TAKE BETTER SMARTPHONE PICTURES
MY PRIVATE LESSON AT THE SWISS PHOTO CLUB – GENEVA
by Chené Koscielny
“The best camera is the one you have with you.”
This is how Osan Altun, founder of the Swiss Photo Club, the biggest photography club in Switzerland, starts our 2-hour private smartphone photography lesson in the Boreal coffee shop in Stand on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
I’ve always seen myself as a words person rather than a visual person, but I’m increasingly more conscious of the need for good imagery, particularly online.
Having just bought myself the I-phone 11 Pro – in the hope it may improve my photographic skills, Osan assures me that it’s NOT about the camera.
“Better cameras help you in difficult situations and to do special effects,” he adds.
We’re off to a good start!
FIND WHAT YOU LIKE IN A SITUATION
So, if it’s not about the camera, what is it about?
It’s about you – find what you like in every situation, says Osan.
This is something I can relate to – tell a story, show people the part of the image that you want them to see. It’s an AHA moment for me!
Also, it’s important to take, refine and retake – the more shots you take, the better your chances of ending up with one super shot you’ll love.
The next thing – and possibly one of the most important things – Osan teaches me – quite sternly – is to have more faith in my own abilities and to stop slagging off my own photographic skills.
You’ll never take a good picture if you don’t believe you can take good pictures, he says.
He’s right, of course, but I’m so used to putting myself down when it comes to visual skills, it requires a mental U-turn.
KNOW YOUR PHONE
As the lesson continues and Osan patiently shows me the numerous functions and photographic modes on my new phone, I start to relax and enjoy playing around under his watchful eye.
THE BASICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Next up, we chat about the basics of photography, including how to manually control exposure and focus, which dramatically improves my photographs!
What I particularly appreciate – is how hands-on the training is. We go through the functions and Osan makes me take several photographs using the blur, panoramic and portrait functions – with different lighting, angles and compositions.
TAILORED TO YOUR NEEDS
What’s great about a private lesson, is that it can be tailored to your needs – I take a lot of images of food.
I’m particularly enamoured with the portrait function on my phone and Osan shows me how to take better close-up pictures of dishes in restaurants – with the background blurred.
He also shows me how to take images at nighttime, including using my elbows to stabilise the phone and how to create additional sources of light using another phone or a white screen.
This will come in very handy.
When it comes to composition – we talk about the grid on the phone, which helps you adhere to the one-third rule, how to get rid of clutter in the background, to fill the frame and check the corners of the frame for unwanted elements.
You’re crafting the image so that the viewer sees WHAT you want them t see and HOW you want them to see.
We also looked at the different editing functions, as well as apps, for mobile phones – whilst and after taking the images.
All very helpful! The two hours fly by and I leave feeling a lot better about my abilities to take decent photographs and less reliant on other photographers.
I highly recommend the Smartphone Photography course to anyone who wants to learn to take better images with their phone – it’s hands-on and Osan is a great teacher.
He’s very knowledgeable and personable and it was a lot of fun! To get the best out of your session – interrupt and ask!
Read our previous article on Swiss Photo Club here.
CHF200 per hour – but you can also take a package of 6x lessons for CHF900.
GIFT VOUCHERS – IDEAL FOR CHRISTMAS!
The Swiss Photo Club also offers Gift Vouchers – which make great gifts for friends or family interested in photography.
Get 15% off your Gift Voucher by quoting the CODE: THINGSTODO
WHAT IS THE SWISS PHOTOGRAPHY CLUB
The biggest photography club in Switzerland with centres in Geneva, Basel, Bern, Lausanne and Zurich.
The club offers:
- Photography Courses
- Membership – allowing you to practice with the club
- Gift Vouchers
- Photo Awards: Competition & Exhibition
- NEW! Photography trips to exotic destinations with a photography teacher on hand to help you take the best shots.
- Studio Rental
Check out the other courses at the Swiss Photo Club
- Beginners Photography Intermediate Photography Lightroom Course Street Photography Studio & Portraiture
- Night & Low Light Photography
The club hosts monthly competitions, events and networking
Join their local Facebook Group
Instagram: Follow @swissphotoclub Tag #swissphotoclub