First Words — 08 July 2016
Andy Royston’s beauties from the beach

By Mark Gauert

City & Shore Magazine

No one said anything about the spinach between my teeth at the party. No one until I saw the photos, a few days after the party.

“Is that spinach between my teeth?” I ask the photographer.

“Yes,” she says.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I say.

“You can Photoshop it,” she says.

And that’s the difference, I thought, between the way we once used photos and the way we use them today.

Before the digital revolution, if somebody took a photo of you with spinach between your teeth, that’s pretty much the photo you had the rest of your life.

But today, most everyone has a phone camera handy. Most everyone uses it to photograph themselves, their friends, their cats, their cats’ friends, etc. If there’s spinach between your teeth today, you can safely remove it before the photo goes up on Facebook or Twitter or

As a last line of defense, you can even put the photo through a retouching app to remove the spinach between your teeth. Or the 20 pounds you’d been meaning to lose before the party. Or to transfer the spinach to another member of the party who photographed you with spinach between your teeth without telling you.

“Wait,” the photographer asks, “Is that spinach between my teeth?”

“You know it,’’ I say.

Take a look at the cover and the story on pages 29-34, photographed by Andreas Franke, from an exhibition displayed under water off Key West. Clearly, there is so much more we can do today with photographs.

Such photographic possibilities brought me to Andy Royston’s iPhoneography Workshop, one Saturday morning at North Beach Village Design gallery on Fort Lauderdale Beach. I thought it might be nice this summer issue, before we take our phone cameras away on summer trips, to learn how to get the best, least-spinach-affected shots.

Royston takes amazing photographs on his iPhone. You can see more than a dozen of his prints at North Beach Village Design through early August. You can also see his freshest work daily on Twitter @FtLauderdaleSun – along with 28,000 other followers.

Each morning, Royston walks the beach and shoots photos with his iPhone, just as the sun’s coming up. No fancy equipment, no expensive lenses.

The secret to taking amazing photographs with the phone camera most of us now have, he says, is practice. (And apps – among his favorites are Snapseed, Laminar, Image Blender and TouchRetouch – that emphasize some features, minimize any wayward leafy vegetable).

“If there’s anything about my beach photography,” he says, “it’s me learning how to take pictures. I make it a point to go to the beach every day, to see if I can get what I call ‘the good picture’ every day.

“Sometimes,” he says, “I fail.”

And sometimes, they wind up on art gallery walls.

What can we do to increase the chance we won’t fail to shoot something that will generate some Likes, RTs and impress our friends at the next party?

Take a moment, he says, before you shoot. Tap the screen to focus. Tilt to expose. Ditch the flash in favor of whatever light’s available. Wipe the lens regularly. (D’oh!).

And, “If there’s a key to taking good pictures, you have to move,” he says. “With an old-fashioned camera, you can zoom in and reach in to get the photograph. With [an iPhone] the closer you get in, the better.”

And that may be the best advice, before a summer vacation. To get moving. To get closer to something we’ve never seen before.

Something beautiful.

And if not, there’s an app for that.


Editor’s note: Andy Royston has announced new dates for his convivial and excellent Saturday morning  iPhoneography classes, all at the North Beach Village Design Gallery on Fort Lauderdale Beach. They are:

iPhoneography & Nature Workshop

July 30, 10-11:30 a.m.

North Beach Village Design (600 Breakers, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304)

iPhoneography & Vacationing Workshop

Aug. 6, 10-11:30 a.m.

North Beach Village Design (600 Breakers, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304)

iPhoneography & Food Workshop

Aug. 13, 10-11:30 a.m.

North Beach Village Design (600 Breakers, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304)

All the workshops include light refreshments.


  • $12 per class or $40 for the series
  • At the end of the series, a photo from each participant will be submitted to North Beach Village Design Gallery team for review – they will select the top 12-24 photos for a new exhibit that will display in the gallery
  • Register :

 Contact Information: For additional information on this workshop please contact Village Design, 954-630-5793.


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