Mobile Journalism for Food Bloggers


Starting from July 2011 food photos displayed in Epicurina blog are shot using HTC Salsa, with occasional uses of Canon EOS 550D, practically retires my old trusted Canon AS 400.

Now, I don't find HTC Salsa's picture is better than even my old Canon AS 400 pocket digicam, even though it boasts 5 MP camera and higher ISO rate at 800. I can get far better photos using my Canon AS 400 on lower ISO -- though it has a lower 3.3 MP image resolution.

However since on most blogging activities, i.e.: uploading the photo for your blog, we requires only about 520px wide picture on Blogspot, then the level of details and clarity is good enough, and the existence of artefacts are still within acceptable limit.

HTC Salsa greatest feature however, lies in its function as a smart mobile device. With the ability to do simple touch-ups right on the phone itself and upload it right away to the Internet, it's a big plus compared with having to download your picture from the conventional digital camera to the PC, resize them, adjust the colouring, watermark it, then upload it. It's just much faster done with mobile phones.

As there are surely trade-off in photo quality and resolution, with its fast reaction and greater mobility, mobile phone is giving way to mobile journalism, enabling anyone with a good enough mobile phone to become a mobile journalist, or simply referred a "mojo" (Wiki).

Beside of taking photos, there are also a lot of things you could accomplish with using your mobile phone alone -- something you wouldn't have been able to do before smart OSes like iOs (iPhone) and Android exists.

Mobile Journalism

Thanks to the ever improving technology of mobile phones, a new generation mobile phone equipped with the highly interactive OSes can help journalism in the following ways:
  1. Taking snapshots
  2. Capturing videos
  3. Recording interviews
  4. Taking notes
  5. Storing interview outlines
  6. Sending article to your publisher
  7. Sending and receiving email
  8. Storing and retrieving digital contents online
  9. Publishing content to online media
  10. Editing of captured or recorded materials
  11. Making phone calls :)
All without having to leave the ground zero of the event covered -- given there are good enough network on site. It's practically like having all your journalism tools packed into a pocket size magic box.

Food Blogging

Blogging by no means are different with journalism. All of the above also applies if you bloggers are going out there to look for stories, instead of relying on armchair journalism, i.e.: writing your articles based solely on online research.

Especially with Food Bloggers, based on the list above, a higher concern should be put into using your mobile phone to take good food photographs, and prepares them for publication. Since many of food photographs will be taken indoor, then high ISO sensitivity, and colour correction are two important attributes of the mobile phone's camera. High resolution helps, though in the end it will depends mostly on the quality of lens used, as well as the size and quality of the sensor used.

Having post production editing applications installed would also useful, as it allows you to adjust and do simple manipulations of the picture taken; enhancing it to look more appealing.

As for accessibility, mobile phone would also be easier to use even on a restricting condition, like when the business owner specifically warn their patrons that no picture whatsoever is allowed to be taken on the premise. On such premises, a mobile phone could capture good enough snapshot, while a DSLR might creates unnecessary attention involving security guards.

Restriction to take a photo in a restaurant by the way, is a silly rules in my opinion: while it might lessen the probability of duplication or any other sort of mayhem from their business competition -- which perhaps constitutes about 1-5% of their daily customers, on the other hand it also forbids the viral marketing of their product by their regular customers -- the other 95-99%. Do the math.

And if they feared people will badmouth their bad service and bad products, a picture evidence is the least they need to worry. To their customers, it might also be viewed as putting more efforts on avoiding getting captured instead of doing the right thing in increasing the quality of their service and product.

Platform choices

iPhone has a drop of sales on the last quarter due to customers holding off the buying with the rumours of Apple plan to release iPhone 5 this 2011 Q3, a rumours proven to be false as Apple introduces iPhone 4s instead. However it's still considered by many as the best mobile phone today. 

Coming from a single manufacturer, iOs: the operating system of iPhone, does not offers too much variety or "flavours". However each iPhone device series are created with the intention to provide a memorable and meaningful experience which mean, quality of photos taken will be great, and processing powers included is guaranteed a smooth running applications.

Android at the moment is the winning party of the mobile OS choices worldwide, topping the worldwide sales of iPhones on the last quarter (business insider). Samsung has also become the winning brand of mobile phones worldwide, topping Apple from the lead (businessinsider).

With a lot of cheap -- even free choices of applications to Android users, Android is the new Nokia. Its rich user experience and affordability attracts many converts, even from iPhone users. Android mobile devices also available in a lot of flavours, thanks to the open market it supports which makes Android available on mobile phones from many major brands, as well as minor ones. It gives great accessibility and affordability, and some models are even able to match iPhone quality, with a much lower cost.

Quality standards on the other hand, varies greatly between phone series as they are no standardization on how good a device should be. Look for a high-end Android phones if you are thinking of using one to support your mobile journalism activity.

With Windows 8 coming up, and promising a lot more interactive looks, Microsoft might join the crowd of two -- iOs and Android, in offering a good user experience operating system on mobile devices. Popular brands like Samsung and Acer, has also started offering their products running on the new Windows Mobile, and they will also do that when Windows 8 is finally launched. (byms)
posted from Bloggeroid

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