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Student sheds light on mobile photography with handy external flash

Up and coming product designer Chris Whellams (21) has created an external flash for smart mobile phones.

Middlesex University product design student Chris Whellams, wanted smartphone owners to be able to take professional photographs on their phone, so he designed ‘Snap’ as his final year project and unveiled it at the Middlesex University art and design show on 7 June 2013.

Designed to give users more control over lighting when shooting photographs, Snap can be magnetically attached to the back of a smart phone for everyday use, or held overhead, attached to a tripod or even stuck to a wall for more ambitious and creative photos.

The smart phone accessory consists of two small parts with its mobility being a key feature. Snap features a circular flash known as a ‘ring flash’ which gives more even illumination of a subject and softens shadows.  It can also be used to provide special lighting effects such as back or side lighting when attached to a tripod or can be attached to a nearby metal surface without the need of a tripod due to the magnetic connections on the back of the device. This allows users to take more creative photos with greater depth and shadow.

Middlesex University Chris Whellams said: “Mobile photography has become part of everyday life, capturing everyday things because of its accessibility and ease of use. Therefore I thought why not make a normal photo special with the use of external lighting to create further depth and character. ”

The low cost accessory is made up of LEDs, programmable printed circuit board, switches and a light sensor. Chris will be further developing the product during a postgraduate internship with Middlesex University's innovation centre redLoop and hopes to bring it to market in the future.

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