These last two weeks have been quite eventful for me with so many different exciting things happening. One of them was being offered the amazing opportunity to be included in a group photo exhibition in a London gallery! The invitation to be part of this wonderful event came a few weeks ago, just 2 hours after I learned the short story that I submitted for a Dutch writing competition didn’t make it onto their longlist. Although I didn’t expect to be selected, I was still disappointed so you can imagine how my day got turned ’round completely in just a matter of a few hours.
I’m a social influencer!
The surprising invitation came from Traverse Events and the email mentioned how I was selected alongside about 50 other ‘social influencers’ to use the new Samsung Galaxy S9, courtesy of Samsung UK and mobile phone carrier Three UK for 1.5 weeks. I never considered myself a social influencer, but it appears I’m now officially one.
Each participant will have one photo in the group photo exhibition at the Herrick Gallery in London on 1 and 2 August. As a bonus, Traverse organised several free workshops with popular Instagrammers for all participants so we could pick up some valuable mobile photography tips from real pros. I joined the workshop on mobile photography editing taught by Sean Byrne and learned some great insider tricks, which I’ll of course try to implement in my future Instagram photos.
The other workshop I joined was taught by London Skyline photographer, Michael Tomas. He very kindly and patiently gave us great photography tips and explained how to use the manual settings on the Samsung S9 when using the Pro mode. Although I still struggled with the Android system by the end of the 1.5-week trial period (after having used iPhones for years), I was definitely impressed with the photo quality and photography options the Samsung phone provided, most of all because of the Pro mode. This mode not only enables you to shoot in RAW, but it also allows you to manually change the ISO, shutter speed, exposure levels and white balance, making this phone a very compact and convenient alternative to digital photo cameras. You can see how I played around with the shutter speed in the photo taken at Canary Wharf Tube station above. And if you scroll back to the first photo of St Alphege Church you can clearly see the plane in the clouds while I couldn’t capture it so well on my iPhone and proper Fujifilm camera I also had with me.
This blog post, however, isn’t meant to be a review of the phone. In fact, participation in the gallery event doesn’t require any online coverage from anyone (nor are we being paid for it), but as I’m very excited about being included in a photo exhibition, I of course had to brag, eh blog about it 😉
I travelled to some of London’s most photogenic spots to capture striking architecture as I’m mostly interested in that subject. However, I’d also love to have the courage to take more photos of people in the street. I’m too shy for this though and would be scared people would get angry with me for taking their photo. I was therefore very happy with the security guard who unexpectedly came down the staircase at the Barbican estate. Instead of telling me off, he even offered to take a photo of me!
The accidental selfie and moveable shutter button
Some of the participants were sent the Samsung S9 Plus and although I would’ve loved to have tried some of its unique features such as the selective focus mode, I was still quite pleased with the photography options on the ‘regular’ Samsung S9 I had on loan. It was funny though how each and every participant (myself included) was complaining about how sensitive the buttons on the screen were – whilst trying to adjust the aperture or white balance by sliding my finger on the screen for instance, the camera would constantly switch to an entirely different mode, often the selfie mode so I’d constantly see my own frustrated face on the screen instead of the beautiful London skyline.
Besides the Pro mode, I also loved the option of being able to add a second shutter button to anywhere on the screen. I don’t know about you, but sometimes in my attempt to frame the perfect scene I either have to twist my wrist and hand in a very unnatural angle or I almost drop my phone because my finger just can’t quite reach the shutter button at the bottom of the screen. Being able to move around that button on the Samsung S9 was such a revelation!
The group photo exhibition Blography is open on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 August between 10am and 6pm at the Herrick Gallery.
What is your favourite subject to photograph? Is it people, buildings or landscapes for instance? If it’s street photography with random passers-by, please let me know what your tricks are for not upsetting your subjects or feeling nervous to take their photos!