Shooting Smart Phones - Photography Chronicles, Vol. 1
We are going to roll back the clock to 2015, Shanghai China.
I am working as a mobile phone designer in Huawei mobile .
Friends are now noticing that I am in Shanghai China and come visit to see me and also together we go places just like back in college in the US. Its amazing to know globally where ever you travel there is someone just around the corner that you might know.
I recommend when you ever get a job or move to a different country for the first time, let people know and some day a phone might ring and "Hey man I heard you moved to China~ I am going there next month. Lets meet bro!"
This was a time where Apple and Samsung were back to back... practically two big dogs conquered most if not the entire smartphone market at the time. The cameras on mobile phones were beginning to capture better images through image sensor improvements, the app software/firmware were able to use built-in filters and base edit tools.
The most popular phones that had good reviews with camera specs closing in with digital cameras were now better than ever before. Specs were starting to be similar to one company to another.
Lets take a look at what was available at what specs at 2015. There were two main players in the block... Apple & Samsung.
The Smartphone of 2015
|Apple iPhone 6||1/3.0-inch image sensor, 8 megapixels, f/2.2 aperture||Optical image stabilization (OIS), slow-motion video, on-sensor focus pixels|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge||1/2.6-inch BSI image sensor, 16 megapixels, f/1.9 aperture||4K/30p video, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), on-sensor focus pixels|
Other companies like Goggle, HTC, LG, Motorola were suffering with sales. This year was the year where everyone went bold and just like in a poker game... ALL companies went ALL in.
2015 - Samsung vs. Apple
Marketing Strategies - WINNER GETS ALL
We all knew this year we need to prepare for the ultimate showdown...Either next year I will continue to work in Shanghai, or return back home to America.
Samsung soon was to announce something that made our jaw drop when we heard the news... what do you say to that?
"Can we match that Boss?"
When your competitor is throwing gold bricks around to bring in best ad agencies and first tier celebrities, while we are just ready to get our name tags out in the field... I mean, it was a totally in your face move. But still you cannot deny $10 Billion... Let me show you what its like to scale.
click here to view direct source
Apple on the other hand played a very different hand. I must say that when it comes to marketing they really know how to go directly into our hearts and get our attention with a single damn sentence.
click here to view direct source
click here to view direct source
While all of this is happening with Apple and Samsung. We were working in the shadows. The global brand awareness of huawei mobile phones was about to turn some tables with a fresh approach which we believed will be the game changer. Ultra high quality materials forged together with Iconic Premium design aesthetics, powered by state of the art chips built in-house... All specifically catered to capture the best photography experience unquestionable by users and critiques alike.
So what did we do?
It's time to goto GERMANY!
At airport sky lounge in Shanghai right before we leave from China to Germany
When you see the walls are perfectly in 90 degree angles with no tilt or warp you know its das German engineering. They really know how to perfect the craft... like the windows of buildings have no warpage on the reflection!!
Germans really know how to showcase their cars. :) This was a dealership. Almost looked like a club lounge at first.
So why GERMANY? you might ask?
We partnered up with The Leica Camera Company
German craftmanship at its finest, the camera design and lens are extremely high quality in every way... Camera's are what they know best. With the partnership Huawei mobile phone cameras will now undergo Leica's quality standards that no other smart phone cameras have ever done. This also helps Leica company as well because they will begin to fully understand the works of digital photography and technology in both Hardware and Software. I believe this was an awesome strategy to help build brand awareness ultra fast and not sacrificing quality of design on both sides. It was an exciting time and a great strategy.
This was my first visit to Factory Head Quarter of Leica Camera Company in Wetzlar, Germany.
I believe the pictures will speak for themselves on how amazing they showcased their work.
I wont even put subtitles in the photo so you can really immerse yourself in what Leica Camera Company has to offer for photographers.
Some information from Leica website about this Factory Head Quarter
Alright!! Lets go!!!
Panorama view of when you enter the main building
Everything is so white that I feel I am literally inside the matrix
spacious white themed interior design
as we move in we are starting to see the direct opposite colors of black which begins to showcase the cameras
Everything seemed so mono chromatic until I started to see a dash of bright colors far away...
This concept of space and color has been so well thought out.
Camera facing front LEICA R8 mit DMR 1996 (DMR 2004)
Lots of History in every glass
The environment begins to shift into eveything BLACK.
Panorama view of the next showroom of Leica Historical Camera Lineup
There really was so much to see front left to right.
