10 Day iPhone Street Photography Challenge | Sebastian Matthias Weißbach | Skillshare

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10 Day iPhone Street Photography Challenge

teacher avatar Sebastian Matthias Weißbach, filmmaker and actor

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

    • 1.

      The 10 Day iPhone Street Photography Challenge


    • 2.

      Project Based Learning and Street Photography - Why This Challenge?


    • 3.

      Day 1 - The Rule of Thirds


    • 4.

      Day 2 - Focus on the Little Things


    • 5.

      Day 3 - Symmetry and Reflections


    • 6.

      Day 4 - Exposure (Dare to Go Dark)


    • 7.

      Day 5 - The Sky's the Limit (Bold Framing)


    • 8.

      Day 6 - Black and White


    • 9.

      Day 7 - Frames Within Frames


    • 10.

      Day 8 - Red, Green. and Blue


    • 11.

      Day 9 - High and Low Angles


    • 12.

      Day 10 - No Second Chances


    • 13.

      Conclusion - 30 Photos in 10 Days


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About This Class

Become a better photographer in just 10 days - this class is based on project based learning, so the theory is kept short. It is a challenge, after all!

Each lesson will briefly introduce you to the basics of photography and how elements like aperture and exposure work. The theory part is followed by a simple challenge: take 3 photos around the subject of the course. 

You can simply take the photos wherever you are, on your way to work, out with your dog, or on your way to the grocery store. 

You always have your phone on you and the iPhone has such a brilliant camera, it's a pity we don't make use of it more often. This class will teach you everything you need to know, in order to become a better photographer and hone your skills. Even if you know nothing about photography, this class will teach you the basics and set you out on a practical journey of discovering how to actually utilise those photography skills.

Like every genre of photography, street photography is its own art form, but it is perhaps the most accessible one. Because you can just go out and take photos of whatever you find around you. 

And while I specifically talk about settings on the iPhone, obviously the principles of exposure, composition, etc. apply to every phone and camera. So join the challenge, regardless of equipment.

So, let's get you onto the streets and turn you into a better photographer in just 10 simple steps!

Meet Your Teacher

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Sebastian Matthias Weißbach

filmmaker and actor


Sebastian Matthias Weissbach - filmmaker and actor with gorgeous hair.

