A Day In The Life: Photographing the World Around You | Micah-Daniel Lewis (ItsForGotham) | Skillshare

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A Day In The Life: Photographing the World Around You

teacher avatar Micah-Daniel Lewis (ItsForGotham), Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Welcome To Class

    • 2. Instructions/Opening Thoughts

    • 3. Shooting a Still Life Image

    • 4. Shooting a Landscape Image

    • 5. Shooting a Portrait

    • 6. Editing a Still Life Image

    • 7. Editing a Landscape Image

    • 8. Editing a Portrait

    • 9. Final Thoughts and Closing

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About This Class

Explore a different side of NYC with photographer ItsForGotham as he takes us through his creative process of making striking images that tell the story of his surroundings.

In this class, students will learn new techniques, styles and scouting methods used to build the perfect photo set for clientele and personal work.

The three styles I am expecting in your project are as follows:

Still Life: An in-depth look into what your everyday life looks like, it could be the train driver on your commute to work, a group of horses on your way to school, this is the most open to your interpretation!

Landscape: A wide shot that can feature buildings, trees, a lake. The focus of the landscape image is to capture different aspects of an environment and present them in a single image, easier said than done!

Portrait: The most rigid of the 3 styles, a portrait capture the essence of the human spirit and presents it to your viewer. Definitely the most difficult style to master in my opinion, you can either be stealth and secretive, or brash and in-your-face. Whatever style you are comfortable with, the focus should always be on 1 human/animal subject at a time.

Successful projects will be well-thought, balanced and cohesive with students' style of photography/design. Remember to incorporate the themes learned in the first two classes into your final project for maximum litness. Links are here and here if you have yet to register for those classes.

*Giveaway* I will be selecting my favorite project on January 10th, 2016. The prize will include a limited edition, signed 20x30 print of my choosing (I only give the best, don't worry), as well as a 1-year Premium Skillshare membership which will allow you to learn from the thousands of other amazing teachers on this platform. Eligible projects must be submitted by January 9th 2016 at 11:59pmEST. Prizes are for eligble users in the U.S/Canada ONLY. 

Director/Cinematographer: Joe Cavallini | @joecav_ | joecavallini.com

Edited: Daniel Lewis | @itsforgotham | itsforgotham.com

Enroll today and I can't wait to see all of your projects!

Meet Your Teacher

New York City based ItsForGotham has been drawing from a unique brain condition known as synesthesia since late 2012. Using this subconscious ability to "see" sounds and "hear" colors has led to a development of a unique approach to capturing and evoking any given emotion. Pursuing themes such as neighborhood violence, corruption, silence and human psychology, he began pursuing the craft more seriously in his free time and would later develop a certain technical ability to shoot and edit various urban landscapes all within apps on the iPhone 5 and Canon DSLR equipment. Months of persistence, patience, and meetings landed him the opportunity to became a brand photographer for Nike and Jordan brands, and he hasn't looked back since.

