Sunday, October 30, 2011

Three ingredients for a successful photo club

Robin Nelson shares some of the stories he has been working on with the Christians in Photojournalism Fall Meeting in Atlanta.
"Birds of a feather flock together," is a proverb that has been in use since at least the mid 16th century. In 1545, William Turner used a version of it in his papist satire The Rescuing of Romish Fox.

When we start school we are put together with people of similar age and start our journey in life together.  We slowly then join clubs and organizations where people of like minds come together.

I believe there are three things to making getting together with others a success: 1) Photography, 2) Subject and 3) Food.

1) Photography

The first thing I know I love to do is to look at others photographs on just about anything.  This is a common interest most photographers have.  We like to see how someone captured a subject.  We want to know what camera, lens, f/stop, shutter speed, ISO and even what lights they used.

Another thing that happens after seeing others photos is we may try to copy them just to learn a new technique. We may even want to stand exactly where they did to make the photo.  This is why so many folks have similar photos of famous places of the world.

One of the best things a tourist can do is to go and find the postcards of a location and then try and duplicate it.  It is like starting from the best position and then hopefully finding another new and unique angle.  But at least you have a good photo if the others don't work out.

2) Subject: Similar Interests

When you get together with folks who have similar interests you have common language of a subject. You tend to have similar experiences. It is through combining multiple interests that we tend to have even more bonding relationships.

When photographers get together in camera clubs they often try to have outings that appeal to different subject matter. some will go off for wildlife photo shoots and others may bring in a model and learn how to do a better job with portraits.

Robin shared a few stories with the group.
I have enjoyed combining my faith with photography.  As a christian I find that the conversations are deeper for me then on other topics and when combined with photography I discover that two of my main interests bring more joy than almost anything else.

When gets together for meetings we see each others work and talk with each other about how we get our inspirations and how we find clients and groups to partner with to do photography.

Over time we have discovered we are not each other's competition, but rather we are colleagues.  It is through our journey's overlapping and sharing with each other that we find inspiration and a kindred soul.

If you want to enjoy your photography at a deeper level, combine it with another subject that you enjoy.  Maybe start your own group.  Maybe it is a club for aviation photographers, bird photographers, Civil War photographers or something else.

We enjoy getting together with couples from our church for what we call "Dinners for Eight." Four couples rotate through the year at each others homes for dinner and time to get to know each other.
3) Food

The last thing that I think always helps in group dynamics is food. Plan some snacks or meals together. This will give you a more casual environment rather than just a stiff presentation.

Water cooler conversations we know are quite different than conference rooms.  Allow for some social time when you get together so people are free to meet others one on one and maybe make other connections than just the main topics that bring the group together. Remember the more topics you have in common with another person give you more things to bond about and help relationships grow.


You are always welcome to visit our meetings for CIP Atlanta.  We have no dues and just do potluck dinners or everyone brings some snacks when we get together.  We always try and see everyone's work and sometimes have special programs in addition by someone.  We post our meetings on our website and you can go there and send us an email asking to be added to the email list to be notified of upcoming meetings.


Here are links to those who showed their work at the last meeting:

  1. Robin Nelson
  2. David Stembridge
  3. Peter Doyle
  4. Jim Loring
  5. Tim Harman
  6. Nick Spratlen
  7. Andy Soloman

Friday, October 28, 2011

Do you have illiterates working on your communications staff?

Most organizations think that all their professional communicators are not only literate but are effective communicators.

Does your organization have managers putting out fires? I hear this a lot with managers. The root cause to these problems always seems to be poor communication.

When learning anatomy most students prefer seeing the parts of the body to help retain the information and also see how parts of the body interact with each other.
So if all your staff has college degrees in English or journalism why are there so many fires in the organization requiring managers to put out fires?

The reason I believe is simple most people are visual learners; a recent study by the U.S. Federal Government suggested that up to 83% of human learning occurs visually. The study also indicated that information which is communicated visually is retained up to six times greater than information which is communicated by spoken word alone.

