Storytelling with Mobile Photography


Storytelling with Mobile Photography


Lesson Info

Cultural Event Smart Phone Photo Critique

First, before we go to the images, that people have submitted from home, we have some images from the folks in our studio audience, that they have submitted. Alright, cool. Oh, see now I have to like, I have to tear them apart? Oh, my God. (speaking too far from mic) I'm playing. (laughing) So, well I'm not gonna like, oh, I don't know, who's Peggy, where's Peggy? Hey, how you doing, Peggy? (laughs) I like that, she's like. (audience laughing) So, okay, I assume this is an example, this is, you know these people? They gather every morning at the local airport for coffee or breakfast, about anywhere from 6:30 to eight a.m. And you know these guys, or? Yes, all of them, yes. So this is like an intimate event for you, you know, something where you know them and you, okay? Yes, it's a drop-in event every morning. Got it, so for me, the only thing would have been that if the gentleman on the front left had moved back, so you know, 'cause think of this as sort of an in between ...

moment, you have a couple of guys, who are looking at the camera and then, but then most of them are not, so it's sort of, it's not really a group portrait, but it's also not a candid moment, it's a kind of in between thing and this is really important, this idea of intention, you know, so what do I want in this moment, right? So I'm with a bunch of, I assume like friends or buddies, right? You wanna make a picture to sort of, you know, whatever, just to capture this memory, capture this moment, even if it's something that happens all the time, it doesn't matter, it's still special. So I would have probably asked the gentleman in the front to lean back, you know, and of course you've probably heard this, but the thing in group pictures, is always like if you can see the camera, then the camera can see you, you know, so that nobody's face is blocked and the other thing that would have done compositionally by having the gentleman in the baseball cap move to the left is then it would balance the frame much better, alright. So then, it's also that idea that everybody in that picture, unless you don't like the guy, who's being blocked, did you do that on purpose? It's not your husband is it? No. (laughs) (audience laughing) Anyway, so does that make sense? Yes. Okay, and the other thing is that, you know, if this is, like it'd be one thing if these were a group of strangers and you walked in on the scene and for whatever reason, you're like, "Oh, I wanna take a picture of these guys," maybe it might be a little awkward to start to like direct them, you know, unless you said, you know, "Oh, God, I'd love to make a picture of you guys, "but I wanna make sure we can see all of your faces, "you know, can you move?" You know and like some people, by the way, you might not believe this, but I was incredibly shy and insecure as a teenager and it was photography that brought me out of my shell, so we're all different, not all of us have the ability to walk up to a group of men or any group of people and start to direct them, but in this case you do know them, so then you make a picture, where everybody gets honored in the picture, so it's not only a better photograph aesthetically and compositionally, it's also more effective in capturing a memory. Thank you, any questions or? Okay. Okay. Burning Man, hey. (laughs) So, okay, this is a lovely image, its light's quite nice, you know, I really like the way the two people on the bottom right kind of anchor the frame, I guess, I wish in some way that they were looking into the frame, like if there's sort of a criticism or critique, but then I suspect if they were doing that, then there would not be light on their faces, so you know, it's a sort of give and take thing. You know, having the little pole, where it's coming out of the girl's head on the bottom right is problematic to me, you know, the way you'd get around that is you just get lower, you know, so these are the kinds of things, that as a photographer, you wanna start to see in real time, so that you make those adjustments, you know, I talk about like muscle memory almost like an athlete, you start to see those things and you start to almost just instinctually shift yourself, you know, while still maintaining the overall composition, which is quite nice, sort of open and you have this lovely, are those like, Those are silks. Silk, so you captured that at a great moment, 'cause I assume they were flapping, right? So you captured it at just the right moment, where it's created this sort of oval and there's this lovely, you know, I think this is late afternoon light or early morning light. Sunrise. Sunrise, so you catch the light coming off of it. So you know, this picture's really nice, to me, this is like a sense of place picture, you're not only capturing a moment, but you're giving a sense of this place. Yeah, any questions? Alright, cool, thank you. Alright, this is also Burning Man. (laughs) So you know, this is a nice picture, I feel, you know, when I think about composition, I'm very conscious of trying to create the right amount of spacing between the elements in my frame, so the guy, I think it's a guy, the person on the bike in the foreground is in, for me, just a little too close to the person on the bike right directly behind them. Okay. You know, and these are things you're not in control of, it's a dynamic situation, they're moving, but that's what I like, when I was doing the dance thing, you know, I'm going like this, I'm moving around and I'm going up and down, was that weird? (laughs) So I was riding on a bike at that point in time. Oh, you were riding on a bike? Yeah. (laughs) Well then, I'm really impressed. (laughing) So that meant you also had the shutter speed at the right, right? Yeah, ooh, I think it was-- Were you doing this with your phone or with-- It was on my phone and it was using the in camera on an Android. Oh, I'm super impressed, I thought these were 35 mill pictures, oh, great job! (laughing) No, really nice job. (laughing) You know, especially in a low light situation, I'm surprised there's not more blur, you know and the fact they you were also moving, like you guys weren't moving super fast, but this, you know what I like about this picture is there's a mood to it, Hm-mm. there's a real feel, a real sense of place and then you have sort of this freaky-ish, kind of, this strange character in the foreground. Hm-mm. Thank you. Okay, Michaela. Hey. So this in many ways, this picture's perfect, it's more of a, along the lines of a formal, you know, like, 'cause there's different styles and approaches in photography and one is to be very formal, which is not a bad thing, you know, it's where things are very right-angled and very strong graphically and so you know, this picture's really quite nice. