Storytelling with Mobile Photography

 

Storytelling with Mobile Photography

 

Lesson Info

Edit and Share Your Images: Cultural Event

What you're seeing now on the screen is you're seeing my phone, but you aren't able to see the actual hand and finger movements I'm going to make, so I'm going to do the best I can to explain what I'm doing. So I'm going down to the photos. So here's how I work. So think of it I guess, mobile photography is three phases, capture phase, and as I say, I happen to use either ProCamera or the in-camera phone on the iPhone. Then there's the post-production phase, where I'll, when I use Snapseed for that, okay, and Snapseed, one of the things I love about Snapseed and, just so you know, I'm not a techno-snoid, so there might be apps that are better for you, but think of this more that Snapseed is an example of a post-production tool of which there are many out there, all right? But one of the things I've always felt with photography, photography is a medium of variables. At every stage, you have all these variables, and I've always felt, from a very, very, very early age and stage, I want to...

reduce those variables, because what I care about is the people, the moment, the feeling, the purpose, the story, the narrative, the issue. I don't want to get caught up in like, this would be good to use that camera for, that would be good to use, you know, I don't want to get up in too much of the technical stuff. I mastered, I've tried to master the things I know, but I know that I can't know everything. So, I use Snapseed. So what I'll do, is I'll go into Snapseed, and here's where I need a pointer. So let's see, so I'm going to go through, let me pick a picture here, let's just do this picture right here. So I've picked this picture, so I'm in Snapseed. Now, I'll look at the picture, and I'll sort of think, looking at this picture, I'd like a little more light on her face, on the woman in the foreground, so on the bottom right, there's that circle with the, you guys can help me, with the brush tool, that opens up my Tools. This is what I love about Snapseed, that it's this selective button that I can actually burn and dodge. Now there might be other apps that do this, but that's what I love about this, so I hit Selective, and then you see, on the bottom, there's that highlighted blue cross in a circle. So wherever I put my finger on the frame, that cross will appear. So I'm going to put it right on her face. You see it? Okay, and I'm going to position it exactly where I want it. Whoop, it went away, let's try that again, there we go. And then, by pinching and squeezing or expanding, I expand or contract the area that the move I make will affect. Got that? So I want to get it relatively tight on her, right there, then by moving the finger left to right, it either increases or decreases the value of that space I've selected. So in this case, I want to make it brighter, which I move to the right. So I'm going to move it to the right, okay. Hold on, hold on, let's try that again. There we go. All right, so now, see the difference? That's with the move, that's without it. So for the sake of this exercise, I think it's a little too bright, I'm going to bring it back, so I'm going to go to the left, you see the brightness is reducing. All right, I'm good, so on the bottom right, there's the check side, I'm going to hit that, and there we go. So that's where we started. You see the difference? All right, um, now I also want to separate, it's different on my screen as it is on that screen, but I also want to separate the legs of the dancers on the bottom right. So again, I'm going to go to selective, and I'm going to place the blue dot there, not the dot, whatever. And I'm going to get the area that I want. I'm going to slide to the right to make it brighter. Come on, baby, there you go, come on. All right, that's good. I'm going to check the bottom right. You guys following me so far? All right, it's tricky, because you can't see exactly what I'm doing. All right, now the other thing is, I love this, I don't use filters, but I love this one move, it's the drama filter, I shouldn't tell people this, because I'm giving away my secrets, but I just love this, it's on the left side, 'cause it makes it freaky, it's like clarity on steroids, and saturation in another universe. So then there are two, now one of the ways that Snapseed works is that I'm just going up and down, hold on, this is, so you see, by placing my finger on the surface, and moving it up and down, in any one of the moves in Snapseed, it will give you all the choices within that move, got it? So in this case, there's only two choices, filter strength and saturation. So filter strength, for me, it's way too crazy, so I'm going to go from right to left, I'm going to reduce the effect of the filter strength. Okay, that's a little more, that's a little better. What it's done, is it's like pumped it up a bit. One of the things, 'cause I'm going to post this picture, and that's the other really amazing thing, I'm a publisher, we are all publishers, right? I have, whatever, 238,000 followers, whatever I have. That means that there is nothing in between me and that audience. So there's something very powerful about that. Now, and let's get this straight, you could have 300 followers, but they are people that you love and cherish, and that feel the same way about you, and how cool is that, that you can share it with just those people? And more than the picture, there's the back and forth dialogue. Hey, Ed, how cool, you're in Seattle, blah blah blah, or, aw man, your daughter looks so great, or, what's happening? I mean, it's so amazing, the moment we're in. You know, really to take a moment and