All research points to we should communicate visually to be most effective. Psychologist Jerome Bruner of New York University has studied the art of communication, and his studies have shown that:
• People remember 10% of what they hear;
• 20% of what they read; and
• 80% of what they see and do.
Stages of Learning (from LeRoy Ford's book "Design for Teaching and Training)
I spoke students in a school camera club where the professional communicators for the school also were in the room. Both of the professionals who attended said they learned a lot. My topic was How Composition Communicates: Visual placement of subject communicates—do you know what you’ve been saying?

The camera club was created to help with the school yearbook, newsletters and for the professional staff to have some photos to use for the school website and publications. They asked me to come in and basically set the bar and help educate the students on what makes a good photograph.

When you take science classes there is always a lab component. This helps you retain the information according to Jerome Bruner's research in the 80% range. Personally I would prefer a doctor that has practiced and not just read about medicine before I see them.
If you enjoy my newsletters and blogs maybe your organization could use a workshop and have me come in and help everyone understand how to create and use visuals more effectively. Every organization that hires professional videographers and photographers all do their own work as well. Those organizations that help educate their people on how to create better visuals for their everyday needs will stand out from their competition.

“A common mistake I see many journalists make is that they write a visual story without watching the visuals in front of them as they write. Too often, a video or slideshow story is not connected to the visuals. A good story is hooked to the visuals and audio. In broadcast, disconnected shots are referred to as wallpaper video, meaning that the story could be told without the visuals.”
--Serena Carpenter, professor Arizona State University
I commonly see writers cover events and never watch the video they will use on the website or the still photographs before and while they are writing their story. 

While working on my masters of communication in the education department I was exposed to how people learn.  Surprisingly all my journalism classes spent most of their time on how to communicate but nothing at all on how people learn.  All my education classes taught me how people learn, but very little on how to communicate.  I used to laugh about this.

In organizations for the most part you need people who are not just knowledgeable as we show in the Stages of Learning chart (see above drawing).
  1. Knowledge: memorizing or recalling
  2. Comprehension: Translating (changing) into new forms, explaining
  3. Application: Applying learning to a new situation
  4. Analysis: Breaking communication down to its parts
  5. Synthesis: creating something new by putting the parts together
  6. Evaluation: Judging based on standards
I would say most writers are able to do all six stages when it comes to text, but when it comes to the visual literacy few move past stage one.

A good workshop will help your staff to learn how to use visuals with text to improve the retention of the information for your organization.

Stanley's Visual Training Workshops.

One-on-one tutoring in digital photography, photo-editing and visual communication. One day tutorial covers camera skills and Lightroom; 2-4 day tutorials add instruction in photographic expression & field shoots as well as matching visuals with text.

Costs: $495/1 day to $1,980/4 days.

If you would like me to help train your staff please call me for rates.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't buy more camera gear--buy a ticket instead

For this perspective of the roads around Lake Lanier in Georgia you need a something bigger than a crane. (Nikon D3s 28-300mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/30)
The costs of a new high quality lens is usally anywhere from $500 to $15,000.  Many of the long telephoto lenses you see many sports photographers use on sidelines and nature photographers using at 300mm f/2.8, 400mm f/2.8 or longer.  For many folks they would be better served to do a trip to Africa or Asia with their present gear than to buy another lens.

For about $300 two people can take a balloon ride or airplane ride.  For about $400 to $600 you can take a helicopter ride.  For about $3000 to $5,000 you can travel overseas to exotic places and see something totally different. The different perspective is what some folks need to improve their photos.

You have seen earlier posts talking about getting a worm's eye view and the bird's eye view. For all these photos I found you had to fly like a bird to get these bird's eye images.

One of the things my wife had on her bucket list was a hot air balloon ride. I think we may have to do this one again. We both had a lot of fun, even tho we got up before the crack of dawn to drive to a parking lot near Lake Lanier, Georgia to get on board a balloon designed for up to eight people, plus the pilot.

