Phonetography 411: An interview with @torysavannah

This week's Phonetography 411 segment comes to from a truly beautiful soul out of the pacific northwest that I feel privileged to call my friend, Miss Tory Savannah. She's all things adventure and wilderness and gorgeousness. She also has an awesome clothing shop, Wish You Were Northwest, that she runs with her sister... everything is top of the line quality and super comfy. You can find her photos and adventures over at @torysavannah on instagram and you can shop her rad clothing shop HERE.

You can view previous Phonetography 411 posts, HERE. Hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

Tell us a bit about your rad self:

My name is Tory, I'm a pacific northwest native, and I love dogs, music, fashion and the area I grew up in. I spend way too much time daydreaming and I get really excited about little things like sleeping, driving, and m&m cookies.

When it comes to photography, I'm not a pro, but I use it as a way of expressing myself, as I think everyone should! I used to do pet photography and had a wedding videography business for a while with my sister Tahnee, but for now I get the most enjoyment out of it when it's a hobby. My favorite kind of photos are ones that make me feel like I'm there, or that cause me to imagine a whole story taking place. I love when photos are open for interpretation. I love a bit of drama. I'm also just really inspired by every day life and the little things!  

What kind of phone do you have?


Do you use any phone props/gadgets/additional lenses when taking your photos? 

I found this cool little octopus style tripod on Amazon that I occasionally use, but that's about it.

Do you use the native camera on your phone or an extra app for your photo taking (such as Camera+ or the VSCO app camera)? 

I use the native camera only. 

What percentage of your Instagram feed are photos taken with your phone? 

Probably 95%. I think phone photography is an art in itself. It's different than "real" camera photography but just as cool, in my opinion.

Walk me through your process of capturing the perfect photo with your phone.

I'm pretty driven by my gut instinct, and I tend to focus less on the technical side of shooting and more on the feeling or mood that inspired me to take the photo in the first place. I know what I like when I see it. Sometimes that means I'll get what I want in the first try and sometimes that means putting effort into the best way of shooting in order to convey whatever it is I'm trying to convey. 

Editing is another way you get to control the emotion you want to express. I mean, you can give the same photo to 10 different people and it will come back in 10 different ways. So when it comes to the capturing part, usually I'm already thinking about how I will edit it. It also depends on what I'm shooting. Nature is very "in the moment" for me, but if I'm photographing people, I put more time into it. Shooting for my clothing shop for instance requires planning. Location, styling, time of day, colors etc. all have to be thought out ahead of time. 

Tell me a bit about lighting and how you use and manipulate it when capturing your images. 

Lighting is... awesome...? Haha I don't really know. This question makes me realize I should probably educate myself a bit more because I don't know much about it. I'm impatient when it comes to learning and reading instructions doesn't come naturally to me...heh...

What are some of your favorite editing apps? 

VSCOCAM, Afterlight, and Picsart for the occasional touch up. 

It's probably different depending on the photo, but walk me through your typical editing flow of an image.

I admire people who have a cohesive aesthetic to their gallery, but I can't get myself to stick to one thing! I use all different filters. Lately I start with Vscocam, choose a preset, then I run the image through Afterlight which is where I mess with it a bit (lighting, sharpening, fading etc). Some photos call for a natural look with minimal touch ups and others can withstand my wilder imagination... 

Any photography pet peeves that you have?

When my iPhone dies. Lol.

What do you like most about Instagram? 

I love the encouraging tone of the whole community. It seems to attract people who want to build each other up and I've been blessed by many online and in-person friendships I've made through it. Instagram to me is about documenting your own journey.  I love how it doesn't have to be a competition and it doesn't matter if your photos are technically the "best". Technique is just there to enhance the soul of your work, it doesn't have to take precedence, and it's not what makes a photo worthwhile. I love following people based on their own unique view of the world. I want to see what they see through their perspective and I find inspiration in so many different people's styles. So, that's what I love most about Instagram; it truly allows you to be yourself while making genuine connections with other people.

Any additional phone photography tips or tricks that you'd like to share?

 1. Something I learned from a photography book years ago that made the biggest different in how I take photos was that the background of your shot is as equally important as the main focus. Whatever is in the back round will either distract or support the subject, so always pay attention to that.
2. There are endless creative ways to show others something they may see every day, but in a new way. Angles can change the vibe of a photo entirely, for instance. Try taking the same picture from different perspectives and think about how each one makes you feel and what it causes your eye to focus on.  
3. Sometimes what you are trying to capture isn't what other people see, so in learning how to be effective, it can be useful to get opinions first. 

With that said, my biggest advice is to not care a lot about what others think. Post what you wanna post. The goal is not to please everyone, and that's impossible anyway. Don't compare. To quote my favorite artist Sting, "Be yourself, no matter what they say." <3

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