5 quick questions from Photography Show 2021 speaker Mike Kus

Entitled “The Pocket Photographer“, Mike Kus’ talk at the Behind the Lens theater will focus on his soon-to-be-published book of the same name.

And having recently accompanied Mike on a landscape shoot, we can attest that anyone looking for creative inspiration will find his talk very rewarding.

Based in Sussex, UK, Mike has been a smartphone photographer for 10 years and decided to share what he learned during that time, to encourage others to get the most out of photography.

And although he started shooting with film cameras, following in his avid photographer father’s footsteps, Mike has since preferred the convenience and immediacy of using camera phones.

Mike speaks at the Behind the Lens theater at The Photography Show, which runs September 18-21 at the NEC in Birmingham, England.

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He mainly takes landscape photos and has built up a loyal following to post them on Instagram; as his photos appear to have been taken with a “real” camera, Mike clearly makes the most of the camera in his pocket – hence the title of his book.

So before his lecture on Monday, here’s some information about Mike, his photography and his book …

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Mike Kus on location in Sussex (Image credit: Niall Hampton / Future)

1. Is “The Pocket Photographer” only for smartphone photography?

It’s a book about the creative side of photography – the framing, composition, taking things from certain points of view, what time of day to take pictures… all the basics. In my mind, the book covers the top 20 things I consider when taking a photo. It covers it all, plus little tips I’ve picked up over the years.

I’ve always liked the idea of ​​making things accessible and not intriguing. Whether people have a camera or a camera phone, the fun of photography and building a body of work is possible for everyone, no matter what device they have.

2. As it is based on images, more diagrams but without long paragraphs of text to go through, the book is very accessible …

Yes, and what you just described would actually put me off. “The Pocket Photographer” reflects my feelings about cameras and having to read a lot in things to get the information I need – I would find that difficult myself. I see my book more as a visual inspiration, like a Pinterest board.

In addition to the chapters which deal roughly with one subject – “Composition”, “Light”, “Lenses” and “Focus” – the book also includes many “Quick Tip” and “Other Techniques Used” points to highlight other aspects of the image.

For these I have listed the other things I kept in mind when taking this photo, such as a low point of view. To me, these are all things that you overlay when taking pictures.

I want to remind readers that when I talk about one aspect of an image, I am thinking of others as well. This is why “Other Techniques Used” is repeated throughout the book – I gently try to remind readers of them as they progress through each section.

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(Image credit: © Mike Kus)

3. What will your presentation at the Salon de la photographie talk about?

It will be about taking pictures on smartphones and evangelizing the use of smartphones to take pictures. I’ll probably show some of the professional work I’ve done on a smartphone, to prove that you can do it.

I have the impression that smartphone photography is devalued a lot. We used to debate in commercials whether digital photography was real photography; now i feel like the conversation still exists, but in a different way – is smartphone photography really real photography? It seems to me that there is still a bit of a stigma attached to smartphone photography and how seriously it is taken.

4. But the best camera is always the one you have with you …

It’s true, and for me in particular, I believe it’s true, because I can’t seem to carry a big camera. Like I said, the book is designed for taking photos and it doesn’t require someone to carry a specific camera. It’s more about the creative side of taking photos.

Once you know the technical side of photography, all of your thinking will come down to creation again. For me, it’s always been about this.

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Mike Kus packed an Apple iPhone 11 Pro, Huawei P40 Pro, and OnePlus 9 Pro for his recent shoot with us (Image credit: Niall Hampton / Future)

5. Which smartphone Would you normally take a shoot and do you have any particular favorites?

On today’s shoot I used three – an Apple iPhone 11 Pro, a Huawei P40 Pro, and a OnePlus 9 Pro. Over the years, I have used Oppo, Samsung, Apple, Huawei, and OnePlus.

They’ve all been good and I’ve never used one that I didn’t like. They all have their strengths – Huawei’s 5x optical zoom is amazing and lets you get photos that look more like a camera, Apple handsets are great all-rounders, and Huawei phones are really good at taking pictures. at night, just like Oppo.

The OnePlus produces truly natural colors, and that’s the selling point, although it’s also a great all-round camera. All of these phones have positive points. I never found a negative for any of them – they all just have slightly different positives.

The Pocket Photographer with Mike Kus will take place at the Behind The Lens Theater on Monday, September 20 from 2 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.

‘The Pocket Photographer’ will be published by Laurence King on October 7, 2021. Price: £ 14.99

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