Creative Photography Techniques For Your Smart Phone Or DSLR | Amanda Creek | Skillshare

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Creative Photography Techniques For Your Smart Phone Or DSLR

teacher avatar Amanda Creek, Photographer, Designer & Biz Coach ☕

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 (22m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Your Class Project

    • 3. Shooting Through Things

    • 4. Using Reflective Items

    • 5. Placing Things In Front of the Lens

    • 6. Shooting With Detached Lenses

    • 7. Shooting With Reversed Lenses

    • 8. Adding In Additional Light

    • 9. Closing Remarks

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About This Class

Welcome to Creative Photography Techniques For Your Smart Phone or DSLR! 

Use the creative techniques inside this class to make your photos for Instagram or other platforms interesting and unique. The creative techniques covered are: Shooting through things like plastic wrappers, using reflective items, placing things in front of the lens, shooting with detached lenses, shooting with reversed lenses, and adding in additional lights.




Join my 30-Day Photography Challenge and try these techniques and more over the course of 30 days:

Meet Your Teacher

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Amanda Creek

Photographer, Designer & Biz Coach ☕


Hi there, creative friend! 

I'm so happy you're here on Skillshare (and that you've stopped by my profile). Learning is one of my absolute favorite things, as I imagine it is for you too. 

As a teacher here on Skillshare, it is my ambition to create practical classes that grow your skills and knowledge. Currently, my classes are all geared towards teaching you how to use photography for your Brand and business, but be on the lookout for some other fun classes coming soon.

I'm always eager to hear from my students so head on over to Instagram and send me a DM if you have a question or want to connect.

Happy learning!


