Meet Luis Perez – the master iPhone photographer who is legally blind
Luis Perez is legally blind but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming an accomplished photographer thanks to the accessibility features on the iPhone.
In fact, Perez is an Apple Distinguished Educator and an Inclusive Learning Consultant who shows how technology can be used to empower people with disabilities.
He recently completed a series of workshops at Apple Stores around Australia
Perez has Retinitis Pigmentosa (also know as tunnel vision) with less than 10 degrees of vision and is legally blind.
“People come across me with the white cane and they notice me trying to take a photo and they don’t know what to do with that,” Perez told Tech Guide.
“And that’s really what I’m going for, I’m going for that idea and that look – just because I’m visually impaired doesn’t mean I can’t be a photographer.
“Sometimes they kind of stare and then sometimes they come over and ask me questions – ‘what are you doing’ , ‘how are you doing it’. It’s most satisfying when they ask how am I doing it.”
Apple’s operating systems iOS 7 and OS X Maverick have built-in accessibility features to help users with a disabilities including hearing, vision and physical and motor skills.
For Perez, the features he relies on are VoiceOver, Zoom and Invert Colours to allow him to take his exceptional photographs.
“I use VoiceOver – it can tell me the number of faces, their size and the distance and so on,” he says.
“So even if I was completely blind I could still take a really nice photo.
“I use that to listen to some of the controls on some of the apps that I use.”
Perez says Zoom is another of his favourite features.
“Zoom allows you to magnify what’s on the screen – that’s probably the one I use the most.
“I still have some central vision and that magnifies the screen so I can see it more clearly.”
Another useful iOS 7 feature for Perez is Invert Colours.
“It gives you a high contrast mode because I have a problem with my disability with light and that makes it a lot easier for me to see the contrast in the scene,” Perez says.
“But then I also take a lot of photos. That’s the beauty of digital – you can take a lot of photos and find one that’s good and then share them with everybody.”
Luis Perez’s photography skills can be seen here on Instagram.
Perez is also the author of an ebook called A Touch of Light about adaptive photography that provides the context for learning the accessibility features on iOS devices.
You can find out more about Luis Perez and his work at his website www.luisperezonline.com.
The other accessibility features on iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks include closed captioning and using sign language in FaceTime video calls for users who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Customers with physical and motor skills disabilities can also use gesture controls on the iPhone, iPad and on their Mac computers.
On the iPhone and iPad users can find the accessibility in the iOS 7 settings – General > Accessibility.
On the Mac the accessibility features can be accessed in the OS X Mavericks System Preferences.