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Storytelling with Mobile Photography

Lesson 11 of 21

Capture a Portrait at an Intimate Event

Ed Kashi

Storytelling with Mobile Photography

Ed Kashi

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Lesson Info

11. Capture a Portrait at an Intimate Event

Lesson Info

Capture a Portrait at an Intimate Event

What is a portrait? How does it differ from other images you capture? Well for me, for one thing, again, as I said it earlier, you have the freedom to direct. You have the freedom to ask someone to move, to change the positioning of their body, their heads, put them in the light that you want to put them in, put them in the background that you want, arrange them how you want, okay? It's the one area of this kind of photography that you truly can be like a director. You know? And then, the other thing is making a connection with the people, so that you are able to try to capture their essence, their character, right. Let me share some, so here are some portraits from Alfie's birthday party. So this is Alfie. And this is when I got her to play a little bit. I hate seeing kids who are sad. And then this is the family portrait. They liked this, so that was cool, if that's how you want to remember it, that's alright. But it's also nice when you photograph people who are playful and who aren...

't uptight, but you can't count on that all the time. So some portraits that I've made in these situations. This is a dear friend's, Brian and Elody, and this is their daughter, I'm actually her godfather. I need lessons on how to be a good godfather. But it's hard, I'm gone so much. So Eva, she's so beautiful and this was just a moment where we had all gathered, it was like a friends gathering, and so this is just this lovely moment in the light. We were at a nursing home, this was in Colorado, and we were at an event and again, this is an example where it's a portrait, but it was okay. I didn't want her, in this case, looking into the camera. Also in terms of the aesthetics of this, this was early on in my mobile photography career, when I was using, what's it called? Hipstamatic. I have nothing against Hipstamatic, but I don't use it anymore. But where it was like, "Oh my God, gee whiz, "we can have all these looks to our pictures!" Now, I'm more about shooting it straight, and then doing somewhat basic post production, but then it was sort of like, "Wow, this is so cool." This was in Nigeria, I was in the Amir's Palace, and I was waiting for this event to start, which of course, I had been invited to; otherwise, there's no way I would have been in this place. And these are some of the guards, and I was, "Oh my god, I want friends who look like that. "No or dress like that." It was just this beautiful, and again, working with composition, in this case, this is more of a formal composition, where I'm working with right angles. This is, in some ways an example of what I call, "A frame within a frame." Not exactly, but kind of using the frame that exists of the doorway. So, capturing a portrait at Alfie's birthday party. Let's see what happened here. (laughing) <v Woman's Voice>Do you want to do a dragon pose? Can you do a dragon pose? Wait, one thing one thing. Excuse me, thank you. Okay, good! Alright, eyes right in the camera. Wait, okay thank you, there we go. Nice, nice! So Alfie, chin up. Chin up a little bit. Yeah, hold just like that, that is great! That is great hold just like that. Oh, I love that, I love that pose look at you. No, put your hands back the way you had them. No? Okay. This man's gonna do what he wants. (Woman Chattering) I like this guy, he's got a mind of his own. Oh yeah. Nice, nice. Thanks man. Happy birthday. Alright, everybody look at the camera. That's it! Nice, nice! Big smiles! Cool, one more, one more. Okay, really serious, really serious. That's it! Okay, now crazy, be crazy, be crazy! Thank you. (laughs) Happy birthday! (laughter) Totally creepy, no, sorry. So that was what's few things you see how I'm directing them and it was interesting when Alfie, you know, he had to have this great pose and then he... and when I told him to do it again he didn't do it, I wasn't gonna parry with him like that. You know you're making this snap moment, this decision, this is not a good time to get him on my bad side. (laughs) Now I find this little technique of you know, "Let's be really serious and then be goofy", that is not something, again, that I do if I'm photographing Bill Gates right, or if I'm photographing you know some important or if I'm photographing in a serious manner as a journalist but I do find that in these kinds of settings, it's a lovely way to disarm people because you know sometimes what happens is, when your portrait is being taken, you start to put a mask on, and it could be a very contorted mask 'cause especially if the photographer is taking a little bit of time so that you're, all these emotions are going through your head and I smile and I'm like serious and sometimes it's just good to have almost like just say "Okay clean it off, lets do a clean slate, "just be totally silly or be really serious." And then, something can emerge out of that that is genuine and relaxed. In this case we were just going for silly and serious. Yes. A couple of questions and grab a mic if you have one here, so for these intimate events, do you find it easier or harder to photograph those because they are people that you know? I mean it's easier on the one hand because I'm not I don't have to battle for access and that's something that in the work I do so often I'm battling for access into people's lives to photograph things that, again, as I said at the top, why would anybody ever let us photograph these things? So in that case that element is removed. I think what can be, again, as someone who approaches things in a very serious manner, sometimes it's difficult to capture joy. And it's something I've actually gotten better at than 10, 15 years ago, it was much harder for me to do something like this because I was more cynical I was more like, "There's no edge to this." Now I'm like, "Screw that." it's like, thank god we have moments of joy and happiness right? That I think I've become more open to the idea of the full gamut of human emotion as opposed to, "I just have to focus "on this narrow band of misery." So in that sense now where I'm at in my life I welcome these opportunities where there's no friction, I'm welcome, so I can kind of do what I want, I can play, I can have fun, and then I can also make connections with people in a positive positive moment, situation. That's really beautiful. Another further question about that in being in an environment where it is people that you know, and maybe you're actually trying to celebrate along with them, what advice do you have for people to just put the camera down and be there and how do you know when to stop really? That's a great question. As a journalist it's always hard you're not supposed to do that. There have been some times where I've broken down and I have gotten involved or it was necessary to put my camera down and be involved in the situation. But you have to go with the flow that's a great question and well especially if you're... let's think about it so have you guys ever been to a wedding where, we actually did this when we got married a while ago, this was in the analog days when we put out baskets with the Boss cameras and we'd put out baskets with rolls of film 'cause of course a lot of photographers came to my wedding and it was like, "Go photograph, "but please leave it when you're done." and so I wonder if you were a guest and it's like, "It's a Sunday afternoon, I don't wanna work, "I just wanna be here at a wedding, I wanna chill out, "I don't wanna have to work." So to answer your question it's dictated by the mood that you're in and, again, we get back to that word intention and purpose. If your intention and purpose is to chill out that day at that event, then you probably shouldn't push the photography too hard. 'Cause you're probably not gonna be too happy, it's gonna be a chore, and it should not be a chore. It should be something that you, from your heart, you genuinely wanna do.