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1. Intro: photography can be a fun, creative endeavor in this class. It is my mission to show you how you can kind of think outside the box and do some fun things to jazz up your photography and make it more interesting. I'll show you several techniques that you can use with things that you have laying around your house or with just how you approach photographing your subject. This class is aimed to help beginners or people who are really of all levels who have never tried these various creative techniques. If you are a person who loves photography and you're just trying to find something new and creative to Dio, then this is a class for you. My name is Amanda, and I've been a photographer for nearly 20 years. Photography. For me, A has always been a fun thing and away Teoh be creative and to find some joy and peace in my life. So I hope that this class will help you to do the same. Teoh. Just get out there and have fun with photography and be creative. So come join me in class and will be creative together with photography 2. Your Class Project: Let's talk about your class project for this class. You're just going to take a photo where you use either one of these techniques, or you can try to combine a couple of the techniques. So let's say you decide that you're going to work with adding in additional lights to your photograph. That could be a photo. Or you could use depth of field with additional lights so you can decide how you want to approach the project, whichever one that you really thought was fine and unique or that you've never tried before and give it a shot. And I would love to see you post the project inside the project section. That way I can give you feedback and everybody else can see kind of what you're working on . So make sure you do that, and I can't wait to see what you create 3. Shooting Through Things: first up, let's talk about shooting through things. There are several things that you can try to shoot through, but I want you to think of something that you can shoot through that is probably clear. It could have a color to it, but you could shoot through a thin piece of plastic like a plastic wrapper like I did here . And what you can do is shoot through something like that and see kind of how it goes. So that last photo that I shot, I shot through this rapper that is a wrapper for a toy. Magnifying glass even also shoot through. Plants are foliage, so if you are taking a photo and you see like there is a tree hanging down and you want to get something kind of far off in the background but have the tree hanging in front, that's always a pretty way to frame a photo. Here. You can see I'm doing the same type of thing with this rose or whatever kind of flower that it iss, and you can see that that is kind of blurred in the foreground, and the statue in the back is in focus. I did this purposefully. I wanted to make sure that the flowers in the foreground were blurred and that the statue was in focus. And what this conduce is, add some visual interest and give more context as to what's going on within the rest of the location. Instead of just going up and taking a shot of the statue, I'm giving you more details by adding that in, and it also is kind of a neat way. Teoh compose the image where the flower is kind of blocking out some of that empty space, so there's not so much empty space, and it's giving a little bit more to the story. Typically, you'll have more success if you shoot. There's something that's thinner, as opposed to something that's thick, like this magnifying glass now on Lee was this magnifying glass thick, but it also had a distortion to it, So it's supposed to magnify, and it's a toy magnifying glass and so trying it in front of my lens, it didn't work in any way. It just made the image blurry. So you contest things out like this, and it may not always work, but it's worth trying. Doing this shooting through things. It will work with both your phone or your DSLR, though it might be more challenging to focus the camera on your phone. What you want to do is press and hold the E A F flock to focus the item that you want to be in focus so you just press and you hold down until you see e slash f show up on your screen . Then you place the plastic items of the plastic wrapper in front of your lens. Then you take the picture. Sometimes the A F lock might still go out like if you accidentally hit the screen. But as long as you're not gonna hit the screen, you should be fine, and it will take the picture for you, so you'll have to make sure that you do this to focus at first. Otherwise, your phone might be confused as to what to focus on, and it might show the thing in the background as blurry when that's really what you want to have in focus. So that's it for this video, and I'll see you in the next one 4. Using Reflective Items: in this video, I'm introducing you to the creative technique of using reflective items in your photos. So here's what you can try. You can try crystal prisms, which make really beautiful photographs, as you can see here. And what you do is you hold this crystal item up to your lens so to the lens of your phone or to the lens of your DSLR camera and you hold it up fairly close, like almost on top of it. And really, you want to make sure that you're looking through the lens so you can kind of see what it looks like, and you'll need to move it around to get the look that you desire. So here the prism is picking up the reflection of the window that is over my right shoulder . And I thought that turned out really interesting and it was really pretty. So I decided that that was one of my favorites. And then here you can see this is what the prism is. So it's a crystal prism of a now all that I just have setting on my desk, and I thought that it would be fun to kind of use and here on the right. You can see that I've moved this prism around. So it's kind of where the head and the body meat. Here, you can see where the top part is the head and the bottom part is the body. And I liked this because it kind of framed the flower. So that's kind of making like a round shape around the flower. And I thought that was pretty interesting. Here. You can see kind of the difference between using this reflective item with my DSLR as opposed Teoh my iPhone. So on the left is the DSLR On the right is iPhone. I'm using the same prism, but I'm holding it differently in each of them. Eso in the one on the left. I have the present on the left and the one on the right. I have for them on the right, and they're just giving different types of reflections according to how I'm like positioning this owl next to my lens. So the one on the right, you know, the quality is not quite the same, but it's still kind of an interesting picture, so it actually gives the reflection of the trees outside and It kind of gives this motion to the picture that wouldn't be there if I did not have this prism up to the lens. So some other items that you might want to try our mirrors, CDs, anything that has a shiny surface would work. I even tried the top of my perfume, Bottle said. This is the top right here. The cap of my perfume bottle is kind of pinkish purple, and it has that reflective quality. And so I did try this in some photos, but I ended up liking it with another one of the creative techniques. So I will talk about this later on, but you can use something like this as well, so you'll just want to try different things and see what you come up with. So that's it, and I'll see you in the next video. 5. Placing Things In Front of the Lens: The creative technique we're going to talk about in this video is placing things in front of the lens. So here's what you can try so you can try, for instance, placing flowers in front of the lens of your camera or phone. This photo is actually taken with my iPhone seven plus, and they put two flowers in front of the lens, and I had kind of them in each hand and had Teoh use my thumbs to focus. And then I had Teoh use the volume button on the side. Actually, take the photo so you'll have to determine if you can do that with your particular phone. But I kind of had Teoh be creative with this. It would have probably worked easier if I had had my phone on a tripod because I just had so much that I was hanging on to. So I used to flowers. You might just try it with one, and that would definitely make it easier. But you would not have the same effect where it's kind of filling the whole bottom of the frame here, and you have to again hold the flowers right up to the lens to make it work, right? If you don't hold it up to the lens, then it won't be blurred out like this. It will look like a little blob of color. And you want to make sure that you try to get it. Teoh be a little bit blurrier. So that's why you have to hold it so close here, you can see that I am again using something here to the side. This is another iPhone photo, and any object can really work. If it has some sort of shimmer that might look interesting or something off color, that might be neat. This is a little knob for a dresser that I used in this photo, and it created some really neat colors on the edge of the photo that I took here. So you can see it has kind of like a blue and a green and a pink, and I thought that would be interesting. Here's another example of the same knob where is showing more of that blue and purple