By getting up above the lake for sunrise I was able to capture a unique perspective of Lake Lanier. (Nikon D3s, 28-300mm, ISO 500, f/4.8, 1/1000)
Two things made this a great way to make photographs that you would want to frame and put on the wall. 1) a different perspective than you normally get walking around with a camera. 2) Early morning light looks fantastic.

One thing you can do right away is just get up before the crack of dawn and having previously scouted a good location wait for the sun to rise.  You will be surprised as to how different the location looks as compared to mid day.
My wife's bucket list included a hot air balloon ride, which we did last fall. (Nikon D3s, 14-24mm, ISO 6400, f/2.8, 1/320)
My friend Bill Fortney, published two books photographing America from 500 Feet (Book 1 and Book 2), likes to joke about if you are having focusing issues you have more problems than photography at the moment.  Most lenses everything is in focus at 153 feet or greater, so if you have the lens focused on infinity and it isn't sharp you are too close to the ground.
This is looking straight down into Lake Lanier from the Hot Air Balloon where you can see our reflection. (Nikon D3, 28-300mm, ISO 6400, f/3.5, 1/800)
Another interesting phenomenon is that the angle of the light source hitting a subject relative to the camera position can affect the exposure.  In essence you are getting some of the light bouncing and creating flair making the photo over exposed.  You could make it a little darker by underexposing or you could use a Polarizing filter to help cut down on the glare.

You don't need a caption to explain how much fun the ride was for my wife. (Nikon D3s, 16mm f/2.8, ISO 360, f/8, 1/30)
While in the basket under the balloon I had three lenses I used: 1) 28-300mm Nikon, 2) 14-24mm Nikon and 3) 16mm full frame fish eye Nikon lens. For 90% of the photos from the balloon to show the landscape I used the 28-300 mm.  For the photos of us in the balloon I used primarily the 16mm fish eye. 

The pilot enjoying early morning coffee at about 500 feet. (Nikon D3, 16mm, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/2000)

One of my favorite photos from the day--capturing my wife having the time of her life. (Nikon D3, 16mm. ISO 2800, f/2.8, 1/2000)
Can you think of something you can do to get a bird's eye view? We were not satisfied with just a balllon ride.  We later took a bi-plane ride.

One of the best things you could be planning to improve your photography is to plan a trip and do something fun to photograph. Too many photographers spend more money on lenses when spending money on a fun location will give you better portfolio results than a new lens.

Dorie and I before we take off for a open cockpit bi-plane ride over downtown Atlanta.
This was even tighter quarters than the balloon ride.  This is a Nikon D3s with 16mm.
Come and join me on my workshops here is a link to them

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What my clients get when they hire me

One of my clients knows that when he hired me he was getting more than someone who took photos.  Actually this is why he hired me. "Please don't go home and think about this all night long--I don't need it right away," is something I hear from this client.
You see my clients get all of me when they bring me onto a project. My mind is thinking from the moment I get the job until even after I have delivered it. Besides my creative juices flowing about what can I do to make this unique, I am also thinking about all the other elements that go into the project.

Lasers are something that are not visible when you are in a lab, so how do you make them visible and cool?  That is one reason my clients hire me.
Some of the photo shoots require a great deal of technical knowledge to pull them off. A good example is shooting at a research institute like Georgia Tech, I must be able to go into the lab and get the photo. Some of the things like lasers are not visible to the naked eye. Making them show up in a photo helps communicate what is going on in the photo.  

Many photographers will do what they see on TV and spray a mist to make the lasers show up.  These photographers don't get invited back, because the chemicals in that mist get all over the researcher's equipment. Having to cleanup after a photographer has visited a lab is a good way not to be invited back. My clients like that I am thinking of not just getting the image at all costs.

This is a great example of having to think outside the box.  This composer had written software that used cameras to observe light and then create music. The audience was given flashlights to wave around and as they did they were creating music that the live orchestra would play. The problem is when I showed up in his office all the keyboards were just sold. All he had was the software on the computer which wasn't that interesting, but he had a few shots from the audience.  I had him wave a flashlight to capture what the audience was doing.  For me the photo works--expecially because it had to be created out of nothing.  I had to listen and process to come up with the photo.
My obsessive behavior of not letting go of a thought until I can work it out makes me strange in many situations--but a blessing to my clients. Most photographers can photograph what they see in front of them and even light it to look cool. As you can see from these two photos is that the client gets a photo of something that didn't exist.