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1. Welcome To Class: yours is forgotten here in Chinatown, New York City, where one of locations for Scotia class. The last one for 2015. Thank you very much. Guys who have signed up for class one, too. If you have not checked those classes out in this game, definitely check. These are now these concepts and themes that we talk about. They're all gonna be tied into this final cost for the year. A little bit about what I do have a freelance videographer and photographer place in Brooklyn, New York. Some of content for Nike Jump Man, Red Bull movie shooting all kinds of videos and images. Large scale, the small skill. Do it all. So I'm going to show you guys how you can take your everyday environment, however city you guys might live in and how you can take your borough, your city or wherever and kind of turn that it's like your own little playground. Commit whatever work for you, so let's get started 2. Instructions/Opening Thoughts: to your portrait. I want to see a landscape shot and I want to see a still life shot or cityscape shot depending on your garbage. I don't want you guys using the same thing. I want you guys to switch it up. Be different. I mean, really challenge yourselves toe focus on each individual subject. Try to make each each moment that you capture like its own individual gallery. So by the end of this class, what you guys have a full understanding of white. A portrait landscape in the city state was still live shot what those look like and how you can make those work for different brands in different locations and environment. Try to be mindful off light your composition and your technique and what kind of lends used with you don't want to use the zoom lens shot on something that should have been like a portrait because it'll look, it's inappropriate for the subject. So try to be mindful of your lenses and angles that she choose and try to bring all that together and and make a final project. So some things you guys can use for inspiration just leased for what I do when I'm walking around is I'm always looking for those moments just kind of happened, really naturally. And that's what I like to associate my stock photography with, so things that are very natural, like even just walking around today. Um, just filming. We had a lot of people that came up in access, like, you know, yeah. Having an open mind and not being always to yourself like that's good to be by yourself and working on your shots. Being focuses an artist, but sooner or later, people will ask you like what you're doing, and you should be comfortable talking to them about like crafting what you do and pitching yourself. You never know who you're gonna meet out there, what connections can lead to whatever. So it's it's not. It's not ethical. It's not wise toe blow someone off my acts about your equipment. Even if they ask, How much do you charge? I don't know. For video. This is that, like one point. All of us were asking questions, and we wanted to know, like how to get better. So if you try to keep that open mindset and always be the student and avoid being the smartest person in the room. I feel like I don't work out really well for you if you're in different cities. I know some people don't live in New York, necessarily have different environments to play with, trying to make use of those relationships because, you know, in New York it's almost 9 10 million people that live here. It's impossible to meet every single one of us to live you within that you kind of have to be. You have to be able to be flexible and take pictures of different kind of people and be able to ask support units and not always be the creepy photographer guy that stands in the bag. Everything is always turned up 100% all the time. You can always be that guy. You have to be cool with stopping and looking at someone in the face and be like, Hey, you have an interesting face and take your picture. And most of times you know, sometimes people will say no. People shut you down sometimes, but a lot of times people will be able to generally tell a few genuine be able to say Yeah , sure, you know Why not? I don't mind having my picture taken with my video taking whatever. So that's just some of the things I want you guys to think about it. It's really cold outside. So if you guys are in cold weather, please hydrate where layers. I don't want anybody coming back to me and saying they froze death because I told him to hell, no, like, go outside. I feel like hold us like should get layers like hot hands gloves. Don't be coming back to me telling me that you froze If you in the Northeast and the Midwest break out so stay hydrated. Be smart. If you're in a neighborhood, you know, from be respectful. Keep your batteries charged. It's have some fun. Let 3. Shooting a Still Life Image: All right, So this point, you guys apart, asking yourselves like Yo got from what is a still life shot? And the answer is pretty broad for me personally, it's my favorite type of photography because you're able to show so many different types of people in Friday's lifestyle. That's basically what it is. It's a really broad type of photography, showcasing everything from construction workers on the street, people playing basketball, riding bikes or whatever. But you have to be able to showcase the lifeblood of your city. That's why it's easily the most difficult time target. I like to use a variety of stride buys people just running around doing their thing, and I like to be really low key about it. I like to be really discreet on. That showcases a real authenticity that a lot of people can't get. You got to be really good at sneaking up on people, sometimes doing kind of balls and things to get the shot. But it is often you get that one perfect moment. Phone is got started, use the phone useless. I got a lot of different examples that I could show you guys, but the one that I'll be submitting from my project is with me and Joe. You were crossing the Williamsburg Bridge on this guy just like, kind of pops up out of nowhere. He looks at me and he looks a job and he goes to get this bottle that was like behind the fence. It was mad, random, but like it was completely unannounced. It was it was special and that, you know, that's what I want to show When I'm talking about New York, that's my final image. 