NEWS

2012-02-07

iPhoneography

A UK college has become the first educational institution in the world to offer a course dedicated solely to iPhone photography.

The 'iPhoneography' classes were set up after their creator realised that many owners of the hi-tech smartphones didn't know how to use the built-in camera. 

Tutor Richard Gray, a photographer for 25 years, claims that the popular Apple gadget can be used to create "stunning" images via apps that cost pennies, rather than the thousands of pounds budding snappers can splash out on traditional camera equipment.

The course, 'iPhoneography: An Introduction to Photography with the iPhone' at Kensington and Chelsea College, London, is designed to turn complete beginners into proficient iPhoneographers by the end of its five-week run.

But Mr Gray says that students who enrol on the course will have to learn photography fundamentals such as composition and lighting before they are let loose on the various photo editing apps available.

The GBP115 course consists of a weekly three-hour classroom session which starts out with photography basics before progressing onto using apps to edit photos.

Students will also need their own iPhone and around GBP20 to spend on apps.

Mr Gray, 45, said that the course concentrates on teaching students to harness various applications available to edit photos.

He said: "The focus really is on the iPhone apps, there are thousands and thousands of them that you can get.

"Some are very simple, just applying retro filters, whilst some are more complex and can be used to manually edit photos in the same way you would on a PC."

Towards the end of the course, Mr Gray said that students will be taught advanced techniques such as making collages, which would previously have required a PC to create. 

He said: "You can use techniques like blending images to produce some really creative images that are a long way removed from photography but start out as photos on the iPhone."

Mr Gray said that he hoped the course would act as a gateway to students wishing to pursue photography more seriously, by removing the need for expensive photographic equipment.

He said: "One of the beauties of iPhoneography is that you don't need so much money to get started, which isn't the case with 'big photography'.

"I've done a lot of more traditional photography courses in my time and the first thing they tell you if you're serious about photography is prepare to part company with a lot of money."

Mr Gray added that iPhone photography apps - such as Instagram and Hipstamatic, which allow users to quickly edit and share photos - have made creative photography more accessible.

He said: "It's a real leveller, the apps only cost pennies or a couple of pounds at most to download.

"To buy something like Photoshop can cost hundreds of pounds."

And although some more traditional photographers have dismissed 'iPhoneography' as a gimmick, Mr Gray insisted that the phone can be used to create impressive images.

He said: "If any of those sceptics were to look at the iPhoneography communities online they'd see some incredible photographs, people being very creative.

"With the right apps and skills the iPhone can be a powerful creative tool."

And although he admitted that the iPhone cannot rival the traditional camera in every aspect, Mr Gray said he thinks it has some unique advantages. 

He said: "It's more accessible in terms of cost and more flexible in terms of being able to take photos whenever you want.

"And you can edit them wherever you are -  on your way home from work on the bus."

Mr Gray said that as well as taking and editing photos from their phones, users can also instantly share their creations. 

He said: "The social aspect is massive, there are very vibrant online communities - Instagram has around 15 million users."

The course, which runs throughout March, has also caught the attention of Apple who have agreed to host a workshop for the course at its flagship store on London's Regent Street.