Phone photography for small businesses

Managing a small business means taking on all sorts of roles that larger companies can assume will be carried out by whole teams of people. Book-keeping, marketing, and PR, procurement and more fill a sole-trader’s time. Love it or loath it, managing your social media presence is no exception and it makes demands on nearly all businesses, one way or another.

We live in an image-saturated world and ensuring you have a steady stream of photographs can end up being prohibitively expensive if you have to employ photographers while on a limited budget. Fortunately, the latest smart-phone models make taking photographs an incredibly democratic process – nearly everyone can capture suitable images, provided they follow a few basic guidelines. That doesn’t mean you can do without professionals, and there will certainly be times when it really matters that you commission someone to create high quality images for your website and offline promotional material. But, far from photography being over, as some high profile photo-people have claimed, photography and moving-image content are flourishing. Even so, it’s quite amazing how many truly dreadful photographs there are out there, sometimes being used as business content, which is completely unnecessary in this day and age.

Thankfully, just a few simple rules can help those lacking in confidence or experience. I offer workshops to people who are looking to make the most of their phones, and have helped artists, business owners, teachers and students see the photographic value in their multi-tasking pocket computers. We will cover topics such as harnessing the light, composition, what apps to use or avoid, if and when to use filters, when to use a professional, personal taste, social-media case-studies and a brief introduction to the ethics of people photography. Workshops can be delivered as one-off sessions or over several weeks.

Please get in touch to find out more at 07581 694934 or via hello@sarahfurniss.com

South London Photographer: Phone photography​

Just before the end of the summer term, I was invited to lead a photography workshop with an enthusiastic group of eight to nine-year-olds at my local school as part of their Arts Week festival. The work they created was great!

One of the things I always impress upon children when doing these workshops is how accessible phone photography is nowadays and why that is a very good thing. Not only do we have ever-improving cameras in our pockets, they can be accompanied by a host of editing programmes, many of which are free or don’t cost very much, and which are becoming easier and easier to use. This is great news. Traditional software can be prohibitively expensive and darkrooms obviously out of reach for many, many people. What that means is, everyone with a phone can engage in creative photography. All they need is the desire to do so.

When I first started getting into photography I remember reading comments made by photographers who lamented the ease of digital photography and all its related software. I recall being shocked to see someone moan how any old mother could potentially set up and become a photographer nowadays – as if this was a terrible thing which threatened to kill off photography altogether. Not any old mother??  Good lord, how dreadful! I mean, whatever next, mothers taking photographs and becoming skilled at something creative which might just fit in with their role as parents. Shocker!!!  Stop it now, please before the old order it overturned entirely!

Last week a famous filmmaker said something equally daft about phone photography. Phone photography is, according to this highly successful man with access to all the cash he needs to pay for Polaroid film, killing off real photography. In fact, it’s so dire, we need a new name for photography. Photography, when translated back to its Greek roots, means drawing with light. I think the word fits perfectly fine and what we actually need is a new attitude. Photography is not for a select few. Phones have made it possible for everyone and anyone to start playing and creating and having fun with the recording of light. What’s more, there are lots and lots of avenues for people to go down, from making commercial images to creating obscure experimental work, meaning there is space for all sorts of photography out there.

I am one of those terrible mothers who had the audacity to just set myself up as a photographer. Of course, just setting oneself up is a complete fallacy in most cases – I suspect very few people can just do that and succeed. The business of learning is long and at times tortuous whatever the equipment. As a financially strapped single parent, a darkroom is pretty much out of the question for me, and film is prohibitively expensive, so I am enormously grateful to the whole digital process which has allowed me to learn and develop a skill which would have been very much harder to access otherwise. My learning has also been significantly enhanced by the apps I use on my phone, not only in terms of ease but also access.

Next term I have more workshops booked in and as well as teaching people how to edit, blend images, cut out and make montages, incorporate moving image alongside still, I will continue to promote the idea that photography is for everyone. You don’t need lots of money or space. You need your phone and the desire to create. That’s’ not to say phone photography is everything. Of course, it isn’t. But it’s an amazingly fruitful and egalitarian route into photography which anyone with a phone can access.

Below are links to my own creations all made on a phone and here is a link to some images by digital artist Stina Walfridsson which go far beyond in terms of editing. And let’s not forget you can also make films on a phone  – check out this film by director Micheal Gondry called Détour. Next time you hear someone say phones have killed photography, roll your eyes, say “what a load of rubbish!” and think of all this amazing creativity.