instead of the pink and greens. So I like to do this a lot, actually. And you can see here that I have on the left another flower that's placed in the photo on the lens, and this again is an iPhone photo, the one on the right. I'm using that cap of the perfume bottle that I talked about in the last video, and it's actually picking up a reflection from a candle that I have lit that is kind of down below me. And then I'm also using two things here. So I have that cap to my perfume bottle. I'm using that rapper of the magnifying glass. So I'm combining these two things together to get this unique look here, which is something that you can dio you can try to do more than one thing want more than one of these creative techniques, combining them together to get a unique look. And here you can see that it has, like this flare on the left side, and then it has kind of like a smoky look and that was created by combining those two things. So that's it. I want you to try to place different things in front of the lens. You'll have different results according to what you try to place in front of the lens, and you can try Teoh hold it out a little bit further if you have a DSLR. Not too far, where we're going to see your hands, your fingers and what not but a little bit farther. Not like right upon the lens like you would on your mobile phone. So that's it for this video. I'll see you in the next one. 6. Shooting With Detached Lenses: This creative technique is shooting with a detached lens or detached lenses because you can try this with different lenses, so you have an older DSLR like I have. You can try to take off your lens while your cameras on, which might freak you out a little bit. But it it will be okay as long as it's a camera that you don't mind getting dust in it because that could happen with this technique. So make sure that you are using a older DSLR. If you do, try this. But what this will do is it will let in more light, and it'll give you a soft focus or even out of focus, which is sometimes okay. It just depends on what you're using the photo for or what effect that you're going for. So this can give a dreamy quality to your photos and again if you don't want to need dust to get into your camera. This method is not recommended for you, but you just hold the lens off your camera just slightly so you don't hold it far off. You just hold it off so that it's right next to the camera body and that will help you to achieve this technique. Here is another photo that I took with the same technique. Different lenses can lead to different results, so you'll want to testing. Experiment with those and see what you come up with. So if you have ah, lens, that is a 24 millimeter, you'll have a different result with that lens than you will with a 50 millimeter. So you'll want to try this out and see kind of what you can come up with. I also have another one here that I did the same thing with, and this is like the cob web of a spider. And there's some little dewdrops on it, which I found to be really interesting. I do want to say that you can achieve this with an iPhone, but you have to purchase the lenses that go with an iPhone or a mobile phone, and you can get them on Amazon, and you just have to search for your particular phone and then put in ah lens kit and you'll come up with some results for what you can use with your camera. And it can be fairly cheap, as compared to if you were to purchase Ah, lens for a DSLR. So a lens for a DSLR would be more like 150 for the cheap end. I mean, they can get up Teoh thousands of dollars, whereas the lens for your phone, it can be 10 15 2030. So you might give this a try. This is kind of what I had. As a result, with the detached lens, I actually don't have the clip that you're supposed to put the lens in. So the only way I was able to achieve any photos with the lens has was to have it detached . And this is what was the result. So you can try this and see what you come up with and how fun with it. I'll see you in the next video. 7. Shooting With Reversed Lenses: in this particular creative technique video. We're going to talk about something similar to the last one, and that is shooting with reverse lenses so your lens would still be apart from your camera body. So again, I want you Teoh, make sure that you're not using a DSLR that's brand new that you don't want to get any dust in. Still, if it's something that's really expensive and something that you want to keep nice, make sure you don't use this technique. This is a great technique to do with an older DSLR. So here's what you can try. You can take the lens off while the cameras on and flip it around. So you put it right up to the camera body where the lens is supposed to be and you're just flipping it around. So you're making like a makeshift Mac Rowlands, and it can be extremely difficult, actually, to get the items in focus. And it can, you know, be just like a little fraction of movement that will make the whole photo blurry. So this is one that is a little bit more interesting to try, and you may like the resulting. You may not like the results. But the lack of focus to me is sort of the beauty of reversing your lang lens, and it kind of gives this really blurry. Where there's Onley, a sliver of something in focus again. Do this only with an older DSLR that you're not worried about getting dust on the lens or inside of the camera. You can also do this with your phone again, but you need Teoh have the lenses that I mentioned in the last video. Like I said, these air fairly inexpensive. I got mine for $15. I got the kit that only has two lenses and I purchase it from Amazon. You can buy one that is 25 to $30 it will probably come with more lenses so you can try out and have more fun. I wanted to show you here, though, that the result here and doing this was that the first photo. Actually, you can see the lens because of how the lenses shaped. You can see that black circle around, and you have to crop in to get the desired photo here on the right, so you will have to do a little bit of editing in order for this to work with your iPhone, but you can try this and it'll allow you to get up a little bit closer. And then it will also give you that kind of dreamy quality that you probably cannot get with just using your camera phone the way that it comes. 8. Adding In Additional Light: One of my absolute favorite creative techniques for photography is to add in additional light, and you can do ah lot of things with this so you can use Christmas lights, twinkle, lights, candles, whatever you want to try. There's a whole bunch of different things that you can try. You can have a lamp on in the background. Whatever it is that you have for additional light, you can add it into the photo and see what results you have. You can add a light in the background and in the foreground like I have here. So in the background I have Christmas lights and they're kind of shining up behind the flower there, shining up underneath the book. But I also have twinkle lights that I'm holding up to the lens, and it's giving those big round circles that you see, and I just think it makes it kind of magical. So the results are definitely much better with a DSLR when you try this technique. But it can be good at to experiment with the lights with your phone as well, and they want to show you kind of the difference here. So on the left, you see, this is a photo that's done with my DSLR. Where is on the right? This photo is done with my iPhone and you can see here on the right hand side, you've got the lights showing here. It doesn't blur out the light in the one on the right as much as the one on the left. And that's just because the lens is different on the iPhone and it doesn't allow you to have as much of that depth. So you can see here that it looks kind of a little small, and it's not as bright and vibrant, but it still makes for an interesting picture. Here are a couple of other different photos from different angles where you can see the one on the left. I'm using the light in the background with the Christmas lights behind the bottle, and then I also have the lights up to the lens of the camera to give those really big circles that I think are really pretty. And then the one on the right. I actually only have the lights in the background so you can use lights in the background lights in the foreground, or you can do both. Here are some more examples. I am still using both of the lights in the foreground and lights in the background here and then here you can see that I'm trying to do the same thing with my iPhone. So the one before was with my DSLR. This is with my iPhone and you can see that the results are not the same, but they are quite interesting in my opinion. And I think it's something that you can explore and have fun with. 9. Closing Remarks: I want to thank you so much for taking this class on creative photography techniques. This is a great class to go along with many of my other classes that have created here on skill share. So be sure to check those other classes out. And I would love for you to follow me here on skill share. Just go over to my profile and click follow, and that way you'll be updated whenever I release a new class. You can also follow me on Instagram. My handle is at Amanda Underscore Creek. I wish you all the success with your photography endeavors and I will see you in the next class.