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. See, to me, this is a more interesting photograph though, it might be a little sloppier, you know, not, you know, you've got a little bit of, not refracted light, Back light. back light flaring, that's the word. (laughs) But I like that, 'cause you know what it does? It sets a mood, there's a feeling there, the only thing is I wish that, and I like the way the woman on the right, her head is placed, again, we talk about spacing elements in the frame, the way her head is placed in between the two wood, vertical lines, you know, the only thing would be just that the woman on the left was fully settled, you know, that she's not quite settled, so in terms of a moment, it's not quite the moment yet, Okay. so that would be the only improvement I could see, otherwise you know, like your first picture, it's well balanced graphically, thank you. Hey Jen, alright. So you know, this is a very sweet moment, you know, of course, I wish that the blond woman's face wasn't obscured by her arm, you know again, this is about anticipating it and scurrying to your left or finding the right position, which I would think is to your left, so that you get more of an open angle into the woman's face. It might also be, was she placing it on her head or taking it off? She was taking it off. Oh, okay, so then it might be that you were just a little late for the decisive moment, so you know, when it was on her head, then maybe, but you see, these are the things that I'm looking for, Yeah. Assuming I have access and I have permission and none of those other sort of peripheral dynamics are in play, where I basically have freedom to be anywhere I want in the scene, you know, it's about positioning, you know, photography is about standing in the right place, Yeah. very simply put. And at this point, you know, there was somebody else waiting to have it be put on her head and I realized, oh, this is perfect, so I sort of had like, it was one of those moments, where I'm like, oh wait, this is gonna be a great picture and so then I have a couple of them with different people, but this was the one that I think I got the closest. Yeah, well, what makes this picture is the woman on the left, her expression, Right. I mean, it's just there's such joy, you know, I think only like obsessive photographers are gonna talk about, "Well, the woman's face is obscured," 'cause I think most people, you know, as we call them, civilians, we love you (laughing) and sort of the camera companies, no. You know, most people would look at that picture as I did, the first thought was, oh, what a lovely woman, that's great, like unbridled joy, you know, joyful moment. Yeah. So, nice. But this was a repetitive action, right? This was like maybe a five-minute moment in a way of her-- With just her? With her and then somebody else is waiting behind, that she was gonna put the basket on. Do the same thing? Yeah. So again, 'cause the reason I bring that up is this idea when you're in a situation, where things Yeah. are repeating themselves, then you can kind of observe it, you get an idea of that action and then you can anticipate and then stay there and keep on shooting, so then the next person that comes, you know exactly where you need to be and exactly what moment to snap the shutter to get it right. Yeah, thank you for that, You're welcome. 'cause I was trying to learn how to think it through. Yeah, where is this? In Bali, in Ubud in Bali. and the woman laughing is my friend, Wyanne, so I had lots of moments during my friendship with her, where I could have really set it up. Yeah, that's funny, 'cause I figured it was the blond one that was your friend, so I see. Yeah, yeah. (laughing) Yeah. Oh, and that's in Bali also, so that's a cremation ceremony, so that's a sarcophagus. Wow and is it, it's on a platform or it's suspended? No, it's on a platform. It's on a platform, that's metal, because they burn it on fire and there's a body that's in the middle, it's a bull, it's a black bull, so it's one of the Royal family of Ubud, so they spend months making these sarcophaguses, they parade them around the town and then it ends up here at the temple and then they burn it. Yeah, that's a beautiful image, I mean, you know, I really like the leading line of the pole on the right corner coming up, this is a beautiful image, the tones, the textures, the colors, the composition, you know, if there's just one thing and I get so sick of like looking for the one thing, that's wrong in something, especially when they do it about my pictures, but no, is that it's a little hard to tell what the, It is. It's a little hard to tell what's going on. Yeah, so I actually have a couple and I had Michael take it out, where I'm a little further away and it's a little clearer and you can see what's going on, but I picked this one actually, because it's a mystical event for me, Hm-mm. and I feel like your confusion a little bit is actually what draws you in. So here in post-production, Yeah. unless there was another moment just before or after, you know, quite often when you photograph smoke, right, which again is very dynamic generally, you know, like I think we'll see it in one of the things I did in the Ballard Market, where there was a gentleman frying something and so there's all this smoke coming, you know, sometimes the smoke completely envelops the scene, there's no picture and then, you know, it does all this stuff, that you can't quite control, it might have been that it's just a tic before or after, there was just a little more clarity. So that you could see the bull? But in post-production, Yeah. you could basically dodge out the eye and dodge out the red and white of the lips Oh yeah, yeah. and then, you know, and just enough, so