Mini-Class: Urban Explorer Photography: Shooting the Forgotten + The Familiar | Cubby Graham | Skillshare

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Mini-Class: Urban Explorer Photography: Shooting the Forgotten + The Familiar

teacher avatar Cubby Graham, New York Based Explorer

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

3 Lessons (17m)
    • 1. Photo Essentials Toolbox

    • 2. Photo Exploration Toolbox

    • 3. Photo Execution and Post-Processing Toolbox

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About This Class


In a world where nearly everyone has access to a camera, typically a mobile device, it's important to learn how to best capture the special moments in life. 

Everyday we have a remarkable opportunity to interact with beautiful places, significant moments, and special people. Those moments are worth being captured in a beautiful way. In a culture that is incredibly driven and fast paced, it's important to learn how to pause and capture the world we see everyday in a special way. 

What you'll learn
As a student of this learning experience you will explore the challenges and exciting opportunities to capture the undiscovered and the familiar in a radtastic new way. 

The content of this learning experience will be broken down into the following three online classes: 

  • Photo Essentials Toolbox
  • Photo Exploration Toolbox
  • Photo Execution and Post Processing Toolbox


Who this class is for
This class is for those eager to learn about the exciting fundamentals of photography & how we can apply them into new environments regardless of your level of experience or where you live.  


What you'll make 
Students will be challenged to utilize their cameras, specifically their mobile devices, to explore, capture, and create unique and beautiful images. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Cubby Graham

New York Based Explorer


I'm a New York Based Explorer, and am on the creative team at charity: water. You can see more of my work on Instagram.

