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Smarten up your photos

By Alix Norman

Video may indeed have killed the radio star, but who could have predicted the death of the camera? Oh yes, it’s happening. Unless you’re a professional photographer using a super fancy (and super expensive) DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera, then chances are, even if you own a camera, you probably don’t use it. The days of the old-fashioned point-and-shoot camera are fast drawing to a close: according to CIPA – a site that tracks shipments of digital cameras all over the world – the last three years have seen a major decline in camera sales. And yet other studies show people are taking more pictures than ever. So where are all these snaps coming from? Yes, you guessed it: this is the dawn of the era of the smartphone camera.

Sharing our lives one shot at a time through Instagram, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter necessitates – in general – the use of a smartphone. And what better way to keep our burgeoning social networks up to speed than with a quick snap of our morning coffee, our trip to the sea or even the antics of our pets? Every day, over 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook, with an additional 40 million snaps appearing on Instagram. And most of these come from smartphone cameras.

“Last year, more photographs were taken than in the whole time since photography began,” says Nicolas Tschopp, a professional photographer and teacher who has embraced this new technology. Under the auspices of the Loukia and Michael Zampelas Art Museum, Nicolas is running what he believes to be the first smartphone photography course in Cyprus, a series of three workshops designed to help the average smartphone snapper improve their technique, understand what constitutes a good picture and learn how to edit their photos to the best advantage.

“If you’re interested in the visual aspect of your picture, taking photographs that stand out – then ‘Smartography’ is the course for you,” says this technically-savvy professional, who has taught photography for years all across Europe. “Photography is an art, whatever medium you’re using,” he continues. “Nobody knows how you have created each picture; but if you’re taking photos that are beautiful, interesting, photos that lead you somewhere else, then they will be remembered.” And who wouldn’t want their Facebook followers to eagerly look forward to their next snap? Let’s face it, we’ve all seen more than our share of blurry babies and fuzzy friends; isn’t it time we actually learned how to properly employ the technology that has made us so snap-happy?

Designed to give not only the technical and aesthetic knowledge needed to take great pictures, but also to guide students through the ever-increasing maze of editing apps, Smartography is a great opportunity to take advantage of professional knowledge. “Everything begins with a great photograph,” says Nicolas. “If you haven’t got the technical know-how then it’s a waste of time adding effects.”

And so the first of the three workshops will concentrate on the different ways of using a smartphone camera, practising the techniques needed to take a good picture and understanding the aesthetic principles of photography. “Over the three classes, we’ll be looking at black and white photography, colour, fashion and still life, aesthetic theory and picture quality. We’ll be learning how to increase the quality of the pictures we take on a daily basis, creating snaps that are memorable and pleasing to the eye.”

Additionally, students will benefit from Nicolas’ technological know-how: “The workshops will involve a look at the myriad of applications that can be used to edit photos, how they work and how best to use them,” he says, reeling off a list of apps that includes Picsart, SnapSeed, Photoshop Express and Aviary. “We’ll also be covering how to share photos on the web,” he adds. “The categorisation of pictures, how we store them and back them up, the best methods for uploading your photographs. There’s so much choice available in terms of editing that most people have no concept of what they really want.”

This Smartography course is, it seems, a timely response to a technology that’s taking over our lives. And what better way to improve your pictorial uploads than learning from someone who has both the professional background and the technical knowledge to ensure that your snaps make a real impact on the web? So sign up now to ensure you’re at the forefront of the photographic renaissance.

Smartography
Smartphone photography workshopsrun by Nicolas Tschopp at the Loukia and Michael Zampelas Art Museum. Three courses will take place over the next few months, each costing €60 and consisting of three workshops held on three consecutive Tuesdays from 17.30 to 19.00. 1st workshop: Tuesday, May 6 – May 13 – May 20, 2nd workshop: Tuesday, May 27 – June 3 – June 10, 3rd workshop: Tuesday, June 17 – June 24 – July 2. Courses are open to all smart-devices using Android operating systems. For iOS users (iPhones and iPads) cross-platform and equivalent apps will be covered. Students are reminded to bring a fully charged smart device to class. To book a place, contact Nicolas Tschopp on 96 648352 or email [email protected]

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