Beyond The Selfie: Artistic iPhone Portraiture | Alexander Fox | Skillshare

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Beyond The Selfie: Artistic iPhone Portraiture

teacher avatar Alexander Fox

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

11 Lessons (12m)
    • 1. 01 Intro

    • 2. 02 Attributes of Light

    • 3. 03 Strength

    • 4. 04 Diffusion

    • 5. 05 Direction

    • 6. 06 Color

    • 7. 07 Lighting Design

    • 8. 08 Three Point Lighting

    • 9. 09 Background

    • 10. 10 Post Processing

    • 11. 11 Conclusion

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About This Class

In this class, you'll learn how to use professional photography techniques to take fantastic photos with your cel phone camera!


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1. 01 Intro: welcome to beyond the selfie artistic iPhone portraiture. I'm Alix Fox. I've been doing professional photography and video production for close to 20 years. In other classes, I'll talk about how to use DSLR cameras like this, but today I want to teach you some professional photography techniques that you can use with the camera on your cell phone. We'll start off with an exploration of the key principles of photographic lighting. Then I'll share some quick tips on backgrounds and composition. Finally, I'll walk you through how to use your phone's built in photo editing features, so you're not limited to the built in filters. Your assignment for this class is to do a before and after portrait either of yourself or somebody else. Right now, before you've watched any of the lessons, go ahead and do your before portrait. Then when you finish the class, you're gonna go back, use the techniques you've learned and to a dramatically better version of the same image 2. 02 Attributes of Light: lighting. Lighting is the key to photography and cinematography. It's a big part of the reason why professional photos look different from amateur ones. Understanding the basic attributes of light and using them to your advantage will make a huge difference in your images. There are four basic attributes of light strength, diffusion, directionality and color. Understand any one of these things and your pictures will be a little better. Understand all four of them and they'll be dramatically better. Let's look at some examples. 3. 03 Strength: strength can also be called brightness. Although that term could be misleading. There are ways to measure how strong a light sources. But the main thing you need to understand is that the strength of a light source is largely determined by how far away it is and low light situations. You're going to get a better image if you get close to whatever light source there is, the closer the better. Even tiny lights can give you a very attractive image if you're close enough because phone cameras don't give you a lot of manual control, the more you can balance the brightness of your foreground in your background, the easier it'll be to get a great shot. 4. 04 Diffusion: diffusion or speculate, or ITI, is how hard or soft a light sources. It's actually defined by how large lighters small, hard light sources like lightbulbs and the sun on a clear day cast shadows with sharp edges . Softer light sources, like lamps with lamp shades of the sky on a cloudy day cast shadows with fuzzy edges. Generally speaking, softer light sources are more flattering and harder light. Sources are more dramatic. One of the most challenging environments for photography is harsh. Midday sun. The overhead light gives you a glowing forehead and nose and puts your eyes and mouth into dark pits. Not a great look. The solution to this is to get under some kind of cover. It could be a tree, or it could be the shadow of a building this way. Instead of being lit by the direct rays of the sun, you're being led by the indirect light that's bouncing off everything else around you. That's much softer, much more diffused. 5. 05 Direction: directionality. The angle of the light is shining on you is arguably the most important and most misunderstood aspect of lighting. If you look a great paintings, great photos or great movies, you'll notice that the light almost never comes directly from the front front. Lighting is what you get from the built in flash, and it gives you a deer in the headlights look that screams. Rookie, what direction you want your life to come from has a lot to do with what kind of mood you're trying to create in your image. Light from blower behind looks artsy but could be hard to control. Light from the side is used often in movies because it looks pretty natural and accentuates facial structure. The most common angle is about 3/4 from the front and slightly above eye level. This creates the Rembrandt Triangle on the shadow side cheek, which is a very classic look with hard, light and contemporary with soft light 6. 06 Color: color. This is a complex topic. But the main thing you need to understand is the different light. Sources don't necessarily work well together. Daylight looks blue compared to most artificial light. This can work well, but you have to be careful. 7. 07 Lighting Design: lighting design. Throughout this course, I've been talking about how to work with available light, whether it's from the sun or artificial sources, However, ah, whole different world opens up when you talk about lighting design that is setting up lamps specifically to illuminate your image. There are pros and cons toe letting design You're not limited to the available light. Setting up lights means you don't have to work with whatever light already exists in the location. For example, if you're in an office that has ugly fluorescent light fixtures, you can simply shut them off and set up your own lamps. Creative control If you want to go for a particular look like high fashion or old Hollywood or vocus specific tone like scary or romantic, you can do that through lighting design because you control the four attributes of light strength, diffusion direction and color. Greater opportunities. Ah, lot of locations, for example, old buildings or a park at night look really cool, but have insufficient elimination for a decent image, especially if you're working with the camera on your phone. Being able to bring your own lamps means you can shoot photos in places you otherwise wouldn't be able to bulky. The advantage of cell phone photography is that you already have the camera with you. If you're going to start carrying around lamps, you probably want to use the more sophisticated camera to. This is absolutely not a bad thing, but it does start to veer