Here are a few shots of my practicing and the lessons learned.
First, edit the picture. I often just take the photos from the camera roll as is or use instagram to edit, which is not really editing just adding a preset color filter over the image, which most of the time is good enough.
Second, if the picture is blurry, use the black&white filter to dramatize the photo. I hardly ever use B&W, but because I always felt I didn't know how. Well, for me it can just be a simple fix to a blurry photo I don't want to rid myself of (yet).
below I adjusted the picture with a B&W filter, which I think still captures the sharpness and depth of my eyes. While the last image is edited by adjusting exposure and there isn't much change at all. I found because of the shadow, the darks got too dark to maintain the colors around.
below I used Instagram for, well, instant gratification. Later I went back and used the VSCO app to better edit the picture. By adjusting the highlights and contrast, I was able to pull out more light in the picture and remove some shadowing and redness.
finally, lesson is using the natural light to your advantage. below, I am facing the light coming in the window and the right image is with the light shinning on my face but not in my eyes, so there are no weird shadows and my eyes are fully open. With phone cameras, great natural light seems to make all the difference.
Best of all, the class taught me how to better capture my days (and life) through telling stories with my pictures. And that is the greatest lesson learned. If you are even slightly interested definitely check out the class. Completely worth it!