With a mother who is a painter and a father who is a programmer and systems specialist, it makes perfect sense that Thomas Lock should have found the middle ground between his parents to create the Fhotoroom app.
He first remembers coding when he was just six years old and now 37, living in Toronto, Thomas says he got into the Windows environment ‘by accident’ after he happened to download the SDK and experimenting with it in Visual Studio.
“I wanted to create a product that didn’t seem to exist. You have photo-sharing apps and image editors, and a lot of them are just features of one thing: the photography experience. I wanted to put them all together,” Thomas told Conversations.
“I wanted to give people a well-thought out experience from capturing an image, to editing and being able to share it right across the spectrum.”
Launched publically in 2011, Fhotoroom, as well as the mobile app, also consists of a website and desktop photo editing tool, and across its portfolio has over 3 million users. There have been 1.5 million downloads of the Windows Phone app alone.
The latest version of the app has just been optimised for Windows Phone 8.
“We rebuilt our camera from the ground up and that took us a while. We introduced the lock screen, the tiles and the updates on the tiles and the lenses integration,” said Thomas.
“We really wanted to bring out the features of Windows Phone 8 rather than just use a straight code conversion.”
The paradigm shift
The growth of camera phones has been a massive fillip, not just for Fhotoroom, but plenty of other websites and services too.
This is what Thomas has to say about the influence of camera phone photography:
“Photography has always been an extraordinarily populist hobby. There must be something in human nature that drives us towards the visual.”
“Look at this history of most Internet sites, such as Flickr or Facebook, a lot of their enormous growth came from image sharing. Today, it’s just a different paradigm with the mobile phone. Now rather than point and shoot, we have a smartphone.”
It’s not just the quantity of photos that are now taken with our phones that has made a difference but the quality too. This is an area where Nokia can take a lot of the credit, says the Fhotoroom creator.
“People like to take sunset photos and for most camera phones they can get washed out, but with the Nokia Lumia 920, you can capture magnificent sunsets and sun flares because it has a really good dynamic range. It’s amazing the photos you can take with the Lumia 920 – whether at night or during the day. “
As for Fhotoroom, Thomas says they’re just getting started:
“We want to keep pushing the technology, we want to do things better than anyone else and being more innovative. We’re leaving no stone unturned from when you capture to when you edit, to processing, to sharing it and we will even consider printing – that’s all for the future.”