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Storytelling with Mobile Photography

Lesson 13 of 21

Intimate Event Mobile Photo Critique

Ed Kashi

Storytelling with Mobile Photography

Ed Kashi

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Lesson Info

13. Intimate Event Mobile Photo Critique

Lesson Info

Intimate Event Mobile Photo Critique

This is a very nice moment. It's a lovely image, what was this? (students talking) It was on a boat and this DJ had just finished his set and he was thanking the audience. So, you know, there's this, see this, like, sort of cascading composition? I mean, it would have been wonderful if there was one more element, you know, on the left side, but you know why it works is because the brightness of the hands and the brightness of that window. So you have this, like, boom boom boom. You have this cascading element. This is a lovely photograph, great. It's a really nice moment, the way the main character has that shadow behind him so he really separates out of the background is wonderful. Flaring, I remember it this time, right. (student laughs) This is really nice. Look at the rim lighting on the subject. Just beautiful rim lighting. Especially on the ink on the calves. This is also, where is this? It's in Liberty in Washington. In Washington, okay. This is also really nice. Capture...

s a moment and a feeling and, you know, I imagine you guys were on a hike or something. Mm hm, ghost hunting. (laughs) Ghost hunting? Yup. Okay, tell us the story, who is he? This guy's just a friend. (Kashi laughs) And we were tryna look for a sunset, like, somewhere to watch the sunset. We were in the truck going up a hill and then we just found there was this cemetery to the left and he just had this moment of, like, release, I guess. That was his alone time. Now, do you know him well or he's a friend? We're just friends. We're friends. Yeah. So, at that moment, where you thought: okay, this person's kind of having a personal moment, how did it make you feel in terms of, did you feel like you should back away and give them space? Yeah, I think I snapped that and I just let him go into whatever he had to go into. Yeah. 'Cause that's an interesting thing, you know, like, I would, let's say, assuming I was on my game that morning, I pick up on okay he's going into this moment and there'd be this tug-of-war in my head, you know. I really should give him the space, but I wanna get the photograph. So wherever I have to be, I'm gonna go and get that photograph, and maybe I wanna play and see what's it like if I go to my left and I place him in the sun and do a silhouette and I know it's very cliched, but, you know, just whatever. Just play around and move around, and you're gonna hear me talk about this in the next segment, but, you know, this idea of circling your prey, and I mean that in a loving way, (student laughs) not a violent way. No, but, you know, circling your subject. Now, in this case, you probably wouldn't wanna break his shoulder line. You know, you would probably wanna stay out of his, you know, visual space 'cause then you could destroy the moment. Not even just that you're destroying his moment, but you're destroying the moment photographically. So there's this selfish reason and then there's, of course, this humanitarian, good-person reason. So, you know, I'd probably work somewhere from behind to not disrupt it. Anyway, that's a really lovely picture. It's a really lovely picture. Thank you. So this is a really nice moment, but the background is a mess. But, you know, on the other hand, it's like, I'm not sure what you do. The background is the background, right? What I would probably do is I would've gotten lower so that I cut out all the furniture 'cause there's all this form and busyness. Yeah. You know, but then you go lower, and you're dealing with the painting, and the screen, and the plant. So sometimes there is no easy solution for compositional problems, you know. And then the other thing is if you go so low where then maybe you have them against the ceiling, it's just such a weird angle that it might not look good. The other option is maybe to shoot, the other option is to maybe get a little closer so then you deal with depth of field so that that stuff, that clutteredness in the background falls away. But it's a nice moment. A nice moment. Thank you. Oh, this is very sweet. This is really. You know what makes this picture compositionally? The fact that her hat is not bisecting the horizon line. (students sighing) Makes such a difference. That's a really nice picture. And gesture! We haven't talked about gesture. Ah, the human gesture is so important! And it's often so subtle, you know, just the crook of her arm and the positioning of, you know, the fact that there's a little gap between her hand and her head so you get a little bit of water coming through it. Those little things make such a difference, not just compositionally, and sort of in an artistic sense and structural sense, but also even in terms of emotion and grace. So when I'm photographing people, I'm always looking at gesture, or when I'm on my game, I'm paying attention to that, to the gesture, the way the hands position themselves, the way the arm, you know, all the different parts of the body, that's really nice. Where's that? It's at the Sky View Observatory in the Columbia Center. Okay, so again, if you had moved to your right, So then she's here, he or she is, they're there, and then that person's there. You see what I'm saying? Mm hm. And then, I'm not sure, you might have created a problem with this person, but, you know, I'd be jockeying around, tryin' to find that right angle. And then I love that you've got that going on. You know, maybe you need to get a little closer. Maybe you need to pull back a little farther. So, you know, when I'm photographing, well, as you've seen, I'm moving around a lot, I mean, that's my style. That's not how everybody should shoot, but I move around a lot, I'm always tryin' to jockey for