Photo Ruta – Brixton Tour Review
Guest Post by Alex James:
I was interested in doing this tour as I feel photography is closely related to my University course and wanted to pick up some tips on how to do better photos with my phone.
These days most of us have phones with pretty decent cameras, but little idea if what they are really capable of producing. Although the tours are billed as being for iPhone users, people who have Android phones are more than welcome to attend their tours, as was the case with me.
Photo Ruta will email you with a meet up location and the email will also have an attachment listing the relevant apps you will need although for the tour. Which if you’re using an Android phones are: Aviary, VSCO Cam, Snapseed and Instagram, as these were the ones I was told to install for this tour, it may be different for different tours though. (If you use iPhone’s the apps to install would be Camera+ Pro, VSCO Cam for iPhone and Instagram for iPhone). And, despite the attachment on the email about charging your camera you will only need your Smartphone.
The tour itself was pretty interesting; it lasted from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. but we ran over that by about 15 minutes or so. In my opinion that’s pretty good value for £45. It does need to be noted however that this is solely a photographic tour, not a historical tour. You will not be told any stories about the areas background or history.
The guide spent about an hour explaining how to use the apps, and then an hour where we followed the guide around the area they’ve decided has the most potential for photos (which for this particular tour was Brixton Market). This means that you could miss out on some interesting places that could also be good for photos, for example, we spent about an hour wandering around by ourselves after the guided part and it was only then we went to the O2 Academy. It might therefore be worth doing a little of your own research into the area before the tour to make sure that you don’t miss a great photo opportunity.
I was taught about how to use various filters in the apps, which I admit I only used once for one of my photos where I felt it would have the most impact. I also mostly stuck to using VSCO Cam as I feel it was the most helpful of the apps and the one that they spent the most time explaining how to use. The app is in itself fairly easy; all you need to do is move the circle around the screen and then that area will be in focus and have more light on it.
This is also a sociable event with the tour finishing in a bar, a glass of wine is included with the tour and we finished up in a bar/restaurant called Seven. At this point 3 of your photos are set around 3 themes for you to interpret as you see fit (for us it was Glamorous, Culture Clash and Nostalgia). I feel the critiques of our photos seemed to be well informed and helpful to future technique. Our instructor commented on the shape in our photos, if we managed to stage them as if they were triangles, and on how the lighting was in the picture.
For my tour there were only 6 people on it including our instructor so I feel that if you wanted some one-to-one help during the guided part of the tour you could easily get it. Since none of us knew each other, this could be a good way to meet some people with the same interests in a fun, active and sociable way.
If you are interested in going on one of Photo Ruta’s tours they do tours on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Fridays in various London locations. Once you book, you get an email you with the meeting place for the tour the week before and as mentioned before I think that £45 for a 4 hour tour/course on how to do good photos on your phone is a good deal.
For more about Photo Ruta, check their UK website – they also have branches all over the world.