In the Den with.... Jet Black Squares.

This month, Jet from Jet Black Squares joins me in the den to talk all things smartphone photography and shares her three top tips to taking awesome photos with your smartphone!

Tell me a little bit about you…..

Hi, I'm Jet, the Creative Director of JetBlack Squares.  I’ve been called Jet ever since I can remember, and only get called ‘Jeanette’ when I’m in trouble - even now at the age of 47!!!  I have had a few different career paths in my time - but my role now combines my previous teaching experience with my corporate photography business, and I now run Smartphone Photography masterclasses for corporate and personal clients.  

As well as my family (I have been told I have to say that), the absolute love of my life is my Vespa Scooter called Basil.  I can’t wait to get out and about on him again once Lockdown is over!!!

Why did you start Jet Black Squares?

Jet Black Squares has evolved from my old corporate photography business, Jeanette Lendon Photography.  It became increasingly obvious that I was no longer a traditional photographer, and solely ran smartphone photography workshops, and my old branding just didn’t sit right. Jet Black Squares was born after analysing that there is a great, untapped market out there for people wanting to know how to use the cameras on their phones better - little did I know just how important it would be as soon as the pandemic hit and the lockdown took hold.  

Now, everyone from Vogue to Lady GaGa are using their smartphones to produce high-quality content instead of using traditional methods - and I love it!!!  

Tell us about your SmartPhone Safaris…

Smartphone Safari’s are a way to learn how to take better photos on your smartphone, while exploring London, St Albans and further afield.  Before lockdown happened, I was running about 3 group safari’s a week in various locations in London and St Albans, as well as corporate sessions showing businesses how to take better images for their social media, PR, websites, etc.  Unfortunately, Covid has put a temporary hold on any safari’s for now, but I will be back as soon as we are out of Lockdown.  

The most popular locations are The Southbank, London Bridge (including Borough Market), Brick Lane, Kings Cross and Hampstead, and I am planning more locations for the future.  

Hen/stag party safaris are great fun too (for during the day) and it helps clear the hangover before the evening’s activities can restart.  I also run family sessions, 1:1 and various specialist sessions too, e.g. architecture, nighttime, fashion, etc.  

Every session includes practical photography on your phone, as well as how to edit your images afterwards too, and there is even a mini-history lesson thrown in too about the area we are in.  

How else can we work with you?

As mentioned above, my main business is working with corporate clients, showing businesses how to take and edit their own photos on their phones.  

I’ve worked with many different businesses, including Penguin Books, Investec, The Coppa Club, Hertfordshire County Council, private members clubs, architects, hairdressers, schools, online and physical shops, charities, etc. Basically, anyone who uses their phone to take photos!

Which Smartphone Safari location is your favourite and why?

I think my favourite location is Brick Lane.  I love all the amazing art that is on the walls (it’s way too good to just be called graffiti), the mix of cultures, the history of the area, and there is always something different to see.  Closely followed is The Southbank and London Bridge.  

What are your three top tips for getting a great image on your smartphone?

  1. Clean your lens!!!  It sounds so simple, but your phone either lives in your pocket or bag, and if it is anything like mine, will probably be covered in chocolate, crisps or general muck.  

  2. Turn your grid lines on (Google how to do this for your specific phone).  This will not only ensure you get straight lines, but it also means you can take into account the Rule of Thirds, where you keep your make subject OUT of the middle square.  

  3. Look for the light.  Don’t shoot into direct sunlight, and look out for shadows (especially your own!).  Try and avoid harsh sunlight as much as possible, and turn your flash off.

What's coming up for Jet Black Squares?

I am about to launch a podcast series called The Disruptive Niche, where I have a different industry disrupter or someone who has really niched in their sector every week and we talk about what made them think outside the box.  It’s a lighthearted chat - usually over wine - where we find out what made them take the plunge to go against the grain.  I’m really looking forward to it - people say I have a ‘Face for Radio’ so this is perfect!!!  

Finally, as you’re in The Social Den, we have to know; what is your favourite part of the TV series, Friends?

Ooh, that’s a tough one.  They are all so good, but I think the best one has to be the Thanksgiving one where Monica put the turkey on her head.  I still giggle at that.  When she dances with the hat and sunglasses on, and then Chandler drops the ‘L’ bomb, and they are trying to have a serious conversation while still waring the turkey.  Classic.  

To find out more about Jet Black Squares check out her new website - I highly recommend her, I have been on a couple of her smartphone safaris and not only learned so much, I also had a fabulous time!

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