4. Shooting a Landscape Image: So the next time we have on the list is landscape photography. Now this is a little bit more difficult because being that from New York City is not really any quote unquote landscapes and nature photography, this is probably the most challenging type of photography to do. A lot of people don't get particularly excited about it. I don't think it's boring if you don't have trees or lakes or whatever. But I think it's one of the most exciting tops of photography that you can do, especially in New York, because with all the change that's going on, you know you have these buildings that have been around for hundreds of years getting knocked down into putting up all these condos and new buildings are going up every day. Shooting landscape photography help you capture all that change. It's going around. While it might not be the most exciting type of photography, you definitely have to have a sense of humor while you're out and about, because you might be sitting somewhere for like 5 to 10 minutes, waiting for the light to go in the right place or, you know, waiting for a person and got a shot, and I definitely think it's the most physically immensely demanding type of photography. But if you have the patients and you've developed like skills toe capture what you enjoy in those landscapes, the world is your oyster. You could really get any kind of shot one out of it. The difference between a landscape photo and a still life photo is, I would say, how close you get. So if you're doing a still life, you might be closed for shooting landscape you're most likely using 16 35 24 70. That and within landscapes. You also have architecture, which is a really exciting thing. That photograph and I've been really excited Teoh to develop my passion with that. This year's while shooting landscape Photography is actually how I got started working with Nike, and that ended up being what I start doing right now. So in a way that was kind of like my oh jeez, photography for my portion of this project, I used a basketball court that I took over in Chinatown. I found a lot of interesting light, balance and structures in the background, and I like the way that they juxtapose and kind of found self each other, and that's what I've decided to share for this portion of the project I love. 5. Shooting a Portrait: are you guys? So the last portion of this project also happened to be my favorite, and that was shooting Portrait. Why do you guys been asking me? How do I get the perfect street portrait? How do I come on toe? Strange that I might not know. It's really simple. It's a lot easier than people give credit for. Level with people is human. As an artist and creator, what inspired you are, what inspired what you're doing, Why you working? What's going on? And it's a lot easier than one might think. That's just the real way to get connected to people That's just going out and talking to them. And we live in a day and age where that doesn't exist anymore. So that's something I'd like to incorporate when I'm shooting my portrait coming from Brooklyn. There's so much change going on, and it's been catching a lot of flak over the past few years because of the people that have been coming in. They don't have anything necessarily offer because they haven't been do anything. So a lot of things that I've been tasking myself with is a Brooklynite is to finding those people who represent what I call the real Brooklyn people who have been through stuff people have been to the crazy times, the good and the bad. But at the end of the day, they're able to still come home, mingle and mix and still have a smile and a good attitude. And that's honestly the most inspiring thing that I've been able to do this year. Some of the best porch it's that I've ever gotten. We're not playing. People came up to me. They saw my camera and they wanted to actually what I was doing, You know, most of the times I'm walking around with a mask or with my headphones into myself. So when someone comes up and they say, Hey, I want to get your attention can you know t tell me a little bit about what you're doing. I take that is a great accomplishment and it's Ah, it's a big honor. It's good to talk to a nog, an original New Yorker like, especially from Brooklyn, that to me just mean so much. And it speaks to the soul in the grid of the city on what it comes down to is how can you connect to people. That's gonna be what separates you from the rest of the pack. There's a jillion photographers in New York. What's going to set you apart from the rest again for Portrait's? I got a lot of different examples. One I really want to show you guys is off. Keith and Hector, these two gentlemen we found right outside the Williamsburg Bridge. They came right up to us and they just saw the cameras. They were like, Yo, what's going on? We want to be a part of the documentary. And the most fun I've had probably the past couple of months was shooting too crazy guys underneath the bridge straight up. 6. Editing a Still Life Image: for my still life shot. I'm gonna use the image of the dude who was trying do was trying to get Arizona can from behind the Williamsburg fence. To me, it's it's representative of my style because it just came off is really natural, Like, you know, like you saw in the film. I don't Axum to stand there anything, you know, he took, like, a look at me. He saw myself and he saw Joe. He looked at us, and then you just kind of, like, went about, started doing his thing. So that's gonna be why I choose to use this one for my still life. Just because this represents to me What? What still life is so for this one. I'm just gonna jump in the one that I have here, Sam alive inspired. And if you've noticed the perspective on here is a little wonky, I'm gonna come over here in the transform, and I'm just gonna mess with horizontal lightly. Always. You want to try to get it as right as possible in the camera. But in the event that