step back and think about. I'm not saying it's all positive, right, 'cause with everything in life that we gain, I'm sure there's things we lose, but there's something about that, that for me is really powerful, you know, the way I'm able to communicate with my kids and share my life with the people that are close to me, as well as broadcast in the sort of, the bigger sphere of, you know, my career and my professional persona. Does that make sense? All right, so, the other thing I want to do, going back to this, so I think I've got the filter strength where I want it, now I want to go to saturation, because I want to, now here's another thing, sometimes I'll shift things to black and white, let's see, what should we do with this one. Let's go to black and white, see what... Eh, that's not really black and white. So normally what I'll do is I'll bring the filter, sorry, the saturation, back up a bit, so let's go crazy, so that's way too much. That feels about right, there. So again, I hit the check on the bottom right, so that's what we got. Here's where we started, that's raw out of the camera, and that's where we're at. Now when I'm posting to Instagram, this is really important, I know for me, I will post processed images, I hope not over post-processed in other people's eyes, but I'll post-process more than I would if I am doing it for an exhibition, or for publication in a magazine, or even for publication in various media digital platforms. Okay, but on Instagram, 'cause that's my primary, by the way, that's the third step, right, so there's three steps, capture, post-process, share. So we're about to go into the share mode. And with the sharing, I use Instagram, and because I know, unless, or until things change, that essentially I'm sharing in a relatively small piece of real estate, I know you can look at it in your web browser, so then you can see it bigger, I want it to pop a little more. Again, everybody's different. Some people are, their tonality and their contrast range are very, very neutral, you might even feel flat, and that's their choice, right, we all have the choice to have the aesthetic and the look that we want. So now, for the purpose of this exercise, I'm happy with what I got here, so then I go on the top and I hit save, and I'm gonna save a copy. I do not want to change the original, very important, you want to preserve your raw original. So I've saved that copy. Now I go out of Snapseed, then I go to Instagram, and for those of you who don't know how to use Instagram, in the bottom middle button, it's sort of like the publish button. Sorry, I think now you do need to go back on WiFi, in order to post. You're right. Yup. And... And it's really easy to do that, there we go, now I have to make sure I stay off my homescreen, in case there's anything. So now with Instagram, there's this wonderful, they're constantly improving Instagram, it's really great, and one of things, a month, maybe two months ago, they did, if you look on the bottom left, those two little arrows, see, there we go. (laughing) All right, Ashley, you gotta chill out, man. (laughing) I don't think this is safe. I don't think this is safe. (laughing) anyone who knows Ashley, there is no, if you think I'm TMI. You could try Do Not Disturb, so when you go back on the function, and then click on the moon. Oh, the moon. Yes, try that. So I can still send out, Yeah. I just learned something new, I love it. I love it, okay, so again, on the bottom left, I know Ashley is thinking of another way to get around this, (laughing) so on the bottom left, now if I hit that, it brings it to full proportion, right, so again, for the first few years that I worked in mobile photography and Instagram, actually one of the things I loved about it was that I was shooting square, you know? And I actually thought I liked that, because I spent my whole life shooting rectangle, three two, you know, 35 mill, you know, I was like, this is really cool now. Years ago, I used to work with a Hasselblad, so I'm kind of rediscovering like an old part of my photographic self, because you see the world differently when you compose it for a square format, and I loved that, but now, we can, we have all the choice we want, so I have to decide, you know, and you can even pinch it, and make it, sorry, so let's go back, so, so that's cropped into a square, that's full-frame. I'm going to go with full-frame, because I composed it that way, I like, again, on the left where you have the woman's body, and on the right, you've got her feet anchoring the bottom right of the frame, she's well-positioned in the left side of the frame, so now, one thing I sometimes do, with, um, so I hit next, okay, now you're in the area where you have the post-production functionality of Instagram. And except for burning and dodging, I think, once Instagram, if it does introduce the sort of burning and dodging, I'm not sure I'm going to need Snapseed anymore, because that's the one thing I love having that facility to do. But otherwise, Instagram has improved their functionality and post-production and they're constantly improving it, so sometimes I'll just mess around with hitting the clarity button, that's the middle button of the three, sometimes I just love what it does, again, that idea of the punchiness. But you know, because I used the drama filter and played with it, I feel like there's enough punchiness. So I am ready to post, but there's one more thing I have to do, so I hit the next button. The caption. And in so much of my work, probably 99% of the work I post on Instagram, my caption is incredibly important. Occasionally, you know, street scene in Seattle, and that's good enough, but most of the time, I want to have a really