Northern California Science Writers Association


Upcoming events

    • Saturday, April 29, 2017
    • 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    • Pomona St. and 2nd Ave., Crockett CA
    • 1
    Registration is closed

    Smartphone Photography: How to shoot and edit print-quality photos with your phone

    You have a powerful storytelling tool that you always carry in your pocket: a smartphone. Today, major publications feature high-quality smartphone photos in print and online, and this workshop will teach you how to shoot and edit them yourself. Adding smartphone photography to your field reporting will make your stories more appealing to your editors and more engaging to your readers.

    In this workshop, you'll brush up your basic photography skills or learn them from scratch. We’ll delve into composition and exposure, and explore the impressive functionality of modern smartphone cameras and their editing apps. You’ll learn about the many pros and the select cons of using your smartphone camera as a professional tool, as well as about supplemental equipment that will take your smartphone photos to the next level.

    After taking photos during the workshop, you’ll learn how to enhance them through editing. You’ll experiment with the resident photo editing app on your phone as well as with Snapseed, a free, feature-filled photo editing app.

    Whether you are a freelance or staff writer, learning how to get the most out of your smartphone camera will help you sell stories to editors, and will bring your stories alive to your readers.


    Lisa Strong is a freelance writer, still photographer, and filmmaker based in Marin County. She’s taught the multimedia production class for her alma mater, the UCSC Science Communication Program, for 10 years. Prior to that, she taught field photo workshops in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, and in Alaska – starting in the days of film. Recently, she’s worked for the Exploratorium, producing live interactions with research ships on expeditions. She prefers producing from the ship, and has been on four ship-based expeditions for a total of five months at sea. For more about Lisa, visit her website:

    PREPARATION: Download the Snapseed app, which is free and comes in both Apple and Android versions, to your smartphone. Also, be sure your phone is fully charged.

    LOCATION: The workshop will be in the charming and photogenic East Bay town of Crockett, which is just off I-80 on the south side of the Carquinez Bridge. We'll meet at the intersection of Pomona St. and 2nd Ave., near the clock.

    SCHEDULE: 8 am to 1 pm

    We'll start early to catch some of the best light of the day. And we'll have lunch and share our photos at the nearby Valona Deli.

    COST: $45

    (To make this workshop accessible to as many of our members as possible, NCSWA is providing a generous subsidy that keeps the cost low.)

    REGISTRATION: Spots are limited to 12, offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for registration is Friday, April 14, 2017, at midnight.

    NOTE: This is a repeat of NCSWA's October 8, 2016, Smartphone Photography workshop, which had a waiting list. If you attended that workshop, please don't sign up for this one so other people will have a chance to come.

    REFUND POLICY: Cancellations during the registration period will be credited toward future NCSWA events; no refunds/credits will be given after registration closes.

    CONTACT: Robin Meadows, Professional Development Committee co-chair

Past events

Saturday, April 22, 2017 NCSWA March for Science Meetup
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 When itch becomes a pain: the biology of touch
Saturday, March 04, 2017 Show and Tell: How to build stories with scenes and voice
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 California's redwoods in a changing climate
Sunday, October 30, 2016 Tour of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Saturday, October 08, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Smartphone Photography
Tuesday, October 04, 2016 A Giant Step for Robots
Saturday, August 27, 2016 Walking Tour: Berkeley Rocks!
Thursday, August 04, 2016 The see-through brain
Saturday, April 23, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Narrative Structure: Choosing the best way to tell your story
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 Open Board Meeting
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 Stiff, Spook, Bonk and More: Science Meets Humor
Saturday, February 27, 2016 Marine Mammal Center & Point Bonita Lighthouse
Saturday, February 20, 2016 NCSWA WORKSHOP: The Art of the Science Essay
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Pluto’s “Spinning Top” Moons and other Discoveries
Thursday, October 08, 2015 NCSWA Movie Night: The Martian
Thursday, October 01, 2015 Your Aging Cells: The Fast Track to Disease?
Saturday, September 19, 2015 NCSWA Data Scraping and Visualization Workshop
Tuesday, July 07, 2015 How CRISPR gene editing is changing our world
Friday, June 26, 2015 NCSWA weekend at Hastings Reserve, June 26-28
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Proof: the Science of Booze
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 How scary is Ebola?
Saturday, May 24, 2014 Underground tour of Black Diamond Mines
Thursday, April 03, 2014 Daniela Kaufer - Stress & the Brain
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Holiday dinner: Chasing volcanoes
Thursday, September 26, 2013 NCSWA Night at the Exploratorium
Friday, August 16, 2013 Camping trip to Sagehen reserve in the Sierra Nevada
Friday, May 03, 2013 How to Be a Science Writer
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Spring Dinner: Hydraulic Fracturing, with Stanford's Mark Zoback
Saturday, January 12, 2013 NCSWA Data Journalism Workshop
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: Nerds on Wall Street (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Thursday, October 11, 2012 NCSWA Fall Event: Cyber Crime (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 NCSWA Movie Night
Friday, August 24, 2012 Overnight trip to North Coast’s Angelo Reserve (FULL)
Saturday, July 14, 2012 Special tour of Buckminster Fuller exhibit (SOLD OUT)
Thursday, May 17, 2012 Spring dinner with Atul Butte
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Resetting the Aging Clock
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 Intimate Aerials: Photography using Kite-Lofted Cameras
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 GAMING SCIENCE: Video Games and Scientific Research – Who’s in the Lead?
Monday, July 11, 2011 SETI: If We're Not Alone, How Will We Find Out?
Thursday, March 10, 2011 Building the brain in silicon
Saturday, February 26, 2011 Hike the "minor peaks" of San Francisco
Saturday, January 22, 2011 Hike the Pinnacles with a ranger
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 Math whiz and Las Vegas card counting veteran Paul Stepahin
Saturday, November 20, 2010 Digital Photography Workshop
Thursday, October 07, 2010 Oil Spills and Microbes: Can Mother Nature Take a Punch?
Saturday, August 21, 2010 NCSWA Point Reyes Kayak Camping
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 David Relman & the Micro World of Endo-Ecology
Thursday, April 01, 2010 Dinner with Stephen Palumbi
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Holiday Dinner with Science Comedian Brian Malow
Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Let’s Get Really Small: A Report on Nanotechnology from Someone Ahead of the Forefront
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 The Hunt for Planets Like Earth
Saturday, April 25, 2009 WORKSHOP: New Directions in Science Writing
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