I had no idea Leica had this much cameras in production.
I would love to have one of these... they still look amazing.
Gonna show up here so I can say all these photos are original and my own. Hivewatchers can be at peace. :)
Vintage can never look so cool... imagine carrying one of these back then...
It probably was the feeling of carrying an iphone pro max level tech status back in those days...
Now we are entering how Leica Camera and Lens are made... in Germany
This is where repairs and inspection are done... I would definitely trust them with my repairs. Usually I wont and just repair it myself.
The in-house assembly and quality control sector
For an assembly line this is Luxury... its so clean, bright, and relaxed. Its never like this in other places.
No one is rushing it... I really like that. This is where quality comes through.
Moreover... We DOUBLED Down and
We partnered up with Porsche Design in Berlin Germany. :)
Stay Tuned for what happens next in the next episode!
Product Designer lifestyle Raw and Un-Coated Journals.
Thanks for visiting my blog and checking out my articles. I really appreciate you guys discovering my work and I am so lucky to share some of my experience through my post.
If you have any questions on my career, seeking some career advice as a designer, or experiences you have that is similar or completely different than mine, then comment and lets create a conversation~ :) Cheers!~
I always knew Shanghai was a place filled with Tech hubs and from spy movies, I always felt it was the headquarters for foreign agents but now that I see its beauty through this post, damn!!! It's a place to visit if you are a tech lover.
I have thought exactly like you too before I moved to Shanghai... to be honest, I never been there before and I just took the job and flew to China. Smart or Dumb? Maybe both? But one thing is for sure... I thought it would be... but no... I was totally wrong.
Shanghai is like living in the future... lots of foreigners get together speak German, French, English and also speaks good Chinese! Everything is a lot more advanced and its moving so fact that you need to catch up to the rapid changes happening. Its very dynamic if you like that type of lifestyle. :)
It sounds like Shanghai is modern-day America filled with diverse ethnicity and which makes it more dynamic. Please keep giving us more content about Shanghai cause for sure I'm so interested.
Another perfect post dude! I don't know that you are a product designer. It looks like you are very successful. Looking forward to your next posts man, have a nice day!
Thanks man~ Your comments give me energy! Product designer yea.... successful? Nawww just doing the best I can in any given situation that time. :) People like that~ Being Proactive. Set the Tone!
yeah my boy is doin good :-)
Yeaaaa Booooiiii~~ Thank bro. Hive 4 Life!~
Great post so worthy of trending. Knocked 1% off for you working for Huawei in China 😡😡😡
Hey @livinguktaiwan sis~
This post was my most time consumed post creating because I had to dig up all the photos dated back to 2015 and fact check what I did during those time lines. Its pretty fun cause I get to review my own life and critique it... but finding a trip photo album in Tera-Bytes of Tera-bytes of data is not easy to find and organize. Must organize photo gallery!!!
I like that 1% knock off deal~ me gonna one day get a 101% upvote from you! :)
Thanks though~ I know you are a hard one to earn those upvotes.
Ok, since so much effort went into it producing such an epic post, you get the 1% back plus extra 5% bonus for leaving Shanghai 😁
Yiippy~ Ka yea~~~! :)
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Sweet~ Twitter Feeed~~~ Thanks
holy crap look at all those cameras.. that is badass you got to see the factory.
That is exactly what I said inside the factory. "Is that?? Wait... Holy crap look at all those cameras!!" LOLZ
This is something maga
and became mega. :) Cheers man~
Wow! Great photos and very clear night shots particularly. How long have you been taking photos?
It is worth to buy a brand new BMW in Germany, just so you have an excuse to goto the factory and pick it up yourself!
Thanks man!! The night shots were pretty cool and it was using a first gen Huawei/Leica phone camera being tested. At the time getting it this clear was pretty new stuff.
As for how long have I been taking photos? I am not professional to say I been taking any time... However I did work and hang out with many of them and I think maybe that helped me? As a designer we all think alike when creating work... proportions, perspectives, dynamic views... the bases of all art and design I think is the same. So photographers can also be good product designers as well. The potentials are there.
I was thinking the same how clear the shots were for back then. Maybe we take the technology for granted these days but still on some phones it is still grainy.
hi i am using huawei mate 30 pro😃 so is there your designing part in it? lol it has great battery system, I am using it for three years now, battery still working well, only pity I crashed its back the day before yesterday😆 but of course changed a new back yesterday😃that's great of you to be a phone designer👍
Yes, I noticed since there is a Huawei watermark sometimes on your posts. :)
For me I have contributed till Mate 20. After that I have not been involved in the design.
