It’s great, I can do everything on my phone… or can I?
It’s time to talk about the cameras most of us have.
The cameras we have on our phones and how we use them. Technology moves on at an incredibly fast pace, and has brought us so many new and convenient ways to communicate in different areas of our lives. Latest tech can be innovative and helpful, but can also bring new challenges. Let’s open up a few of these things and the positive and negative effects they bring in using phone cameras and filters.
Camera phones are built to make it easy – just open your camera app, point and shoot. If you have no knowledge of how cameras operate, this sounds fabulous. But when you don’t get the results you hope for – it’s frustrating, or, disappointing! I’m also generalising on the different phone models that most of us have and what we find happens. Some phones are better than others and the newer models are always adding features to improve them.
Differences in how camera phones and a full frame DSLR capture your likeness.
One of the main things is distortion.
You take a selfie and think “do I really look like that!”. I’m not going to get technical, but look at the comparisons I’ve used to illustrate, of my own selfies. The first was taken close up and personal the second at arms length. There is still distortion on the second, but not as noticeable as the first. Now if you dislike what you see in an image of yourself, this can be an issue. So, no that’s not what I truly look like!
It’s a point worth remembering when you take a selfie, all you can achieve is to minimise the effect.
The angle and lighting – this can make a difference.
We all have different shape and contours to our face and bodies – it’s what makes us unique, individual and beautiful. The light and angles in a photograph, can display that individuality in different ways. It can be flattering and forgiving, contrasting and artistic, or, cold, hard and unforgiving. If you’re taking the photograph, you have control over this … with a little knowhow ;).
So it’s not about you being ‘photogenic’, there’s a lot more going on that has an effect on this, that’s not your fault!
By the way, going back to the subject of distortion, the angle you hold your camera at yourself, can have a marked effect on distortion. Yes this can be used in a creative way, but can also accentuate or detract from a nice selfie.
Take a look at the header image.
The second one is too dark, because of bright light behind me and the third is a very poor angle from too low down – quite unflattering!
The fact that we all have cameras on our phones and quick access to social media platforms, has brought about filters.
I’ve used a couple of images of myself, taken a while back to illustrate a little of what I mean. I’ve intentionally put them before and after – meaning, the first has been filtered, the second – filters are removed. I don’t want filters on me, I’m perfectly ok without them. I want people to be able to see, as close as possible, the real me – the one they would see when they meet me.
Understanding exactly what’s going on in a photograph and why one might look a bit more pleasing than others is the subject of the next blog. “But you’re a photographer, so you would know” – yes but I wasn’t always confident in front of a camera – I’ve learned how to be and the reason why I created Love Your Image to be able to help others.
It may be quite fun to apply stars, butterflies, big eyes and puppy ears, and yes, the positive benefit of using a filter to improve colour, contrast or light level is fine. I started this blog with “It’s great, I can do everything on my phone…”. But filters have taken on a much more sinister and challenging effect, when used to change our appearance… your eye, lips, face, everything. Search on google for Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok filters… beauty filter, goddess filter, movie star filter, … the list is endless. The fun and helpful element is one thing, but when you see the endless comments on the negative effect the trend for filters is having… it’s time to speak out.
SHOULD WE HAVE THEM AT ALL?
These all create something different to who we really are. I’ve seen it suggested that they achieve unrealistic perfection. We can agree that we are all unique and individual, otherwise we’d be clones. So there is no bible or manual out there that says one person is perfect and another isn’t? Is this really just saying ‘I’m not happy with what I look like without a filter?? When people meet you face to face, you’ll look nothing like they imagined.
So remember, when you see others on social media who seem to have very smooth skin, even light and big doe eyes, they have likely applied filters. What you are seeing is actually not real!
I’m going to leave this blog on a note to watch for the future – the rise of the ‘metaverse’ – for all it’s helpful aspects, will this be the next body dysmorphia challenge to humans?
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