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1. Photo Essentials Toolbox: Hey, thank you so much for joining us. This is part one of urban Frontier photography on and during the segment, we're gonna be talking about some of the essentials. First thing that I really want to talk about is how important lighting is. Lighting is something that is very essential, especially for someone someone like me or good chance. Someone like you wanted to take photos with your mobile device. They often don't photograph very well in low light. I really enjoy going out in the mornings. Onda. Also in the evenings during the golden hour when the lighting's best, you have to be careful with lighting. Ah, lot of times if you're photographing people, light often tends Teoh blowout people's skin tones with mobile devices. There's often ah, built in flash, which is kind of hard to use, in my opinion, to to really capture an image in the way that I that I like you really have to tow hunt for good light. So a couple of tips that I have for you maybe, if you are shooting during the day, or if there is an opportunity to shoot at night there a couple of different ways that I've discovered and friends of shared with me that, um that makes shooting in this kind of harsh environments a little bit easier. There is an app called Visco VSE Oh, that allows you to put two fingers on the screen and you'll be able to select your exposure and your focus on DSO. It's really nice and situations where there there may be a difficult lighting situation and trying Teoh tappin and focus on bond. Get the correct exposure on your mobile device. Just with one one tap is kind of difficult, so it's nice to be able to actually move those different elements around on. Be ableto expose, expose the shot as well as choose your focus point. I'll often exposed, like to my hand on all locked exposure, sometimes all exposed to the sky, and then pull it down and shoot it or the opposite all exposed to the ground. And then on Ben, pull it up in capture. My subject. Shooting at night is a little bit more difficult. Um, just cause the sensor on a mobile device, eyes so limited, and it's one of the biggest challenges with photography is how cameras can perform in low light situations that there's an app called Nightcap, which controls the eso and allows you to shoot at low light situations. You just have to be really mindful of motion. Another app that I really enjoy using that actually use a lot during the day as well. With movement is a nap called average Cam Pro. Um, basically, what it does is it captures multiple exposures over a certain amount of time. You can select eight photos you can select 16 although wept like 120 images on a basically like takes. All those images, and it layers them all together. And what I found is using the app at night. Not only can you get really beautiful motion if you you're capturing light moving, whether it's it's cars or UM, or just street lights or some person walking or moving. But what it also does is it reduces that amount of the amount of noise that is found in the shot amount of green. So the next thing that I like to share with you is is about composition. There's, ah, tradition of the rule of thirds when composing your shot and what's really nifty about using mobile devices these days is, it often helps you, um, composure shot into thirds. There's now a grid that you can utilize some of the things that I really look for in in when I'm composing shots is often something that's referred to as leading life. I really enjoy things that point to my subjects, whether that's a Bridge Street, that, uh, the way that it pulls the attention and it pulls the viewer and the person's eye to that subject. So another really important part of of capturing an image is identifying your subject subjects really important. You know, when people see this image, what what are they gonna be drawn to? You know, when I'm out exploring around around New Yorker or any other city that I'm in or even out in the middle of nowhere, you have to look for things that that just they catch my eye, they stand out. Cropping is another really important element that we have Teoh take into consideration, and so often, when I am taking a photograph, I'll think through the lens of what will this image look like? Um, cropped into a square? If your end result is going to be an environment like Instagram. So another part of the essentials of photography is your exposure Sometimes a I like Teoh under expose my shots, Um, and also overexposed my shots and experiment a little bit of that on DSI. See what it does. Sometimes if you overexpose your shot, you're gonna lose a lot of dynamic. You're gonna lose a lot of your color. Um, and your image could be really blown out in spots. So some tools for exposure that I would encourage you to check out um, Visco came has a really amazing tool that you're actually able to select your exposure and your focus to different points on the screen. And so So it's really nice when you're trying to compose a shot, and you really want your focus to be on your subject. But you want your exposure, Teoh. True if like, something a little bit brighter, a little bit darker. Visco also has another tool built in that they just released called skin tone. A lot of times, when you're shooting and exploring different exposures, it will affect the skin tone of people individuals that may be in your shot on dso uh the skin tone tool actually enables you to be able to shift in and change the skin tone, um, of of your subject and but yet not affect the rest of the image. So another really important element is choosing your focus. Figure out where your focus points going to be what you're focusing on. If you're wanting Teoh, take a portrait of someone you might want to ensure that the focus is is locked on individual instead of the building behind them s. So it's really important when, when working with your subject to ensure that you are actually focused on what you're wanting to to be clear in the shot. There are a lot of people out there that are really experimental with their focus and can really create some really beautiful images, which I highly encourage. You thio, Thio, explore warn you what that could look like sometimes blurring out different different images could be a really beautiful way to expose different lights. A few weeks ago, I posted it on image where I had had two individuals on either side of this tree and actually focused on the tree itself. So playing with exposure and playing with focus and and those different elements really can make for really interesting image and really beautiful images. Wallet. So now I want to encourage you to get out in practice. Some of these techniques play with lighting exposure. Um, focus cropping on and different, different ways to work with your subject. Get out and really explore some. These techniques take some photos. Insuring with us in your project died with the rest of the students and myself is a part of this class. 