FittedUK 2021, on an iPhone

Published September 16th, 2021

Words and Photography: Michal Fidowicz

“The best camera is the one you have with you”… or something along those lines. Well, unfortunately this weekend I found out the hard way that in most cases the best camera is the only one you’ve got left. On Sunday I attended FittedUK up in Manchester, where our X5 got broken into during our trip to Wagamamas for lunch. All my camera equipment got stolen. The thieves also stole our clothes, wash bags, house and car keys, my laptop and just about everything else we took up with us of value. I lost some sentimental things, like the first every Candy leather keyring, every photo I took at FittedUK as well as the last month worth of shoots. All in, I lost about £5000 worth of belongings. That’s one expensive Wagamamas, and a tough lesson on content back up. So, whilst the boys were on the phone to the police I realised I only had 15 minutes before FittedUK closed its doors to the public.



Champagne Benz, pure baller motor as soon as your entered the venue through the side entrance. 



After a short run to the venue I arrived and realised that actually, I’ve still got quite a lot to work with here. I love iPhone photography. I use my camera without putting any thought to it every single day. Over the last two years I’ve somehow accumulated 76,000 images on my camera roll. Mind you, half of that is junk like screenshots but the point still stands. 76 THOUSAND images. Even for an anorak that’s an impressive amount. If anything, it’s a testament to my phones practicality and above all, its convenience.



Static tuck on a modern car, things I like to see. Seen this look on a few hatchbacks and it’s super refreshing to see it on a saloon. Works just as well too. If you didn’t know better, you’d assume this was on air!



The E30 chassis wears these Works so well. Perfect tyre and size combination right here. 



Probably my favourite wheels of the show. I’ve not seen these before, but the centre caps are definitely the statement piece. Fitment is spot on and the splitters and spoilers round up the build nicely. 



My phone of choice is an iPhone 12 Pro Max due to it’s compatibility with social media. Most social media apps which utilise the camera are in Apple’s back pocket, hence why all you lovely lot with Samsungs look like your stories are shot on CCTV. However, these days if you simply want to take good photos it really doesn’t matter what phone you have with you as long as it’s not a Nokia Brick. After I ran back to the venue I quickly realised that no matter how posh your phone is it’s really not going to make up for a stolen Sony A7iii. I don’t want to make more excuses but as I was also short on time, my way around the venue was a little sporadic compared my usual, calculated way round my trusty camera. But fuck it, we crack on.



вы бы взглянули на это, Лада!



This e39 has really levelled up for me. A much cleaner aesthetic through-out following the curtain and sticker delete. I’m a fan of the aggressive lip set up too which I’ve not previously seen on these RTs.  Well done Grady!



The good thing about taking photos on your phone is that they do all the hard work for you. They’re always set on “Auto” mode, meaning they calculate everything you normally have to operate yourself on a camera. The ISO, shutter speed, aperture… it’s all already set up for you. Where you have to do the hard work is in the framing, optimisation and editing. This, in my opinion is what most people fail on. The way people fail on optimisation is by using 6 different apps to open up their camera. Yes, swiping left on your Insta home page brings up the camera, however this camera is compressed by the apps capabilities and is set up to see the subject in a 9:16 aspect ratio. This is why when you take a photo on Instagram and save it onto your camera roll, it’s no where near as sharp as if you took it on your actual Camera app. If you care about the quality of your image, I recommend taking the image via the Camera rather than a social media app. There are third party apps that allow you to fully control your phone’s camera settings, however I’ve personally never benefitted from using these.



A big body Lexus is calling out for me sometime in the future…



These two were gorgeous together, I did a full set of them on my Sony… maybe next time!



There are places where your phone camera will naturally struggle. The most obvious one is at night, or any low light scenario. The human eye adapts to low light pretty instantly, so most of the time you might not even realise you’re in a low light environment. In-fact, some proper DSLRs will also struggle in low light which is why you often see people using tri-pods at indoor shows. Keeping the camera steady allows you to use a slower shutter speed, increasing the amount of light your lens is taking in, in turn increasing the quality of your photo. I wouldn’t recommend getting a tri-pod for your phone as it goes against the whole fast pace, convenience thing, but it’s worth keeping in mind that a photo in a naturally well lit environment will look a lot better than any indoor image.



Would this be classed as a late bug? I rate it! Big fan of the chrome and blue combo. 



I love champagne coloured cars!