A lot of rapid improvement has been done and working at Huawei was a great experience to put in my life list.
Phone designer has its good and its bad and its ugly... soon you will find out.
Thanks for checking out my post.
😄😄phone designer is a good career, we are all using them✌️✌️👍👍good to see the updated you too😆😆
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look at that lens porn that is NSFW 🤣🤣 all those nice toys locked up never to be played with 😥
great post again , well done .
hahahaha~~ Lens porn!! Is that what it is for photographers?
Yea I can imagine now...because those lens were not cheap at all!!!!
I have a Canon SLR I use at home but the Leica Cameras and Lens are at a whole another level of cost. And all locked up!! I did wanted to take out the old old cameras and touch them.... but behind glass you can only seeeee... no touch. T.T
Thanks for the comment!! Funny
Now I'm jealous you have seen all these in person!!! Ahhh, my heart would be jumping the moment I stepped inside this building full of cameras and to see how each is built is a dream every photography hobbyists has on their list! 💯📷
I think you are more a photographer than I am. :) Because at the time 2015... I knew Leica's camera was a great design camera but I didn't know it was the "Louis Vuitton" of all cameras that carried a status symbol.
I only realized after when I came back from Germany to tell my friends who are really into photography... the first thing they said was.
"Dude!!~ You went to the Head Quarter of Leica and you only took this much pictures? Da hell is wrong with you!"
Then I knew... oh... this must really be a good brand. :)
Thanks for your comment!!! and I will bring more photo content on the next blog chapter. :)
Nice work, working on this ground is awesome.
Hey! Thanks man~~
This work is ultra dynamic... The way how time is used is very different. Product designers just need to get it done by a specific given time. Photography on the other hand... so many minds working together.. hands moving together... everything together... and timing needs to be perfectly right. Which is different than when sketching industrial design ideas and trying to flow time... where photography is capturing the spit second essence of time.
Oh... my brain
so yea it is pretty awesome bro~
Oww man, since I saw your post about the different setups I knew you had a good eye for photos.. but this is amazing. I absolutely loved the first pics, I'm a fan of the dark pics :P
You know I am actually a dark pics fan than white as well. Its really funny cause there are people who love white backgrounds and a polar opposite group as well. But I too am in favor of dark photography... somehow it looks more focused and rich in details.. or something.
One another post I will showcase my design portfolio here on Hive platform and let you know when its ready. But most of my work is in dark backgrounds. hehehehe.
Thanks for your kind comment~ Lots of encouragement only want me to make more dark pics for ya. :) Cheers!
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If I understand correctly, all the pictures were taken by your brand's smartphone?
This is a very good quality not only for 2015. These photos look like the pages of glossy magazines, it feels like an experienced designer is behind them.
For some reason, I have a feeling that a photographer without design experience would have taken these pictures differently.
How many manual settings are there for your brand's smartphone cameras?
Or do you focus on software photo processing?
Cheers and !BEER
Hey @bambuka ! Thanks for stopping by~
Actually to answer your question simply Yes! because hilarious as it may sound when we were around the boss man... he told us not to use iPhones. hehehehe. and especially for that day where we met Leica for the first time? Definitely probably was a Huawei phone at the time if I try to remember. The camera for Huawei at the time was already pretty good because by that time most industries use similar ranges in specs. By doing so you get a "should I get a Canon or a Nikon camera?" type of zone.
As for Photography experience... I am not sure where I can call myself a photographer... ahahaha. your too kind. :) This is what I have found why photographers are different thinkers than us. When taking a photo for example, at first the same principles of what makes a good photo a good photo goes in our heads... if you learned product design then a lot of theory we try to practice in the real world is application of the golden ratio. This ratio at least to me is kind of a guide to understand where placements go, how darks and lights should have some balance.
Both the photographer and product designer has the very same general understanding which creates a foundation and applying Proportions, ratios, compositions of element is how a photo is shot, and how a product is produced. Because... funny... at the end of the day... the photo has to look good, and the product has to look good too!
The last Huawei mobile project I was in was at 2019 I think. And from that time frame to now I am sure It has changed dramatically so when it comes to features I cannot be sure I will look it up for you.
This seems like it explains all modes in detail.