Class Description

Momentary, stunning lighting on a landscape. A toddler’s first stuttering attempts at standing. An interaction between strangers on the street strikes you as unexpectedly poignant. There is beauty and opportunity for storytelling all around us, but inspiration often comes with a ticking clock. There isn’t always time to set up a tripod and perfect the exposure on your SLR. Fortunately, we live in an age where the potential for professional-quality photos rides in our pockets wherever we go.

Join veteran photojournalist Ed Kashi for an in-depth workshop on the power of your mobile phone to create powerful visual stories. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to identify the aesthetic considerations of a location and be intentional with the type of image you want to capture
  • How to interact with people in various situations and capture the emotion you are looking for in a portrait 
  • How to quickly edit your photos within your mobile device and share with the world

Amateurs and professional photographers alike will benefit on this deep dive into mobile visual storytelling. You will learn how to capture striking images, alter them in post-production, and make the most of social media to spread the impact of your stories. Bring more meaning and intentionality to the way you record your everyday experience, and discover the powerful versatility of the lens in your phone.  

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Storytelling with Mobile Photography App List

Intimate Event - Aesthetic Considerations Video

Intimate Event - Human Interaction Video

Intimate Event - Capturing Portraits Video

Cultural Event - Human Interaction Video

Cultural Event - Capturing Portraits Video

Cultural Event - Aesthetic Considerations Video

Street Photography - Aesthetic Considerations Video

Street Photography - Human Interaction Video

Street Photography - Capturing Portraits Video

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

I was not interested in this class and just decided to tune in. This is one of the Best classes I have watched on Creative Live! I love his total "attitude" about how to treat people, what to do and not to do to engage in more courteous ways and polite ways. I found him inspiring and engaging, creative and providing lots of information in what I watched. (I did not watch the entire course.) I am certainly going to check out other classes he might produce in the future. I very much enjoyed what I did watch and found him a wonderful instructor! Lots of valuable tips as well. Thanks for allowing me to preview it today!

belinda leung

ed kasha did an amazing job taking us through his creative process. practical tips helped me immediately spot things to help improve my photos immediately. I downloaded and started using the apps he recommended right away. thanks creative live and ed kasha!

Lynn Hernandez

Very inspiring seeing Ed Kashi's excitement for the creative process. Seeing the final photo and then watching a video of what happened to make the photo was really helpful. Have a list a new apps to try for photo-editing and double-exposures. Loved the class.