Welcome to our very exciting column on theappwhisperer.com. This section entitled “A Day in the Life of…” is where we take a look at some hugely influential, interesting and accomplished individuals in the mobile photography world… people that we think you will love to learn more about.
This is our eighty seventh installment of the series. If you have missed our previous interviews, please go here. Today we are featuring Scott A Woodward. When Scott was a young boy, his father – an avid and accomplished amateur photographer taught Scott how to operate a manual camera, skillfully interpret light and imaginatively compose an image. But more importantly, his father instilled in him a sense of wonder and adventure; it is these traits that truly make Scott such an incredible photographer today.
Scott’s editorial work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic Magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, Travel + Leisure, Departures, Monocle, Vogue, GQ, Esquire, The Financial Times and The New York Times and he has photographed advertising campaigns for global brands like Google, MasterCard, Adidas, Nokia, Honda, Nestle, Standard Chartered Bank, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever. Luerzer’s Archive honored Scott as one of the 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide; and Nikon named him ‘One of Asia’s Finest Photographers’.
Scott is hosting a five-episode travel and portrait photography television series that is currently airing on The History Channel Asia.
Scott is a Nikon Professional Photographer, a SanDisk Extreme Team member and a Getty Images Global Assignments photographer.
We have not included links to each app that Scott has used as he rarely recalls exactly what he has used per image. If you take a look at the question, which asks, what are you favorite apps, you will find links there.
If you would like to be interviewed for our new ‘A Day in the Life of…’ section, just send an email to Joanne@theappwhisperer.com, and we’ll get it set up.
First Things First
Joanne – Let’s start at the beginning of the day, how does your day start?
Scott – I typically wake-up around 7am and head straight for my laptop where I spend the first hour or so of my day having a coffee, reading my emails, skimming my Twitter and Facebook feeds and catching-up on world news. I also spend time on my iPhone every morning scrolling through my Instagram feed.
‘Sun Shower’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Do you like to head out and take photographs early on?
Scott – Unless I am on assignment or holidaying overseas, it is rare that I get out the door early to make photographs. If I am on a travel or luxury lifestyle commission for an editorial client, absolutely I’ll be awake and working with my 35mm equipment well before sunrise.
If I am on holiday, it’s also common for me to be on the street and shooting early; just for fun and often with only my iPhone. As a professional photographer, I am paid to document my experiences around the world. It is an amazing job, and I feel truly thankful and fortunate for my career and the opportunities I have. But it is so invigorating to visit a country on holiday, enjoy the sights and sounds and actually experience the journey; to be present and live the adventure, observing with my own two eyes rather than being concerned about capturing every moment through the lens of my 35mm camera.
That’s why I love shooting with my iPhone while on vacation. Rather than actively hunting for photographs when on holiday, I am allowed the freedom to let the photographs find me. The result is a different kind of travel and photographic experience than I am used to having when working with my 35mm camera. And I love it.
Photographer vs Mobile Photographer
‘Portrait of a (Young) Lady’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne- How did the transition from traditional photographer to mobile photographer develop? (pardon the pun)
Scott -It really started as soon as I bought my first iPhone in February 2010. Before that I owned point-and-shoot cameras that I would sometimes carry around with me, but it was sporadic and I’d often find myself without a camera when I wished I had one. It wasn’t until I acquired an iPhone that I truly had a camera with me at all times.
The ubiquity of digital cameras on mobile phones is making it ever simpler to capture high-quality images anywhere, anytime. But as most will attest, making great photographs has little to do with owning the best and most expensive equipment. I believe that the real secret behind great photography is in how you see a moment and interpret it in a still frame, regardless of what type of camera you are using. Are you able to make something ordinary appear extraordinary by showing it differently? Are you able to make the viewer feel an emotion when they see your photograph? Are you able to transport someone to a moment with you simply by pressing the shutter?
I often find it hard to imagine what I did before I owned an iPhone. In the past three years I’ve shot more than ten thousand photographs that I never would have created if I’d not had a camera in my pocket at all times.
As anyone who loves photography will attest, you cannot turn creativity on and off; amazing photographic opportunities exist all around us. No matter what tool you are using, practice makes perfect. My iPhone has undoubtedly made me a better photographer. And an endless stream of imagery floating across my screen from photographers across the globe on Instagram and Flickr and Twitter provides me with constant stimulation and inspiration.
As photographer Chase Jarvis succinctly stated, “The best camera is the one that’s with you”. And my iPhone always is. It means that I am a photographer all the time and I love it; it makes walking to get lunch more than just about food; it’s now a daily photography assignment.
‘Rebels’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Do you like to download new mobile photography apps regularly?
Scott – Absolutely. I presently have more than 120 photography apps installed on my iPhone. On Twitter I follow you/theappwhisperer as well as other popular sites, for regular reviews on new photography apps as well as alerts when photography apps are on sale or being offered for free. Embarrassingly, there are a lot of apps on my iPhone that I’ve never even used.
‘By a nose’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – How often do you update your existing apps?
Scott – Quite often; probably every few days or so.
Location, Location, Location
‘Table for One’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Where’s your favorite place in the world for a shoot?
Scott – Undoubtedly, Bhutan. For as long I can recall, I dreamed of visiting Bhutan. In early 2008 I was fortunate enough to finally visit the enigmatic Himalayan kingdom. Bhutan did not disappoint: it is a spectacular mixture of stunning, rugged countryside, colorful centuries-old architecture and welcoming, friendly people. The natural light is soft and golden and the vistas are simply breathtaking. I felt overwhelmed by the beauty I encountered every day whilst there. I traveled to Bhutan before I had an iPhone, so I was working with just my 35mm equipment. Overall, I think the collection of photographs I made on my Bhutan assignment are some of the most diverse and consistently strong images I’ve ever created. I can only attribute this to how inspired I felt in Bhutan, and the excitement and wide-eyed curiosity with which I greeted every day while I was there.