(c)SJField2018

South London Photography: Phone photography

Quite a few people have recently asked me when I am going to offer phone photography sessions again, having done so in the past. I’m a big believer in the phone camera. Image quality is getting better with each new product launch and since most of us use them regularly to take pictures for social media and sharing snaps with friends and family, why not learn some basics? There are some really simple things you can do to make sure your phone pictures look good, and since I think photography is for everyone I want to share some of that with you. Sending a photograph is a wonderful way to communicate a feeling, an experience, say hi, or just remind someone you’re thinking about them. And for those of you with a bit, or a lot, of artistic flair, there are so many apps nowadays which allow you to have fun, play and create mini-masterpieces of your very own. Come and find out more!

I’m offering a series of sessions for adults and separate dates for children over the summer months starting with one on Friday 20th April at 6pm for grown-ups, meeting at a venue in Wandsworth, SW18 which will be confirmed via email after booking. The sun will be setting at about 8pm by that time of year so we’ll have some lovely light to work with.

Sessions cost £18 per adult and will last roughly an hour and a half. 

Please get in touch via email at photo@sarahjanefield.co.uk or message me on Facebook.  You can also give me a call on 07581694934. Numbers will be limited so don’t leave it too late to book.

I’ll release a date for a session geared towards younger people very soon.

I have also been taking bookings for one-to-one sessions for people with DSLR’s who want to get to get to grips with some basic photography tips, so if that’s more your thing do get in touch for further information.

Here are a handful of images I’ve taken of or with my kids on my phone in recent years.

(c)SJField 2015-2017

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South London Photographer: More favourites

This image, as so many of mine are, was taken on my phone as we sailed back across the channel after our summer holiday, and is definitely high up the list of my favourite shots for 2016. As soon as I saw the round windows on the ferry and the lovely light I knew I had to try and get a shot. I must be honest, I had a go on the way out but the little darlings wouldn’t sit still long enough, they were so excited. Thankfully for me they were so knackered on the way back I got my chance. I ended up with two I love and perhaps I will post the other as we move towards the end of the year. I edited this in Snapseed and Instagram and used the Ludwig filter. If I use a filter at all, then that is the one I’m most likely to go for.  Some people can be little bit snooty about filters, but they have their place and are part of the fun of Instagram so best not to worry too much about that. In fact, let’s not get bogged down by any sort of snobbery or elitism. In my experience it can be horribly limiting.  I often reduce filters to about 20% but I think I kept this one fairly high because I like the colours it produced. Have fun!

(c)SJField 2016

Processed with Snapseed.

 

South London Photographer: Sharing the phone fun

During the last week I have facilitated a couple of workshops, sharing some of the lessons I have learned when using my phone to take and edit pictures.  At each session I have started by urging people to stop thinking of their phones as poor relations to their cameras and start appreciating the possibilities phones offer.  “The best camera is the one you have with you” is quoted by various people all over the internet, and is the title of a book by photographer, Chase Jarvis. Regardless of where the quote comes from, it’s very true – you can only take pictures with the camera you have on you at the time. And most of us nowadays do have our phones with us pretty much all the time.  I’ve read recently that point and shoot cameras may well disappear from the market altogether as phones have replaced the need for their existence. But I was also recently sent some information about a new powerful, wifi enabled camera, which I noted has been designed in the shape of a phone.  I can’t help wondering if the makers will ultimately be forced to shoe-horn an actual phone into their camera to make it sellable.  Who knows what the future holds? We’ll see!

Here are some of the comments that were sent to me or posted on Facebook after Friday evening and an earlier worksop in the week where I taught teachers, which I have to say was a little bit nerve wracking.

“Just had the most brilliant evening playing around with phone photography under the inspiring tutelage of Sarah-Jane Field.”

“Worth every penny.  Thank you so much for a fab evening and brilliant photo experience!”

“Thank you for the workshop yesterday evening – all of us very much enjoyed it and felt that we have learnt something that we can use personally as well as here at work.”

“I loved it – definitely recommend it!”

And here are a couple of lovely pictures taken by the people who attended:

amanda
By talented local artist, Amanda Blunden

sue
By Sue Medhurst

rowan.jpg
By Rowan Conway

 

The positive reaction has generated further interest and so I’m sure I’ll be doing another local session soon. Look out for details.

Here are some pictures from Friday evening’s workshop, which I must admit I didn’t take on my phone due to the fact that it, along with the camera inside it, is pretty smashed up and broken, and has been for a while now. I really must get it together to call the insurance company and sort that out and I very much hope to have a new phone by my next outing with phone photography enthusiasts. I’m beginning to get quite frustrated by my compromised phone camera!

This week I am attending a workshop myself rather than taking it and I’m incredibly excited. Having spent the last few days sharing my love for the most up to date technology in phones to take photographs, I shall be travelling back through history and learning to make ambrotypes, one of the earliest forms of photography there is.  Aren’t I lucky?  I’m sure I’ll be posting lots of pictures afterwards about my time there so look out for those.

Have a great week! SJ

(c)SJField 2016

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