9 Reasons Photographers Need to Carry an iPhone

Jade Goodrich has her hair blowing in the truck while heading to mountain bike with her father at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming.

In today’s market more and more people are heading to their mobile devices and iPhones to accomplish daily tasks. They search the internet, post to their social media, send email, share photos with their friends all on their mobile devices. As a professional photographer, I have come to rely pretty heavily myself on the iPhone in my pocket. Here are my top 9 reasons photographers need to carry an iPhone or similar handheld device. These are by no means the only reasons I have an iPhone, but they are definitely the ones that help me the 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 taken off. Now if you just had a device like a phone in your pocket that had a really good camera attached to it, albeit a small sensor camera, you would at least have proof that he does in fact exist. Or maybe it was something as simple as the wind blowing through your daughter’s hair as you drove out to the local ski are to ride mountain bikes together. You never know when or where your next publishable photograph can come from.

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, although it’s possible, that is territory for the GoPro Hero 4 or the Sony Action Cam. However, if you want to handhold that puppy or mount it on a tripod there is something that you probably have in your pocket that shoots 720p HD Motion at 240 Frames per Second. And I think it is pretty cool, except when I get completely covered in muddy cow water in Thailand, but check out how those drops look as they explode all over me.

Model Releases

If you have tried to get someone to sign a piece-of-paper model release you will already know how much of a pain it can be. Not only do you need to carry the actual form, but then you need a pen, which is inevitably dead because it has sat in your camera pack for close to a decade before you have needed to pull it out. Then the document scares the person that you are asking to sign, as if you were trying to steal their first born.

Here is where your iPhone comes in really handy. You can download one of two apps that work really well, both Easy Release and ASMP Releases, allow you to add a release with the simplicity of adding a contact, having them sign with their finger, and then sending that person a signed copy of the document directly to their email address.

Built-In GPS

Some of the newer DSLRs are now coming equipped with GPS and even WiFi functionality, but if you have a higher end camera, you probably only have this connectivity with an add-on device. Again, if your iPhone is in your pocket and you pull it out to take a photo in essentially the same location as your DSLR, you can import that photo into your photo cataloging software such as Lightroom CC and then sync the metadata within the iPhone image to all of your DSLR images. Note: The GPS functionality typically works even if you do not have service!

Keynote & Pages

With the recent updates to Apple’s iOS and desktop Yosemite applications, you can now sync documents though Apple’s iCloud Drive. This feature, in addition to using their iWork suite (which is FREE if you are running the latest versions iOS and Yosemite), allows you to work on documents on any device Apple makes. In other words, if I am working on Pages document on my laptop while traveling, then need to put that device away because I am boarding a plane, I can open the document on my iPhone before getting on that plane and continue working on it, because using you phone is now completely legal on an aircraft.

The next part of this that is really great for me is, when I get home from traveling that document is already on my office computer. This is because I am using iCloud Drive to store all of my office documents to not only save space on my operating system drive, but to also have access and maintain a continuous sync to everything I need to run my office.


I use many of VSCO.co’s Presets within Lightroom CC. They specifically built Presets that emulate the films of yesteryear that I would shoot for my photographs. Now with a single click, I have a great starting point for processing my digital images.

As part of VSCO’s development process they built an app for the iPhone. This app has a bunch of preset image 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 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 we seem to be moving 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 and prints 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 from AirDrop, directly to a client who needs my contact info. They don’t need to type anything accept add my vCard directly into their address book and we are done.


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, but it allows you to share documents, photos, videos, and just about anything that is on your iPhone as simply as choosing AirDrop from the sharing menu of the piece of collateral that you want to send to another user who has their AirDrop app activated.


I am a task master. I write EVERYTHING down that I need to do, whether it is what groceries I need to cook dinner, to what and how I am planning on marketing a new eBook to a new workshop. 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. And it does not matter if I am 10,000 miles away, things get updated automatically once I am on WiFi or a network again.

Those of you who know me best would indeed say that I am a bit slanted towards Apple, but in all honesty they make products and devices that work really well for me and add a time savings factor to how I work. In today’s return on investment outlook, that allows me to focus more on production and less on figuring out broken technology, so the initial price of admission is worth it in my opinion.

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest version of our Photography Tune-Up eBook before you begin to travel this summer. There is no better time to join us and get informative photography tips, exclusive member only content, and the latest news from Jay Goodrich Photographer Inc. than right now.