Vacation Photos: Cell Phone vs. DSLR

You’re on vacation and ready to take some photos. Do you pull out the big camera or settle for the cell phone?

Photographer Jami Edman has come up with a list of guidelines to make the decision a snap!


…when there are safety concerns.
Recently I was in Seattle on May1st. Our hotel was downtown near the shopping center. We did not know there was a huge protest planned for that day. We ended up being in the middle of a full-on riot. It was not a safe place to carry around my big camera. We left the area and continued our sightseeing, but my phone was the only thing I had with me.

…around water.
Also while in Seattle we went on a boat tour. Taking my big camera and lens out on a boat always worries me. While our smart phones are expensive, they cost less to replace then our DSLR cameras.

…for spontaneous moments.
Sometimes you just don’t have time to take your camera out. For instance we were recently in New York with the Mt. View HS choir who sang in Carnegie Hall. There were many times were either a big camera was discouraged or I just did not have time to get into my camera bag and get my camera out.


…when you can’t get close to your subject.
There are limits to what you can do with your camera phone. For instance we were only able to see the Statue of Liberty from a boat because the island was still closed due to damage of Super Storm Sandy. A SLR with a zoom lens was a must in this situation.

…in low light.
Good photography is all about light. Camera phones struggle in low light situations. We were at Disney over Christmas so there was only a little bit of light in the early morning and very little light at night. This is a time you would want to use your DSLR. For instance I love to capture images moments on Disneyland rides, at night when Disney is all lit up.

To learn more about shooting in manual mode, light, and everyday camera settings visit my website We have a FLASH sale going on for the next 24 hours you can use the code “KSLmay” and receive $10 off our full photography course. Six hours of classes you can watch over and over, until you become confident with your camera!

Jami Edman is a professional portrait photographer based in Utah, and is the photographer behind She specializes in newborn, high school senior, and family photography. For the past 3 years she has been teaching new DSLR camera owners how to use their camera. She recently put her classes on video and launched the new website

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