There are several tools that a journalist or photographer might need to survive during an exhibition or visiting an event. These tools are all necessary to shoot photos, write down different aspects of the event or record voices and videos. Several tools has been made to do these task in its own best way, but there is one tool that do them all and also can be useful in some other ways as well. That tool is a good smartphone which worked for me like a savior during hard times!
The story behind
It all happened in Computex 2014. Our team were about to cover whole exhibition as one of official media partners of Computex 2014 in form of articles and live blogging. Time was short and there were lots of booths and products to look at. The traditional way, we took photos with a DSLR (which I switched to mirrorless later), editing them, uploading with some text and so on. This process takes lots of time and effort, and we could see our rivals could just use photos and articles from other sites and refer to their source. We had to find a faster way.
We had good smartphones with us and we thought:”hey we have a complete set of tools in our pocket!” Now we shoot photos and upload them to website in form of live blogging by our smartphone which was much faster than before. And with DSLR I just took photos to use later in magazine and print media (which needs higher quality photos). We could also manage social media by our smartphone very fast. After Computex 2014, we always count on our smartphones as our best companion to get the job done and cover events properly.
live blogging Huawei Mate 8 on sakhtafzarmag website and instagram
My good smartphone
A good smartphone is one with high end tech and not those with so so camera qualities or unreliable features that might not be as useful and promising for such heavy duty tasks. For that in mind, a recently released iPhone or those great android phones with awesome cameras and features can do the job perfectly. with a good smartphone, I have my camera with me, I can record voices or film some parts of events. A good smartphone can be really handy when I`m doing live blogging with our favorite live blogging service (24liveblog.com). I would be able to write small text very fast and also upload some photos when it is necessary.
Shooting good quality photos is essential and that is another reason why a midrange or cheap smartphone cannot be used in such situations. Smartphone camera qualities are great for using on websites and some of them can also be used in small pictures featured in magazines. I also shoot short video clips and then use iMovies on iPhone to make video clips of my visit from a booth, or make a summarized video of what happened in an event (people love videos these days!)
Panorama image of EA booth at E3 2015
Smartphone as internet provider
If you have ever been in a press conference to cover it live on website, you would definitely know that the wireless internet connection provided by hosts is the event area is the most untrusted ones! You rely on those Wi-Fi connections and you will lose pace of uploading. Even Wi-Fi connections provided by companies in advanced countries (like Computex in Taiwan or CES in US) are not reliable and you won`t have a stable connection at all.
Smartphones are handy in these scenarios too. Just turn them into a hotspot and share internet connection on smartphone with your laptop or tablet. This is a much more reliable solution than trying to connect to a shaky Wi-Fi connection that hundreds of people are trying to connect to.
take a selfie during events and exhibitions with new devices. It is fun!
Never trust an electronic device, as they might get into some serious problem if you are not careful with them (and sometimes you cannot help accidents!) by using a smartphone to record photos, videos or voices, you can access some cloud services to do a auto backup as you go through your day and record data. So you will be sure that you have your data secured in cloud.
Friends of my friends, are my friends too!
the good smartphone of our story has a terrible weakness and that is battery life. Running camera all day for shooting and uploading data to web takes lots of battery life. Even smartphones with best battery life run to low battery in few hours of continuous use of camera. So you need a good power bank to juice up battery on the go. I recommend buying one with at least 10000 mAh capacity, so you can recharge battery several times. There are many types of power banks in market, even power banks with solar cells integrated! I mostly recommend to buy one from a well known manufacturer to make sure it will not damage your device (cheap ones are not recommended!).
Gear Up and dive in!
Having a good smartphone will be enough for event coverage on websites. Smartphone cameras are advanced enough to take good quality photos in different light conditions. There are also lots of apps and tools out there to edit and mix what you take and produce something new to the audience. Bringing content to social media can also be done easily by a smartphone. For that, I mostly like to have a smartphone with a big screen (5.5 inch can be ideal!), best camera and of course enough tools. I currently have iPhone 6 Plus, which does not have the best camera, but It has valuable collection of apps to make good looking photos and videos. Maybe one day I turn to android flagships, and transfer video editing task to macbook or and iPad, but for now, I have my studio in my pocket and it is quite satisfying!
Top Photo: Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. Cover photo I shoot for Samsung Galaxy Note Edge review on sakhtafzarmag.com