iPhone Photos of London Architecture used in Corporate Photography Commissions.
I have been working in London as a professional photographer for over 20 years and have always enjoyed photographing City and West End architecture for clients and as a hobby. In the late 90s I noticed an increased pressure on photographers from building security agencies that had been told not to let people photograph the buildings they were responsible for. This meant taking commercial photos of architecture always meant several lays of security clearance before you could set up your tripod and get the shots done. Even then you would quite often be asked by security agents from other offices as to what you were doing and the odd passer by would feel it was OK to enquire about your equipment etc. The situation has not changed and if anything has got much worse. Also some areas of London if you set up a tripod you need a permit from the local borough which for a quick photo of a clients building is ridiculous.
With the introduction of good digital cameras you could get rid of the tripod and just grab shots as you wandered around London. This was OK in touristy areas as you can blend in to the general masses of clicking tourists. But getting a large DLSR with a good long lens out in certain areas of The City still made me feel like I was doing something wrong and often still sent the security guards heading my way. I was not alone in feeling this way and other professional photographers started a campaign group called I'm A Photographer Not A Terrorist which produced legal guidelines and a Bust Card with advise what to do if stopped by the Police or security guards. I do recall walking past Bank Station and seeing a pro photographer having his bag emptied on the street by two policeman in a very heavy handed manner.
Being naturally put off taking architecture shots and my corporate photography business moving more towards commercial headshots and event photos I kept my camera in my bag as I travelled through London. I did notice that I could still take the odd iPhone photo of an interesting building without raising any interest from the building security, but this was only for my reference to go back and take a proper photo at a later date. As the iPhone camera increased in quality and storage I become very keen on snapping City and West End architecture as I walked to and from commissions and the introduction off the wonderful Instagram allowed me to share my pics with friends and clients.
My iPhone collection of photos were still just a hobby and I found that as these were only for pleasure the normal restrictions I would have in place for client commissions i.e. be careful of reflections and avoid cars and telegraph poles etc were not applicable I was free to enjoy taking any aspect of London architecture. The other thing with using an iPhone is the fixed lens which tends to have a slightly wider view than a standard lens and therefore harder to frame conventionally. This meant I would have to try harder when shooting to include this feature in the lens and make sure the added elements in the photo benefit the shots.
Using new apps I was able to compensate exposure and contrast levels on my growing portfolio and began publishing them on my corporate photography blog. Also whilst sharing on social media I found that the more unusual and less commercial photos drew more interest. I put this down partly due to the ability to add captions when sharing as this allows viewers to locate the photo and then realise that they had been to the same area. Clients soon began to like these images and as the feel and look of Instagram images moved into commercial trends I received commissions to shoot business areas of The City in the style of Instagram. Initially I would shoot on my DSLR and then run the images through photoshop or an iPhone app to get the feel the client wanted. But I found that the images had a less than natural feel to them and they did not have the same spontaneous look to them.