I think in the past I have been very clear about my lack of technological expertise. I recently blogged about the two apps that I find most helpful with my writing process simply because they are remarkably user-friendly, even for the likes of me. So you must be wondering, I’m sure, how it is that I’ve managed to find myself in this position; a blogger. A content creator.
The answer is that I can do some things in the tech world, but that the process of education has been much longer than is standard. I’m learning new things all the time, and much of the credit for that is owed to my college course. I study (believe it or not) Creative Digital Media at the Institute of Technology Tallaght, a course for which I am tremendously ill-suited. This became abundantly obvious to all a few weeks ago as I struggled for several minutes to get a USB to perform its basic function.
In short, I’m a slow learner in the world of technology.
But I also get a lot of practise; I’m a writer, a blogger, an aspiring YouTuber, I edit video and audio, I’ve completed several modules related to graphic design and I even occasionally dabble in the Dark Arts (i.e. social media – really working on my Twitter game lately!).
Taking my technological literacy level into account, it is no surprise that I only recently (and by recently, I mean yesterday) became aware of the full range of capabilities of the camera on my phone.
In last week’s post on the 13.5 changes I’ve been making since BloggerConf, I mentioned that it’s important that I train myself, at least somewhat, in the art of photography.
Now, I certainly do not have access to fancy-pants cameras and lighting gear, nor do I have the funds to acquire such things. What I do have is a phone. A smartphone. A Huawei smartphone. And that’s about all I can say on the matter; I’m told the camera is very high-quality but for all I know this is lies and propaganda.
What has astonished me is not the ability of my phone to capture an image (still have to educate myself in that particular realm of knowledge), but its ability to edit an image.
Hear me out.
I know that filters exist and I know that photo-editing apps exist. They just haven’t quite made it to my mental catalogue of ‘things I understand and know how to use effectively’.
Filters – I just don’t get them. I don’t. As someone who comes from a college course that heavily focuses on filming and camera-usage, it seems kind of like working on ‘automatic’ when you should really be using ‘manual’. Sure, filters might improve some aspects of an image, but that must mean that some of the quality would drop also, right? So I don’t use them because I don’t get them. (Except on Snapchat. I love me some Snapchat filters.)
As for photo-editing apps, my ignorance comes from a lack of storage on my phone, not from unwillingness to learn. I have my four trusty apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat and Twitter) and that’s all my smart little baby can handle.
So instead what happens is that I take a picture using my phone’s camera and then I send it to my girlfriend via WhatsApp. From there I can download the image to my laptop where I edit it using Adobe Photoshop. I don’t tend to do much in Photoshop, although I am fairly proficient thanks to three years of training in college; sometimes I add borders or possibly some text, but mostly I just adjust levels and crop.
But here’s what I have since learned (again, yesterday): my phone can adjust levels and crop!
…Well, okay I already knew it could crop, but in the past I’ve had difficulties even getting images to rotate, so I never much bothered experimenting with any in-phone editing.
My phone, I now know, can perform many tricks: it can adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, highlights, shadows, hue and BW filter on my images. None of this means much on its own (in fact, some of it doesn’t mean much to me at all – I mean, hue? What’s that all about?!), but what makes this information important is how it can be used for my blog and social media.
If I can learn to effectively use these tools that have just been lying in wait at my disposal, then that makes Confessions of a College Dropout much more mobile. It means I don’t have to carry a laptop with me at all times and it means that I can post when I’m out and about; no need to consult with laptop-bound Photoshop before using an image in a blog or Tweet. My phone can become my portable office.
And that’s great for a whole lot of things; it’s great for my blog, it’s great for building an audience on various platforms, it’s even great for writing my novel. What I’m wondering, though, is can this portability extend to YouTube?
I’ve mentioned already that a YouTube channel is in my future – in fact, it already exists. I’ve shared the edited footage of my head-shaving event in aid of Pieta House from the Facebook live-stream, and I’m thrilled to report that the views are already creeping in. But there’s more upcoming.
My intention is to vlog regularly (hopefully daily, but possibly just multiple times per week) during Camp NaNoWriMo, which I will be participating in this year. However, I want to be comfortable with YouTube by the time that comes around in July, so I have the month of June to get myself ready.
That means that I have to start ASAP. One video per week, perhaps? Four to get me geared up for my daily writing adventures.
So this week, probably Thursday, I’ll be dabbling with the various camera options I have at my disposal and documenting my findings in blog-form. I am very hopeful that my phone camera will be sufficient, for ultimate efficiency, but I’ll also be testing a Canon DSLR and a Go Pro imitation, coupled with a Zoom H2n for recording audio.
So, wish my technophobic self luck! I’ll be posting all the updates along the way and soon, hopefully, Confessions will have a home on YouTube as well.