Understanding Aperture: Add Drama to Your Street Photos | Jamal Burger | Skillshare

Understanding Aperture: Add Drama to Your Street Photos skillshare originals badge

Jamal Burger, Photographer

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10 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What is Aperture

    • 3. Types of Lighting, Times of Day

    • 4. Shooting: Street Photography

    • 5. Shooting: Landscape Photography

    • 6. Editing: Dodging & Burning

    • 7. Editing: Contrast vs. Clarity

    • 8. Editing: Brush Tool

    • 9. Conclusion

    • 10. Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare

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About This Class


Aperture is one of the core pillars of good photography, and in this class, Jamal Burger shows us how it works and how it can be used creatively to unlock a dramatic effect in your black & white photos.

Join Jamal for a 35-minute exploration of New York City as he captures street portraits and landscapes — playing with light and aperture along the way.

You’ll learn:

  • How aperture works, and what camera settings can optimize your focus 
  • Which times of day and types of lighting are best for shooting 
  • How to compose interesting street portraits and landscapes
  • 3 key editing tools to enhance your black & white photos 

After shooting around the city, Jamal dives into Adobe Lightroom and shares his tips for sculpting the light even more: 

  • Dodging & Burning 
  • Contrast vs. Clarity 
  • Brush Tool 

At the end of this class, you'll have a starting point to go out and explore the world of black & white photography and bring out the light in your cityscapes.


Class Outline

  • Introduction. In this lesson, you’ll focus on black and white photography across both city streets and landscapes. As per the lesson’s title, you’ll also gain a deeper understanding of aperture.
  • What is aperture. Aperture is an opening through which light passes. By adjusting the aperture on your camera, you’ll learn to achieve a variety of photographic effects, mostly by learning to put certain photographic subjects into focus while blurring other elements of your composition. You’ll also learn how aperture value relates to shutter speed and ISO and when to change from servo to one shot in your camera settings.
  • Types of lighting, times of day. You’ll learn the meaning of golden hour and why it’s just as important in black and white photography as it is in color. For enhanced photos, you’ll learn to pay attention to three types of lighting: front lighting, side lighting, and backlighting.
  • Shooting: Street photography. Here, Jamal will teach you how to look for interesting subjects, fill the frame of your photograph, and plan for shots ahead of time. You’ll also witness how to take advantage of artificial light and learn how to position yourself when shooting based on light sources. Lastly, you’ll learn the advantages of shooting in live mode.
  • Shooting: Landscape photography. You’ll learn how to master composition photography when it comes to capturing cityscapes. By honing in on buildings and architecture, you’ll explore the effects of aperture on large structures and where to focus in order to achieve optimal exposure levels. You’ll also learn what mistakes you can fix during editing, and what you’ll need to get right in the original photograph.
  • Editing: Dodging and burning. You’ll watch Jamal get his online photographs to pop by accentuating lights and darks. By observing Jamal’s editing techniques, you’ll learn how to use custom filter options, how to feather, how to emphasize your focal point, and how to highlight certain light sources.
  • Editing: Contrast vs. clarity. While exploring clarity and contrast, you’ll see how each one impacts different parts of your photograph. You’ll watch as Jamal plays with both contrast and clarity to make his street photographs look the way he wants. You’ll learn how to enhance the depth of field, make human subjects pop, and play with tonal curve to adjust exposure in black and white photographs.
  • Editing: Brush tool. You’ll learn how the brush tool can enhance a photograph, as well as learning what happens when you remove highlights and bump up shadows to darken your picture. You’ll also get a sense of how and when to adjust the size of your digital brush, and you’ll discover the value of zooming in and moving your photograph around as you edit. You’ll gain experience in looking  at “before” and “after” version of your photos to track your own improvement as you edit.
  • Conclusion. Jamal will leave you with notion of the mindful eye. You’ll be able to think carefully about your shots and the locations you shoot them in.


Learn more from Jamal on Skillshare: Cityscape Photography: Shooting with Symmetry and Perspective and Photo Editing in Lightroom: Make Your Cityscapes Stand Out.