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Level: Beginner

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1. The 10 Day iPhone Street Photography Challenge: Welcome to the skill share. Two week iphone street photography challenge. Become a better photographer in two weeks. Do you want to learn to take better photos? And start right away then. This is the course for you. My name is States Weisboch and I work as a Filmmakeen photographer in Berlin, Germany. I started taking photos when I was around 13 years old with an SLR inherited from my grandfather, this cannon 70. By the way, in the decades since, a lot has changed and everyone, the world over, has been unable to take better pictures. This course is based on an idea called project based learning. Each chapter will give you a new project, a new prompt, and a new problem to solve with your camera. I'm not asking you to go out of your way to take any of these photos. By the way, you can simply take them on your way to and from work. A daily walk, or a jogging round through the puck. And that's what I've done for all of the examples in this course. And I think they came out quite nicely even though I only took them on an iphone ten R, which was manufactured in 2018. So certainly not the peak of camera technology, but there are things that are more important than the best camera possible. You need to be able to see something special in the ordinary to discover shapes and perspectives, and ultimately to develop a steady hand and a keen eye. This is where the project based learning aspect comes into play. This course is designed in a way that gives you one simple project you can complete on the day. Three photos for each and every day, always based around a new challenge. This prompt will be combined with one of the fundamentals of photography. So you'll learn a quick bit about the theory behind photography composition and what's going on in your camera. And then you'll get to try it out in practice because you can read about photography as much as you want. The only thing that's actually going to make you a better photographer is going out and taking photos. All this is designed to help you get a better understanding of some of the basic terms of photography and then you get to try them out in practice. This project works best when you watch one video per day, either on the day or the night before. Try and take the projects and challenges seriously. It's not about cheating your way into the best possible photos, but about developing the skills to take better photos every day with whatever camera you have on you. And maybe you already have more photo experience and just need a few inspirations as to what to capture. Well then, this course is also for you. At the end of this two week course, you will have a portfolio of 30 street photos and hopefully 30 pristine moments caught on camera. And if I can do it on a six year old phone, I'm sure you can do it with whatever you have at your disposal. So grab your phone or your camera and let's get you onto the streets. 2. Project Based Learning and Street Photography - Why This Challenge?: Do you know the following feeling? Technically, you could take as many photos as you want because you always have your phone on you and your phone as a pristine camera. But for some reason you were running out of ideas as to what to actually photograph? Well, something like that had happened to me for years and even though I own multiple cameras, I would just never randomly go out and take photos anymore. Because deep down, in sight I know well I've got my phone, so I always can. And so I never really do. And then all of a sudden that changed. Like I was on my way to work. And then I saw something nice and I didn't even know what it was, but I was like, maybe I should just stop and take a photo. And so I did. And that really got me into the mindset of what, what if I actually just went back and took more photos again? And so I did, and that's the reason why I created this ten day street photography challenge. Because it's nice to, it's nice to have the option to take photos whenever you want. But if you never really do, then what's the point? Maybe you'll enjoy this challenge as well, and maybe you find this inspiring and maybe it'll get you back into photography, or maybe it'll get you into photography to begin with. Yeah. Overall, I think it's a really nice habit to get into, to actually think about the photos, to actually think about the way that we take photos, because, yeah, we're taking a lot of the technology behind it for granted. We shouldn't, so enjoy the challenge. I guess, trust me, the rest is a bit more prepared than whatever this was. 3. Day 1 - The Rule of Thirds: On the very first day of the challenge, I would like to introduce you to the so called Rule of Thirds. The Rule of Thirds divides the image into a grid of nine smaller rectangles on your iphones. Just go into settings, you can find the camera settings and activate the grid. This is a visual indicator of the thirds in your image. For this exercise, I would kindly ask you to turn it on. The devil is precise and so should you be. But how does the rule of thirds play into the idea of composition? Well, essentially, the rule of Thirds helps you create tension and natural balance in your image without resorting to a centralized perspective. You can create tension in an image by placing a horizontal or vertical line on one of the grid lines. This kind of composition is an important tool of communication because it tells the onlooker what's important and what's not important by giving different elements of your image a different visual weight. This is not just true for architectural and street photography. Even in portrait photography, we can often see the rule of thirds in action by placing the eye of the subject on one of the grid lines or the intersections of the thirds. The rule of thirds is closely related to something called the Golden Ratio. This is a ratio often found in nature that is defined as the ratio between the total distance to the longer part being equal to the ratio of the longer part to the shorter part. This translates to 61.8% on the longer part and 38.2% on the shorter part, which is fairly close to the rule of thirds, which is why in most instances, both are used interchangeably in practice. Realistically, it's not like anyone is really going to measure your photos or apply the grid to it to see if you're working with the golden ratio or the rule of thirds. The advantage of the rule of thirds is that it is intuitively easier to understand. And that pretty much all cameras offer on screen guides that help you take better pictures that fall into the rule of thirds. And that is precisely your assignment for day one of the ten day challenge. Take three pictures by making use of the rule of thirds. And that is precisely your challenge for the first day of the ten day challenge. Take three pictures by making awkward use of the rule of thirds. 