three hours with ben lowy

I was lucky enough to join a small group to spend 3 hours with professional photo-journalist Ben Lowy from New York in Sydney yesterday learning about mobile photography as part of the Head On Photo Festival. I made the most of the time to not only take some photos of Bondi Beach but also quiz Ben about his technique and some general information about photography.

Here’s my photos:

And here’s my notes:

  • First find your perfect shot, then take three more steps forward
  • The picture that is far away that’s the easy one – the picture that’s right close – they’re the picture people want
  • Every picture you take captures your soul: make it yours
  • We’re in a golden age of information with more available than ever before – not so golden for people who make a living off making images
  • Wait out for the shot – until it happens, it comes alive – wait for something to come into the frame
  • Don’t create an fake shot – but if you must – make it outrageous so you can’t possibly believe it’s real
  • Pay attention to everything – practise doing over and over – layering
  • Cheerios rule – don’t make people vomit eating their breakfast
  • Photography is very insecure thing – it’s a weird in between art – for example to paint a scene takes few hours but you could photo it as you’re running
  • Taking photo is one part – express yourself afterwards
  • Your phone is a darkroom in your pants
  • Images don’t need to live in proverbial shoebox – share them
  • Total strangers giving you a pat on the back – Instagram or tumblr – doesn’t cost anything
  • Find your little voice – so many good options
  • Explore weird hashtags on Instagram – horribly disturbing or amazing
  • Watch out for banned hashtags eg.  #photography  negates all others you have on a photo
  • Cliche photos of NYC:

iPhone Tooling Suggestions

  • Freedom film on hipstamatic
  • ProCamera 7

Main Editing

  • Snap seed first – selective adjust tool (not in photoshop), vignette, Colour space ring
  • Then photoshop express clarity adjust and reduce noise


  • Alt photo: b&w – triex – tungsten film
  • Photogene
  • Anticrop app – extends original image – only do blue sky etc – not ethical photojournalism
  • Retouch app – samples an area and can get of it
  • Big photo app – resize up an app –
  • Actual pixels app – view the actual image
  • Rays app – rays of light
  • Polomatic – Fake poloroid
  • Oogle app – allows you to change lens and apply hipstamatic lens after
  • Beemer – virtual magazine

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