the best position so that. You know, and again it gets back to the idea of circling your subject and not just fixating on one angle and one approach, you know, you make this picture and then you try different things. But, still it's a nice picture, it's a nice scene. All right, well, thank you guys. All right, for the in-studio audience, the photographers. All right, so we're goin' online now. So that's a lovely moment. Huh, it's a really lovely moment! You know, again, not to be a jerk, but there's too much room on the right. (laughing) That's why we're here. (chuckles) I know, I know, I know. I don't wanna, like. Anyway, yeah. But great moment and I just wish that, 'cause you see how the right side is so empty. Mommy and Me. You know, what can I say? It's a sweet moment, the light's not great, the way you've got the sort of highlights on the face, but, you know, to me this is one of those it-is-what-it-is, and my sense is that as a picture of an intimate moment, especially between a mom and their kid, I would be surprised if she was upset about the technical aspects of this picture. I think it would just be that it's a lovely moment that was captured on a hike with your kid. So this is a case where I feel the photographer is too far away and so there's a lot of extraneous information so it's not engaging, you know, I wanna get closer, and the arm coming out of the older woman's head is distracting. And I wouldn't want all this highlight coming in from the left side 'cause it's not like it does anything. You know, I'm happy to play with elements that add to a picture, but sometimes the best pictures, as I said before, reduce the elements in the frame. So, in this case, I would've moved to the left and gotten closer so that you really just have the two characters and then you allow the relationship between them to come out, right? Think about angles of engagement. You know, if I talked to you like this today, that would be kinda weird, right? Even talking to you like this would be weird. If I want to engage with you, I need to connect with you. So think about that when you're photographing. Right? That's why so often pictures of people's backs, in general not always, but in general, generally are not that impactful because you're just seeing people's backs so unless there's something interesting or some other element or the dynamic in the frame, you're not engaging with people, you're not connecting. So this actually a pretty nicely-constructed frame. See these lovely lines, these converging lines coming in. So important to have retained the edge of that doorway so it creates an anchor on the upper left and then you've got the fireplace, beautiful fireplace, so you have these beautiful, converging lines that come into the subjects. I might've lightened the man's face in the background a little bit. And, in this case, because of the tonality, I don't mind that they're on top of each other? You see, normally I wouldn't have liked to have the kid coming out of the guy's body, but because the guy's in black in this case, the fact that he's all black, it works. Do you see that? You know, whereas if he had white pants on or, you know, a lighter color pants on, then it would be very weird. Then you have this, like, mysterious person in the background there, so this is a case where, like the previous picture, it feels a little far away, but, ultimately, because you have these really strong graphic lines, it brings you into the subject. This is wonderful. This is wonderful. Right, need I say more? It's just beautiful lines, gorgeous composition, lovely color palette, and, you know, sweet moment. You have to be pretty cynical not to like this picture. (laughing) So what are they smoking cigars or something? What's goin' on there? (student talking) Oh, they're smudging! Got it, got it, got it. Okay, so the fact that I had to ask, there's something not quite right with the picture in that way, right? Again, if you're tryin' to capture action, and I'm not saying that everything should be obvious. Not at all, not at all. But, you know, first of all having the person behind the guy is a bit distracting even though because he's dark, you know, he does frame the gray hair of the man, but in this case, because she's turned so much to the side, it's again very hard to tell, again, it's that angle of engagement. It's not a good angle of engagement. And I'm not sure, who is she smudging? Is she smudging this guy or is she smudging the guy behind, right? I assume it's the guy behind 'cause he's got his shirt off. Right, but you see what I'm saying? A successful picture: you're not asking these questions. Okay? Light's pretty cool. Yeah, I'm not sure why the guy is in the foreground. You know, I'm not sure why the photographer just didn't get behind, yeah, go around the guy in the foreground if they could physically get to it so then you've got woman, smoke, back. Great photograph. I love photographs like this. That's just a great photograph. You know, that's really wonderful. I mean, maybe it's a little wide-angle so that the little girl is very far away from the frame. That would be my only criticism of this, and that's something I talk about a lot in 35mm photography is don't rely on wide angles. Really, you shouldn't go wider than a 28, 24, unless you have a real reason to do it, unless there's a deliberate reason, because in a picture like this, I don't know what the equivalent. If it was shot on a phone, then it's probably a relatively wide-angle focal length. It's 35mm film so I dunno if this one was shot. Oh, it is 35mm? Oh, look at that! Somebody read. (she laughs) So then, that would be it. If this is, like, a 24, 20 mm, somewhere in that zone. If it was a 35, then that girl would just come. (slaps hands together) Right, you condense. You compress front to back. So then what it does is it creates even more dynamic composition of the pointing finger to the person, but as this is, it's a wonderful photograph.

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.