So the challenge this week is to use a photo and edit it via an app to look like a watercolor. This Snappy H’appy Challenge is hosted by We Live in A Flat and Firebonnet. Be sure to check out the other challenge photos via their sites.
But before I get into this photo challenge, I just want to challenge everyone else out there – if you think you can’t take good photos, the truth is YOU CAN!! If you have a smart phone, and especially one of the more recent ones, you have everything you need to take some great photos! No fancy camera and lenses are needed. Just grab your smart phone, find the camera icon, and start snapping. Just keep these few general rules in mind:
1. DO NOT turn on the flash. If your phone camera has the setting on “Auto”, turn the flash OFF.
2. Place yourself between your light source and your subject (i.e. between window and subject or with the sun behind you). This will help you to get good lighting on your subject.
3. Try not to move while taking pictures. Use a tripod if you want. I have never done that with my phone, but rather just try to keep the phone steady while taking the photo. And you might find that your photos that have some “movement” or “blur” are interesting. Don’t discard them too quickly.
4. Yes composition is always important. Check out this article from Digital Camera World for 10 great basic composition tips. Then let the photo editing apps on your phone do some of the hard work for you!
Once your photo is taken it is automatically saved to your camera roll. Now comes the really FUN part! If you are brand new to photo editing on your smart phone or tablet, you will want to get some different photo editing apps. Go to the app store on your device and do a quick search called “photo edit”. Plenty of choices should pop up. Always read the details and reviews on an app before installing, even if they are free, to make sure that is what you want. If you download an app and find you don’t like it, you can always delete it later.
If you only want to load one app to start, I would highly suggest installing Snapseed. It is typically my first “go-to” app for photo edits, and is easy to learn. It will do most things you will need, and then some. There are many filters in this amazing little program that will give your photo almost any look you want. Once the app is installed, open it and select a photo from your camera roll to work on. And don’t worry, your original is safe. Questions? Click on the question mark and select “show overlay” if you forget how to do something. Once edits are made you will have choices to save this newly edited version to your camera roll, or to share it via Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Once you have learned one photo editing app, it’s time to explore! After awhile you will learn that it is even more fun to edit in one app, save, then edit in another app, save…and so on, until you get just the look you are after. It’s kind of like using layers in Photoshop, only much easier. And it only takes a few minutes! And that’s what this 12 week photo challenge is all about. We are introducing ourselves to new ways to edit photos via apps, so join us weekly on our learning adventure.
Original App Challenge Image
Mobile Device: iPhone 4s
App Used: Snapseed, Mobile Monet, Camera Toon
So, here is my original photo for this week’s challenge. I have to say the composition on this one is not good at all. Lots of distracting elements in this photo. But – I will show you some really cool apps that will help with that, and give the photo a nice watercolor effect.
Snapseed App Edits
First app up is…you guessed it…Snapseed for quick edits to brighten, add contrast, warmth, and sharpness to photo, and to crop. Changes are subtle, but if you compare closely they are there. Save and move on to –
Mobile Monet App Edits
I just found Mobile Monet while researching apps to give a watercolor effect to photos, and boy do I love this one! When you first open it converts your photo to black and white, and then using your finger you “brush” the color back in wherever you like. Here is a nice YouTube video to see how it works on an iPad. You can adjust the line drawing prior to adding color. Quick and easy! So now I have a mixed media drawing/watercolor. Background distractions are significantly reduced and focus is now on my main subject, my kitty Lucy.
Toon Camera App Edits
Final App Challenge Image
For my final edits I open the saved photo in Toon Camera and and use a toon filter to soften the watercolor effect just a little more. Again these changes are subtle, but you will notice less “dots” in this picture and wavier lines in the color parts of the photo (Lucy’s fur). Done!
Want to have fun and participate in the photo challenge, or just visit the other entries? Just click on the Snappy H’appy Logo at the top of this post!