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I'm Christal Marshall- homeschool mom of three- pro award winning photographer and designer.

Take a ride through my crazy kid-field life and adventures as we go to parks, the pool or just chill at home- teaching and learning about the tricks to a good pictures using your phone!


Try along with me as I shoot real-world situations with my phone!

Follow me!  and tag me in your work!

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lesson one


Lighting is Everything.

Everything starts with lighting.

From the moment you get up in the morning- till the sun sets.

It’s all about seeing the types of lighting in your house, your yard, your neighborhood and your favorite places.

Yes, you can buy a fancy ring light- but there is nothing like a big, open garage door, a big window or even an early- morning sunrise in your kitchen.

“Photography” comes from two the words “writing” and “light” - so therefore when you are taking a picture- you are literally writing a story with light.

Try not to use flash unless you absolutely need to. Stick to natural light as much as possible. It will be your photos more natural looking!


Try this

Open your camera mode-and take pics of the same coffee mug or even a selfie in every different lighting situation during different times of the day and see changes.

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Learn the types of framing

Don't just shoot the photo straight on- look for framing all around you.

Try to shoot in the left third, the right third or even at an interesting diagonal to really make your shot stick out.

This is called the "Rule of Thirds!"

Look for doorways, windows, frames, arches, gates, bridges or any other ways around you to see your subject.

Try this

Go to your favorite park or museum and see what great architecture creates amazing FRAMES for your photos. Or you can just shoot at home and put your subject either to the right or left.

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See the world differently

See the world differently- by shooting above, below, in or through something.

Really get that "Dept of Field" to be blurred in the background by shooting something in a unique way.

Lay in the grass, stand on a chair, look through a small hole in a gate- see the world differently!


Try this

Duck tape your phone (with help from a parent) to your ceiling fan! Use the timer function or a remote to take a picture from their shooting down on you doing something normal- like doing a puzzle or reading a book. Your picture will be completely unique!

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Leading Lines

Create and see lines

Leading lines are everywhere! The brick on your house, a book laying open on its side. The bars on your favorite swing.

It's about seeing the lines, putting your subject near them enough so that their eyes travel to see what is happening and you are creating motion in a still image.


Try this

Get a glass jar to shoot through, use a slinky to take pictures through- go to the dollar tree and collect all sort of mirrors, tape, string, rulers- anything that you can use to create leading lines on your photos!

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color of light

Add a pop of Color

Learn to manipulate color, like old Hollywood movies!

Color commands particular feelings. Notice that most bad guys in movies have a green or purple undertone- while heroes wear red, blue or yellow.

Our pictures can also tell a particular story using color.

Use colored cellophane from the gift wrap section at the store to turn a regular flash light into a whole spot light.


Try this

With a parent, find a cool LED light from your local 5 Below or a colored ring light at Walmart. Set up a little "studio" in your room using just colored lights and see what awesome pictures that you can create!

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Add motion

Catch some motion blur- see motion around you at your busy city, your kid brother kicking a ball at the field or your sister dancing.

Phones don't do a good job catching the focus while shooting in
motion- so make sure that you get a tripod or put the phone on a still surface before taking the picture!


Try this

Get a tripod with a phone holder- and sit on a stool against a well-lit wall. shake your head, dance- all with the self- timer on- see what cool blur you can create!

Also, get on the ground and see your friend on the swing as your are shooting from beneath- what images do you create?

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macro/close ups

get close

Details and close ups are everywhere around you! In photography- we have a fancy word- macro- where you see the word close up! If you can zoom in on your camera- try it- get close! get the right framing to capture something new!


Try this

Go outside and see what you can find around you- find a flower- something small- like a beetle, a ring from your mom, a sesame seed on top of your rice- whatever you see around you- look for good lighting from lesson!

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flatlays and textures

create great product shots

Learning how to create flat lays for photography is really going to help you make content for other small businesses when you get older!

Put textures from the dollar tree, homedepot or even your own floor house to create a great story with items and food that you already have.


Try this

Grab a poster board from the home depot and put it on the ground in an area with great lighting!

Then decorate the space with plants, flowers, pens, notebooks or any other things that you want to showcase!

Use different textures from the dollar tree or cutting boards, towels, spoons, eggs and other supplies that you have laying around.

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great pictures can always get better with good editing

My favorite FREE editing tool is an App called "Snap Seed" , but if your parents allow you to have paid apps- the one that I use all the time is Lightroom- but I also love the Leap and Lightricks company for all their apps on video, motion, animation and photo editing:

Learn how to just tweak the photos slightly for small edits (my style) OR go crazy doing filters and stickers.

For me personally- I like to have all my photos from a set to learn very similar and color corrected the same- more then a few that look different- but there is no right or wrong way to do it.


Try this

Talk to your parents about what app that you can use with their permission to make your photos pop! Watch Youtube video with them to learn how to do the different apps.

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What did you learn? 

Really be creative on lights around your home.


Take a field trip to the dollar tree or thrift store for cool props for flatlays and products.

Practice what you have learned with a friend or a parent.


Remember that the more that you practice- just like any instrument- the more that you learn and grow in a new skill!


To master something- they say that it's take 10,000 hours to 20,000 hours to master it! So keep trying and don't give up! 


Try this

Learn from youtube, classes online and resources around you with your parent's supervison! 

What did we learn from this course? We would love to see your images, your behind-the-scenes and more on social media (with parent's permission of course! 

Tag us on FB/ TIK TOK and IG: @virginiamarketingandmedia

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