Photography is already an art in itself. But you do not need to buy an expensive SLR camera anymore, but actually only a good smartphone. Why this is so, explains Alex Bhm in the entertaining mobile photo guide “shit on cameras”. A review.
Seasoned photographers might argue that smartphone photography does not have much to do with real photography. And certainly there may be areas in which the claim is true. For concert photography in low light and little time for example.
But it is also clear that smartphone photography has long arrived in our everyday lives.
A snapshot of the port of Hamburg here, a photo of our loved ones there: The most popular camera we find today always in our pocket. So it’s time to clear up with the persistent rumor that an expensive SLR camera is the measure of all things.
That’s exactly what Alex Bhm and Carolin Schwartau are doing with their smartphone photo guide * “Fuck cameras”. Bhm is cameraman, director and media maker from Hamburg.
Among other things, he is known for his idiosyncratically humorous YouTube videos under the acronym “Alexibexi”. Schwartau is his girlfriend and in many YouTube videos also his camerawoman.
“Fuck on cameras”: The photo guide for smartphone lovers
The book consists of 200 pages and 10 chapters. The content comes from Bhm and Schwartau together. “Fuck on cameras” can be divided into four parts:
- History, present and future of the camera
- Understand camera technology
- Use camera technology
- Apps and accessories
The first part of the book deals with the history of the camera. Bhm traces the history of the camera, which is certainly very interesting especially for the younger generation, which has so far perhaps less concerned with the ancestors of smartphone photography.
First understand, then do
The second part of the book gives us the necessary theoretical knowledge about camera technology. The book is therefore not necessarily the first choice for true technology fans and photography professionals, who are already well into the topic anyway. You will have heard many things for sure.
But for interested photographers who have just started to get into camera technology, “Shit on Cameras” is a very educational and entertaining guide.
Bhm and Schwartau have understood that we must first understand the technique in order to apply it correctly. That’s why they describe the content in a way that is easy to understand and build on each other.
For example, we learn what it is about terms such as ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, and white balance. This is all very relaxed and almost flaccid explained, but distinguishes Bhm’s idiosyncratic humor. But “shit on cameras” is also very easily digestible.
Here and there we stumble over a few hashtags and above all many pictures. The book is also adapted to today’s social media generation. Those who do not feel like a dry non-fiction book will certainly enjoy reading it.
The practical part: taking photographs, taking photos, taking photos
The third book chapter is about applying the learned camera technique in practice. We receive tips and tricks on when which image format is worthwhile. The book provides assistance with different zoom settings, the perspectives and also when you put a motif in the right light.
Above all, “shit on cameras” also shows what is possible with smartphone photography today. And while we’re on the subject: What Boehm and Schwartau do not show are licked Instagram photos of special motives.
Instead, the two rely heavily on everyday photography to show that every subject is worth a good photo. And that makes the book likeable.
Specific smartphone examples and recommendations
The book is particularly practice-oriented through its concrete examples of current smartphone models. Bhm and Schwartau have picked out different devices: the Xiaomi Pocophone F1, the Google Pixel 3, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro and the Apple iPhone XS.
For each model, we receive specific help with setting options and how we can get the most out of the respective camera. This is very pleasant, because after completing a chapter, you can immediately pull out your smartphone and immediately implement the mentioned tips.
By the way, based on what we’ve learned about taking pictures with smartphones, there are also tips and tricks for filming.
“Fuck cameras,” but not apps and accessories
In the last book chapter we receive recommendations for third-party apps and accessories. Although these product examples could of course be outdated in a year or two, they make the book very fresh and modern.
Again, the concrete examples provide great ideas that we can implement immediately. That makes “shit on cameras” also a great reference book in which certainly professionals when needed can always turn around in a targeted manner.
In addition, the smartphone photo adviser should also be edited and reissued over and over again. Whether the book regularly appears new and the mentioned smartphone models and app suggestions are then replaced, is not yet known.
So if you are looking for a practical, easy-to-write guide to smartphone photography – whether a bloody beginner or a trained hobby photographer – you should be happy with “shit on cameras”. For seasoned professionals, the book is especially suitable as a kind of encyclopedia to search specifically for ideas and inspiration.
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