you don't, there are little tricks and tips you can use, and that's one of them. When you do transform tools, the skill gets a little bit messed up. So you'll need to zoom in and now, accordingly, to make sure that every part of your picture is in frame. So there we go. That looks a lot better and from the other is gonna mess with the colors. I'm gonna start cool and stuff for form and stuff up, and I opt for the cooler side on this one. I like the way that the red pops a little bit and normally I'll mess with my reds and don't make kind of orange. The blues should be pretty truth. I will keep it over on like the bluish purple, purple side, the shadows. I do want to bring out a little bit because it's starting. Get crushed down here a little bit too much, and I'm also gonna take out some of the grain. It's a little bit too much you don't wanna have accorded shot. It's just all about balance and keeping everything square away. So I'm gonna mess around with the blacks and the shadows a little bit. Just tweaking them very minute details my new changes. Until I get something, I'm happy with vibrance with that And then the last step will usually mess with always the fade Because you already know about that fade. Gonna try and see what our vignette will look like. You're just not too much, but just a little bit Just like 50 cents and a little bit more vibrance because I want some of the colors back in there and there we go. And if you're cropping for Instagram, I thank God you guys. Now you can have full res images, not full rise, but you don't have to post you know the crop eso you can if you want to do a square. If you're in cropping straightened, there's a tool that's under here that allows you to just straight out bomb. Pop it in the square. Some people like posting landscapes on people like posting a portrait mode, Whatever. I'm a fan of the portrait just because a little bit more in depth and it's a bit more so. That's usually what before the final 7. Editing a Landscape Image: I've got my image and I like the way it looks. It's it's straight. It's a good landscape photo. But this, you know, I don't know how I want to edit it really yet. So I'm gonna mess around with a couple of options first. And to do that, I'm going to make a couple of virtual copies. So there's one. There's too, and I like to make virtual copy of the original file. Just so I have no edits, and it's just the raw image by itself. Bring down the lights a little bit. They use this one, but warm it up A little. Good thing that I like to keep in mind is that you should never have to re replicate light . So, for example, this shot wasn't pointing directly into the light, so if I tried to make it to warm, it would look fabricated. If I made it to cold, it would look purple. It's all about having a good balance in the middle, and then I'll make one more. Maybe a black and white, and I'm just gonna tweet with ease just to see what I get. I usually like to give myself options and then pick from there like, which is the one that I'm gonna go with. I don't always do this, but for select shots that I have trouble editing with do this and usually gets me out of any kind of editing, right? I normally don't like editing black and white just should be used only for really specific images. And I don't feel like this is a good representation, Really. This one's a little bit more gloomy. A play with colors a little bit takes him saturation out quite like this one. Yeah. So I'm gonna not even mess with this one because I normally go like that first. Um, And from here, I'm gonna tweak, like, always, just really minute details. I don't see anything crazy in the highlights. There's, like some wispy conduct clouds that this might push the highlights a little bit just to meet those. And then as far as the shadows go, I kind of like already with levels are, um this photo was shot with the son of my back, So its already the shadows were extremely dramatic. And I don't want to add too much to it for the sake of it being inauthentic to the shot. Similar to how you know this crazy temperature wouldn't look right to the shot. It's not appropriate. I might warm it up just to some Midge. Leave it at that. And I like the way that college represented here specifically like the orange break, the kind of plays out in the background. I might mess around with this a little bit with saturation. I do like the blue in here, but it's a little much. So I took the saturation down. That and if anything, a little bit of that. Once again, I'm just gonna go down to the grain. Just take it all out For the first little bit of his editing, I might put it out a little bit more towards the end, but at least starting up front. It's too much grain. I don't want to look at it. Bring up the fade on my tone curve. If you notice I have five points set up pretty evenly. Basically, what these do is is from your blacks to your shadows and then from your mid tones to your highlights in your white. So this is basically just a linear point of this right here, So highlight shadows, whites and blacks. This basically controls the same thing, but it just gives a little bit more three D control. Rather than just moving a slider, you can actually strategically move where you want you like to be focused at. I don't want I don't want too much crushing in the blacks because it's, you know, like the lower half of this images is pretty dark, etc. So I'm gonna leave that I'm gonna mess with the shadows. Lately, I've been kind of going for the red orange kind of mood, so I might just with that play with shadows a bit, not bring out the blacks too much. Let's see normally adjust based on, like a scale. So I want my shadows and blacks to be in the same place sometimes Same thing for the highlights and wise. I don't want these to be too far apart from each other because and it starts getting out of control. Normally, I'll have my shadows a little bit lower than blacks and then highlights a little bit higher than whites. Once again, it's different for everybody. So use what's appropriate and when a mess with the vibrance a tad I might mess with a vignette. Let's see what we get natural to