The framing issue is one that will simply get better with practice. If you feel like your photos look shit, start with simply ensuring your subject is centred in your photo. Phone photos work best when they are clear and easy to figure out. Everyone always jumps on the rule of thirds as a photographer’s starter pack item but realistically, if you’re struggling with making your image clear then telling you to focus on the surroundings isn’t going to make your life easier. Take a step back, literally, and make sure the car is in the middle of the photo. If you want to take a photo of a detail, ask yourself if the detail is in the centre of your image? Also, don’t twist your camera to the side. Let wonky photos die a peaceful death in car magazines of the early 2000s for now. You can worry about alignment once you figure out how to make the subject clear. Once you’re comfortable with making the subject clear, then you can think about the rule of thirds. When it comes to cars, pan your camera up a little bit. More sky, more building, more venue. It gives the photo a slightly better perspective and sense of space. Just don’t crop out the whole floor!



How’s that for a unique show car?



This static MK1 is one of my favourites from the show. It’s been around for a while now… I wish I aged as well as it has. 



So, let’s say you’ve taken your photos – what now? Well, with a proper set of professional photos they all get dumped straight into Lightroom and edited up. A phone is no exception. Lightroom is a relatively sophisticated editing tool however, and comes with a Mobile version for those people who want to get really touchy with their edits. I used lightroom for these photos however kept my amendments to a minimum. My editing style as a whole edges towards realism and a more journalistic look, rather than most of the trendy stuff today such as hazy highlights and brown shades. Sure, these edits look epic at times but when you boil the image down, and realise it’s a photo of a VW Polo at a show field, editing it to look like a scene out of Batman doesn’t really do the subject or the topic justice. The best bit is though, that editing as a whole is subjective. So, go crazy if you must. Can even deep fry your photo if you’re into that sort of stuff… I’ll only judge you a little bit!



One part show car, two parts race car. 



New shoes on the E31. Timeless combo!



Nice to see some cool cars rocking our plate frames. Thank you guys!



At this point I’ve covered some basics. How to frame your phone photo and prioritise clarity. How I edit my images, and keep in mind context. How to optimise your image, so it’s as sharp as possible. There are some extra tips I’d like to share with you though. The first one, is always give your camera a wipe down with a T-shirt. Your phone mostly lives in your pocket, and then in the palm of your hand. It gets handled about and grabbed on all corners, so chances are you’ve smudged your lens before you swipe the camera on. Make it second nature and you’ll never get caught out with a smudged lens if you quickly need to get your phone out to pap a cool car driving past. Second tip, download VSCO. It’s an editing app that is super user friendly, has a huge community of creatives behind it and is constantly improving in the creators favour. Most girls (if any) reading this definitely use VSCO because women are trendy and know what’s good. That’s why girls photos always look better than our ones, guys. Last tip, learn what an aspect ratio is and frame your photos to suit it. Stories are tall and narrow, 9:16. Instagram posts are 4:5, a rectangle. A square is a 1:1. If I’m out and about documenting my for my instagram story, I frame every photo knowing I’m chopping the sides off in the edit as it’ll be going on my story.



Another one of my favourites. I have mixed feelings about ripping out the S54… but, it’s so purpose built I can’t be upset about it. Wish I could hear what it sounds like!



It’s a shame I lost all the photos of the event. You see, phones are incredible and convenient but they simply just aren’t all there yet in terms of capturing crazy details of your surroundings. Also, you’re stuck with the lens the phone comes with. My lens of choice for my Sony is a G Master 24-70mm which gives me a lot of range. The photos I took of the event with it captured the beauty of the new FittedUK venue. A smaller one than before, sure, but filled to the brim with character. The main hall was gorgeous, and featured a tall, radiused roofline with a clock in the widows. Most importantly the photos featured people, which my phone photos do not as everyone had left by the time I was taking them. I’ve really been enjoying using the new lens to capture people and movement around the cars, and look forward to the next event to give it another go.



And the third stand out car, Amar’s 6n. Again, a car that’s aged far better than I have. We had the pleasure of bumping into it on the way home. Safe to say it’s as fast as it looks…



Absolutely gorgeous 996 4S, fuelling my desire to own one of these further. 



I’ve wanted to do iPhone coverage of the event for a while. I thought it’d make for an interesting piece on here, and would let me share some of my thoughts with you. I figured I’d do it one time I forget an SD card, or my camera maybe. I knew that one day all my gear would get stolen though; it’s happened to a lot of people I’m friends with or have been following for years, but it’s still a weird feeling being the victim. Luckily, 80% of my stuff was insured so I’ll be back up on my feet in no time. I’d like to write a massive thank you to all of you guys though, my phone was FLOODED with messages, tags, shares, orders, and everything you can imagine. How can I be upset about the things that I lost when in the end I’ve got 22,000 people gassing me back up. If anything, this is just another nice reminder that I am the luckiest guy in the world to be in a position where I have such an amazing audience and incredible group of friends around me. Life is good guys. See you in the next one!


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