Can the camera in your pocket match up to a DSLR? We've taken two top Instagram superstars into the skies above London armed with an iPhone 6s to find out...

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Just how good is the camera in your pocket? That’s what we’ve recently been trying to find out with the help of two awesome Instagrammers. Earlier this month we took @mrwhisper and @jacob up into the skies above London for a very special the photo op. But the big question is, can a smartphone match up to a DSLR while zipping through the air?

Check out some of the shots below – all of which were taken on an iPhone 6s – to see for yourself, and read on below for a Q&A all about how London-based @mrwhisper goes about bringing such amazing imagery to his Instagram followers…

London, it’s a helluva town

mrwhisperWhat would be your top three tips for anyone wanting to get the best photography from London?

“1. Explore the city at different times of day; you’ll be surprised by how the same view can look so dramatically different throughout a single day.

“2. Always have your camera in hand – you never know when you’ll need it. I always have my camera at the ready, even at the supermarket!

“3. Make space for an umbrella in your camera bag, London is notorious for unexpected downpours, and the last thing you want to do is cut a shoot short due to rain.”

Was the iPhone 6s the perfect companion photographing London from up high?
“It was totally fit for purpose. Considering we were constantly on the move and the weather conditions were slightly overcast, I was really impressed with the set of shots I got from the iPhone. It was super-fast to focus, and the handy burst mode ensured I wouldn’t miss a moment.”

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How do you generally approach and plan for a shoot in London? 
“What I’m looking to shoot will determine where I’ll go. So I’ll go underground for candid shots, for instance, or Soho or Brick Lane to shoot those cool type of folks.”

Do you often discover new things you hadn’t noticed in the city before?
“Yes, every time I’m out and about! There will always be something new that catches my eye – it could be something as big as a new perspective on a classic landmark, to something as small as a beautifully lit alleyway tucked away in the backstreets.”

What has been your biggest discovery when photographing the city?
“Night photography. The city transforms by night, as do the people. Shooting in the city at night has got to be my favourite time to shoot.”

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What are your top locations to photograph in London?
“Portobello Market, the South Bank, West End, Soho and the Underground, to name a few. They’re places in which I’m guaranteed to find a great mix of people enjoying London life, which is what I love to document and share.”

What kind of emotions do you like to capture in your shots?
“I want my audience to empathise with the images I create. I want them to feel the squeeze on the London Underground at rush hour, or the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street shopping. I love those iconic London moments – the ones most people can relate to.”

Have you ever come across a London landmark that you couldn’t photograph?
“For sure! There’s the Shell building on the Strand and another large building right next to Liverpool street station, both of which offer great architectural elements worth capturing. However, both buildings also come with security guards enforcing the no photography policy!”

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What inspires you in the city?
“London has so much to offer; the pace of the city, the great mix of colourful characters, the incredible architecture and the forever-changing skyline.

No two days are ever the same, so heading into the city is always inspiring.”

When taking a shot what are the main things you look to capture?
“Movement, expression, light and composition. Those are definitely the key ingredients.”

The joys of Instagram

How did you first get into Instagram?
“My wife introduced me to the app. I think she initially regretted it, but now she recognises the rewards and is super supportive.

Over time, I found myself developing a particular look and feel for my images, with a style influenced by the world of cinema and moving images.”

Does it matter which device you use to take Instagram shots on?
“This used to be a slight issue a couple of years ago, but personally I don’t think the device you use matters, it’s the images you create that really count. A good picture is a good picture, so as long as it stirs up emotions, or makes my eyes pop, it doesn’t matter what you take your shots on.”

How important in Instagram for emerging photographers?
“It’s very important; Instagram provides an unique platform for exposure for emerging shooters. It’s the platform that changed my life and enabled me to become a fulltime photographer. Instagram, if played correctly, can be a dream machine.”

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What’s your secret to gaining followers?
“That’s a tough one. In its simplest form, I’d say: make engaging visuals. Do that and the followers will come.”

Lastly, who would you recommend we follow on Instagram?
@Jacob @thebowlerman @rich @theboygeniuz @juicylucyham

Up, up and away… Want more tips, more amazing photos and more behind the scenes info? Check out fellow Instagrammer @jacob’s guest post.