dramatic. I want to leave it more flat and then I'll just migraine. Go to the darkest point of the image and I adjust appropriately to make sure it's not overkill. So it, you know, from looking at this image here, you can clearly see that the darkest parts of the image are down here towards the bottom. So I'm gonna go to wear over. This car is right here, and I'm just gonna mess with the grain. And I'm just gonna look at how it affects that lower part of the image. I'm gonna leave it it 25 zoom back out and look at the brightest part of my image, which for this it seems to be right in the middle, which is just back for it. It looks like that's a reasonable amount of grain. It's not too much, but it still gives like that vintage old school. I kind of do the right thing vibe. Straighten this out. Maybe a tad and yeah, that's that's about it. To count all the windows and to see how many people are living in that it's a cool little exercises. Do just toe give you a sense of scale. How big New York City really is makes you appreciate it more, really, especially if your photographer you definitely have to respect the sense of scale that you get from from shots like this and from scenes like this. 8. Editing a Portrait: All right. So once you bring your final portrait into light room, I got a lot of examples, but this is my favorite one that I'm going to share with you guys, the two gentlemen that were in the video a little bit earlier. I want to strain everything out first and just make sure the images straight and everything is clean before I go in first. Not too much crap in the background. And I want to get my lighting under control first before at any colors. And so I like the way the light looks already. I'm gonna try to warm it up a little bit mess, with contrast is well, and I'm just gonna look and see what needs to be cleaned up in the shot. So I want my shadows that come down a little bit. I don't want them to bright, but I also don't want them to dark. And once my light is good, I'm gonna apply some coloring to it. So I'm gonna put a preset that I've developed. It's a little warm, but there's a little bit too much grain in it. So before taking the grain out, I'm just gonna make sure my temperatures in order take all the grain out And now I'm ready to mess with my life Now that I've got the clean image that I want I don't want it to yellow because the yellow that's on this preset is almost like a pink orange. So I've got to change my Hughes So that means my orange and my yellow I got to figure out what temperature looks responsible for the image. You don't want it looking out in appropriate for for the shot. Skin tones usually come out as born. So I'm gonna mess with those first and, you know, bump around saturation mess with luminess a little bit. I want to make sure my Hughes for my saturation and luminess air all in order, and then I'll start to slap on some shadowing colors. I'm gonna go with something that's a little bit more warm, that I'm going to jump into the tone curve and flatten that out a little bit. Flatten out the blacks and I'm gonna take a couple of tweaks out as well. This image still is missing something, so I'm gonna go ahead and make a virtual copy and go to my first image and maybe look a color temperature and it looks a little bit more realistic compared to the one I have now. So I'm gonna go ahead and cool it off a little bit with the temperature, it's a little warm, so I'm gonna put it right in the sweet spot a little closer to blue and right on that balance, I'm gonna take the light down again because I've cooled off my shot so I don't need to have as much exposure mess with the blacks and the shadows. The tone curve is exactly where I needed to be. And from here, I'm just gonna mess with vibrance and saturation until all the colors look perfect to me. And then I'll also go back on my bump my shadows a little bit. I don't want to have it too high, because again it'll look inauthentic. And men a last stop. All put, I put my proper amount of grain in that I want. And for this one, I also want to be a little bit more dramatic with image. So, Alvin, yet just a time not too much because it doesn't look real fresh. And I'm going to tweet the grand again, getting that sweet spot. I don't want to have too much grain in this shot. I want my amount of grain to be a bit on the lower side. I still don't like the way the oranges and yellows looks. I'm gonna mess with the saturation back there a little bit. Those trees that are out in the back, I don't like the way they look. I'm just gonna mess with those just a tad and get into that sweet spot. It's a little too yellow. I want to take the saturation down And Lou minutes. Like I said earlier, it makes every color closer the white. So a bump of that as well And blue is my favorite color to mess with. So I'm gonna play with that as well. I'm gonna put a bit more on the aqua side, a little bit more tingey to it. It's a little bit more realistic Field to me. Straighten it out and crop it and I'm ready to go. There's a final image. Babies and 9. Final Thoughts and Closing: from class one and two to those you guys who have been since the beginning on Instagram Tumblr 500 PX all over across the other platforms that I've been on Thank you so much for sticking to all of this out of really awesome time filming this and showing you guys how I do what I do. And I hope you guys were able to pick up on something and hopefully learn something. Maybe you tell your friends I definitely want this to be a learning experience for everybody. I'm always learning, and I'm always trying to get back. And this is this one way that I've been able to do that and definitely a way that I hope to continue to do so in the future. If photography has taught me anything, it's always been to keep your head up. Stay positive, developed from the negatives as cliches that sounds. Keep your head up, guys. If it doesn't seem like it's working for you, keep working on it, I promise. Sooner or later, the hard work will pay off. Who knows? You might see me running around in the streets one day. Who knows? Thank you very much for taking this Class C on the field