My Review of the HTC one Camera and image functions

A zoetrope is a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. The term zoetrope is from the Greek words ζωή zoe, “life” and τρόπος tropos, “turn”. It may be taken to mean “wheel of life”

and much like the spin of this old fashioned forerunner to cinema, it was only composed of a few frames, yet it breathed life into what were in essence static imagery. Much like this old victorian invention the HTC Ones Zoe function utilizes the same principle, yet with 21st century technology.

The new HTC One phone comes with a multitude of in camera features, you may have seen them on other models and makes enabling you to distort pictures with wave and whirlpool effects, give a variety of colored filters, from lovely desaturated

effects to sepia and black and white images, showing you how the photo will look ‘In-House’ so to speak. This is of course is not a new invention, similar features exist on many of the other top Android and Apple phones, but where HTC have cornered the market is the brilliant way you can change, alter, improve, tweak, poke, squeeze, remove and generally be a creative devil with the photos you take. It works like this…

The Phone’s Zoe function takes a 3 second film and within that has five still images,  and it is from this selection that you can pick and choose, improve and alter your photo so you get that perfect shot every time as well as letting you do multiple exposures and HDR which up until now you could only Do with a high end computer running the latest Adobe Creative Suite  software. Let the tinkering commence!

Smile Please!

Grumpy subjects are the bane of my life… and no matter how many times you tell them to smile they won’t.. well., not when the camera is pointed their way.. however, this sneaky Zoe function starts its 3 second recording before you have even hit the capture button, GOTCHA!. so by simply selecting their face you can push the slider up and down until that illusive smile magically appears.

Before

Before

After

After

As you can see, my non plussed wife is now looking resplendent, however the old adage of never working with children is true as ever. I did swipe backwards and forwards to se if i had captured an illusive smile but it wasn’t to be. A really nice feature and i can see if you were out with friends and time was short or indeed you only had a few seconds to pose having this feature could help make your photos even more perfect and turn the most sullen faced of friends and make them smile with everyone else in the group.. providing they smile for a limited time so Zoe can capture it.

More powder please!

Shooting with celebrities or even regular boys and girls, one thing they all have in common is once they are put under hot studio lights, a bit of pressure to perform or even if you are shooting outside on a summers day, they will all sweat which leaves the face wet which can result in bleached out skin tones as the light bounces off the surface and leaves bleached out (photographic term for not nice looking skin). Ordinarily in an instance like this you would call the Make-Up artist over and after a few expertly applied strokes from the powder brush, the harmonious balance of light and dry skin would once again be restored.

This is not something most people have if they whip out their phone to take a quick snap of friends… and the cries from the females within the group the moment it goes on facebook or twitter is “ I look all sweaty, don’t you dare post that photo!!”

What the HTC does is give a little bit of professional make up artistry to your fingertips. Again, taking the example of my wife and child from the before and after you can see the change and really does do a great job in smoothing out those blown out skin tones and smoothing out the skin.

After

After

Before

Before

The results are surprisingly good. The skin does have a much better look, its more flattering and gives an impression that the face may have had a bit of powder applied (or a touch of photoshop work done), either way it takes mere seconds and the results are really effective.

Please stand still.. or not..

Multiple exposure function

Multiple exposure function

Zoe has the ability to allow you to shoot multiple exposures. The same principal applies, you select the best frames and compress the shots to give that sense of motion and action.

This could work with anything, sporting fixtures like tennis, motor racing, golf.. basically any sport that involves relatively fast paced movement within the frame. This is probably my favorite feature as a photographer, when i was a student many years ago, multiple exposures on a film camera was always something i enjoyed but was quite tricky as you had to dive the exposure by the number of intended frames and hope the overall exposure worked compositionally. You have a choice of how many frames you want to use, so you can just use two or use all the frames given, which is five.

Object removal

Taking out objects in shots is something that professional photographers like myself do day in and day out, from everything form landscapes, to beauty to portraits to still life. Using my son as an example of how this camera will be used in everyday life you can see by just a push of a button he is been removed from the scene. by using the 3 seconds of footage and the stills where he isn’t in that location it has seamlessly dropped the background over him and hey presto a tranquil scene is restored!

Before

Before

After

After

There are other cool Zoe functions like eye widening, (perfect for a sunny day if your subjects are squinting slightly. There is eye brightening, which is a great function, it allows you to lighten the eye which without flash or a bit of fill in light can sometimes have shadows and after all, the eyes are the gateway to the soul so you want to be able to see them.

Summary

The Camera on the HTC one produces images that are roughly 3.5mb compressed and once opened up in Photoshop you are looking at about 11mb files. For a phone this is ample quality! ti would allow you to get a pretty good A4 sized print, its not magazine quality by any stretch but for a phone it really isnt about the top line quality of the camera but more about the amazingly diverse and innovative functions it offers for keen photographers who may not want to bring their DSLR’s out and then spend hours in photoshop altering the images. Its a camera for the tech savvy generation, those who want to produce fun results quickly and effectively and allow them to upload it and share it with friends straight away.

Advertising shoot with Julia Bradbury for FITBIT

I was commissioned to shoot Julia Bradbury who was the face of FitBit, which is a fitness tracker band that syncs to your phone app and laptop etc and gives running stats on distance walked, calories lost etc. The Studio shots were up to me on how I was to light it, but as it was a white background type shoot there were not too many options really. I used a beauty dish with a soft cover on the front and a cut light (Clip light) on the side with a bit of added warmth in the guise of a 1/4 orange gel. It was about incorporating the Fitbit Flex bracelet in as natural a way as possible so i approached this like i would a watch shoot, as there isn’t really too much difference in positions between the two. The shoot was really about variation in poses and as we only had a few hours we managed to rattle of a fair bit, namely because Julia is a pro! Hope you like the images, feel free to comment!

JuliaBradbury1 JuliaBradbury2

JuliaBradbury

JuliaBradbury

Portrait of Journalist Liz Hoggard

I was commissioned to shoot Liz Hoggard who is a journalist. It was to coincide with a feature she was writing on relationships (specifically the one between her partner chris and her friends and Liz). The article was to illustrate the differences between her and her partner and the fact that being a journalist involves being on your phone and attending parties quite a lot, as opposed to her partner chris who doesn’t drink and prefers an early night. I interpreted this visually with the use of props (cocktails on one side, green tea on the other etc…)

I wanted to create as much drama in the lighting as possible yet still give it a clean feel. I used a gridded softbox at the front and positioned it above camera. As there was quite a bit of depth to the image I needed o throw some lighting into the background. I used a head with a orange gel for the background shot (to give a bit of warmth to the bar behind). But the real tweaks came in post. I underexposed the image itself to make sure there was detail across the full range then upped the contrast quite considerable and desaturated the shot. I think it worked really well and gave a depth and texture to the image

 

Portrait of Liz and Chris Hoggard

Portrait of Liz and Chris Hoggard