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The Course Challenge: Capture Your Day in 5 Photos

Lesson 3 from: iPhone Photography & Mobile Photography

Philip Ebiner

The Course Challenge: Capture Your Day in 5 Photos

Lesson 3 from: iPhone Photography & Mobile Photography

Philip Ebiner

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Lesson Info

3. The Course Challenge: Capture Your Day in 5 Photos


Class Trailer

Course Introduction


Welcome to Class


Why Are Smartphone Cameras Awesome?


The Course Challenge: Capture Your Day in 5 Photos


Camera Basics for Mobile & Smartphone Photography


Intro to Camera Basics




Focal Length


Lesson Info

The Course Challenge: Capture Your Day in 5 Photos

Welcome to this lesson. My name is Phil Ebner and I'm one of the partners on this course, more behind the scenes than in front of camera. But I will be popping in now and again with lessons of my own. And in this lesson, I wanna welcome you to the challenge for the course. Our challenge is a relatively simple one, but we hope by the end of this class, you can see true improvement with your own smartphone photography by implementing what you learn in this class. The challenge is to take 3 to 5 photos during one day, during a little adventure, outing whatever you have, even if you're just sitting at home, get crew creative, take 3 to 5 photos, you can edit them and then share them with us. And now I have done this already. I went out on a little adventure with my sons. They're twin boys, 2.5 years old. We like going out on bike rides. I put them in the trailer. So this past weekend, I went out with them, I brought my phone with the mindset of. I wanna capture a few moments from this day.

So I'm gonna share them with you but make sure you take action in this course, I'll be sharing how you can actually post your photos and share them with us. In the following lesson. We went to the local university there and I find that universities often have some interesting architecture and nature plants, things like that, that make great photos. So got on the bike, walked around and one of the cool things that my sons like to do are is run up ramps. So if there's a ramp, my kids are gonna run up and down it. And so there was this ramp here that was, it was really big ramp. It was like super exciting for them. So what I was trying to do was photograph one of my sons with the leading lines of these hand rails leading your eye towards him. And so you can see this photo that I edited, made it black and white to give it a little bit of drama. It also makes the po the shadow um of him pop a little bit more, creates somewhat of a silhouette. And I think this uh I, I actually really love this photo. I've got the tree up in the top corner as well. Uh And the building on the left that kind of frames everything within this frame. Uh All these things we're gonna talk about in composition wise, lighting wise, of course, getting the sun behind allowed me to get more of the silhouette of my son. Um And in terms of editing, like I said, black and white, making it a little bit more dramatic. We walked around and there were some beautiful flower bushes and we saw some with uh some bees and even with my smartphone, I was able to get some good photos of the bee and the flower, some macro shots. Um But one of my favorite ones is just of this rose right here. I love the delicate way that the petals flow together. Uh It doesn't have a lot of contrast. So I edited it to kind of boost the contrast of the darks and the highlights again, if I'm going too fast, try not to worry, we're going to be covering all of these things in depth and future lessons, but basically making the darks darker, the brights brighter to make it pop a little bit more. And I added a warm filter just editing it right within my iphone uh using the iphone standard photo app. All of the features that I use to edit this photo are available on most smartphones. It's fall here in Southern California and we don't get a ton of color, but if you look around, you can find it. So my goal was trying to find some leaves on the ground to give it that fall vibe. And so here's one that I actually ended up picking because it's got that five sort of point maple leaf that you don't actually see the points in this photo. But you see the veins of this leaf con kind of converging in the middle of the frame. I edited it and cropped it so that the stem of the leaf was right in the middle. So the top half is just this blurred out background of the leaves and background. And then the foreground of course, is the leaf itself again giving it sort of a warm vibe playing with warmth, saturation and some filters to make that warm fall feeling uh come alive. But I love this photo as an example of how you can get a really blurry, nice background. That shallow depth of field is something we'll talk about in this course where it makes your photos look a little bit more professional uh or at least has that professional style to it. And you can get that on a smartphone, even if your smartphone doesn't have what's called portrait mode, which is sort of a newer feature in the past couple of years that allows you to get that shallow depth of field on some higher end smartphones. But even without that, there's ways to get a blurry background. And this is one of them, I just got really close up to that leaf really close to, to the ground. The background was pretty far away. I didn't add any blur or anything like that in, in editing. It just had that, that look because I was so close to the leaf and then the background was a little bit far away stairs. Another thing, my, my sons love practicing, walking up and down stairs. So there were a few staircases. There was one that I tried to get a good shot of, but it was kind of boring. It just had some shadows from the tree above. I got low to the ground. Kind of tried to change up my angle. But it even though it was like a symmetrical shot, it wasn't that good. But we walked around to the other side of the building and I noticed because the sunlight uh was casting shadows on this this new staircase, this other staircase in a different angle, the shadows looked pretty cool. So the original photo uh just kind of standard. But when I'm looking for creative shots like this, I'm often looking for shadows. I'm looking for things that can have contrast, especially if I pull that out in post. And so I, as I edited this photo, I cropped it, I strained in it so that the lines perfectly horizontal across the frame and then the shadow of the wall and the hand rail above it just looked really, really cool in my opinion. So this is more of like an abstract shot, but I thought it came out pretty cool for a photo that I shot with my phone. And then lastly, we walked around and there was this really cool building with these big glass windows. And so at first I was trying to figure out how I can get a nice reflection of the outside setting because that's what you can see. And I got a, a decent photo of these succulents and plants that I thought looked kind of cool, kind of mirrored. But then one of my sons ran up to the window and was looking at himself and was having a really good time and I thought it looked pretty cool. We had this uh this balcony at the top that created these leading lines that sort of draw the eyes attention down to my son's head. He's wearing his big helmet and he's just looking at himself in the reflection. I cropped it square so that this would be a good photo to post on social media on Instagram. And then I made it black and white. There was just something about this co this photo and color that didn't look as interesting to me. And one of my tricks is just to drop the saturation, see what it looks like in black and white. And oftentimes to me, it looks a little bit more artistic or creative when it's in black and white. I don't mean to say that this is something you should do to every single photo that you take. But for me, that's what happened with this photo, it just looked really nice in black and white. I added a little bit of a vignette and a filter to make the, the contrast a little bit more. And all in all this is a ST this is a photo that while the composition and the lighting is somewhat interesting, it's not perfect, but it's more about the story of this photo than anything else. I think out of all of the photos that I've shared with you, the other ones were interesting in terms of subject matter in terms of composition and lighting. But this one is the one that I'm gonna look back on and remember. Wow, that was the time that I was there with my sons. And they were having so much fun running around, looking at their reflections, running up the ramps trying to climb up steps. And that's really the story that I want to share with my photography. So I hope that this overview of my photo adventure helps inspire you to take your own photo adventures. I know it's just the beginning of this class. So go ahead and watch through the lessons in the next one, Sam and will are going to cover some photography basics and then they're going to come back and dive deeper into our three key elements of a great photo, lighting, composition and story. Thanks so much and I'll see you in another lesson as well. Bye.

Ratings and Reviews


Definitely geared to beginners, but the class has a lot of good information. As an advanced camera photographer still trying to get to know my phone camera better, I learned a few things I didn't know (like you can use portrait mode for selfies, what hyper lapse is and the VSCO app). Nice job!


Good course for everyone starting out and needed to have some more basic info beyond the common snap shot. I had wished for more info on using mobile in the more professional field like when switching from camera to mobile. Additional lenses and flashes and things like that. But this course was obviously not targeted at this. So overall still a nice brush up.


Great class. Well organized and clearly presented. Would be very good for beginners and mid level users. highly recommend.

Student Work