On Wednesday 12 August Jeanette Lendon, a professional photographer based in St Albans specialising in Smartphone photography courses, Zoomed into LBPC to explain how to use a Smartphone camera properly.

A modern photographic aphorism says, “the best camera is the one that’s with you”. And, as so many people now carry a Smartphone, clearly Smartphone cameras are going to be a major force in photography.

More of Jeanette’s marvellous images, and details of her “Smartphone Safaris” and other workshops, can be found at https://www.jetblacksquares.com/

Jeanette was previously a primary school teacher.  But, having always loved photography, she did “lots of courses” and started her own photography business.  This gravitated over the years towards company and commercial work.  Jeanette realised, though, that she only took her camera out to “go to work” and she had “lost the enjoyment”.  She also got fed up with the very low standard of photographs appearing on Facebook.  So she started doing phone-based photography workshops.

Now Jeanette no longer even owns a “proper” camera.  “It’s all on the phone.”

As she puts it on her website “Everyone has an amazing camera in their pocket – they just need to know how to use it properly.”  She entirely accepts that phones will not replace cameras for specialist photography.  But they are great for “everyday photos” and make photography available to everyone.

Jeanette’s personal inspirations include:

  • Lara Jade – a British-born New York based fashion photographer who has taken the “cheap camera challenge” (find it on YouTube);
  • David Loftus – a British food photographer who has helped develop Hipstamatic, a digital photography app for iPhones;
  • Nick Knight – a British fashion photographer who has produced the “Roses from my Garden” exhibition of large-scale pictures taken on an iPhone (currently on at Waddesdon Manor); and
  • Rankin – the renowned British portrait and fashion photographer who has a new series coming up on Sky Arts, “Rankin’s 2020”, for which he has invited amateur and professional photographers to send in photographs that represents their 2020 (Jeanette has one on the “long list”).

Jeanette is a Mac user and therefore has an iPhone.  She has some extra lenses but, other than a particularly good macro lens, she does not use them much.  She has Snapseed (the free photo-editing application produced by Nik Software, now owned by Google) on her iPhone for post-processing.  And she reckons that’s about all you need to take good quality images.  The usual rules of photography apply – “just composition, exposure and passion”.

To prove her point, Jeanette took us through an array of her own stunning images.  These demonstrated very clearly that high calibre results can be achieved in nearly all types of photography.  Her pictures included architecture (internal and external), nature (dandelions, cobwebs), and reflections, as well as action (skateboarders), fashion, street, and night shots.  There were even long exposures, contra-jour, and black and white images.  Particularly interesting in the current circumstances were images of a recent trip to lockdown London.  Pictures of streets, stations, bridges, and markets showing an almost unimaginably quiet and empty London.

Throughout this slideshow, Jeanette helpfully revealed the techniques used to make each image.  And there were plenty of questions from members and much discussion.

As Jeanette pointed out, Smartphones have sophisticated cameras and carrying one means “you can photograph what you see as and when you see it”.  The quality of her images proves that astounding results can be achieved with “the camera that also makes phone calls”!

And that should give everyone plenty of food for thought.

More of Jeanette’s marvellous images, and details of her “Smartphone Safaris” and other workshops, can be found at https://www.jetblacksquares.com/