Tools Of The Trade
‘Happy Birthday’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Do you also use iPhoneography tool apps, such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris?
Scott – I don’t, actually.
‘Window Shopping’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – If so, do you use them to plan you shoot?
Scott – I DO look religiously at other people’s photography on Instagram for inspiration and ideas. I am constantly amazed by the unique and creative photography that people make and share. It inspires me to see all this creativity in the people I follow, the large majority of whom are not professionals but rather simply people who love to express themselves through photography. The quality of work these people produce encourages me to look at my surroundings differently, and more closely, to search harder for the beautiful within the mundane. I strongly believe that photography is the most accessible and democratic form of artistic expression; and for me, Instagram so clearly embodies this philosophy.
‘Flower Child’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – What are your favorite, at the moment, mobile photography apps?
Scott – Lo-Mob, Luminance, Phototreats, PicBoost and Pixlromatic seem to be my ‘go-to’ apps lately. I am a bit of a sucker for routine. I prefer to shoot ‘raw’ with my iPhone camera and then post-process my images on my iPhone afterwards. This way I can start with a base image and then experiment and build on it to give the photograph the look and feel I desire. I went through a Hipstamatic phase a while ago, but the inability to use the app as a post-processing tool frustrated me. Life happens quickly and when I see something I’d like to shoot, I want to be able to move fast. All the different films and lenses in Hipstamatic are interesting and produce wonderful results, but I personally find the myriad combinations cumbersome when shooting on the fly, so I’ve ended up using Hipstamatic less and less.
‘Corner Kick’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Where do you like to upload your photographs? Flickr, Instagram?
Scott – I post my iPhone photographs to Instagram and share them with my Flickr account during the initial upload. My Flickr account is linked as the screensaver on my Apple TV at home, which means that my family and I can enjoy the images later.
‘Colour Blind’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Do you take photographs with your iPhone everyday?
Scott – Yes, I definitely shoot something with my iPhone every day. But I only actually share what I feel is my best work. I don’t post photographs every day just for the sake of it.
‘Ornithological’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – What are your favorite subjects?
Scott – People, without a doubt. I try my best to incorporate people into almost every photograph I make, with or without my iPhone.
Top Five Tips
‘Bowling Alley’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – How did the teaching side come along?
Scott – Well, I don’t really ‘teach’ per se – but I do speak often at workshops, events, and schools. I love to meet new people and share a passion for photography with them. I also enjoy learning from them.
Top Five Tips
’01-70′ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – What are you top five tips for mobile photography?
(1) Shoot often.
(2) Experiment and push yourself outside your comfort level.
(3) But at the end of the day try and remain true to yourself; if you are passionate about a certain type of photography, embrace it and go for it.
(4) Try to develop a personal photographic style, a unique signature, something that you can be known for visually.
(5) Look at other’s work and be inspired. Share your own work with them. Build and nurture that community.
‘Sunny Side Up or Over Easy’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Do you edit images on your iPhone or do you prefer to do that on a desktop/laptop?
Scott – I am a bit of a purist and only edit my iPhone photographs using apps on my iPhone.
‘Holy Smokes’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Do you enjoy videography with your iPhone?
Scott – Videography is not a medium that has ever really appealed to me – at least not the same as photography has. I love the challenge of trying to create a beautiful still image. However, that being said, I recently got a GoPro Hero3 and I can’t wait to create with it.
The Future Of Mobile Photography
‘Statuesque’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Where do you see the future of iPhone photography?
Scott – Well, a better question might be where do I see the future of mobile photography. I am not an Apple snob, nor am I an iPhoneography snob. I don’t judge the tool that someone uses to create. I think it’s great that more and more people are gaining access to smart phones and using them to document and create in the world around them. That’s exciting! I don’t personally subscribe to the notion that mobile photography isn’t real photography or that somehow it cheapens the art. The more the merrier, I say. Just this morning I read a fantastic blog post by Andre Hermann titled – ‘iPhoneography: The Gimmick That Grew Up’. I couldn’t agree more.
‘Mountain Dew’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – What do you think is the most popular area of mobile photography?
Scott – I think it’s the fact that everyone now has a camera in their pocket at all times.
Where In The World?
‘Seabiscuit’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – Do you think its country-specific, are some nations more clued-up?
Scott – Living in Asia and traveling extensively throughout the region, I think it’s more about financial means than being ‘clued-up’, per sé. I travel to, and shoot in, many developing countries – India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, China – and I would suggest the largest factor in holding the popularity of mobile photography back is that large majorities of the population cannot afford such expensive devices as iPhones. As the middle-class continues to expand in these nations, smart phones will certainly become more and more ubiquitous, and mobile photography will continue to grow and grow.
‘Chairman of the bored’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – What are your first impressions of the iPhone 5?
Scott – Many of my friends have the iPhone 5, but I have never actually used one. I shoot on the iPhone 4S. I will say that I was disappointed that there weren’t substantial camera enhancements in the iPhone 5. Perhaps we’ll see that in the next generation.
The App Whisperer
‘Ms. Pink, Ms. Brown, Ms. Orange, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Blue’ ©Scott A. Woodward
Joanne – What do you think of Joanne and theappwhisperer.com?
Scott – I think the AppWhisperer is a fantastic resource for all mobile photographers. I personally enjoy finding new and talented iPhoneographers on the site, seeing how they interpret the world around them and learning how they create their art. Keep up the great work, Joanne!
‘Sri Lankan Street Scene (Galle Number 3)’ ©Scott A. Woodward