Filtergram: Mobile Photography Class at V3

Follow the camera..

Follow the camera..

I attended the V3 (Vision, Visibility and Voice) conference presented by the Los Angeles chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association held at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo last month. One of the events I was most interested in was Filtergram, the mobile photography class. Apartment Therapy‘s technology editor Gregory Han, The Desert Sun‘s multimedia editor Marilyn Chung and Tuesday Night Project’s Sean Miura who also volunteers at the JANM led the discussion. Besides hearing tips and getting the latest news on apps for your phones, we went on a jaunt through Little Tokyo taking pictures on our phones.




I realize that although I take decent photos on both my camera and phone, I really wanted to take better pictures on mobile. I know I take pictures differently on my phone and perhaps it’s because I’m trying to capture an entirely different feeling. Although I do take pictures of food on my phone for those quick Instagram pictures, I tend to take pictures of things that interest me that I want to share instantly with social media.

We learned about composition. Imagine everything to be on a grid. Handily, iPhone does have a grid feature though I hadn’t used it before. Now you don’t want everything centered because that’s not interesting. Instead, try to make the subject appear within the points of the grid. Or you can think of your picture in thirds and make sure your subject isn’t directly in the center.

Also, sometimes you may not want to look at things straight on but from above or below. Also, slightly sideways are different views that intrigue the viewer.

The main tip I learned was taking the pictures on your mobile and then processing (cropping, filters) them before sharing on social media. I tend to take pictures and share immediately. Often I use the camera on the Instagram app but I heard that wasn’t so great. These days I still mostly take it and post right away but for more thoughtful photos, I do “process” the photo.

I learned a neat trick on the iPhone. You can hold your finger on the button and release when you want to take a photo. This way it’s more steady than just snapping the picture. Alternately, you can try holding your breath (seriously!) and take the picture as you exhale. By holding your breath, it automatically frames your body and holds you steady.

I have never liked tripods because I find them unwieldy and distracting which is why I generally take pictures on a point and shoot. But to hold steady, I have placed either my phone or camera on something else- and usually that’s a cup or glass I’m holding as well. We learned in class to hold your arms close to your body and make sure your elbows are tucked in. I tend to make sure my elbows are on a table if I’m leaning in for a shot.

Other tips included don’t take pictures in bright sunlight and feel free to take as many as possible. One thing I learned from an ex who is a film editor is to keep everything. You never know what you may find useful. Like I took this picture that I thought had too much of the ledge and not the garden below but later I found I liked that perspective– as if that’s what the kids see in the subsequent collage I put together.

Here are a couple of pictures I took from the day.

Cafe Dulce- bacon donut

Cafe Dulce- bacon donut


All my pictures from the Filtergram class.

V3 Conference – returning June 2014

Japanese American National Museum

100 N Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012  — (213) 625-0414

Cafe Dulce

134 Japanese Village Plaza, Bldg E, Los Angeles, CA 90012  —  (213) 346-9910


© The Minty 2013