4. Day 2 - Focus on the Little Things: Focus on the little things. In most instances, the iphone camera is pretty good at assessing what you want to focus on. Mostly because it recognizes faces where the person on the photo, it's usually pretty nice to have that person and focus. But that's not the only way that you can focus on the iphone. You can focus manually by pressing onto any part of the screen, which I'm sure you already knew. But did you also know that you can lock the focus if you not only tap but hold any position on your phone? You will lock focus and exposure onto any given subject. So your phone will then no longer try to adjust a balanced exposure nor will it try to find something to focus on. Essentially, this is like you pulling focus on a manual lens. It gives you the full control over the image at regular distances. This manual focus option is fairly negligible because the sensor size of the iphone when compared to a full frame camera is tiny. Which translates to fairly deep focus on a phone. It's really difficult to achieve that nice Boca that you get on system cameras, which is why your phone comes with a portrait mode that adds that Boca, AKA the out of focus background, as an effect onto the photo by using a depth map. The depth of field, however, does get shallower. The closer the focal point is to the sensor, you can notice a similar effect with your own eyes when you focus on your finger. The closer it gets to your eyes, the more the world will become a blur around you. Just like your eyes and any camera lens, the iphone two has a minimal focal distance. That is the closest you can be to any object while still being in focus. But on today's project, you're going to learn all about this because this project is about you getting close to the small things, leaves, rocks, insects, birds. If you're sneaky, find something small and put it in focus. 5. Day 3 - Symmetry and Reflections: Symmetry and reflections. A central perspective focuses on the center of the image and guides all lines into a perfect visual symmetry. It's no coincidence that this perspective is often found in religious imagery because it guides the eye towards the center and creates certain level of visual hierarchy. In a similar manner, symmetry can be used to create balance or to create a counterpoint to perceived balance. Yin and Yang is a perfect example of that symmetry, albeit with a slightly more interesting composition than a mere line in the middle. Symmetry can also be an interesting tool to use because it allows user photographer to create something that is almost ethereal and in perfect balance with itself. So using symmetry and street photography can be a great tool for showing the sublime of architecture. Just make sure you don't fall into the trap of over using symmetry to the point of creating the grandiose images of Fascist architecture. For today's challenge, I will send you out to capture not mere symmetry, but reflections. A world within a world. You can interpret that however you want. You can combine it with symmetry. You can even take a dreaded mirror. Selfie. Reflections allow us as photographers, a way to shift our perspective and see the world from angles normally hidden from us. So really make this challenge all about symmetry and reflections. 6. Day 4 - Exposure (Dare to Go Dark): Exposure, AK, shadows grow dark. In photography, there is something called the exposure triangle. The exposure triangle consists of three separate settings that work together to correctly expose an image. Aperture, exposure time, and ISO. I will briefly explain each setting and how it works on your phone. Aperture is a value that is measured in F stops and describes a mathematical relation between the aperture opening and the light entry opening. If that sounds overly complicated, I'll break it down into something more memorable. Lower number, brighter image. The aperture opening is also known as the iris. Just like the iris of your eye opens in the dark to let in more light, a photography lens will do the same thing. Here's the crucial part for iphone photography, though the aperture is fixed. There are no mechanical parts that are moving inside the lens, so the amount of light coming in will be consistent whether you are taking photos on a sunny day or in the middle of the night. Now this is why your iphone uses the other corners of the exposure triangle to compensate for the fixed aperture. And why your iphone pro will often not use the long lens because its aperture isn't as wide as that on the standard lens exposure Time is the time an image gets exposed for. The longer this time is, the more light will physically touch the sensor. If the sensor is only exposed for 1000th of a second, only some light will hit it. If it opens for half a second, a lot light will hit it. The iphone uses longer exposure time in the dark, which is why your photos are more likely to be blurry or shaky in the dark, but are always nice and crisp during the day. Exposure time is also important if you want to take pictures of fast moving objects, such as athletes or animals. You need a fast exposure time to capture crisp motions. The last value is SO, which is a digital simulation of the light sensitivity of film stock? Simply put, lower is better. Technically, every camera will have a native ISO at which it performs best. But generally, you'll want to keep this value as low as possible or at least pretty low. Now the iphone is pretty good at getting around a more nuanced use of the exposure triangle simply by using HDR photography without ever telling you it. Does that Newer models also let you take photos and raw, which is also helpful, both Raw and HDR are approximations of what you can do with a film camera, because film has a very high dynamic range, that is visibility between the brightest and the darkest point. Hdr photos are exposed multiple times with different exposure settings and then assembled to mimic that. Raw photos offer you more flexibility, but only baking in the physical pillars of the exposure triangle. That is exposure time and aperture. So what do I want you to do with all this information? The prompt for today's project is expose for the high lights and keep the shadows dark, crush the blacks by editing the photo, if you have to, whenever you tap to focus, you will see a little sun icon next to the square. This represents the exposure and you can simply pull it down to under or pull it up to overexpose. Similar to the rule of thirds, exposure is a tool to determine what's important in a shot and what isn't under expose the image to focus on the brightest parts, Lamps, the sky, the sun, neon signs, et cetera, and let the darkest parts disappear into obscurity. 