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Shooting In the Field

Lesson 5 from: The Storyteller's Guide to Taking Better iPhone Photos

Dan Tom

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Lesson Info

5. Shooting In the Field

Join Dan Tom for a neighborhood walk and a shoot of San Francisco’s iconic Mount Tam. Learn his approach, how he approaches landscape photos, and how he directs people to take impactful portraits.

Lesson Info

Shooting In the Field

So right now we are in Golden Gate Park. It's about two blocks from where I live. This is one of my favorite spots that I always come to. So, I'm excited to show you guys around. I like to come here to just kind of get away, get a little bit in nature. I come here for a run in the morning a lot, and you'll see as we come through this way, there's just a, a great it's really beautiful over here. (soft music playing in background) So a lot of the locals who live in the city, they love to come to this park in particular to this area because there's, there's a lot of space to just chill, sit on a bench, go for a bike ride, roller skate, go for a run. So this is also one of my favorite spots. What I like to do in terms of like framing a shot, is I I'll find something that, I like already. So for example, this Ferris wheel, and then what I especially like is I'll frame the Ferris wheel, not as the main subject; what I'm really interested in, is this couple chilling on the bench, because they...

're just kind of going about their day. And I, I love those kind of quiet moments and candid shots just kind of wandering around. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna kind of kind of approach this, hopefully they don't see me, but I'm gonna try to frame them in the foreground and then put the Ferris wheel the waterfall or the water fountain, like in the background. (camera shooting) (camera shooting continues) So another thing to look out for is just like, maybe if there's water, if there's, if there's grass if there's different types of textures and this this particular area, like if you look in the water there's some really cool Lily pads, some flowers and you can get reflections also in the water. So I'm gonna show you maybe how I might approach shooting this or what I would do normally Just 1, 2, 3 strikes around So I see, I see this yellow flower here and I see a reflection in the water but I want to frame that and really make that like my subject. And it is kind of far with the iPhone cuz it's wide. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna zoom in twice and then adjust the exposure to what I wanted as (camera noise) and then take a few photos. (camera noise) This is also an opportunity to like I know I'm standing here shooting it like this but you know, I would ask the questions of what if I got on top? What if I stood here? What if I had took photos from up high? What would that look like to? Like an overview. (shivering) And as you can see, it's super beautiful. The leaves really pop against the dark water because it's because of the light. So what I'm doing here is I want to frame the flower against the water. I don't want the Lily pad necessarily there. (camera shooting) And I'm adjusting to the exposure cuz if I leave it on bright, everything is too exposed. Like I lose, I lose the detail in those pedals. So I'm gonna adjust my exposure bring it down with my thumb. And I like it right there. (camera shooting) So one of the things about specifically shooting like midday like this when the sun is like super hot and, and shiny is that there's gonna be harsh shadows. And so one thing that I notice on this staircase is how the shadows kind of fall. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna try to frame it in a way it's kind of form like cool patterns, just like brick steps here. I'm gonna try to form it in a way where it's it's it kind of makes like a continuous pattern. This I'm gonna do is I shoot this (camera shooting) And you know, I'm gonna move around a little bit. So if you want kind of a more straight on view it kind of makes like these, these Z patterns then I'm gonna zoom in twice. And if you want to kind of get the texture, get the light. I think these this can be kind of an interesting composition but honestly, a lot of it is just kind of going going along and trying different things. You know, I'm gonna try it from this angle. It could also be interesting but I kind of like how it did the, the Z pattern, right? Like right here. Adjust the exposure a little bit make sure I could still see what's going on in the shadows but also the, the sunny parts are not too overexposed. (camera shooting) And then I'm gonna zoom in one more time. And then, yeah. So one other tip for shooting, especially in harsh light like this is if you want more, even lighting, just shoot in the shade. So have everything in the shade. It's much e, it's much more even it's much more easy on the eyes and you won't get harsh shadows and a big contrast in that, so right here we have this, this bush or this flower Bush, and I love how it, it, it kind of goes with it with the yellow background. But what I particularly see is like, I always look at windows and opportunities for reflection. And so what I see in the windows, I see reflection of the house across the street. So there's, there's almost that added layer. Cause I'm getting the flower, I'm getting the yellow house and then I'm getting the reflection of the house in the window. So I'm gonna take a few shots. And so I'm gonna, um, hold my camera here. So right now I see the kind of the window in the window You're filming the man I'm gonna adjust my exposure. But right now to me it looks it's a little wide, Like you can kind of see it still, but if you just zoom in a little bit, you really kind of get a big difference and you have a better understanding of what I'm really trying to focus on. So I'm gonna zoom in a little bit, I'm gonna step back, just to see how it changes see how I'm trying to frame the window in the window. And yeah it's I think to me, that's an interesting shot. (police sirens in the background) Alright guys, so we just got to Mount Ham and this is a super special spot in the bay area. It's about 40 minutes from San Francisco. My buddy Tyler over here has graciously agreed to meet us here. