With the start of the new year and with us all back in lockdown, it’s time for a new Challenge to keep us on our photographic toes. Given the inspiration provided by our most recent speaker, Jet Lendon, it seems appropriate to use this energy as the basis for our next Challenge. Jet is a talented and enthusiastic advocate of using the camera that’s always with you – the one on your mobile phone!
This Challenge focuses specifically on the use of perspective which, in Jet’s words, the phone camera does “brilliantly”.
The brief is to capture images from a low angle using your phone upside-down, a trick that Jet demonstrated can be used creatively to offer a different perspective on your subject, and to edit your images on a phone app, not your desktop.
*** Amateur photography during lockdown: With a little creative thinking, it should be possible to capture images that would fit the brief both inside your home and outside in your garden. Should you wish to capture your images further afield, the Royal Photographic Society has issued the following advice for amateur photographers, current as of 8 Jan 2021. Whilst you may not leave home specifically for recreational or leisure purposes, such as photography, it is permissible to leave your home once a day to exercise in public outdoor spaces, provided you remain local. When you are undertaking exercise, you can carry a camera and take photographs as you exercise in the countryside or around your city. You should not be setting up a tripod, lighting or ‘sets’ outdoors, and you should of course observe lockdown regulations, including social distancing. Please note that the RPS adds a disclaimer that this is not legal advice.
Below you will find more details about the Challenge and some ideas about how you might go about achieving some stunning shots that fit the brief.
A. Using your mobile phone to take photos
First, it might be useful to point out that the type of phone you own should not be a deterrent to taking part or detract from the results that you can achieve in this Challenge. Although many of you will own an iPhone or equivalent android smartphone, essentially all you need is a basic phone with a camera. And if your phone doesn’t have the capacity to download an editing app, feel free to download one on to a tablet or other device. We hope that everyone will feel able to take part!
B. What is the Challenge?
The goal is capture images that provide an interesting perspective on the subject or scene. This might mean making some objects look further away than others, giving an impression of distance, or changing the appearance of the objects in some way with respect to their relative distances and positions.
You are invited to submit up to *five images, all of which you will have captured using your mobile phone and subsequently edited using an app directly on your phone (but see A. above). The images should be taken during the Challenge period (i.e. between 12 and 31 January) and the deadline for submission is midnight on Sunday 31 January.
*Please note that, if you choose to create a ‘storyboard’, each image in the storyboard counts towards the maximum of five images. Any composite images should conform with the usual ‘Submitting Images’ instructions.
C. How to take photos that highlight perspective
(i) Top tips
All members of the Club and visitors attending Jet’s talk will already have received a sheet of ‘Top Tips’ when taking photos with a mobile phone from Jet, which you may like to refer to.
For this Challenge, the most important tip is to turn the camera upside down and to take the shot from as low down as possible.
Shooting from close-up to an object and/or from a low level by turning the phone upside down will help you generate images with intriguing and unusual perspectives.
(ii) Will clip-on lenses help with the Challenge?
Jet says that for this Challenge she wouldn’t use any clip-on lenses. If anyone really wanted to buy anything, then maybe a wide-angle lens, but it’s not essential at all.
(iii) Ideas for shots that will highlight perspective
You may use one or more of the ideas suggested below or one of your own, provided it fits the brief. Remember that it will help to turn your phone upside down and take the shots from a low angle.
- A small object shot against a plain background
- A scene featuring a small object such as a miniature toy figure(s) or model car(s) set against a backdrop appropriate to the scene. Tip: You could create a single composite *storyboard image comprising between 3 and 5 images. [See: https://www.instagram.com/tinycarbigworld/; https://www.instagram.com/little_landrovers/; https://www.slrlounge.com/wedding-photographer-finds-new-purpose-as-special-fx-toy-photographer/]
- A scene captured from a puddle of water
- A scene captured from a shiny surface
- Your reflection in a puddle or shiny surface
- A shot looking upwards to the façade of a building
- A close-up shot from below looking up to a flower against a backdrop of other flowers
- A shot from a low angle, looking up towards a moving object e.g. a skateboarder or cyclist
(iv) A few reassuring words about the physical agility required to take shots from puddles
Jet has asked me to reassure you that you don’t have to be the most flexible person around to use puddles or floor level reflective surfaces to create your images. If you’re concerned about getting down on the floor, you can do it instead on a table surface, a wall, etc. You could also carry a small mirror or reflective surface with you, or like she does, a bottle of water. The main thing is that you don’t have to do a yoga session in order to get the desired effect!
(v) Here are a few additional illustrative examples (Images kindly provided by ©Jet Lendon)
A scene featuring a model car: some taxi trickery
Using a puddle to capture a scene
A few more examples…
D. Using an app on your phone to edit your images
The only stipulation with respect to editing your images is that this should be done directly using an app on your phone, not on your desktop. If, however, you don’t have a Smartphone or would only be able to edit your shots if you had access to a larger screen, you could use an app on a tablet.
The app that Jet recommends is Snapseed, but if you are happier with the Lightroom or equivalent mobile app, then that is fine.
Snapseed is a free app that everyone can download, and which Jet uses routinely to edit her images quickly and effectively on her phone. You should have received a copy of Jet’s very helpful notes on how to get the best out of Snapseed. If you don’t already have the Snapseed app, you can download it free of charge from the App Store for iPhone and iPad, and from the Play Store for android devices.
If you’d like additional information about using Snapseed, then you may find the following guides useful:
‘Complete Guide to Using Snapseed to Edit Your iPhone Photos’ by Emil Pakarlis
‘A Beginner’s Guide to Photo Editing with Snapseed‘ by PicxTrix.com
E. Submitting your images – please read carefully before submitting
Please submit up to *five images, taken during the Challenge period (12 – 31 January), no later than midnight on Sunday 31 January to email@example.com, ideally by WeTransfer. *Please note that each image on a ‘storyboard’ counts towards your five images.
To help the web team, please check that your images conform with the following tick list:
- Images are JPEG files.
- Image dimensions are a maximum of 1600 pixels wide or 1200 pixels high.
- Image sizes are less than 500kb. If not please save your images at a lower resolution until they are.
- The ‘title metadata field’ includes your ‘image title’ and ‘your name’ in the following way: A new perspective on York Minster, Josephine Brown
- There is NO other metadata in the caption or description. (Note to Olympus users, you will have to delete ‘Olympus digital camera’ from the caption field.)
- Your images are saved with file names as in the following example: Title, your name (i.e. as in the ‘title metadata field’, see above).
We think that these instructions are clear, but experience suggests they may not be. Please be sure to ask if you are uncertain whether you are uncertain about anything or if you would like some help with anything.
We will acknowledge receipt of your images, so please get in touch if you don’t hear from us in a couple of days.
If you are not a Club member, you are welcome to join in this Challenge. Please send us up to five images and we’ll post our favourites in the Gallery.
We would like to acknowledge Jeanette Lendon of jetblacksquares.com for providing the inspiration for this Challenge. We would also like to thank Jeanette for allowing us to use a selection of her images in the Challenge description. Her infectious enthusiasm and the generous help that she has provided has been fantastic and greatly appreciated. We look forward with excitement and some trepidation to showing Jeanette our images!