Putting the viewer into the game is something I like to do. To make this photo I had to use strobes to light the entire court. I had to mount a camera behind the glass on the goal. All of the lights and camera had to have safety cables. I then had to be able to fire the camera with a remote that would not just fire the camera but also the strobes all at the same time.
The closest I got to playing high school or college sports was my freshman year in high school where I played on the golf team for a while.  I never played in a tournament.  In college I did get to photograph my college's sports and at East Carolina University we had some incredible sports. Our football team at the time was great and so too was the women's basketball team.

My love of sports has helped my clients get photos that tell a story and communicate the athleticism of their teams. This requires special equipment and knowledge of how to use it to capture those moments that make your team look like they should be in Sports Illustrated. Some of those photos for my clients did find their way to the pages of Sports Illustrated.

In sports you usually want to see the ball, both teams, peak action and the expression of the athletes for the best photos. While you don't always have all the elements, you know this is what you are looking for to make the photo have impact.

When the client hires me to take these action shots they often need more than just the game shots.  They need head shots of the players for their sports programs.  They also need team photos or stylized images to use for the posters to be put up around town to help sell tickets.

The gloves were originally red, but in PhotoShop I made them yellow and let that be the only yellow in the photo. This was my idea and became the poster that Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets, used that year to show off their Heisman candidate Calvin Johnson. Again you can hire a photographer to shoot what you show them or they can take your idea and make it better.

When the Archdiocese of Atlanta needed to hire a photographer to photograph a military funeral the list of who they would use was quite short.  Because I had been to seminary and understood more than what was taking place visually but how to handle myself in this situation my reputation got me the job. I arrived early and let the family friend know who I was sent by to photograph the funeral. I asked for their permission and was willing to walk away if they said no. The client wouldn't want to use the photos if I had gotten them any other way. Many photographers would not understand how not having a photo is better than having one at times.

Proven Track Record
Soulja Boy
Soulja Boy
Kid Rock
Kid Rock
The Carter Center: Guinea Worm Eradication Campaign
Former President Jimmy Carter
What do pictures of Soulja Boy, Kid Rock and former President Jimmy Carter do for my clients?  Help them relax. I have heard it over and over when the person who hired me takes me around to meet their bosses or other important decision makers at their company they will name drop who I have shot for before and who I have covered.

Their neck is on the line often because photography is expensive. By letting folks know they had investigated me and that I had experience it not only helps them feel better, but relaxes them and this translates into great images for me. The people around them pick up on their mood.

When you hire the best you know you can relax and know you are going to get the best images for your company.

People Skills

Capturing moments that help communicate by using body language isn't something that everyone is capable of doing. Many people just know how to handle themselves and pick up on the mood of others, but they do not know what those visual cues are always.

Children's Choir
Soubakamedougou, Burkina FasoPaul Ekman has inspired the latest crime series TV show "Lie To Me" by decoding the traits of liars for more than 40 years. That work concentrates on the meaning of human facial expressions, body movements and speech patterns, which Dr. Ekman, a psychologist, has researched and cataloged.

While I am not an expert, this is what my social work undergraduate degree helped me understand is important.  Through training and experience of using this to help capture those moments I understand how to use gestures and face expressions to help tell a story.

People understand it when they see it, but they might not even be able to tell you why the photo makes them feel a certain way. Photographers who want to make you feel and respond in a certain way need to understand body language in order to predict what will happen next so they can capture it, because if you wait till you see it you will miss the moment.

I actually took this as backup to the schools hired photographers.  They had strobes setup and I was sure they were getting better photos than I was getting.  Boy was I wrong. We were so thankful I took these because the backgrounds were all black and just didn't capture the atmosphere.
My Network

When a client calls and needs me for something, I cannot always fulfill their request, but my client never has to look for someone. I help them find someone who can best meet their needs. The great thing is those folks I recommend don't try and take my client away. This impresses the clients as well as me.

