London College to Offer Course in iPhoneography

London College to Offer Course in iPhoneography

According to Huh Magazine, Kensington and Chelsea College in southwest London are going to be the first college to offer a class in iPhoneography called "iPhoneography: An Introduction to Photography with the iPhone." And while I think the iPhone is a legitimate creative imaging tool, the monetizing nature of this course makes me shake my head.

"The course is made up of evening classes spanning five weeks and goes into apps as well as obvious things like composition and lighting. Richard Gray, the tutor of the course, said: 'I developed the course after discovering there were a lot of people who had an iPhone who didn’t really know how to use the camera.' Gray believes the course will help the average person take up photography." (from Huh Magazine)

Look, I get it. The iPhone is the most popular camera right now. I also like creative filters, Camera Awesome, Instagram, and SnapSeed. Hell, I even shoot some of my review photos on the iPhone. But isn't this course just trying to capitalize on "what's hip?" Make some money off these young folks? Shooting with an iPhone successfully requires no different basics than any other camera. Photography is what it is, regardless of the device you use to capture the image. So in essence, what could possibly differ in this course than with a Photography 101 course? Dumb it down a little (since you can't teach shutter speed an aperture with an iPhone) and add some creative filters sessions? Ugh.

So even though I think that the iPhone is a legitimate camera and should be seen as such, the style that this is being presented just sort of rubs me the wrong way.

[Via Huh]

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I would have to agree with you that the basics of photography are consistent across any device you use to capture light. However, the average person who has only ever used a point and shoot or camera phone to capture "snapshots" may not understand that. They may think that quality images are so far out of reach for them because of all the "expensive, complicated" equipment used by "professionals." The very reason people see a DSLR in someone's hand and say "I bet that camera takes great pictures, huh?' 

That said, targeting a demographic of people who already possess a powerful imaging tool and capitalizing on that to teach them that great photography is possible on any device sounds pretty smart. It stands to create a whole sub-genre of people who are capturing mind-blowing images and editing them straight away from their mobile device. Creating art and sharing it with the world on  bus ride home from work. It will most likely help a whole new group of people get excited about photography. "Hey, I never realized that I too could get some high end photos with this camera I've been using to shoot pictures of my lunch and post to Instagram with... ' 

Ultimately, there are some differences in shooting with an iPhone; just as there are differences shooting with a Holga. Although the same principles apply when shooting a digital camera or shooting film, I would be much more inclined to ask a person who has experience shooting film about my Holga than I would someone who has always shot digital. Because, well, there really are some small differences and in some cases major obstacles to overcome with some devices as opposed to others. 

Again, agreeing with the meta statement made in this article, but also seeing the need for such a class arising from the demand it is presented with. 

Aaron Brown's picture

Well said, sir. My thoughts are much the same.


I'm sorry but whilst i agree that its a good thing to get more people interested in photography, and thinking that they might also have a chance to create amazing photographs, you need to understand the fundamentals of photography. like you said with those people with "P&S" cameras won't necessarily understand the concepts of light and focus etc, i find it difficult to understand your approach to "Hey, I never realized that I too could get some high end photos with this camera I've been using to shoot pictures of my lunch and post to Instagram with... " frankly quite ridiculous. the main difference being the glass associated with DSLRs, great quality lenses, if you're going to buy an amazing lens, why have it attached to your iphone rather than a DSLR, and no BS about price, because the lens pictured looks like an L series, costing between £500 and £2'000. If you're willing to spend that much on a lens then it seems ridiculous that you would then think to only use your iphone instead of purchasing a tool with many more capabilities than an iPhone, and IMO much less fiddely as an all touch screen camera on my iphone, i'm frequently pressing something wrong by accident if i'm using just one hand. 

This course is ridiculing photography, and is promoting those "oh look i took a snapshot, gonna post it to national geographic and see if they take it" and the general degradation of comercial and editorial photography.

I am fully aware of the impact quality glass makes on your images. I am also aware that the image posted with this article is likely not the image used to promote this course nor is a L series lens a pre-requisite for registration. To even consider that to be the case is ludicrous given that this is obviously a course aimed at teaching people to use the camera they have with them the most.  

 That said, I think you are misunderstanding what I was trying to say. I am not arguing the fact that the basics should be ignored; they should not be. But I don't believe this course is aimed at the group of people who are interested in the science behind photography. I would say it is safe to assume that this class is geared towards casual shooters looking to improve their images. The term "high end" meant nothing relative to professional or commercial images. No where in my response did I say that images captured with an iPhone are comparable to images captured with a DSLR. I simply said that DSLR's are out of reach for so many, and a lot of folks give up right there. If this course makes the process of creating art more accessible to that demographic, why would that ever be a bad thing? Art, is art; no matter the tool used to create it. I have seen some *stunning* images taken via iphone, <a href=" rel="nofollow">these wedding images</a> included. I see zero evidence of the images in the provided link doing anything even close to ridiculing photography. The tools take you far, but artistic vision will get you much further. 

Insinuating the only way to create quality images (again, not commercial or professional) is with a high end piece of equipment sounds a lot like the statement "I bet that camera takes great pictures." You can place the absolute best camera with all the right glass and accessories in the hands of someone trained properly on how to use them and if that person lacks creative vision, none of that matters. The images will not be interesting to view. In fact, they may be less interesting than a guy who does not have access to a DSLR, shoots with a P&amp;S or iPhone but has a wicked eye for composition and light. I know many people who own DSLR's and couldn't hold a candle to the wedding images taken with the iPhone that I have linked to.

Elliott.G.Montello's picture

You are a smart man.

I wouldn't go so far as to say they are the first/only, though this course at SMU in Plano, Texas, only met for a total of 4 hours:;Course=121IPH411-P...

Well, as long as there are people willing to pay £115 (price
according to KCC site) for five evening classes, why not take their
money. Simple.

Elliott.G.Montello's picture

The people who would be willing to take this class just want to learn more about their Iphone camera...what is the issue here? So what if after taking the class they will think that they are awesome pro photographers. You get the same thing from Film and Photography students who have just come out of collage all the time and we just shun them off and let them get on this their pretentious life's until they grow up. 

Gary Martin's picture

I hate when they bring out this crap..

Dan Lubbers's picture

What's on the end of the Canon L series lens that allows someone to shoot an image with a cell phone camera through it?

Its going to put photojournalists out of jobs.
Courtesy images are going to take over.

Richard Gray's picture


Wondering what attachment is being used to connect the iPhone to the lens? Thanks