Each installment features a photographer discussing a piece of equipment they can't do without—and a photograph they couldn't capture without it.

Photographer: Clifford Pickett

Equipment: The iPhone

Last year, Apple had reached out and asked that I do a presentation on mobile photography. Honestly, upon first thought, my intent was to deliver a presentation on how I use my iPhone as a photographic tool, to determine sun direction, to navigate to a location, to trigger my camera and share my images with the world. Before then, I didn’t even consider it as a camera. And then I did.

I’ve spent the last year, transitioning from my “pro” gear and learning how to shoot with my phone, figuring out and working with the various limitations and quirks of using a smartphone as a camera. I came out the other side a better photographer for it.

On one hand, it has forced me to become more considerate and technically proficient, stitching multiple photos to enhance resolution and expand focal length options, bracketing exposures to maximize dynamic range. I’ve learned to use multi-shot techniques and leverage computational photography to enhance low-light performance and maximize image quality.  How it really helped me grow as a photographer, however, was a bit unexpected. Shooting with my iPhone, above all else, has allowed me to focus on the elements that truly matter in a photograph: the light, the color, the composition, the moment. These are timeless elements that have nothing to do with apertures and shutter speeds, with lens quality or both. My iPhone has allowed me to focus less on the gear and more on what’s in front of it. Without hiding behind gear, using the same phone that so many millions of others are using, the work that is created becomes more about the person I am and the creative decisions I make than the gear I use. Cameras, lenses, gear…they don’t make beautiful images—photographers do. Every time I shoot with my iPhone I’m reminded of that. Than I work harder than anyone else to get the shot!

Below are a few examples of my work taken with my iPhone, for more please visit www.cliffordpickett.com.