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Smartphone Photo Workshop: New York City

  • Trip Style: Expeditions
  • Trip Type: Photography
  • 2 Days | New York City
  • Group Size: Max 25

Expedition Details


Smartphones have become our everyday companions, relied upon more and more for capturing and sharing moments in our lives through photography. In the ongoing mobile imaging revolution, sensors, lenses, and technology are getting steadily more sophisticated, and myriad new creative apps have put smartphones on the cutting-edge of photography today. Our new two-day workshop focuses on the technical aspects of how to get the best images from our smartphones while also delving into the creative side of smartphone photography. Learn about exposure, composition, artistic vision, creative apps, and storytelling during talks and edit-and-critique sessions. With your smartphone in hand, go on photo shoots into Manhattan to photograph street life amid well-loved landmarks from Times Square and the Highline to Central Park.

This workshop is led by a National Geographic photographer and a professional instructor and is designed for amateurs who seek to effectively use and share mobile imagery and are interested in exploring the creative side of smartphone photography. All participants must bring a mobile device with a camera such as an iPhone, Windowsphone, or Android smartphone. The workshop is limited to 25 participants.

The following is our planned itinerary; however, our schedule is flexible to allow for spontaneous photographic opportunities.

Itinerary - 2 Days

Day 1 — Saturday: High Line Park/Times Square

Gather in our classroom this morning for introductory talk on the fundamental technical skills for making great images with your smartphone—including exposure and focus controls—as well as an image presentation by our National Geographic photographer. Then head west to the Highline to test your new technical skills on your first assignment. Stroll along this elevated urban greenway, capturing its architectural details, scenes of passersby, and unexpected angles on the New York skyline and the Hudson River. Pick up your lunch to bring back to the classroom for an edit-and-critique session with your instructors. This afternoon, learn about photographic composition and creative seeing, and discuss the elements that make an image powerful. As the afternoon light fades to dusk, travel by subway to iconic Times Square for today’s second field assignment, working with low lighting and bright city lights to make compelling night shots.
Optional Accommodations: New York Marriott Downtown

Day 2 — Sunday: Central Park

Meet up to edit and critique yesterday’s images in the classroom this morning. Discuss storytelling with your camera and hear which of today’s creative apps can best enhance your smartphone images. Then head out on a photo shoot in Central Park, using some of these apps to tell a compelling story about the park and its patrons. Later, return to our classroom for a final edit-and-critique session with your instructors, followed by a discussion on social media’s impact on photography, future directions in smartphone photography, and your own next steps. Cap off the workshop with a group dinner followed by a presentation of the best images created during the weekend.

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Ed Kashi

Ed KashiEd Kashi is an award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker who has produced seventeen stories for National Geographic magazine. Dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times, a sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are signatures of his work. One of his innovative approaches to photography and filmmaking is his acclaimed Iraqi Kurdistan flipbook that uses still images in a moving-image format. As a member of the prestigious VII Photo Agency, Ed has been recognized for his complex imagery and its compelling rendering of the human condition. His images have been published and exhibited worldwide, and his editorial assignments and personal projects have generated seven books. Ed is a pioneer in multimedia, having worked in video and film for more than a decade. He has also been on the forefront of using mobile photography and the Instagram platform as a photojournalist on assignments and for personal projects. In 2011, he produced a multimedia piece on the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam that won the UNICEF Photo of the Year and a World Press award. Ed’s work has earned numerous other honors, including from Pictures of the Year International (recently named Multimedia Photographer of the Year for 2014), Communication Arts, and American Photo Magazine. Ed is also an accomplished educator who instructs and mentors students of photography, participates in forums, and lectures on photojournalism, documentary photography, and multimedia storytelling.

Ed will join the following departures:

Oct 29 - 30, 2016
Jun 03 - 04, 2017
Oct 07 - 08, 2017


  • Oct 29 - 30, 2016
  • Jun 03 - 04, 2017
  • Oct 07 - 08, 2017

Expedition Cost

2016 - 2017

Without Hotel


With Hotel (2 nights)


Workshop prices are per person; price with hotel is based on double occupancy (2 nights). For a single room, add $590. All workshop costs include a farewell dinner.

Airfare from/to your home city is not included in the workshop cost.

Featured Expedition Moment

What To Expect

This workshop is led by a National Geographic photographer and a professional instructor and is designed for amateurs who seek to effectively use and share mobile imagery and are interested in exploring the creative side of smartphone photography.

All participants must bring a mobile device with a camera such as an iPhone, Windowsphone, or Android smartphone. The workshop is limited to 25 participants.