I am the member of American Society of Media Photographers, National Press Photographers Association, and Christians in Photojournalism. I have not only been a member of these organizations but served on their boards and in roles of leadership.

Each year I am part of a team that helps to organize the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference where photographers who believe this profession to be a calling come together for a few days to learn and fellowship with each other.

A few times a year I help organize the local chapter of Christians in Photojournalism in the Atlanta area to get together for meetings.

Due to these organizations I have developed a good network of professional colleagues.  I have seen their work and worked with them enough to know about their character and how they conduct themselves.  It is from this network I pull upon to help my clients find the best photographers for the job if I am not available.  Sometimes a client calls and I send them directly to one of my colleagues.  I want the best for my clients.

IMG_22When you hire a creative are you hiring the whole person or just someone to push the button? You may have thought you just needed a photo, but you are always hiring the whole person.  Are your creatives thinking about you even when you are not calling them?

My clients often will get emails or phone calls where I have thought about something they might be interested in doing. If your creatives haven't called you with ideas maybe you need to find those who are going to do more than just show up and get what you tell them to do.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Blog - Daemon Baizan

Daemon Baizan
I am excited that my friends are writing to me with great ideas.  One of the best photographers I know in Atlanta is Daemon Baizan.  I have been really impressed with his food photography through the years, but Daemon is a great people photographer as well. One of the reasons is he makes people relax.

This is Daemon's response to where I put out a kind of challenge for others to show non-photographic things that they'd adapted to work well for shooters.

Here is Daemon's contact information:
Daemon Baizan, photographer, ASMP, EP
2555 Fairoaks Road
Decatur, GA 30033
404.634.6151 FAX: 404.634.5454   

Home Depot T-strap ($5) and 2 Nikon SB-800s


I've got a couple for you.

Figure A
I've attached some pictures to explain, but I have two things that I've found to be extremely helpful for shooting quickly and capably in the field.

The first was my Home Depot T-strap flash bracket. I bought a T-strap piece at Home Depot for about $5. I bent the center part to ninety degrees, and installed a spigot (Figure B). I then used the pre-drilled holes in the T-strap, and installed two positive-locking flash-shoe brackets (about $7 each from Flash Zebra). Now I had a very secure, rigid, flash bracket which would hold two SB-800's with enough clearance for insertion of a separate battery plug, with battery compartments accessible, and the same orientation for both IR sensors on the flash bodies. I usually modify the light from these tandem flashes with a brolly box whose shaft goes into the appropriate hole in a swivel bracket attached to the brass spigot.
Figure B
Figure C
I was ready to take this rig on the road, but I added another mod (Figure C) that makes all the difference in the world. Your experience may not be the same, but I had tons of trouble outdoors trying to get these flashes to fire in Remote mode, even when I had a dedicated SB-800 on camera in Master mode. I solved my problem by the lowest-tech solution possible. A piece of tin foil, folded, trimmed, and edged with duct tape (to keep it from tearing easily) stuck to the side of the flash, opposite the direction of the IR Master trigger, causes these flashes to fire correctly about 99 percent of the time. The sensors on these two SB-800's are almost always facing toward the ground, so they are shaded, and the sun doesn't interfere with the IR signal from the Master flash. The tin-foil reflecting panel is actually an upgrade from my first version, which came into existence when I was having problems on assignment. I took a gum wrapper and stuck it to my flash with the gum that had come from it, and it got me through the assignment. From there I upgraded to tinfoil and tape.

So, there you have it. Two home-made solutions to some very vexing problems, using things that are definitely not photo hardware. All easy on the wallet.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pro Golfers and Pro Photographers have a lot in common

Taylor Made Burner Driver
The Mechanics

The professional golfer started by learning the golf swing with one club. It was most likely the 5-iron that they started with.  When you hit a golf ball with the 5-iron the ball is in the middle of your feet and just out in front of your body at the comfortable distance where the club will meet it when your swing is proper.

