iPhone Photography in 2021 – A DSLR Substitute?

What happens if you don’t have your DSLR, Mirrorless or Film Camera with you, and there’s a story to be captured?

It is always better to have the image, to tell the story, to share the moment.

So could you convincingly use your iPhone for Street Photography in 2021?

Absolutely… here’s why!


I grew up in a time before smart phones, like many of you. Playing snakes on my Nokia was about as creative as it came.

However, as technology advanced, phone cameras became a staple of our lives. If you couldn’t to afford a DSLR, as I couldn’t, phones with a camera allowed us to have that freedom of story telling. Memory was expensive and the first few camera phones could hold only a few photographs – but the option was there.

The modern day smart phone is now centred around a complex multitude of lenses within a single phone. The choice to have a wide, standard and telephoto viewing angle, all within one device, really have opened up possibilities.


It is all too easy now days to get your hands on the very latest technology at perceivably affordable prices. The choice has never been harder for someone on a budget that would like to start Street Photography. Where does one best spend around £1,000 in 2021?

Well, you could choose to opt for a used DSLR set up with a lens and accessories or chose to purchase the pinnacle of technology in a convenient, small and multifunctioning device.

If you chose the latter, you are in for a truly eye opening experience.

To give you some perspective, the below image was taken on my 4-year-old Phone (iPhone 7+).


If you reach into your pocket, I will bet you have an extremely capable camera. Modern phones provide a convivence to document stories, settings and moments like never before.

More than once I have been caught short without my trusty camera. The temptation to use my phone was always supressed by the concern that either the image would not be good enough, or the image itself would not be worthy.

Fortunately, I learnt how to deal with doubt – I’ve even written a few words on the subject you may find helpful.

Moving past the doubt can result in some pretty captivating images. There is an entire hashtag dedicated to #iPhoneStreetPhotography on Instagram.

The reality is you’re not always going to have your DSLR on you. And in those moments, when the opportunity presents its self, your phone may be the difference between telling the story or not.


So, this can come in many forms. Social Media apps such as Instagram allow you to “edit” your photographs, with a filter, before the image is uploaded.

Editing In More Detail

There is also an option to have more control with the editing by using the sliders for each of the exposure details.

Although these options are great for instantly sharing your story, and having a degree of control over the final product, I would recommend downloading dedicated editing software such as Lightroom.

Sharing Your Story

This is the easy part. There are so many Social Media Apps out there now and so many ways to share your story. I use Instagram as a way of sharing my story but you can also view my Developments page.

Developments is where I share with you the story of the image. How I came about taking it, what was happening around me and how the image connected with me.

This is a great place for you to have your say.

Maybe you see a different story developing?

Let me know.

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