Profoto and travel/adventure photographer Austin Mann have teamed up to launch a new tutorial series focussing on phone photography.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of phone photography tutorials floating around on the web. But, with this announcement, we're seeing a major player in the professional photography space offering higher level education.
Profoto Enters the Phone Fray
As a supplier of top-tier lighting equipment, Profoto is perfectly placed to take advantage of the continuing rise of phone photography. There's no way that Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, or any of the other major camera manufactures are going to cannibalize their sales to highlight phone photography. Likewise, with phone photography still struggling to be recognized as a professional space, it's unlikely that the top-tier printer manufacturers are going to start giving phone photography pride of place when they're selling their paper and printers as aspirational products. Better to dream of an oversized print from a Hassey than an iPhone.
Profoto, on the other hand, has little to lose. In fact, Profoto has an entire market to gain.
With the launch of their C1 and C1 Plus portable phone photography lights a few months ago, Profoto made it clear that they saw phone photography as a viable professional space. Say what you will about Instagram influencers, but the bottom line is that they buy aspirational products to take their aspirational shots to sell product or experience. Given their price tag, Profoto is an aspirational product.
So, here we have Profoto teaming up with two of its ambassadors, Austin Mann...
...and Miguel Jacob to help teach how lighting can work with phone photography.
Instagram is full of phone photographers showing off their images and clamoring for advertising dollars. Profoto is betting that if you want to stand out from the crowd, you're going to have to bring something new to the game. In this case, we're essentially repeating the rise of DSLRs and speedlights over medium format, but with phones and palm lights.
As Mann explains,
The great thing about your smartphone as a camera is how nimble and agile it is.
The Rise of Phone Photography
Now, don't get me wrong, I still think that there is a long way to go. The larger sensors and internal algorithms of DSLRs and mirrorless still outshoot phones. But, a quick peruse of Mann's phone photography portfolio will show you that, in an age where digital consumption is king, the distance between the old and the new isn't very far at all. In fact, other than high speed sports, photojournalism, or long lens wildlife, I'm not sure I could tell the difference on a 1280 x 1280 image. And, let's be honest, this is where most of the advertising money seems to be headed these days.
Instead of pixel peeping, consumption is about emotion. Mann's photos certainly pack an emotional punch.
So, What is Profoto Offering?
As Profoto explains,
Using light might not be the first thing that comes to mind when using your iPhone or other smartphone camera, but the truth is that light can really help you create better images.
It's Profoto and Mann's intention to teach phone photographers how to employ light for taking portraits, lifestyle, and food images.
If phones are the cameras that you always have with you, Profoto wants Mann to convince you that with their C1 and C1 Plus you can always have their lights with you as well. Not a bad sales pitch for aspirational phone photography copy.
So now can throw light wherever I need it — I can put light in places where I couldn’t put a light before because it’s so much smaller.
Over two tutorials set just outside Telluride, Colorado, Profoto and Mann will teach the basics of using light with a phone and delve into more advanced techniques using grids, gels, and more than one light setups.
On top of that, Profoto is also offering personal feedback from fashion photographer Miguel Jacob.
Where Do You Stand?
There has been some heated discussions in the comments about Profoto's C1 and their entry into the phone photography market. How do you feel about them upping the ante with higher level education?