This is my presentation from NYSCATE 2013. You can download the entire keynote presentation here.
Making Great Images with Mobile Devices.
I love mobile device photography. I’m a photo-junkie! I take photographs when I’m walking around the grocery store. I’m that guy. So mobile device photography both in and outside of education is a passion of mine.
I really like this quote by Richard Hernandez. It highlights the change in photography right now.
“People do not understand the unbelievable opportunity that mobile photography is giving photographers. It’s a golden age.”
Much like the transition or revolution when film turned mostly digital… we are now in the midst of another photography revolution… The move to mobile. And the reason for it… Convergence.
Not even 5 years ago I might be caught carrying a cell phone, mp3 player, digital camera, and maybe even a PDA like a Palm Pilot. But through developments the past few years now everything has rolled into one. That’s convergence. My “cell phone” is in actuality my camera, my notebook, my planner, my web portal, and more!
So with this advent of having so much capability in our pockets, it should become time that we harness that in our classrooms and our schools by allowing students to access those technologies and use these devices to create authentic learning experiences in class.
A few classroom ideas for working with images:
- Create movie posters using iPhoto and Halftone Maybe make movie posters for the book you are reading in ELA, or a poster about yourself for introductory purposes.
- Record observations for a science lab. Take your students outside and create your personalized flora encyclopedia that includes all of the plants from around the school.
- Create a PSA centered around current student issues. Students capture images and then edit and add some basic text to make something compelling.
- Recreate a historic photograph, either with actual students or have them use something like legos to re-create it for Social Studies.
A few basic apps:
Working with images on your mobile device essentially means that you will be capturing, then editing, and lastly publishing your work. Publishing isn’t really a necessity, but why not add an authentic experience for your students. We all know that if we know the individual, our comments are likely to be a little biased.
For capturing images I recommend the following apps. They both give the user a great deal of control over your captured images. You have the ability to control the aperture, shutter speed, white balance, etc.. When you start to go a little bit beyond the included camera app, you will expand your ability and create better work.
- Pro Camera (iOS)
- Camera Fv-5 (Android)
When it comes to editing, I have consistently recommended the same app for the past couple of years… Snapseed… It is a super powerful, easy to use, and free app for photo editing. It consistently blows my mind with what it can do.
And in terms of publishing, I still thing that Instagram is the way to go. It’s true, you might run into things on Instagram that are not what you’re looking for. But you can consistently find amazing images by mobile device photographers like ScottBourne. So after spend a bit of time and curating a great list of folks to follow, your Instagram feed becomes a photography playground, with amazing inspiring images.
Tools & Techniques to make better images:
Finally a few tools and techniques that I like to share. They can help you make better images from your mobile device or ANY photographic device.
- Hold your camera with two hands. It seems silly to say right? But the steadier you can make your camera, the better your images will look.
- Use your headphones. To go along with the previous, if you are using an iOS device, the microphone on the headphones that you have can be used as a cable release. Again, it will simply help you steady your phone better.
- Put your subject on the side. Its a photographer rule called the rule of thirds, but all you really need to know is “Keep your subject out of the center of the image”. It will make 90% or your images better.
- Photograph from a different angle or perspective. Look up, or down. But try to take photos from a different place and your images will look different (and different is good!)
- Get closer! It doesn’t matter how far from your subject you are. Getting closer will isolate your subject a bit more and remove extra distractions.