then it emerges, so you keep the mystical feeling, That's fair words. This is a gorgeous photograph, That's fair words. this is a gorgeous photograph and you know, what's also cool about it from a cultural point of view, I've actually never seen this, you know, I wanna read what's going on, Yeah, yeah. right, that to me is a great picture, you know, excuse me, it's actually a storytelling picture, so that would be one thing you could do with this image is, well, you could go back and reshoot it. (audience laughing) No, it is, is just to dodge out the eye, basically the face just a little bit, not too much, Thank you, that's great. you know, so then that way, you know, 'cause again, when I read a photograph, you know, in terms of tonality, lightness, darkness, you know, the eye always goes to the brightest point, that idea, so right now, you know, there's so many lovely, it's a very luscious photograph, sumptuous, you know, 'cause of the textures and all that, but if you just highlighted the face elements a little bit more, it's like eventually my eye would go there and then it would be like, ah, I see and then my eye is free to roam, Okay. that's really nice. Yeah, no, that's super helpful, thanks. You're welcome. Alright, I don't have to press this anymore, huh? That's right. You're the commander. (laughing) But I just wanna reintroduce how awesome that this is, that we're doing this live and that people are watching, submitting for critique from all over the world. If you do wanna go see all of these images, that have been hashtagged KashiCritique and #CreativeLive, you can go to Tagboard,com, that's where we're pulling these up on, so we will just go through a couple of them and but I highly encourage you on the break to go check out the rest. So, I don't wanna like obscure people's view, but just let me get a good look here. This is a beautiful photograph, you know, really, really nice use of the shallow depth of field, it's interesting if this was taken with a phone camera, if they had zoomed, I wonder if they zoomed in, you know, or zoomed out, whichever, but you know, went a little telephoto, but it's very nice, you know, I love the way in this case, in this case, as opposed to your picture from Burning Man, where the heads were looking out, it took me out of it and in this case, it's a wonderful counterpoint, you know, you have this sort of energy going, where you have the dragon's face and then his face and where his hand is positioned, this is a lovely photograph, lovely photograph. Is that you? Oh my God, look at that! (audience laughing) Well, this is the most amazing photograph ever taken. (audience laughing) So, well, I mean, thank you, Meena. (laughs) So well, you know, this is a picture, okay, exclude the fact that I'm in it, it's a little bit of an awkward picture, in terms of the composition, because you see, is there a point of focus? Like, I'm struggling to find a point of focus, because look at the middle of the frame, you have that white shirt, you've got a dark shoulder, you've got the arm up, and then you start to work your way out to the faces, so it would have been better if either she had just focused on me and the guy to my left is actually Steve Simon, he's a photographer and a teacher, he used to teach at the School of Visual Arts actually in New York City. If she had just focused on the two of us, where there's a moment happening or you again waited, where maybe Steve happened to look the other way, so then I'm just an anchor on the left, the guy on the right is an anchor and then maybe Steve, Steve's expression, do you see what I'm saying though? You know, again, I always think of pictures as like these sort of visual roadmaps and our job is to not necessarily make it simple, but to make it clear, so that there's an impact, right, sometimes too simple is not interesting, so you want that mix of interesting, evocative, but clear enough that there's some impact. There's something very elegant about this, I feel compositionally, I would have moved more to my left, so that the candelabra was not coming so close to her cheek, 'cause that's distracting, especially because it's the brightest thing in the frame, alright and also imagine and then also the gentleman, well, that's the groom, I think this is a wedding, the groom on the left, his face is a little too pinched, but the fact that all his eye is in saves it from being, you know, like, I don't wanna say complete failure, but you know, it saves it, so ideally it's as simple as this, that's about all they needed to do, just shift four or five or six inches to the right, then her head is perfectly placed in between the candelabras, you still get the moment of action and I love the arm, I love what's going on with the arm thing, you know, and then you have, whoa, you have a little bit more of the groom's face and then it's a complete picture. So as it is, it's a fine picture, you know, and as a captured memory, I don't think anybody's gonna, you know, I assume their kids aren't gonna go, "Wow, whoever took that picture really lamed out "on the candelabra through Mom's head." (audience laughing) Anyway, but again, sometimes it's just, it's simple move, it's the slightest shift, you know, when you saw me working, you know, whether I was doing extreme things or I was getting on the floor, or I was doing this, you know, but sometimes I would just be doing that, just trying to find the right angle, so that everything lines up in the frame. Beautiful color, by the way on that. Yes? So Ed, I think we are about to get to our break time, but we wanted to continue to scroll through Yes. and see some of the images that people are submitting from all over the world and again, a reminder, you guys, there will be more critiques during the day and you can submit again with #KashiCritique and we'll be doing some on intimate events as well as street portraits, so let's just scroll through and see some more. Oh, that's beautiful. Oh, that's me. (laughs) There you go. Where was that, where had that been taken? Havana. Havana. What is it about photography, that like it gets in your blood, it gets in your bones, Hm-mm. you know, there's something about it.

Class Description

"Ed Kashi 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."
-Belinda Leung

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.