As for how many manual settings are there in the phone? There are ZERO. :)
Any part in the camera structure and layout design for a phone camera there cannot be moving parts... and all the processing is done via Leica's own OEM software that comes with the phone.
There is one thing for certain is that The real biggest difference I saw when I was using Huawei Leica Phones were that the Black and White photos were absolutely amazing.. the deep blacks and the brightest whites were truly unbelievable. They did not just get a color photo and the software desaturate it... NO. It had its own black and white specific lens which helped make true black white photos. :)
I hope this can explain to you and help you understand how two companies created something pretty amazing... which if you ever happen to find a store try out thier camera... I guarantee you wont be disappointed.
Huawei designer takes photos with Huawei - this is normal :-))
I agree with you, photographers and designers are guided by the general techniques of photography. But when the photographer looks at the subject, he can focus on some detail of it with his thoughts in his head. He will develop them during post-processing.
The designer has a task to show the object itself in the most advantageous variant. There are also laws of marketing and advertising. He will choose a different background, a different angle, a different composition. Maybe I'm wrong or I'm expressing my thoughts incomprehensibly. They just came to my mind when I was looking at your photos)
Thanks for the link. It was interesting to learn about the capabilities of huawei p9. There really is a Pro mode with manual settings and even a RAW format. It is very cool.
I use a Galaxy M31. It has 4 lenses, but I prefer to use a regular digital camera and manual optics for photography :)
I didn't mean the moving parts of the phone :-)) I was referring to the mode of setting/adjusting shooting parameters. In the cells, it is marked "M".
It is interesting. The lens is focused on black and white photography...how does it differ from conventional lenses? I haven't heard of such lenses. Can you give examples?
I thank you for such an exhaustive answer, I appreciate it.
Have a good time of the day 🖐 😊
Cheers and !BEER
By reading your comment you will be a perfect product designer if you want to and I like the way how we are adding in to how designers and photographers see the world. In its essence we understand how to see and catch detail in scenes and objects. The laws of marketing and advertising... very cool you actually know this... not many realize the importance or even care to think about it. I have tried to combine the two of design and marketing into a new department. Maybe I will elaborate on this subject on a blog post one day~~ placed on check list! :)
As for the optical technology since phones improve so drastically model by model, month by month... I have a feeling that the tech I explained for 2015 is now obsolete compared to the Galaxy M31 due to the fact the M31 was launched on early 2020. Its probably way superior than a phone cam from 2015. :) I do wonder if the black and white photography is still superior in Huawei devices... I have not used the most recent device... although I am eager to just buy one.... hehehe. I will post a photo I took that used the black and white feature from Leica on the Huawei P9 to be exact.
The two images you see here has not been altered. Its an image taken directly from the normal mode and then black n white photography feature. Take a Look and let me know what you think. Completely honest photos pure and raw as it gets. :)
Thanks! Great conversation I really enjoy~ Hope this helps.
I am not engaged in design or marketing, I have nothing to sell :-))
But I like your words. Thanks.
If someone is engaged in product design, then first of all it should be aimed at marketing. At least this is important for the company)
As for the optical technology... I have nothing to compare it with. Yes, technology is developing rapidly. To be honest, I practically don't shoot with my Galaxy M31. It's just that I haven't been outside without a camera for a long time...even to the store, not to mention nature. But I know that there are 4 cameras installed on it at once. This increases the shooting capabilities, but I have not seen shooting in RAW mode in the settings. I don't like how the software handles snapshots. I'm used to doing it manually.
This is a very good quality for a smartphone camera. I like the softness of the shades of gray and the pleasant contrast. It even looks a bit like a film photograph.
Yes, I agree, we had a very good conversation and I learned a lot of new and useful things for myself.
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I knew you are really into technology judging from your previous posts, Huawei is not a bad product. I have a friend who uses it and the camera is awesome, the only issue he has with it is the battery due to our poor electricity stance in Nigeria.
Germany are known for doing things to perfection and I wouldn't doubt the fact that they can give Huawei what they really need. Great post.
Yes I love technology.... however, these days I am also trying to un-bind technology as well... there is a white and black side of technology depending on how we use it. But knowing now the fact that tech is pretty much integrated to our lifestyle makes it even interesting. :)
Huawei phones has some really good components for photography however its also sad to realize that politically its in situation where its limiting growth. I understand both sides of the coin though. Thanks for the feedback!~