2. Photo Exploration Toolbox: - Hey, - welcome back. - This is lesson number two. - Now that you've explored some of the essentials of photography from lighting to exposure - and cropping and, - um, - and composition were going to take those out into the real world and and see what that - looks like more interacting with our environments. - So when I'm out and exploring and seeing the world, - Um, - and on my daily commute, - I often see the same things that I see every day, - and it could be really easy to use that as an excuse for not taking photos. - We have such a unique opportunity to see the things that we see every day in a different - way in this saying that we're going to really talk about exploring and going to new places - and taking different streets, - driving down different roads. - One of the things that I really do when I'm out looking for different places in exploring - different areas is using one of the tips that we had in in session one. - It's it's looking for a good life. - I'm so when you're out exploring, - look for really unique light. - What about the environment moves you what piques your curiosity. - What? - What? - Really? - Um, - really captures your attention, - and often those those places are are seen from a different angle are different perspective - . - And it's so easy to kind of get into a routine of like driving the same roads or walking - down the same streets or going to the same coffee shop. - So the same restaurants, - the same grassy prairie. - It's so easy to get into those environments in those routines. - But one thing that I really want to challenge you is to walk down a different street, - you to drive down in a different neighborhood to tip off to the side of the road and maybe - get out, - get out of your car and walk down the trail and see where see where it leads. - You see where, - Um, - see where it brings you to, - and I think it's It's really easy to just kind of fall into routine and Teoh do what we - always do. - But But I found that in order to capture photos that have never been shot, - you needed go places that nobody has been. - So that's one of the things that I really want to encourage you and challenge you in this - segment is too just really explore the area that you live in. - You know, - while you're doing that, - I really want to encourage you. - Teoh experiment with different points of view. - Um, - when I'm out shooting when I'm out capturing different photos, - I'm often in the same environment. - But you know, - what is what is this perspective? - What is the shot look like? - You know, - maybe if I get down lower to the ground, - you may be if I, - you know, - I climb upon something or or shoot it from a different angle. - Lately, - I've really been really been looking at the way that things were reflected. - And there's like, - this super classic like New York Dumbo shot where the buildings just like frame out the - Manhattan Bridge perfectly. - And the other day I was on the street and it had just, - like, - pour down rain like it like Like it just like rain, - like crazy and then and then like the sun cannot. - It was amazing, - but like I just noticed that, - like, - there is this beautiful reflection in like the back of this car of that like classic shot. - And there was, - like all of these beautiful like rain drops that were on the on the reflection of this - window, - and I was like, - That's so interesting, - like its that its that beautiful like classic shot. - But But it's just a different perspective. - It's just a different way of seeing it. - And the last thing that I want to leave you with for this session, - the segment is to really just enjoy the moment you could be so locked in on, - like getting a photo, - getting an image that you forget to actually enjoy, - then the enjoy the journey and enjoy the environment. - So the next part of this project guide is we really want you to share two images. - We want you to get out and explore the familiar the environment that you see every day and - captured in a really unique way. - And for the second image, - we want you to get out of your box. - Get out of the area that you've you typically, - that's typically a part of your routine and go see part of the city you've never seen - before. - Go to an environment that you've never been and capture image. - They're insured with the rest of your class 3. Photo Execution and Post-Processing Toolbox: - Hey, - welcome the lesson. - Three were so excited that you were able to get out and explore your world a little bit. - Uh, - explore the familiar as well as the unknown and use some of the photo tips that you learn - from session number one as well. - But now we're going Teoh really talk about execution and the post processing of your images - . - One of things that I really like to practice when I am when I'm out shooting and exploring - is just reacting to what's going on reacting to the situation. - A lot of times, - photos are in the moment. - It's something that's happening right then and there. - And it's this moment this fraction of a second a second, - where you have the opportunity to respond and take a photo and be able to capture that in a - really unique way. - One of things that I think you really have to be mindful for is the environment. - As it changes. - What kind of things were changing about the environment when you're out, - you when you're out exploring at night, - you know the light is often something that's that's changing. - It's a dynamic that's changing, - um, - eyes. - There's something about the image that your subject, - you know, - maybe it's somebody that you're shooting. - Their attitude might be changing with how how long you've been shooting and how long you've - been asking them to stand in the same exact spot while you're trying to get the shot. - And the classic phrase that every photographer says is one more shot, - one more shot. - But the person in their mind knows that there's probably 10 or 12 10 or 20 more shots that - they're gonna pull up. - So for me, - I really I don't like to over process my images. - I like to have a really clean, - um, - and natural look, - too. - Um, - the final photo. - There's a nap called snap seat, - which actually allows you to do some really detailed adjustments. - You can actually go in and selective adjust certain areas of your image, - so sometimes we'll go in, - and all and all bring him a little bit more contrast or a little bit more color on a little - bit more light on people's faces. - Visco Cam has some really beautiful, - really beautiful presets that you can actually apply to your images, - and the latest update actually enables you Teoh control how much of the filters actually - applied to image and which is something I really find valuable. - Because, - um, - there's often times where all apply filter Teoh image Teoh really bring out color or have a - different different Viber different feel. - But often times it's too much. - There will be something about it. - It will blow out skin tones, - blood sky or or turn even turned like the sky like a weird color. - And so so I really like that ability. - He actually control. - How much how much of the filter amusing. - Another app that I really enjoy using is called after light on. - It's an app that also has a lot of the same features as Visco Cam, - where you can control control the filters and control the elements that you're wanting to - bring to life. - And so in the post, - processing all often sharpened image just a little bit. - There's some really great sharpening tools out there in Visco after light. - Um, - filter storm is another really, - really great app that allows you to, - um, - the identify and work with some of the details of the image. - Sometimes you'll have images that are kind of noisy, - have some grain in them. - Um, - if you're working in like low light situations, - Filter Storm has a really great noise reduction tool, - which doesn't doesn't really affect the image hugely and making a look really smooth, - but you can use it in moderation and and I really have a beautiful effect. - But with anything in post processing, - I think moderation is really is really good. - It's really easy to go super extreme on your edits, - but I think that there's this this beautiful balance of of taking the natural environment - and the natural photo and really bring out some of the details and the color and the light - in the contrast that that really make for the most beautiful final final image. - As the final part of your project, - I want to really encourage you to post one or more of your images onto Instagram and use - the hashtag make our mark and love to see what you guys are doing and the images that - you're creating. - I'm gonna be selecting three images to go into the station to station time capsule, - so look forward to seeing what you guys come up with. - I would just want a one more time. - Thank you so much for being a part of this experience.