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Using the iPhone camera – a walk home

  |   Article, Articles and reviews, iPhone, Personal views   |   4 Comments


After all the suggestions for using the iPhone camera, I thought I’d best give it a bit of a try.

The new cinema at Highcross Leicester - Just me or does this remind anyone of Darth Vader

The new cinema at Highcross Leicester – Just me or does this remind anyone of Darth Vader

Pictures here were taken walking back home yesterday afternoon through Leicester.

I’ve taken several hundred images and the camera is roughly equally as irritating to use as it is interesting. I’ve even taken a few very short movies by mistake too :-)

As a landscape photographer I generally dislike using tripods, unless it’s dark or I need a long exposure – I sometimes regard landscape photography as street photography but on a different scale – I want a sense of immediacy.

Professionally, my architectural work is more considered, and I do often use a tripod, it just helps with composition and getting verticals (particularly with tilt/shift lenses)

So, the ‘freedom’ of the iPhone appeals, however, being slightly long sighted, the need to hold it at a fair distance does not encourage stability (I know that this is a long standing gripe from a lot of older photographers when using cameras without ‘proper’ viewfinders)

Yesterday afternoon, I was giving a lecture to a group of photography students. Not on my usual techy stuff (colour management and the like) but the business side of being a professional photographer.

As ever, it gets a mixed reaction when I suggest that business skills are often more important than photographic ones, if you are running a photography business.

It just so happened that one aspect of marketing I mentioned, had particular relevance to using the iPhone and the comments I’ve received recently.

Highcross - a shopping mall on a November afternoon

Highcross – a shopping mall on a November afternoon

One of the suggestions I’ve had numerous times, was to look at the site of Chase Jarvis, and his site ‘The best camera“.

There are indeed lots of interesting and good pictures, but my suspicions are always raised by anything that includes things like: “an inspirational 3-part ‘ecosystem'” in its blurb – perhaps my ‘English reserve’ showing through, but claims like this always ring warning bells for me ;-)

I see the work of a photographer  with a good eye and already successful business, who gets to travel round the world, and whilst they are doing it, they take a load of pictures on their phone. They market this in a very successful fashion, link up with a software developer and before long lots of people help read lots more into it. It neatly ties in to the web 2.0 bandwagon and does very nicely for them.

Now don’t take this the wrong way, but communities and ecosystems have no real interest to me as a day to day working photographer.

However I do respect the amount Chase ‘gives back’ and helps other people get more out of their photography. My own contribution is with printing, colour management and all the stuff on the site here.

My point to the students was that it was often the photographers with the best eye to marketing that they were seeing, and that that was only partly related to the ‘quality’ of their photography.  Of course good photos help, but once you can get a ‘community’ up and running, they will do a lot of your marketing for you.

Too cynical?  – I did say that I was talking to them about business, not taking photos… ;-)

Anyway – a more interesting look at the Cinema de Lux in Highcross and how it looks on a stormy afternoon.

Showcase cinema, Leicester Highcross - exterior metal cladding

Showcase cinema, Leicester Highcross – exterior metal cladding

Photos here have all had a touch of shadows/highlights adjustment applied in PS CS3 – as to editing photos on the iPhone, no thanks, I have a comfy chair and big screens in my office. I suppose I’m missing the obvious in that I can’t edit things that I’m posting whilst out and about, but that still seems too much like hard work.

A bit closer to home, the local council has decided to demolish a popular local rail bridge. This has raised quite a bit of protest (to no avail) but I like some of the posters that have appeared.

Demolishing the bowstring bridge - Leicester

Demolishing the bowstring bridge – Leicester

Posters reappear most nights

Posters reappear most nights

They are also knocking down the Pump and Tap – a popular local pub

Poster on security fence

Poster on security fence

This is the friendly view down the street, as the sun goes down

Welcome... Braunstone Gate, Leicester

Welcome… Braunstone Gate, Leicester

I do like just taking pictures for the hell of it – perhaps I should use a Leica M9 rather than an iPhone camera ;-)

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  • Keith | Nov 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks Charles – I’ve always believed that it’s the photographer that counts before the technical capabilities of the camera…

    The only place that falls down a bit is when you need to send a really big file to a client.

    I may cover lots of techy stuff on the site here, but it’s taking the pictures I really like ;-)

  • Charles Outcalt | Nov 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Nicely done, Keith!

    Oh, I suppose I should say something techy- and complicated about your technique, but really want I want to communicate is that I like the pics. The second shot of the cinema is especially beautiful, in my humble opinion.

  • Daniel Carreras | Nov 17, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Keith,

    I am a long time photo “afficcionado” an do have a couple of DSLR’s and a few point-&-shoot boxes.

    What I do like about the camera on the iPhone is the fact that for most part the “phone” is allways in my pocket and therefore the camera.
    Comparing the 3G to the 3Gs is day and night. (have both). The 3GS camera together with a couple of well chosen apps make for a very usable tool in certain environments. I also love the simplicity and quality of the “video” mode.

    Take care,


  • Jamie Willmott | Nov 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I agree that someone who is good at marketing their work will run a better photography business than someone who just takes nice pictures.

    It does look like darth vader!

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