Why Photographers Should Carry an iPhone

In today’s market more and more people are heading to their iPhones to accomplish daily tasks. We use our iPhones to post to social media, send email, and share photos with their friends and family. As a professional photographer, I too have come to rely on the iPhone in my pocket. Here are my top 9 reasons photographers should carry an iPhone or similar handheld device. While there are more, these are the ones that help me most in my daily business operation.

You Always Have a Camera/iPhone on You

Notice how I say ON not with? Have you ever stumbled upon a fleeting moment? A person producing some kind of action that you just have to photograph? While your main DSLR was packed away in your backpack, which was in the trunk of your car? By time you managed to get it out, connect a lens, Sasquatch has flipped you the bird and run off. If you just had a device like a phone in your pocket, you would at least have proof that he does exist. Or maybe it was something as simple as the wind blowing through your daughter’s hair. You never know when or where your next publishable photograph will happen.

240 Frames per Second!

Now if you want to mount a camera to your helmet, bike or body, I wouldn’t recommend using your iPhone. Typically I would use a GoPro or the Sony Action Cam. However, you probably have a camera in your pocket that shoots 720p HD Motion at 240 Frames per Second. I think it is pretty cool, except when I get completely covered in muddy poop water in Thailand. However, check out how cool those drops look as they explode all over me.

Model Releases

If you have ever tried to get someone to sign a model release, you know how difficult it can be. Not only do you need to carry the actual form, but then you need a pen. This pen is inevitably dead because you never use it. Then the written document scares the shit out of the person that you are asking to sign it. It’s not like you want their first born, just the ability to make money on their photograph.

Here is where your iPhone comes in really handy. I have two favorite model release apps that work really well. Both Easy Release and Releases by Snapwire, allow you to add a model release with the simplicity of adding a contact. Your model can sign the release with their finger. You can then immediately send a signed copy of the document over to them via email.

Built-In GPS

Many of the newer DSLRs are now coming equipped with GPS and WiFi functionality. While older ones don’t have this functionality without the addition of another piece of equipment. If your iPhone is in your pocket, you can shoot a photo in the same location as your DSLR, then import that photo into your photo cataloging software. Once you download your iPhone photo, you can sync the GPS coordinates from the iPhone photo to all of the photos you shot with your DSLR. Note: The GPS functionality within the iPhone typically works even if you do not have service!

Keynote & Pages

With the recent updates to Apple’s iOS and OS, you can now sync documents between your iPhone and Mac. You can start a document or slide show on your iPhone and continue working on it within your laptop as well.

If I need to put my laptop away to board a plane, I can now continue working on a Pages document. I can now open the document on my iPhone before getting on that plane and continue working on it without interruption, because using your phone on a plane is now completely legal for the entire flight.

THEN, when I get home from traveling that document is already on my office computer. My iCloud Drive has automatically synced all of my documents across all of my devices. In addition, iCloud Drive saves much needed space on all of my devices internal hard drives.


VSCO is a company that got their start building Lightroom presets that emulated the emulsion films of days long gone. As part of VSCO’s development process they built an app for the iPhone. This app has a bunch of preset photo adjustments, but what I really like about the app is the built-in camera functionality. The camera side of VSCOcam allows me to manually control exposure, white balance, focus, ISO, and aperture of my iPhone. It also allows me to set a focus point and an exposure point separately before I take the photo. The basic app is FREE too!

Share Your vCard

For a large part of my photography career I have been addicted to press printing. My favorite printer in the world is a family owned shop in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. They have produced some amazing marketing materials for me, including my business card. As society moves more and more to a digital only world, somethings don’t seem as useful as they once were. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting the world of printing just yet, but one feature I love about the iPhone is its ability to share my contact info with the push of a text, email, or right from AirDrop. My prospective client doesn’t need to type anything into their iPhone, they just need to add my vCard to their iPhone’s contacts.

My vCard has my portrait, my phone number, emails, website, my social media accounts, and even my Dropbox and WeTransfer accounts. Simple, fast and effective.


A workshop participant turned me on to AirDrop at a class in Colorado a few years back and I now use it all the time. The only downside to this functionality is that you need to be on a WiFi network to use it. AirDrop allows you to share documents, photos, videos, and just about anything that is on your iPhone or laptop. Everyone needs to turn AirDrop on and then you could potentially share a file with an entire conference room of people.


I am a task master. I write EVERYTHING down that I need to do. From what groceries I need to cook dinner, to how I am planning on marketing a new eBook, to a new workshop, it all gets recorded to fall back on at a later time. The Reminders app on my iPhone gives me not only connectivity, again between all of my devices, but also the ability to cross things off of that list as they are completed. Another cool thing is that my friend/assistant Brendan lives 1800 miles away from me, but I can share a task list with him and we can both add and subtract things as projects and ideas progress. It does not matter if I am 10,000 miles away, things get updated automatically once I am on WiFi or a network again.


I may be a bit slanted towards Apple, but their devices just work for me. Their products save me tons of time in my daily business operations. The iPhone allows me to focus more on production and less on figuring out broken technology. While some would say it is cost prohibitive, that higher price of admission is worth it in my opinion.

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