The changing face of photography in the age of filters and smartphones

Concepts like that of waitographer, connecting with the subject, the perfect headshot, counts more than ever


Purva Grover

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Published: Thu 28 Apr 2022, 8:43 PM

We are living in an era where we don’t exist unless we snap moments of our days and nights for stories, reels, timelines and beyond. No wonder, capturing every morsel we eat, every step we take and more is the ‘need-of-the-hour’. We’ve all turned into photographers, albeit good or bad; and the world of photography too is not what it was. We carry 12-mega-pixel + cameras in our smartphones, the filters on the multiple apps allow us to ‘edit’ the images in a jiffy, et al. We speak to a few experts on the subject and latest concepts in the field.

Real-time assistance as we aim to make a memory

Each time we eat a meal or are on a holiday, we do wish to capture it for socials. Now imagine someone stepping in to make these memories prettier and enhance our social media presence. Enter waitographers, an innovative photographic training scheme that is helping Hilton’s waiters to capture the guests’ special moments on smartphone cameras. Rewind to a few weeks back, the Hilton waiters and waitresses enrolled in a full-day workshop with photographer Roger Moukarzel that sharpened their photographic skills and gave them the confidence to interact with guests and take well-lit, beautifully-composed photographs. Globally recognised, Moukarzel has been working in the world of images since he was 15.

Be it through film, photography or art direction, he is best described as a veteran in storytelling through pictures and multimedia. His production house, Minime, is one of the most trusted and respected in the Middle East. So, what were the top few things that he kept in mind while training the staff? “First, how to keep the waitographers engaged and motivated throughout the course, especially by constantly interacting with each and every attendee. Secondly, we thought of different ways to make the attendees think like a photographer,” says Moukarzel. After completion of the programme, the staff (almost 200 Hilton waitographers have completed the workshop in the UAE) received a certificate and a badge so that hotel guests can easily spot the waitographers while in a Hilton hotel and ask for a hand when they want to have their picture taken.

Want to take a good pic: connect with your subject

Marta Lamovsek, a Dubai-based Slovenian photographer, says when she started photography she was doing it on film, i.e. pre-digital era. “I was 22 and had an epiphany one day sitting with a friend in a café, which had a beautiful photograph framed on the wall.” It triggered something, and she instinctively knew this was her path. Today, her larger-than-life photographs, adorn the lobby of Hyde Hotel Dubai, Business Bay, amongst other places. “During the creative process, I connect with my subjects on a deep level and I use the ornaments and embroidered fabrics to empower them,” says Marta. “By asking questions to my subjects, I pick up on the archetype that inspires me.”

“Pointing a smartphone at the subject and randomly tapping the camera button rarely results in an amazing photo. What Moukarzel has done so brilliantly is provide our team with a simple set of tips and tricks regarding light, composition, colour, and how to assemble the people in the photograph. Just a few guidelines from an expert like him have made a huge difference to the photographs taken by our team,” adds Emma Banks, vice president, F&B Strategy and Development, EMEA, Hilton.

In the age of mobile cameras and IG filters, what is the future of photography? Emma recalls how earlier this year, they thought it would be cool if their Hilton team could step in when asked to capture and take a fab photo using the guest’s smartphone. “Meeting friends and family for meals or get-togethers is something we all love to do and, naturally, we want to record these occasions with a fantastic photograph. But selfies can be rushed, awkward and blurry, and rarely capture the magic of the moment.” In March, for International Women’s Day, 25hours Hotel Dubai One Central offered women the chance to have a session with a professional photographer to take their headshots without a fee. The portraits were captured by the popular photographer to the stars, Hyku Desesto, making them ideal for online platforms and job applications.

“Headshots can play a vital role in making professional profiles stand out from the crowd,” he says. Desesto offered sessions, ranging from traditional portraits to something a little quirky, for those with a more creative approach. Hyku D Photography is a respected brand in the UAE, and the team gave each guest a 15-minute session in order to capture the perfect picture. “We thought this was important, and in a small way genuinely support women in business by freshening their portraits and elevating their profiles — something which isn’t always a priority when you are growing your business or striving for career goals,” says Josh Craddock, director of marketing and communications, 25hours Hotel Dubai One Central.

More news from