Smartphone Photographer Martin Lindner Interview (Mobile Creator Series)
If you’re looking for photography that’s just downright cool, then you’re going to like Martin Linder – or, as he’s affectionately known on Instagram, @mart.lindner.
He describes himself and his style on his page in three words – creative, simple, architecture – and the results are, well, check out for yourself.
It doesn’t matter what kind of photographer you are; you’re going to want to stick around for this edition of the Mobile Creator Series.
Just so you know, before we really get started, he doesn’t shoot primarily with his phone and yes, the prints are for sale.
Table of Contents
THE MOBILE CREATOR SERIES
WHAT IS THE MOBILE CREATOR SERIES?
MCS is an initiative to discover and highlight photographers pioneering mobile photography. It’s a series of interviews and collaborations that highlight the potential of smartphones and the innovation of the people using them to push the envelope of traditional photography.
The goal is to inspire new photographers to think outside the box – to create with the tools you have available. Secondarily, we want to dispel the notion that smartphones aren’t comparable to conventional cameras. The artists featured are our evidence.
Without further ado, meet Martin.
THE MOBILE CREATOR SERIES: INTERVIEW WITH @mart.lindner
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Name: Martin Lindner | IG: @mart.lindner | www.martlindner.com
Location / Homebase: Cologne, Germany
Favorite Gear: Sony Alpha 7 iii with a 24-105mm f4 lens (the 12-24mm f4 is on my wishlist). As an alternative, I use my iPhone 11 Max Pro for super-wide pics.
Ok, now for the elephant in the room – that Sony Alpha 7 iii that comes before the iPhone 11 Max Pro.
Don’t worry, Martin has an explanation as to why this is the case. He made a name for himself in the phone photography industry, but found the Sony better for capturing the photos that become his prints.
In his own words, he really only uses his Sony when on one of his frequent photography trips – either a day, weekend, or longer excursion. If you’re interested in travel tips for photographers, Martin has extensive well-thought-out guides written on places like:
- Hong Kong
In these guides, Martin explains how to travel in the city, what the most Instagram worthy spots are, his personal experiences and opinions, and who he met while he was there (locals, Instagrammers, etc.). His strategy when traveling is to attempt to immerse himself in the culture to get the most out of the experience, and we recommend you try the same.
Hey Martin! Thanks for taking the time to let us pick your brain. Here’s the obvious question – do you choose to use a smartphone for photography instead of a traditional camera? Is it a full replacement or just a supplement?
Hey, and thanks for having me for this interview!
I used to take pictures with my mobile phone only. I even said in other interviews that I couldn’t imagine switching to a full-frame camera ever. However, my mindset has changed since now I do want a higher resolution on most of my photographs.
That being said, I still value my mobile phone highly for two reasons:
1. For any Social Media the quality of a mobile phone is absolutely fine and you often really can’t tell the difference. That’s because you look at a rather small screen, and your images get set to a fixed resolution there anyways.
2. I have my phone with me basically all the time. I surprisingly often end up walking by something that interests me, and I take a quick shot for future reference or even just use my phone to get a good shot of my vantage point. I don’t always carry my full-frame camera with me unless I am on a photography trip.
Do you think smartphones offer any significant advantages over traditional cameras? Are there serious shortcomings, in your opinion?
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I enjoy playing around with the rather small size of a phone compared to a full-frame camera. The small size lets me capture from angles that are otherwise not possible. Some examples include reflections with glass facades and water puddles.
Also, a fun way to get creative shots is to include the actual phone in your photograph. You are basically taking a picture of your phone with a picture displayed on it which matches the background. It can be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes a nice motif to go back to from time to time.
One of the severe shortcomings of using a phone only is the average quality of the image when looked at on a bigger screen. Since I also use my photographs for framed prints, I need to use a full-frame camera for that.
(If necessary: ) How do you overcome the drawbacks of smartphone photography?
Instead of using your phone for things it is not designed for (in my case, High-Resolution prints), I focus on its strengths.
You can easily use things like a boomerang effect or the native Night mode to get better results. Also, instead of using just the regular camera app, it’s worth shooting in RAW format if you plan on editing your picture later.
Smartphones are more than just cameras – they can edit and publish photos too. Do you use any other phone features in the course of your work?
Absolutely! I often take short videos of Behind the Scenes moments to give my audience some context. There is absolutely no need to use a traditional camera for that unless you are a video-blogger.
I also use my phone for most of the editing I do for my photographs. I even import the pictures taken on my full-frame camera to my phone to edit them on the go.
I usually edit while on trains, airplanes, or any other means of transport. Lately, I started to look into animating some of my pictures using different mobile apps.
Do you think there is any type of gear that is critical to enabling mobile photography? What is it? Why?
I used to use an 18mm Moment wide lens for my iPhone.
However, my current mobile phone comes with an ultra-wide lens, so it’s no longer necessary for me. It’s worth noting, though, that if you want to capture more – such as in an architectural or landscape setting – I highly suggest getting one of those wide lenses.
Any secret tricks or techniques you can share for people interested in improving their mobile photography?
So I see a lot of people trying to frame a tall building, but they can’t fit the whole building inside. Vertical Panorama is the magic technique here.
For example, in my hometown Cologne there is a huge cathedral, and it’s just not possible to frame it completely using only the point and shoot standard camera. Instead, turn your phone by 90 degrees, so it’s wide.
Change your photography mode to Panorama and start moving upwards (in contrast to moving from left to right). However, you need to close pay attention to people in the frame because they might become distorted, such as having long arms and legs.
At the same time, this can be used to create cool effects, especially with a person being close to the camera.
Any final words of advice to aspiring photographers?
Don’t be afraid to take bad pictures at first. There is this saying that your first 10.000 images are bad, and I agree with that given my own experience.
That’s even more true when it comes to editing.
Also, connect to people with a similar style to you and get in contact with them. I often reply to aspiring photographers because I can easily relate to them.
We’ve all been there.