Many who start playing begin with a starter set of clubs.  Instead of carrying the 14 club limit they do on the PGA tour they carry half as many clubs. The reason is simple, before you run you have to walk. You need to get down the mechanics of the golf swing and then learn to slow it down, change your stance for different club lengths and how to make the ball not just go straight but left or right.

Tour Edge Bazooka HT Max Irons
The professional photographer starts out with a simple camera and learns how to master the mechanics of camera. When I started many were told to get a simple 50mm lens and basic camera that was totally manual only. They don't make this type of camera anymore for the digital era.

I learned over time how to make my shots just like the professional golfer. If I wanted to do something different, just like the golfer, I learned how to manipulate the camera to get the results I was looking for in my shot.

My golf bag
The professional golfer who is leading a tournament is the one who is consistently playing. The difference between those at the top and the others is what goes on in their head. The leaders are calm and thinking level headed about their game. They may have a bad drive, but they are able to step up on the next shot and recover. The amateur golfer often is still thinking about what they did wrong and unable to concentrate on the shot at hand.

The professional photographer who makes their shots consistently is doing it with what goes on in their head.


You can give an average set of clubs to a professional golfer and they will play better with them than most amateurs. A professional photographer can be given a point and shoot camera and most likely out perform the amateur for similar reasons. It isn't the equipment that determines the professional but the knowledge in their heads that they put to use that makes them perform at the highest level of the game.

The pros do look for the best equipment that is made for them to perform at their best.  While there are differences between golf clubs and cameras most at this level are very minuet and the major differences are more between the person using the equipment.

The Business Metaphor

The professional photographer is best served by having a niche. This makes it easier to market and brand themselves.  I like to think of this like starting to play golf, your niche is like learning the golf swing with the 5-iron.

It is much easier after establishing yourself in a market to add other services. Think of it like adding another club to the bag. You may start shooting weddings and a natural next step maybe portraits.

My camera bag I use most often for corporate work

After shooting portraits on location at weddings you may then add the studio portrait to your bag.  You get pretty confident with this and then step over to shooting executive portraits or maybe musical performers portraits for CDs and their promotional material.

Hopefully, you are starting to see its not the camera or the golf clubs that make you a pro, it is years of experience and perfecting the mechanics to make the shots you want to make. Over time you learn to remain calm, cool and collected in your thoughts, so you can make the shot. You know that it take all of your mind and heart to make great photos that keep the clients coming back for more.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Use Golf Travel Case for Light Stands & Tripods

Freedom Golf Travel Case $80
The first thing you notice about professional photographer's gear is a lot of it is improvisation.  For example you will notice a Freedom Golf Travel Case that I bought many years ago to use as my light stand and tripod case.  I paid approximately $80 for it.  Today it sells for about $120.

HPRC 6300WE Wheeled Hard Case for Tripods $255
A similar case designed specifically for photography is the HPRC 6300WE Wheeled Hard Case for Tripods which retails for about $255.
Closed Up View

As you can see there is very little difference between the two items.

Before camera bags became well designed I knew of photographers who used boy scout bags for their cameras back in the 1970s.  This was before Jim Domke invented his bag.

I am curious what tips do you have for people on things that you have found work as well if not better for less money for your photography?  Tell us about them in the comments below.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vacation Photos: Compose the setting first

To get this photo of my wife and daughter I took the photo below first.  It is then easier to have the people stand and fill in a part of the frame close to the camera. Nikon P7000 ISO 400, f/3.2, 1/40 fill flash to auto balance the background.
Nikon P7000 ISO 1600, f/3.2, 1/220
When you travel for vacations, be sure you do a good job of taking photos that show where you visited.  Don't get so close on your family photos that the photos could have been taken anywhere.

Also don't have the people so close to the background they are too small to see their faces.  Have the people as close to the camera without completely covering up your background.

Also, even tho you are outside on a sunny day try the photo with a flash and without.  Many times the flash helps improve the photo.