7. Day 5 - The Sky's the Limit (Bold Framing): The sky is the limit. It's a fairly human instinct to play things safe, to never go too far and barely ever over extend our reach. When you look at the shots of cities or landscapes that most people take, you'll surely find that the sky is dedicated to a supporting character. The sky is there because it's always there, but it's never really prominently featured. So let's change that today. For today's challenge, I will kindly ask you to play with the rules, bend them, and break them. If you must, let's put the sky front and center, where it belongs. As always, the challenge is open for interpretation. Where the sky ends up in your image, how you frame it, how you find it. All of that is up to you. But it does require you to do one specific thing that is one of the foundational rules of photography expose for the highlights. Now, cameras and sensors have a certain dynamic range. The range before the darkest black and the whitest white clip, meaning they no longer contain any visual information. Exposing for the highlights means that you retain the visual information and the highlights and thus maybe crush the blacks a bit. With modern sensors and formats, that's usually fine because restoring the darkest parts of the image might introduce noise, which can also be fixed by modern tools. But bringing down super white is impossible. Using this technique also means that you will capture details in the clouds that the human eye cannot perceive. And that you will introduce beautiful, serene, and surreal colors into the sky. Be it at sunrise or sunset during the early hours of the afternoon or during a particularly cinematic storm, the sky deserves more attention than we normally give it on photographs. Now, you might also find that highlighting the sky will give your photos an unusual and interesting perspective. So why not try the same indoors and point your camera towards the ceiling. The world is full of safe choices, so go for Bold choices whenever you can. 8. Day 6 - Black and White: Black and white. There is a special connection to black and white photography. And that has several reasons. First of all, everything and everyone looks good in black and white. Let's not forget that. But black and white photography also ties into deeper historical roots. Because the history of photography is black and white. But today, we don't need fancy black and white film stock and can switch to monochromatic images at the click of a button. And if you don't like the lack of color, you can always switch back, at least on your iphone, as there is more to black and white images than just desaturating them. I would kindly ask you for today's challenge to switch to a black and white filter of your choosing. You can activate these filters and the options of your camera app. And this is important for one key reason. Your eye perceives contrasts differently when colors are involved. And it is extremely difficult to tell how bright and dark parts of an image are when they have different hues. These black and white filters also desaturate the three color channels to different degrees, making it extremely difficult to gauge how various contrast levels will play when the images bereft of color. Also, there's a lot of fun to be had in viewing the world through a monochromatic lens. Today's prompt is quite simple. Take three black and white images. I would suggest that you use the black and white filter found in the app to better assess the images that you are taking. No worries. The way the iphone uses these filters is non. Destructive. You can always edit the image and the photos app, choose a different filter or restore it to original colors. Black and white is a particular challenge because it requires you to think in mere luminosity contrast, to focus on the brighter and the darker parts, and to work with visual clarity or to highlight structures. 9. Day 7 - Frames Within Frames: A frame within a frame. Every time you take a picture, you snap a little three by two rectangle out of the world. And that is called framing. And to paraphrase the great Martin Scresse, cinema is a matter of what's in the shot and what's not in the shot. The same obviously applies to photography. Every time you take a picture, you make a conscious decision about what to include and what to exclude. This creates the framing of your photo. But what if you were to add an additional frame? A frame within a frame creates exactly that. A more nuanced way to look at the world within a world. A doorway or a window frame are the classics. They naturally frame everything inside. But there are other options too, Particularly geometrical lines. Create beautiful foregrounds and frames and result in a pristine image that captures a certain contrast of inside versus outside. This is your prompt for the day, a frame within a frame. Find the beauty on the inside of things. Use frames and geometrical shapes to create a natural division in your images. And experiment with a new way of framing that isn't necessarily driven by getting the cleanest shots. 