed at least once in their lifetime; should we be snapping away on our phones or splashing out on a decent camera? Maybe you've already popped the pennies on a camera, maybe you're furiously reading Olympus Pen reviews right now or maybe you're happy with the trusty old iPhone in your back pocket.
The options when it comes to this debate are endless and there really is no one size fits all answer. There's so many factors to take into account, not least budget which makes a huge impact on your decision. There's also been about 10 million blog posts written on this topic too so don't take my word as gospel and deffo check out these guys for some further reading;
So let's start with the one you're very likely to already have - your phone camera. If you're out there blogging and you don't have a phone with a camera on then you can correct me but I doubt there's many of you if any. It's a tool you have on your person all the time so it makes sense that you'd get happy snapping with your phone camera, and with smart phones the way they are today, cameras are pretty swish.
I used to use my iPhone 6 camera a lot and was seriously considering moving to the 7plus purely for portrait mode until finances and a broken iPhone meant I found myself nabbing a cheap Samsung Galaxy 6. The camera is looooooads better and I use it almost exclusively on my Instagram feed - the exceptions being when I'm reposting content from my blog.
For Instagram, a lot of big bloggers have reported their phone pics always do better than those they spent hours on (and probably spent your months rent on for a photographer). It seems the algorithm prefers content published straight from your phone, and as quick as you can upload it would be 10 extra points to Gryffindor.
When it comes to your blog then should you still be taking pictures on your phone? Should you be repurposing what you shot for Instagram? Or should you be investing in a DSLR purely for those editorial shots and the best flatlays of all flatlays?
The answer? You can for sure take great quality photos on your phone to be used on your blog successfully, especially if your phone has a high quality camera or even better, a manual mode which is something the Samsung Galaxy does have. I personally think a phone works way better than a camera on a tripod for flatlays and for those 'just chilling on my bed among snacks and books and or laptops' shots.
If you are shooting on your phone for your blog posts then remember the golden rules;
- shoot in natural light as much as possible.
- avoid the flash if you can.
- utilise the self timer.
- snap on the Instagram app itself to make sure it works for your grid.
- use the high resolution setting -it's your new bestie.
- don't ever zoom in, it totally diminishes the quality, just crop in post editing.
And now onto the one you maybe don't have in your blog equipment stash - the camera, or more specifically a fancy DSLR. I had a bridge camera at the beginning of my blogging career (if you want to call it that) and that was simply because I already owned it from A Levels and it had pretty much been used for holiday snaps since then. Since then I have upgraded to a second hand Sony A450 which I bought last October in time for my birthday from the ever lovely Megan (Lazy Thoughts) with a kit lens and I invested about 40 quid on a 50mm lens too which is my go to gal for blog photography.
I have always been v much of the 'phones do the job too' blog crew because I don't see the need to invest in a big expensive piece of kit if you can't afford it or don't intend to commit to your blog but really, having a decent camera has totally changed my world. Having a decent lens and a decent camera which you can manually focus, change lenses, and shoot manually is a game changer when it comes to how you shoot for your blog. Phone cameras are brilliant, there is no doubt about it but they have their limitations which a good DSLR simply don't have.
I 100% don't think a fancy camera is essential but if you are looking to up your blog photography game, looking to shoot editorial style fashion content or simply get that bokeh look everyone and their dog can do then an investment maybe is your way forward. It is an investment though, something not to consider lightly and if you're not going to keep your blog up in two months time then it might be a waste of your bank balance.
These days, blog photography has a very different feel to Instagram and that's why I finally made the commitment to change my camera. There is a much more editorial feel to blogs these days and if you're a fashion or beauty blogger you're expected to have shots that rival those out of a magazine. For us lifestyle bloggers we have a bit less pressure but even in the two years I have been blogging, the game has changed from your traditional flatlay to a more 'styled' lifestyle shot with a cuppa in hand and maybe a cat or two thrown in for good measure. These types of shots take a lot of setting up and you really do want the high quality your phone might not be able to provide.
Here's my top tips for DSLR shopping;
- don't buy an Olympus Pen just because everyone has one - make sure it works for you.
- second hand are just as good if you shop carefully.
- if you don't know a lot about what you're looking for, ask for recommendations.
- CEX do a whole load of great quality cameras and lenses for a fraction of the price.
- work out what's important to you - be that the ability to shoot in raw or a wifi connection.
- do a lot of research before you put the pennies in!!!
So in conclusion - did I convince you either way? No, most probably not. Like with most things when it comes to blogging, it's totally up to you, what you want to achieve and what content you're looking to produce.
For Instagram I would reach for your phone camera every time. Instagram, as crazy as it might be at the moment, is still an instant platform. We as viewers want to see something relatable, an insight into your life, into your home and we want it now. We want you to upload your travel pics as you go, we want to see a perfectly created lifestyle but we want it in a form we think we can recreate, and the algorithm favours that too.
For our blogs, I think we've all accepted it's likely to be a bit more curated, a bit more professional. It's not going to be the outtakes of your life, it's not going to be the slightly more lol fashion moment because it's a blog post. When it comes to blog photography we've moved more into the glossy magazine world of photo taking because we have more time to play with it. We set up shoots for a long time, a lot longer than we'd take to set up an Insta shot and we have a lot more editing tools are our disposable to take longer to perfect.
Personally for me, my phone is a tool I couldn't live without but my camera is the thing that has changed me and my blog for the better. My phone will always be my Instagram go to and luckily and having it on my person all the time means I am able to take photos as and when I need to. But having a decent camera (and particularly manual focus and interchangeable lenses) has really upped my blog photography and really improved my eye for it too. I have been having a lot of fun trying new things, getting the angles I want, the crop I want, the composition I want and it's done all the world for my motivation and inspiration.
And if you're looking for a good quality second hand camera that won't break your bank balance then I can't recommend the Sony A450 enough.