Creative spaces don’t always need to involve paint and brushes and fabrics and kilns. In fact, sometimes a bit of technology and pen and paper can be just as effective for creating ‘works of art’
This was the scene that was set for the studio’s latest workshops, hosted by our Shibori creative, Claire Brear. Photos with phones and digital journals were the order of the day with Claire hosting two short courses on Mobile Photography and Introduction to Blogging. Just because we weren’t getting our hands messy didn’t mean there wasn’t equal amount of creative practise taking place – in fact I need to confess that I actually, did end up with a whole lot of dirt on my back as I leant into the ground to try and snap that perfect shot.
“The best camera is the one you have with you.” Jay Maisel
I’ve never done photography of any kind before and if I’d known about all the elements involved, even in mobile photography, I might have sat this one out. But drooling over some of my creative friend’s Instagram feeds who always seem to capture those perfect shot, left me figuring that if I had a phone I could do it too.
The photo session was infectious and I spent the rest of the weekend snapping away – needless to say a relaxing Sunday stroll with hubby became a walk for one as my enthusiasm to stop every 5 metres or so wore someone’s patience a bit thin! So, I thought I would share some of my take-aways from the day, in case you want to give it a try as well.
So, what were some of the take-aways for me?
Lighting – yes something that you cannot get away from or in some instances get more of, the list of lighting no no’s is endless, not too harsh, not too faded, no to artificial, no to direct sunlight and so it carries on! Rule of thumb is early morning and late afternoon – which leaves you maybe with two awkward one and a half hour windows at best. In other words, a drool-worthy Instagram feed requires a lot of work (sigh).
Composition, subjects, curves and lines, reflections, framing, getting up close, snapping from afar are the next lot of elements that need to be looked at. Oh, and once you have all of these you need to find the perfect angle – like a shot from above or getting down low or just shooting from the hip. Very often that perfect shot is made up of 10 – 15 practise snaps that you have to scroll through before one jumps out at you #realtimeyeahright.
These I guess are all basic photography skills that are needed before one even attempts to snap snap snap. And I think the only way to remember all of them is to practise.
The editing tools that we used were Snapseed and VSCO, allowing us to fine tune the image to something that looks a little more inspiring without having to resort to common filters. And again, playing around and practise are the key to mastering them too. As we all gleefully added more structure and detail or smoothed over the ‘creases’ I remember Claire giggling to herself and telling us how when people first start they always over-edit. Well, I’ll put my hand up and jump into that boat, because now that I’ve started playing around I guess it’s obvious that all my Instagram photos are getting a makeover! (Follow at @sammiramsay and you’ll get my meaning)
At the end of the day the proof is in the practise and I thought it would be nice to share with you some before and after shots from the day and what methods participants used to edit them.
Claire captured a great shot of the resident building cat, Belle. With just a couple of small edits she could neaten up the photo quite nicely. Her edits included some cropping, adding a vignette and horizontally flipping the image. Photo captured with iPhone 6S
Dunja found an awesome spot to take an unusual selfie. The mirror created a nice reflection effect for the photo. She tuned the image a bit; increasing saturation, contrast, shadow and highlights. She also removed some of the detail, cropped the image and added a vignette so that the photo was slightly darkened on the outside. Photo was captured with an iPhone 6.
I went in search of some backyard urban – is that a theme?! I neatened up my photo by cropping it, added quite a lot of brightness and warmth, and removed some of the uneven lines with the ambiance effect. I also joined the over editing club by adding quite a lot of structure to the image. Photo was captured with a Sony Xperia Z3 compact.
Its great just how accessible mobile photography is, anyone with a decent phone camera and some time to wander around during the perfect light hours can get involved and capture those memories in a memorable way. Claire will be hosting another similar workshop at the studio in late August, so if this has sparked some interest make it happen and book the next workshop!
Oh and while you’re at it make sure you follow Claire on Instagram @_bearista so you can get an idea of the type of photos that generate a humble 68k followers #justsaying 😉