Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge-Week 6-Color Filters

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We are now at Week 6, the mid-way point, of the ongoing 12 week photo challenge being hosted by We Live in a Flat and Firebonnet.  We Live in a Flat gives a good description of this week’s new challenge, color filters.

One of the easiest things to do with a photo app is to apply a colour filter. Tap to apply and there you have it, a boring photo given a little extra zing. Minimal effort.

I have to agree that applying a color filter, or other types of artistic filters, is one of the easiest things to do with all the new photography apps for phones and notepads.  In fact, it’s almost too easy to get carried away with all the options out there.  Sometimes the hardest decision to make is choosing which readily available photo technique to apply to your photo, or knowing when to put the proverbial paintbrush down and leave well enough alone.

100 Cameras in 1

This is a fun little app that I have explored before.  See my review from March 2013 here.  This app lets you apply those color filters with an easy tap of the finger.  The neat thing is that you can apply filter on top of filter, for almost unlimited choices and final look to your photo.  It is straightforward and simple to use, developed by world renowned photographer Trey Ratcliff.  If you have never had a chance to visit his site, you should do so.  He offers great photography tips & tutorials.  Since I have reviewed this app previously, I won’t review it again here, but as we are discovering color filter apps this week, I thought you might be interested in this one.

Mextures

This is my latest discovery, happened upon quite by happy accident this week while cruising through instagram and reviewing comments there.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I discover this!  An app that lets you create your OWN filters.  The Mextures app has more than 80 original high resolution textures made specifically for photographers by photographers.  You can choose from pack selections such as Radiance, Grit & Grain, Light Leaks, Emulsion, Grunge, Landscape Enhance, and Vintage.  Within each of these packs are numerous filters that you can apply to your photo.  And with each individual application, you can adjust the opacity of the filter.  But here’s the best part…rather than the old method of deleting a filter if you don’t like it, your filters are applied in true layers the way they are in Photoshop, so that you can rotate, hide and adjust the opacity of them as needed, seeing results in real-time  (via the eye symbol, again as in Photoshop).  Isn’t that so very cool?

And if all this isn’t enough, you can also choose to capture your favorite filter combinations and save them for later application on another photo.  Or not. Also within the formulas screen there are “guest” formulas that you can apply with a quick tap of your finger to your photo.  Want to explore them more?  Simply open the layers tab on any given one and you can see how many/which packs/opacity level the guest used to create the unique filter.

This is the app for anyone who wants ultimate control over their photo filter!

Here is my entry for the week.  Original photo (the same one used for the 100 Cameras in 1 sample).

Color-Filter-400x400

Original App Challenge Image
A Break in the Clouds

Mobile Device: iPhone 4s
App Used:  Snapseed, Mextures

And here is my final photo, altered with the advanced filters from Mextures.  Let me know what you think!

Color-Filter-2.1-Web

Final App Challenge Image

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!

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Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge-Week 5-Light Leaks

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With apologizes to my hosts for being a little late, I am joining in on Week 5 of the photo challenge.  Please be sure to check out host sites of We Live in a Flat and Firebonnet for more great information about light leaks in photos.  We Live in a Flat describes them from Widipedia as:

Light Leak, what is it exactly?

A light leak is a hole or gap in the body of a camera where light is able to “leak” into the normally light-tight chamber, exposing the film or sensor with extra light. This light is diffuse, although parts within the camera may cast shadows or reflect it in a particular way. For most purposes this is considered a problem. Within the lomography movement it is seen as a positive effect, giving photos character. – wikipedia

Lomography became popular in the early 1990’s with the use of analog cameras used to create experimental film photography.

Similar to Eastman Kodak’s concept of the “Kodak moment”, the philosophy behind Lomography is summarized in its motto, “Don’t Think, Just Shoot.”  This motto is accompanied by The Ten Golden Rules which are supposed to encourage spontaneity and taking photos anywhere, while minimizing considerations of formal technique.   Typical Lomography cameras are deliberately low-fidelity and constructed to make sure their mechanics are not too technical. Some cameras make use of multiple lenses and rainbow-colored flashes, or exhibit extreme optical distortions and even light leaks. – wikipedia

So, with this great knowledge and the review of different light leak apps by We Live in a Flat, I decided to give PicsArt a try, since I have never used it before.  I have to love PicsArt great motto, “Where Everyone Becomes an Artist”.  Yep that app is for me!  Here is my original photo, chosen and converted to black and white in Snapseed, so that I could see the obvious results of any light filter applied.

