Today At Apple – My Experience

I’m just returning from my “Today At Apple” session. The session was “Crafting Your Shot by Chase Jarvis”. This session was about photography. The appointment was for 12:30 PM. I arrived right on time at the table. There was the teacher there and a girl in its early twenties. He was talking and drawing in Procreate just like the girl. They were talking to each other. It seemed to me this chitchat was going on for a while already. It was 12:45 so I asked if I was at the right place and the guy greeted me and said yes and suggested that I take a seat which I did. 

I came with my brand new iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil and my iPhone 7. Except for the iPhone, all my gear stayed in my back pack as there were iPad on the table already. There was six people registered and only two showed up. The girl was in front of me, on the other side of the table. So I watched for a few minutes without a word and opened up Procreate on the iPad in front of me. I listened to their conversation and tried to replicated what the guy was explaining. I don’t know much about Procreate and I learned a few things. But, wasn’t this session about photography? So I asked and the guy (let’s call him the teacher from now on) replied “oh, yeah, I’m going to start now”. 

The session started with a short video of Chase Jarvis on photography. It was about emotion, composition, lighting not about the camera and technology. This was a nice short film. At some point I thought this was an advertisement of Apple’s iPhone. The video ended and the teacher started talking about what photography is all about. It is about the subject, the composition (like the rule of thirds), the lighting. Yeah, I get it. 

There was three main objectives: connecting with the subject, composition and shaping light. The teacher asked us to take a few pictures of each other. Boom. That was a bit awkward. It was about connecting with the subject. We didn’t. Then the teacher asked us to talk about ourselves: what we like, if we travel, life in general. We opened up a bit. After a few minutes, we had to take portrait photos of each other. Which we did. we kind of connected I guess. We we’re more relaxed. We talked about ways to make the subject confortable. I don’t like to take pictures of humans. It is way too difficult for me. The idea here was to be able to compare pictures before the conversation and after and see how more opened we were supposed to be. We should have seen a difference in the way we pose for the camera. I can understand that. 

Next, composition in photography. It was about using the rule of thirds and how it affect the quality of the composition. The teacher used his own photos to show example of bad and good composition. That was nice as this was real examples taken by an ordinary guy. 

The session moved on to another subject: lighting. The teacher had a MacBook for the slides, and three, yes, three iPhone: the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max and an iPhone XR. He constantly switched from one device to the other each time unplugging the device from the dongle and connecting the other device so we could see on the LG screen. That was a bit messy as it created friction in the flow of its presentation. That was un-Apple like. He showed us all the portrait modes of the iPhone X in general and other tricks too not related directly to the iPhone X but to the camera app in general. I was a bit surprised to me that many of these features we’re known to the girl. AE Lock, directed focus just to name a few. She looked somewhat amazed by this. It is always fun to see these reaction in other’s people faces. 

All in all it was interesting but nothing really outstanding. Maybe this is because the level of the session was too basic. I thought it was about discovering Chase Jarvis’ style of photography and trying to emulate it with our own iPhone and apps. But it wasn’t the case. The session lasted all in all less than 60 minutes. It was in a quite loud environment as there was a lot of walkin in the area and people wanted to get some help about their things unrelated to the session all the time. 

I was a bit deceived as this picture of me below may convey. So there you have it. I don’t think this is always the case but this “Today At Apple” was a bit of a let down. Feel free to share your experience in the comments section after this blog post. 

Picture of me taken in portrait mode with an iPhone XR and retouched within the Photos.app to add a vignette and re-frame it.

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