I love Apple, Steve Jobs, Jony Ive, and the design crew at Apple. I feel they have empowered humankind (myself included) to become the best creative versions of ourselves through technology.

I. (Almost) everyone can afford it.


The iPad is $329 USD. Anyone can afford that. At least in America and those privileged enough to want to pursue photography.

The iPad has a camera. You can download VSCO and process your photos to look beautiful. You can share your photos for free via social media. You can manage your photos with Apple Photos.

What excuses do we have anymore?

II. Why democracy in photography is important to me


I hate that a lot of photography is classicism. For example, if you’re rich, you try to assert your domination over other people who are more poor than you, by showing off your expensive high end camera. You make others feel envious of your gear. Others feel like they can’t become good photographers, because they don’t got the best gear. Or their gear sucks.

I felt that way. I wanted to buy a digital Leica because I thought if I did, I would reach my creative potential. It wasn’t true. Rather, my creative potential was reached with a $600 digital Ricoh GR camera.

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I’m even typing these words on an iPad Air. I gave away my MacBook Pro to my friend who was traveling without a laptop, and I was inspired by his programming skills. I wanted him to become the best version of himself, and to help humanity.

I believe in democracy because I grew up poor. I had to pirate everything to pursue my interests and passion.

Now with the iPad being this cheap, everybody and anybody can pursue photography with full zeal, regardless of their race, class, or background.

This would have been Steve Jobs dream. Thank you Apple, and Tim Cook.

III. The iPhone

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The beautiful thing about the iPhone is that no matter how rich or poor you are, in theory, you’re gonna get the same iPhone. Like Andy Warhol said, it don’t matter how rich or poor you are, you’re gonna drink the same Coke.

The truth is most people in the world can’t afford the newest iPhone. But many people (like in Vietnam) can afford used iPhone. And they have great cameras. And great apps to process and share photos.

And at least in America, regardless of how poor you are, you can still “afford” a new iPhone, with a monthly plan.

So we have all the creative tools necessary at our disposal, to create art.

And you can buy an iPhone SE (same camera as the iPhone 6s) for only $400 (unlocked, no plan).

IV. Don’t I need a DSLR?

Eric kim street photography

Honestly, you probably only need a DSLR if you’re gonna shoot a wedding. You can shoot everything else on your smartphone or iPhone.

I have a friend named Olly Lang (@oggsie) who has done photo shoots for Burberry on just the iPhone. His photos look fantastic.

My friend Josh White has made incredible photos on smartphones.

I know a lot of other great photographers who only use iPhones. To be frank, it is the best camera because you always have it with you, and ready. Brendan O’ Shea has done a photo project on his children before they go to bed, and he does it all on his iPhone, because it is the camera he always has with him. He has shot hundreds of photos, and they are absolutely beautiful.

V. No excuses


We don’t have no more excuses in photography. We can afford all the tools.

The only thing holding us back is ourselves.

The truth is we cannot shoot at super low light with an iPhone or smartphone. But, we can use this creative constraint to our benefit. We can learn how to use better natural window light, or to photograph during golden hour, aka sunrise and sunset. We can learn to photograph more silhouettes by lowing the exposure of the images. We can use the limitations of the camera to be more creative.

And if anyone says your iPhone isn’t a real camera, say:

Fuck you.



You can make good photos on a shitty smartphone camera too. Just shoot in black and white, or convert them into black and white afterwards with Snapseed or VSCO.

My frank advice is if you’re new to photography, just stick to your iPhone. Or buy the most expensive iPhone you can afford.

And for most photographers, you don’t even need a laptop no more. You can do it all on an iPad, or just your phone.

If anyone out there wants to promote photography to at risk youth, or poor kids, or kids in inner city schools, I’d recommend just buying the school or the after school program a bunch of iPads, or cheap iPhones.

Teach the kids composition, by getting clean backgrounds. To look at the light. To have clean compositions by having clean edges of the frame. To add more emotion and soul into the photos. To make the photos more personal.

Viva la photographie!

Be strong,

Smartphone Photography >