Black-&-White-Bridge

Original App Challenge Image
Across the Bridge

Mobile Device: iPhone 4s
App Used:  Snapseed, PicsArt

And here is the “after” result, with the Masks/Lights/Filter 10 in PicsArt applied.  I chose this particular light leak filter because I liked the way the yellow light fell onto the main vehicle on the bridge.  I don’t always “frame” my photos, but thought in this case the black frame nicely highlighted the framework of the bridge.

Color-Bridge

Final App Challenge Image

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!

Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge-Week 3-Watercolor

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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-Screen-3

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-Lucy-Iroing-Board

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-Edit

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 –

Final-Monet-2

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.

Final-Toon-2

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!

 

Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge – Week 2 – HDR

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Country-Road-1

My Photo of the Week
County Road 281, Texas Hill Country

 

Country-Road-2

App Challenge Image
Waves in the Sky

Mobile Device: iPhone 4s
App Used:  Snapseed

The Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge (hosted by We Live in a Flat and Firebonnet) this week was altering photos with HDR and saturation.  I think using HDR, or high dynamic range, in photos works especially well with outdoor scenes.  I used the HDR filter in my Snapseed app to get the desired effect with this beautiful Texas hill country back road!  I also did some light cropping (to remove phone pole in front of trees, and the “straighten” feature in Snapseed.  When I initially applied the HDR filter it was a little strong, so I reduced it from the default setting of 85 to 50.  This made for a slightly more subtle effect, but still worked to bring out the grainy texture of the gray road and the lovely soft wave of the clouds in the sky that day.  They were truly rather unusual.

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!

Snapseed Photo App

Original-Mr.-Moo-DSC05076

Original Photo

 

Mr.-Moo-Snapseed

Photo edited in Snapseed for Dark, Dramatic Effect

 

Final-Mr-Moo

Additional editing in Photoshop (look at background and eyes!)

 

Ok, so who doesn’t like a photo program that makes quick editing a breeze! One of my favorite photo apps, Snapseed, is probably the best all-around app for editing your photography on your smart phone or iPad device.  Originally created by Nik Software, and recently purchased by Google, it received the award for “Best Mobile Photo App 2012”.   For these devices you can get the app for free.  Sadly the desktop versions for Windows and Mac are no longer offered, so I am so glad I already have mine installed!  But if you use it for your mobile device your photos will automatically be saved to your photo stream, or can otherwise be shared, for later access on your desktop.   At that point you can always do further editing in another photo editing software, if desired.

This is one amazing little program.  When you first install it on your mobile device and open the program, you will receive quick instructions on the use of each feature as you go through the screens, and help is always quickly available via a button in the top right-hand side of your screen.  You can take photos while in the program, or choose to use photos already on your camera roll for editing.  Controls are on the left and are easily identifiable:  tune image, straighten, crop, details, etc.  Click on any one and swipe your finger across the screen to see changes, or up and down for more selection choices (ex. Bright, Contrast, etc.).  With center focus you can select the point on your photo you want in sharp focus, choose the amount and radius of background you want blurred, and again swipe your finger to see instant changes to your pictures.

There are many great filters with SnapSeed , including Black & White, Vintage, Drama, and Grunge, each with many options.  And with the super cool Tilt-Shift feature you can get the feel of a large format view camera.  It can make a normal scene look like a toy set!  Try it out!

Original-Caska-DSC05074

Original Photo

 

Caska-Snapseed

Photo edited in Snapseed

 

Final-Caska-DSC05074

Additional editing in Photoshop (see background and eyes).

At any time you can undo the changes you have worked on, save them, or compare them to your original photo.  I usually don’t select crops or frames.  In fact often I save the final version of my SnapSeed photo without using these features, preferring to save the photo in its original size and complete my crops in Photoshop at a later time.

If you are a little hesitant to work with photography, I think you will be impressed by the ease of use of this software.  The Snapseed website also has some great free online tutorials.  Even if you are comfortable with photography, I would suggest taking one of these tutorials to see the best this software can offer.  You won’t be disappointed!!

Are there any wonderful mobile photo apps you are particularly fond of?  If so please let me know.  I have quite a few installed on my phone, but this one is by far and away my favorite!