Indie Spotlight: Ross Pickford

Each Monday, we’ll highlight one indie photographer whose body of work deserves special recognition. Please enjoy their photography here, and make it a point to enjoy the rest of their work on their website.

Everywhere in the world, you can see people taking photos with their smartphones and sharing them to everyone via the world wide web. So much so, that it has merit it’s own photography category (mobile photography AKA phoneography). That being said, our indie spotlightee for this month is another talented amateur photographer who shoots mostly with his trusted Apple iPhone 4S.


Residing in Cape Town, South Africa, Ross Pickford almost always shoot any random subject that captures his attention while focusing mainly on streets, landscape, light and shadow. Like every other passionate amateur photographer, he experiments with new ways of shooting, his recent experiment was to take driving shots and this was possible with the help of a certain great little Belkin-branded iPhone grip that allows him to shoot without being distracted (too much) from driving.



Ross owns a Canon 350D kitted together with a 18-55mm lens which suits his style of photography, but the lens is not so great for capturing more distant images. For this, he got himself an EF 80-200 telephoto lens even though this lens has not seen the light of day for quite a while now. Despite having what some people would consider, ‘a proper photography equipment’, Ross still prefers to shoot most of his subjects with his iPhone 4S. So much so, the ratio of him shooting with the 4S versus the 350D is 9:1.



Despite shooting with an iPhone 4S, Ross makes sure his shots are not those without quality nor meaning. They would go through similar editing process one would expect from shots taken with any SLR camera. Getting the perfect shot is next to impossible so one can only try to shoot as much as one could, in the hope of getting that one (or two if you’re lucky) particular near-perfect shots to start working with. Ross would spend some time to get the right set-up of focal points and exposures, he makes a concious choice to take more photos than he would probably require just in-case a gremlin appears that he did not see when shooting the original capture.


Ross does all of his editing on the iPhone 4S itself, utilizing a number of great photo editing app to likes of Snapseed, Filterstorm, VSCOCAM and Camera+. He starts  by applying some tone until the right tone curve is achieved before adding in filters to give them the appropriate mood.


When he shoots with his 350D, his shooting style that he inherited from his phoneography applies with the exception of the software he uses to process his captures; Adobe Photoshop CS5 & Lightroom.


Tips, Tricks and Techniques:

To take up photography is to learn how to enjoy the craft and have some fun while taking photographss. Ross believes that one shouldn’t over think on any particular subject but instead, pay attention to the basics and image detail. Understand the concept of composing a shot by utilizing your viewfinder’s grid lines (framing) – Ross used to center-frame his subjects until one fine day when someone taught him how to frame properly using grid lines. He always leaves some buffer area in his shots to make room for editing while getting as close as possible to the subject when composing shots and don’t be lazy to move around so you can find that unusual, yet perfect, angle.


Lessons Learned:

There’s always this one time accidental thing that happened to all of us during a photoshoot which turns out to be a good thing. The same goes to Ross when his lens was in direct sunlight.  In this circumstance the photographer generally has two choices; either you can move your lens away from facing the sun and choose another angle, or you change your lens angle a bit and utilize the sunlight to produce a natural lens flare. Since his accidentally discovered technique Ross now often chooses the latter.



As with every upcoming photographer, Ross admires  these established photographers the most:

Jill Furmanovsky – The one who made Ross fall in love with portraiture and live concert shots; pure genius in the Ross’ eyes.

Richard Weber – One of the first people Ross discovered on Instagram. Richard covers so many different styles that he manages to inspire Ross on practically every level.


What’s Next:

Given the chance, Ross would certainly love to try shoot concerts, learn to take good and interesting portraiture and street photography. He has had a few chances before in taking a couple of shots during Switchfoot’s show via his iPhone 4S. It is the emotion that emanates from musicians while playing a show that made it interesting and worthwhile for him.



Ross Pickford can be found online at:

Hafez is a Security Consultant by day, tinkerer by night. He loves to photograph just about anything; be it plain Jane coffee mugs to ants on top of buildings. Flickr:


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