Theses Doctoral

An Analysis of Smartphone Camera and Digital Camera Images Captured by Adolescents Ages Fifteen to Seventeen

Fatimi, Safia

We have become increasingly dependent on our smartphones and use them for entertainment, navigation, to shop, and to connect among other tasks. For many, the camera on the smartphone has replaced a dedicated digital camera, especially for the adolescent. With advances in smartphone technology, it is has become increasingly difficult to determine differences between smartphone camera and digital camera photographs. To date there is little research on the differences between photographs taken by smartphone and digital cameras, particularly among adolescents, who are avid photographers.This study used a qualitative task-based research method to investigate differences in photographs taken by adolescents using both types of cameras. Twenty-three adolescents ages 15 to 17 attending a regularly scheduled high school photography class participated in the study. The students were invited to capture a typical day in their life, first using their digital camera or smartphone camera and then switching to the other type of camera. Data were collected by way of written reflections, student interviews, and the participants’ photographs. The three data sources were coded, analyzed, and triangulated to provide results for this study.

Results suggest that, for these particular participants, marginal differences exist between the photographs taken with a smartphone camera and a digital camera. Analysis also suggests there were minimal differences across specific categories of focus, color balance, and thoughtfully captured images between the smartphone and the digital camera photographs for this population of students.

The study concludes that teenagers ultimately use whatever capturing device is available to them, suggesting that it is the photographer who controls the quality of a photograph—not the capturing device. Educational implications of the study focus on the use of technology in the art classroom, and suggestions are offered for photographic curricula based on the results of this study. In addition, an examination of different pedagogical styles, such as reciprocal and remote teaching and learning models, finds them particularly appropriate in supporting photography education for adolescents.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Burton, Judith M.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
July 28, 2021