While this will work for your vacation photos, it will work for anyone you need to show in their environment.  Try this same technique for a person you might have a story about.
While I liked the picture of the Horwarts Train I really wanted to show our family visiting.  So after getting the camera angle I then had my family stand in and get a better photo for us.  Nikon P7000 ISO 100, f/4, 1/380
Adding my wife and daughter is easy once I have where they are composed.  Nikon P7000 ISO 100, f/4, 1/230
Nikon P7000 ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/400
Added my daughter to the photo above.  Again, by having a good background I am not only taking a photo of my daughter, but you can tell we went to Harry Potter Wizarding World Theme Park in Orlando, Florida.  Nikon P7000 ISO 139, f/5.6, 1/550 and fill flash used.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Will Camera Phones Replace Cameras?

iPhone 4S has an 8 Megapixel Camera
Apple fans, including co-founder Steve Wozniak, were lined up on Friday morning for a chance to buy the iPhone 4S. It contains an A5 processor (the same one in the iPad 2), which Apple says will render data twice as fast as the iPhone 4 and graphics up to seven times faster.

The 5MP camera on the Iphone 4 has been bumped up to 8MP, which Apple claims "might be the best camera ever on a phone". It also has a bigger aperture of f2.4, while the illumination sensor has been improved, and there's additional face detection. The video camera can shoot in HD 1080p rather than HD 720p, and it has added video stabilization that the Iphone 4 camera doesn't have.

Can the iPhone replace my DSLR 8MP camera?  I think in time they might be able to do that, but for right now no and here are some of the reasons.

Sensor Size

Power-lines as you know can cause interference in your car's radio the closer you get to them. Nikon P700 ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/60
The sensor they use in a camera phone isn't the same size sensor they use in your DSLR.  While the megapixel count maybe the same the pixels are small and more compact.  The closer these pixels are to each other the same affect happens as when your car is closer to the power-lines and you are listening to your radio, you get interference.

You can hear the "noise" on your radio and you will see the "noise" in your photos. There is no grain in digital like we had with film, but the effect looks similar.  The more "noise" the grainier the photo looks.

As I was taking my morning walk I saw this and it helped me think of a way to explain noise in photos. Nikon P7000 ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/110
As electronics get smaller and they have electricity running through them this creates heat and the smaller the electronics the heat tends to increase. This is one of the things being tackled with nanotechnology.


Processor in iPhone 4S and iPad 2
The A5 processor in the new phone is faster than the older processor, but this isn't the only thing that determines quality of your image. The software in the phone processes the image from the chip and turns it into a JPEG.  This process presently tends to make some judgement calls and gives some smearing affect as compared to an image shot on a DSLR in RAW.

When you can shoot RAW on your camera phone which gives your more control then you maybe able to do a great deal more.

Lens, Shutter Speed and Aperture

Right now most phones do not give you controls over the aperture to change it.  You just have a box camera. In many ways the camera in your phone is very similar to the Kodak box camera that they first introduced more than 130 years ago.  You couldn't control the shutter speed, the aperture the focus or the ISO on the camera.  For the most part this is why the camera phone isn't replacing anytime soon the DSLR or even the point and shoot cameras.

What you gain in convenience with the camera phone you often give up many controls which can make your images a higher quality.

Why I like my Nikon P7000

Another photo from my early morning walk with my Nikon P7000 ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/550
Fall leaves are changing on my street. Nikon P7000 ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/100
For all the reasons the iPhone 4S has deficiencies is why I love my Nikon P7000. The sensor is bigger and so less noise.  While it is only 10 megapixel and not all that bigger file size than the 8 megapixel iPhone, it is a cleaner file.

I can shoot RAW in addition to the JPEGs.  My camera offers Fine, Medium and Basic JPEGs where as with most camera phones you have no options.  I believe most of them are shooting a Basic JPEG due to the quality I see in them.

I can pick my ISO, my aperture, my shutter speed and I have an optical zoom.  My camera phone has none of these options.

Until all these are in the camera phone, the camera phone will be used for convenience, but I will most certainly still want to use my other cameras for images with enough quality to hang on my walls.