Mastering mobile phone photography with Ion Paciu and Tatiana Zigar

Here at the Photoion Photography School we know it’s paramount to adapt or die, so we pride ourselves on fully embracing the rapid changes in technology. The appearance of smartphone photography allows people to interact with the surroundings in different and exciting ways (like never before). Smartphone technology implies more freedom and means that almost anyone can now take good photographs without carrying around a big camera and additional equipment. So we’ve introduced a new workshop, for smartphone photographers and to inspire you, we asked two of our smartphone photography experts, Tatiana Zigar and Ion Paciu to give their advice and tips for anyone considering mobile phone photography.

So, what do we love about this particular method of capturing photographs?

Tatiana: I shoot with an iPhone 4s and I love it because it’s like having a big bunch of photo cameras and also a variety of editing options in my palm!

Street winterscape by Tatiana Zigar

Smartphone mobile photography is versatile and the existing apps are mostly free or very cheap; They are quite intuitive and easy to use. This makes things much more simple for photographers and empowers them to express their personal, visual conversations much faster than before. Capturing images with a DSLR or a mobile phone makes a difference to photographers in terms of logistics and the technological difference is, just a matter of capability of course!  Our master photographer Ion Paciu says, “I seek, “see”, compose and record in the same way with both.”

Ion: The smartphone is much more than just a little tiny camera inside a cell phone. First, it is fast! Photography in the past was slow, photographers have to wait for so long to see the results. Now they’re becoming faster and faster! Look at the difference between the iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 4s…..impressive.
Close-up of a flower by Ion Paciu (iPhone 4s)


Back in 19th century, photographers were carrying massive pieces of equipment to get one photograph exposed. See below Carleton E. Watkins (1829 – 1916) driving his (and the first) mobile darkroom in the world. This was a very long time ago, about 50 years prior to Ansel Adams! Nowadays, we can take hundreds of photographs with just a 200 gram device, move quickly to editing and then sharing. In a minute your photograph is with your friends all over the world!


“Taking pictures on a mobile phone is like having a hundred different cameras and a photo editing suite in my hand,” says Ion Paciu. This is the beginning of the photographic technological revolution and I am so curious to follow this exciting journey.

What’s coming tomorrow? How did you get into smartphone photography?

Tatiana: My photography started some time ago when I began using an old Russian analog camera Zenit for art projects. Then I moved onto digital but I also had to start learning how to edit my images first in the dark room then on my computer. Some time ago, I bought my first smartphone, an iPhone 4s and soon I discovered the power of mobile phone photography; and then the apps and instagram; since then my entire life has changed.

Tunnel image from the car by Tatiana Zigar (iPhone 4s)