Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge-Week 3-Watercolor


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!


Snapseed App

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
Iron This!

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!



100 Cameras in 1

I love photography, and I love it even more now that I have a smart phone and have discovered photo apps!  I have friends that are purists when it comes to photography.  They do such a good job of composing their photos and know their cameras so well that they don’t rely on the new photo editing software that is readily available.

I have a different take, though, on the new digital age as it applies to photography.  My old film cameras and lenses sit gathering dust in my closet.  For me gone are the days of taking the shot, being careful to remove the film properly from the camera so as not to expose it, and waiting to see the shots you took until after the film is developed.  I can review photos immediately after taking them, then download and edit them on the computer with my Photoshop software.  And even better, I can take photos on my iPhone, edit on-the-spot with photo apps, and have them automatically go to my computer via my photo stream.  Amazing!

I’m truly like a kid that’s been handed a huge box of colorful crayons and an unlimited stack of clean white paper.  Being able to “play” with my photos, and turn them into art is just plain FUN.  And speaking of fun, my most recent photo app truly fits this description.  It is called “100 Camers in 1”, and was developed by Lavacado Studios and Trey Ratcliff.  It is available for the iPhone, iPad, and Windows via Intel AppUp.

This is not an app for extension editing, but rather has an amazing number of preset filters that can be used on photos already taken, or on new photos.  It is fast and super easy to use.  Once installed on your device you choose the photo you want to work with (or take a new one), move and scale your photo, and then start scrolling through all the filters to see which one you like the best.  Can’t make up your mind?  You can even save as you go and apply filters in layers, so that the possibilities are almost limitless.  Once you are through you can save your creative photo through all the social media sharing options.  Instant gratification for everyone!

All filters are named, and just reading through the names is a mini adventure in itself.  Sometimes I think I missed my dream job…naming paint colors.  This is similar to that, with filter names like “a child’s shoes”, and “the dark feelings”.  Again, just plain fun.  You can see the names of the filters I’ve used here by scrolling across the photos, with the top left photo being the original.  I think this app is particularly great for outdoor photography, or for creative background images.  Which one is your favorite?

So, buy the app (or get a free version), download, take your photos, and make photography ART!