Big Picture Classes “Phone Photography Project 2” Class

August 8, 2014 @ 7:40 pm | Filed under: , ,

balboa walkwayOne of the many long galleries at Balboa Park. Assignment: In a Row.

At Comic-Con two years ago (or was it three? they begin to blur), I dropped my camera in the street, and it has never been the same since. Even before that, I was finding myself more likely to reach for my smartphone than the camera when I wanted to snap a pic. I gather I’m not alone in this. As phone cameras have improved and apps like Instagram make uploading and sharing easier, more and more of us are relying on our phones to capture the memories we want to save.

At times, though, I’ve been frustrated by the frankly mediocre quality of my phone photos compared to the kind of pictures I used to get with my camera. When I saw that Big Picture Classes was offering an online course in phone photography—and furthermore, that my fellow former ClubMom blogger Tracey Clark was one of the instructors—I decided to take the plunge.

Oh you guys, I am SO happy I’m taking this class. The “Before and After” videos, in which various instructors walk you through the editing process on a single photo, using their favorite apps, made an immediate difference in my pictures. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the biweekly lessons with accompanying photo challenges, all based around themes like “In a Row,” “Lines,” or “Fill the Frame.” I’m much happier with the quality of the photos I’m getting out of my iPhone. Almost every image I have posted here in the past two weeks was influenced by the course.

The class runs through August 16 and you can sign up right until the end. You move through the lessons at your own pace. There’s a pretty active message board with lots of input from the instructors, and several bonus videos in which guest photographers spend some time talking about their phone-photography process.

Here’s a selection of my class assignments. There’s a gallery where students may upload photos, but the best place to see others’ work is on Instagram, where we’re tagging our work #bpcphonephotographyproject and adding tags for the individual assignments, such as #ppp2inarow or #ppp2shapes.

seaport village houseTaken at Seaport Village in San Diego. Assignment: Rule of Thirds.

orchidsI always swoon over the orchids in Balboa Park’s Botanical Building. Assignment: Fill the Frame.

blueguitarsSnapped in a corner of the music studio where my kids take piano. Assignment: Lines.

leaflinesAnother take on the Lines assignment.

succulentI’m always admiring these beautiful succulents in my neighbor’s yard. Assignment: Fill the Frame.

rocktowersThere’s a man who stacks these rock towers at Seaport Village every day. Assignment: Shapes.

guitarsbwAnother take on the guitars…Assignment: Black and White. (I think this may be my favorite of the bunch.)

morninglightRose found this feather and we decided it was meant for my blue jar. Assignment: Light.

geocacheseaportvillageAnother Seaport Village shot, but I’m not saying where exactly. 😉 Assignment: Fill the Frame.

coronadobeachgirlandshipI posted this one here last week, but I tried a slightly different edit when I shared it on Instagram. I think I like this faded version best. (I prefer the taller crop on the original, though.) Assignments: Vantage Point and Rule of Thirds.

beanieflieskiteI happened to read the Vantage Point lesson right before our trip to Seaport Village, and it’s what nudged me to get down on the ground underneath Beanie as she took a stab at flying this kite. I like how the kite is about to sail right out of the frame.

carshadowsOne of the things I’m appreciating most about this class is the way it makes me notice things in my surroundings that I might otherwise have glanced right past. I passed these cars in a parking lot behind the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con and was struck by the reflection of the slats on their windshields. Submitted it for the Black and White bonus challenge.

seaweedgirlThanks to the class I learned how to straighten the horizon in this formerly very tilted shot! I didn’t tag it for any of the assignments, but the way the wind was whipping that seaweed around, it could almost qualify for the Action challenge.

Tomorrow brings a new lesson—I can’t wait!


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7 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. sarah says:

    Fabulous photos! I really love the one of the guitars stacked together, but they’re all great.

  2. Susan Fuerst says:

    Wow! I love your work! These are excellent.

  3. lesley austin says:

    I’ve so enjoyed your recent photos on Instagram, Lissa and have the added pleasure of seeing more glimpses of your days than we usually do. I thought about you yesterday when I should have cleaned my yoga mat and remembered your mention of cleaning the yoga mats for your class…a part of your life I didn’t know about. : )

  4. selvi says:

    it feels selfish to ever wish you to be writing about your life instead of living it, but I’m awfully glad you’re back. it is such a pleasure to follow your interests and adventures and to see your particular take on motherhood, learning etc.

  5. tanita says:

    Wow – I WONDERED what was up with the amazingly cool pics you’ve been taking. Not that your pictures prior to now haven’t been awesome, but these are GOBSMACKINGLY good for casual snaps and on-the-fly compositions. What a fab class; it’s paying off.

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Thanks, you guys! So gratifying

    Leslie, I’ve been taking yoga classes for about a year and a half, and recently took a Saturday-morning job at the front desk of the studio I attend. In part so I could afford the classes. 🙂 I have found I truly love the job. I have a little bit of desk work, a little bit of cleaning (mats, floors, dusting), and it’s really a delight. The whole studio smells so good, and except for the brief, pleasant bustle between classes it’s so quiet and peaceful. Cleaning the floor is very good writing time for me, if you know what I mean—the all-important busy-hands, free-mind quiet head space where the real work happens.

  7. Penny says:

    Phenomenal. Just… phenomenal. Totally checking that class out now that I have a decent phone camera. Thanks!