10. Day 8 - Red, Green. and Blue: Red, green, and blue. How does your camera actually see color? Well, not like the human eye, that's for sure. It is in fact quite different because a camera sensor can only see three colors, red, green, and blue. This is 100% red, this is 100% green, and this is 100% blue. Everything that isn't 100% either color is a mix of these three colors plus a fourth value, luminosity, or how bright something is. This is also the part where a bit values come into play, because you might have heard of the term bit depth. Let's say you have an eight bit J peg and you have a 16 bit raw file. Now you might instinctively say, well, 16 bit is better, but here's the mathematics behind that. Eight bit, two to the power of eight or 256 means every color and the luminosity have 256 steps, 0-100% 16 bit isn't just twice as good. 16 bit is two to the power of 16, 65,536 It is 256 times as good. Now these values help prevent color bending and weird artifacts, and create richer and more accurate colors. And this is the reason why in most instances you want to shoot raw files unless you have a Fuji camera, because you're paying for these foam recipes, so you better use them. So now that you know that these cameras only capture three colors, and screens only display three colors, and that most of your color perception is nothing but a sweet, sweet deception. Here is your prompt for today. Capture something red, capture something green, capture something blue. That could be something borrowed or something new. So I'm expecting some colorful pictures. 11. Day 9 - High and Low Angles: High and low angles. When they go low, we go high. A good photographer isn't afraid of getting their knees dirty. They will climb fences were not illegal, or crouch through the mud all in pursuit of the perfect shot. It's often fairly easy to just take the most convenient route, grab your phone and snap a picture on eye level. But the eye level is really just one way of capturing a photo. High or low angles allow you to capture unique perspectives. And press your phone or camera into a position otherwise inaccessible to the human eye. Bonus tip. If you are shooting low angles, try flipping your phone around because the lens is on the top of your phone. So turning it upside down will get the perspective even closer to the ground. This is also where playing with perspectives really comes into play. Because a high or low angle perspective will automatically introduce some form of power hierarchy into the image. Normally, we associate low angles with a powerful subject because we are looking up at the subject. Whereas with high angles, it really feels like we are looking down at someone. So what's the challenge for the day? It's a tale of three perspectives. Snap three different photos on eye level, on high, and one low angle. It doesn't necessarily have to be the same subject. In fact, some subjects are simply more suitable for either perspectives. But experimenting will make this assignment a whole lot easier. And try not to wear your priciest trousers today. Your knees might in fact get dirty trying to grab the perfect shot. 12. Day 10 - No Second Chances: No second chances. Perhaps you remember the days of film photography, or perhaps you remember the fake nostalgia for film photography. Or your parents remember it or you simply like it because the Fuji film cameras have such nice film recipes due to their ex tran sensors. And while film photography certainly had its perks and film still looks rich and beautiful, it was also a hassle to handle. And don't you dare pretend that wasn't the case. Loading the film into the camera always took some amount of fiddling. You were limited to 36 shots per Ole film. And in the end, you had to wait for the photos to get developed, which was also a pricey effort. The scarcity of photos per Ole of film forced you as a photographer to be more deliberate about what you would take photos of and what you wouldn't. Instead of just snapping away without a care in the world, you actually had to give your images some thought. And being deliberate is exactly what I'm asking you to do for the final challenge measure twice, cut once, so to speak. I want you to take three photos and only three photos. Take your time finding the right subject and frame. Experiment with proximity and angles. Go black and white or color. Shoot with the sun on your back or against the light. Look up, look down, shoot in portrait or landscape. But whatever you do, you only get one shot. For this final challenge, I want you to be extremely deliberate with everything that you do, put a lot of thought into everything, and make clear choices. And whatever that choice is, that is going to be your choice. And for the magic of photography, you get to capture it forever. I know this goes against your instincts being a modern photographer with a digital image capturing machine that can store thousands upon thousands of images. But this challenge isn't about working to the best of your technical abilities, it's about working to the best of your artistic abilities. Bonus points for capturing something unique, of course. 13. Conclusion - 30 Photos in 10 Days: Conclusion, and ten day portfolio. Well, that brings us to the end of our ten day street photography challenge. If you followed along, you should have everything that you need to submit the project for this class, a portfolio of 30 images. Then you can simply upload here an effortless portfolio with a great variety that should have taught you all the basics of photography in theory and in practice. And that in only ten days. So I really hope that you enjoyed this little discourse into photography on your phone, that you remember all the basics and that you are now more adept at putting these things into practice. Photography is a great tool for capturing the world around us, and it really doesn't require modern camera or an expensive lens. If you know what you're doing, that is going to be absolutely priceless. And maybe you'll experience one of the best feelings any photographer can experience. People asking you what camera you took these beautiful photos on, and you just shrugging and off to reply, oh, these old things now, just took them all my phone. If you enjoyed this challenge and the approach of project based learning for photography, please follow me here for more classes on photography, filmmaking, and directing. And find me on social media or somewhere else on the Internet. And please don't forget to post your results so that you can get some feedback from fellow creatives and maybe even find some like minded photographers around the world. I've had a lovely time and I'll certainly hop off my bike whenever I can to take a picture of the world around me. And I hope you do too.