off from the topic of this course cost. While you don't need expensive professional lights, even a cheap led lamp costs something in a moment. I'll talk about lighting modifiers, which are things you put in front of the light to change the diffusion or color D I. Y goes a long way here, but the point is that it's easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of by a lighting here. Once you start power supply, a lot of the locations you'd use lights in are the same locations where you can't plug something in. This means air using battery powered lights, which means you have to keep track of your batteries, keep them charged and carry them around. Not a big deal, but it is one more moving part. Basic lighting design. The key to using inexpensive lamp is understanding that the light it provides is a raw ingredient, not a finished product. Justus flour and sugar need to be combined with other ingredients to make cake. Raw light needs to be used in the right proportions and combined with lighting modifiers to make a tasty image. Lighting design could easily be a whole series of courses, but let's briefly explore the most traditional set up, which is gold three point lighting. 8. 08 Three Point Lighting: three point lighting is a technique that was developed primarily for movies, but the same terms and principles are used in still photography. Key light The key light is the main source of elimination. For your subject, you might have a dozen lamps, but the main one is the key. This is usually, but not always the strongest light you're working with. I noticed that the key light illuminates the eye and cheek bone on the shadows side of the model. This is what I referred to earlier is the Rembrandt Triangle, because the painter used it in many of his portrait. It's, I mentioned lighting modifiers. This could be anything you used to soften or adjust the texture of light for example, a shower curtain or a dedicated lighting umbrella shining the key light through a silk. In this case, a diffusion panel from a six and one reflector kit provides a much softer, more contemporary light. Fill light, as we discussed earlier. Most good lighting does not come directly from the front. This means that the key light will cast shadows, especially if it's a hard source. Remember that hard lights cast dark shadows with sharp edges, depending on the look you're going for. Those shadows might be too much, so you can use a fill light to fill or lighten them up a bit. If you would use just a fill light, you'd see that by itself. It does not cast enough light to illuminate the subject. Its function is to fill the key lights shadow with light. How much you feel them depends on the aesthetics of the shot. It's a good idea to soften your fell light. In this case, I've used a small umbrella to avoid casting shadows with it. Backlight. A strong backlight completes the classic three point leading set up 90% of the shots in mainstream movies. Use some variation of this three point lighting design. Now effective use of back light is one of the things that separates professionals from amateurs in the traditional Hollywood style. A back line is also called a hair light because it shines on the back of the subject's head , giving their hair a bright, defined edge that visually separates them from the background. This is particularly useful if you're shooting in a dark area with a key light that creates softer shadows. It's quite common to dispense with the fill light and simply apparent with a backlight. This is a very popular lighting design for episodic television because it's relatively simple and fast to set up and usually looks good. Adding a fill light creates a very lush effect that visually reinforces the lighter mood of romances comedies. A few final thoughts terminology is useful, even if you don't plan on buying lights. Thinking in terms of key, Phil and backlight can help you to evaluate the available illumination in any situation. For example, if you're shooting outside, you can use a piece of white foam board to bounce light into the shadows for Phil Watch for examples. When you're watching movies or looking at images you like, try to figure out how they were lit. SoftKey from the side Hard key from above. There are no rules in lighting design, and even with fairly simple set ups, there are almost infinite variations 9. 09 Background: composition in background or big subjects. So here, just a few quick tips. If your background doesn't have a whole lot going on, putting your subject off center can be an easy way to add interest. Often, when people seeing interesting texture, they try to get directly in front of it. Try shooting at an angle or moving farther away. Instead, your subject doesn't always have to look directly at the camera. When they look off to the side, leave a little bit more room in the direction they're looking. Amateurs tend to put people's heads in the center of the image. This is usually too much head room trying upto leave more than two fingers with of space above the subject's head because of the distortion that happens when you tilt the lens on a phone camera, it may be better to crop it when you process 10. 10 Post Processing: depending on your phone software, the interface might be a little different, but you're generally going to have the option of adjusting darks, shadows and highlights. They might not be called darks, shadows and highlights, but there will be controls that adjust those portions of the image on an image with low contrast so that everything looks sort of cloudy. You can pull the shadows down to give it punch on the image. With high contrast, you can pull the shadows up to reveal more detail. If this makes him look, cloudy, pulled the darks down. Once you have the tones the way you want them, you can adjust your color. There will usually be a way to adjust the color balance from or orange, two more blue and a saturation adjustment that brings the intensity of the colors up and down. Turning the saturation down a bit and adjusting the color cast A little cooler towards blue will often give you an image that doesn't look like a typical phone photo. Don't be intimidated by post processing. The more time you spend with it, the more control you'll have over the final look of your average is 11. 11 Conclusion: Well, that's it. I hope this has been useful for you. Leave a comment and let me know what you liked and what you didn't like. And don't forget to take what you've learned and use it for your after photo, then post the before and after photos in the your project section. Thanks for watching and see you next time.