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna take some photos, I'm gonna talk about taking pictures of, of people and how to kind of use the light that that's available right now. So right now it's super, it's about 5:00 PM. It's still really, really harsh as you can see. So what I'm choosing to do is I I'm gonna shoot Tyler in the shade where the light's a bit more even and I notice that some lights hitting some of these leaves. So my, my plan right now or my thinking is maybe to get him in front of these leaves frame him with the leaves and then, you know maybe move him around and, and play with the light there. So Tyler, maybe I can get you to stand. Yeah. Maybe like right here as close to the bushes as you can. Yeah. And then, yeah, that was, so I'm gonna position Tyler. I'm gonna just have Tyler look off. So Tyler can you mind looking off the side and I think there's, you know, I would encourage you guys when you guys set up to shoot someone, like maybe take a variety of angles, different distances. So right now I'm kind of getting a full body shot of Tyler and it, it kind of, you can kind of get like some of downtown San Francisco in the background as well. But if you want to kind of get close I think that's always like my favorite and preferred way to shoot portraits. So I'm just gonna have Tyler. Yeah. Keep looking off. And if you, if you notice if I move the light's gonna change with me so I'm gonna try to not block the light as well cuz it's coming from behind us and then take a few photos. Nice Tyler. (laughing) I'm also gonna take a few in portrait mode. In portrait mode again, creates that depth of field. You do have to be like about two to four feet away to, to for it to focus properly. So I'm gonna take a couple of those too. It actually also zooms in automatically. It's not as wide as when you shoot natively with the regular camera. So, and you make sure you press on the screen to focus on your subject (camera shooting) and then adjust the exposure according to how you want it. So I'm gonna just do that a little bit (camera shooting) and then I'm gonna have Tyler do you mind let's let's keep your body kind of angled that way, and then look at me for a sec. Yeah. Great. Take a couple more. (camera shooting) Let's see. I kind of want a little more light on Tyler so I'm gonna have him maybe take a step. Yeah, that's perfect. Take a step right there. So see how the light fitting his face a lot more. I love that highlight and I think it's it's kind of what makes it interesting for me. So, and then Tyler, you mind looking at me? That's perfect. (camera shooting) And then let's get one. Let's just get one in the shade too, just just for variety's sake. So I'm just gonna have him stand here, look at me directly and I'm gonna take a profile shot as well. So (camera shooting) try this here. Just keep looking out that way too. (camera shooting) And then let's have you stand take a step this way back into the light. Okay. Maybe. Yeah. Do you feel the light on your face? Yeah. maybe it's not too bright? That's alright. Yeah. And then I'm gonna still have you face that way cuz I like, I like the frame. I like that positioning. And then look at me one more time. (camera shooting) Perfect (camera shooting) Okay. I'll take a couple this way. (camera shooting) Cool. All right. So I have, I have Tyler, we just walked down from the hill. What I'm thinking is I want to kind of show more context of the place. So I want, I'm trying to get, show provide scale and I'm gonna have Tyler sit on this rock and I'm just gonna try to frame him against the beautiful water. So it's a bit more minimalistic, but I, I think it's gonna turn out good. So Tyler, yeah, sit here. Let's have you face out toward that way and I'm gonna take a few photos. Yeah (camera shooting) (camera shooting continues)

Ratings and Reviews

Lindsay Remigio

Great Workshop - Not just for iPhones This workshop was concise but packed a lot of great information. The things taught can not only help you take better photos with your iPhone but can also be applied to any format of photography. I particularly enjoyed the section where Dan edits viewers photos. I feel inspired to get out and try what I learned.

Déborah Mocquant

I like the way Dan Tom sees the world and how he is inspired. This is more than a workshop for me. I felt like I was in an other world. This workshop also gave me a lot interesting informations about photography. To be honest, I watched this workshop 4 times already.

Emily Guldborg

He has a definite passion for what he does and encouraging people to share their stories through photography. Not a huge time commitment and he refreshed my interest in sharing my perception of the world.

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