serious caption for a few reasons, one is for, you know, contextualizing the image, because again, I am a photojournalist, I'm a documentarian, so the words, the context of my pictures are incredibly important to me, the other thing is, on a practical side, almost a commerce side, quite often when I post for a client or a magazine, or in this case, with Creative Live, it's important to include any hashtags. Some folks put a zillion handles and hashtags, particularly hashtags, in their posts, because it's a way to drive more traffic to your audience and all that, you know. For this, I could put, you know, dancers, or all kinds of things, but I'm going to keep it simple. What I quite often do, now I'm going to shift to notes, and what I'll often do, is I'll pre-load my captions in notes, so in the moment, when I'm posting, that I don't have the pressure, or at least I'm sure I've got my boilerplate info that I want to have for what I'm going to post. So for instance, maybe if you're going on vacation, or you're going to whatever, your brother's birthday party or something like that, you know, you might pre-write what, like, the main text that you want to put, the main hashtags, any handles, and then when you go to post, maybe you might add something, Aunt Betty kissing Joey or something, I don't know, at Joey's birthday party in Seattle, blah blah blah. So the post we have here, is the top one, posting cultural event, it's got the hashtag that I need to have, the hashtags and it's got, actually there's one more I want to put, I want to put, at seven, gotta give a shout-out to my agency. Okay, so now, I'm gonna copy and paste, or copy, done out of notes, double click back to Instagram paste in and, I'm actually going to post this to seven, another cool thing in Instagram now, for those of you who post to multiple feeds, you can be logged into those feeds now, that's just about two or three weeks old, that's super great. I can't tell you how many times I'm, like, going insane in the middle of you know, Nicaragua or wherever, and I'm doing that. All right, so I hit okay. So I'm set now, I'm a publisher, look at me. I've got a caption, I've got the words, I've got the picture set, and I've post-produced it to how I want it to look. Now, there's other functions that I'm not going to get into here, you know, tagging people, adding location, you know, there's lots of other things you can do, and I can also post it to Facebook, 'cause generally when I'm in this third phase of mobile photography, which is sharing, I will put it on Facebook, I've made that live. Now here's a little secret, and a colleague of mine, Matt Black, taught me this, it's called, If This, Then That. And so you can write a script, because if you click on the Twitter function within Instagram, it'll post to your Twitter feed, but it will only post the URL, the link, thank you, but by using If This, Then That, I've got it to say, when I post on Instagram, post it on Twitter, and it posts the picture, which I think, as a photographer, much more impactful, so that means if I appear on your Twitter feed, you're not getting a link you have to click on, it's like, boom, there's the picture. So I'm posting, I'm going, here we go! Okay, so it's live. There is the fourth phase, that's the neurotic phase. (laughing) Right, and so, the app I use for that is called InstaCounter. What's that? What's InstaCounter? So InstaCounter is, there's, again, a handful of those apps, and they certainly work on the Android platform as well, well, let's go to it, if we dare. I do have to be, oh, I am connected. So anyways, that's it, and so InstaCounter, so since the last time I logged on it, and I'm not going to tell you how short ago that was, so now I've added one photo, I have 73 new followers, and then of course, on the top it's giving me, so I've posted in the course of my Instagram career, 899 pictures, I have that many followers, and I'm following that many people. And then it gives you the average of your likes, and, you know, your comments, and then it posts, it shows your favorite, the pictures that have been the most popular. So beyond, okay, beyond the neurotic element of that, and I joke, but it's true, I mean, I'm not embarrassed to admit it, it's true, there is a practical function. Quite often I'll post a picture that's a little controversial, or I'll post a picture to a certain feed, and I'll lose followers. And so to me, that's instructive. That doesn't mean I'll change what I'm going to do, but it's instructive to me to know that. You know, like, what's effective. It's kind of like a focus group on the fly, if you like. Yes? This is truly, I loved what you said about, we are publishers, and I love that we can see this in real time, there are already 63 likes and so many comments coming in from Brazil, from all over the world, and one, Cristo Blanco says, this is the most live I've ever seen on Instagram, great class. So that interactivity is quite amazing. You know, for all the weird stuff in the world, there's amazing things going on right now, huh? This sort of interconnectivity and the ability to communicate, and you know, I think, as with so much of my work, at this point in my life, I want it to be for something positive, you know, even if I'm dealing with difficult things, I want it to be, I want to contribute, to make the world better if I can, and this forum here, and the ways, and you know, mobile photography is connected to that. We can make links with people now in a way that we couldn't. So please remember that, you know? And again, it doesn't have to be in Brazil, it could be in Yakuma, wherever, it could be in another part of Seattle, you know?

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.