I like to do one of these posts every so often because I find myself discovering new techniques and new apps that I use to edit my phone photos. First off, I want to say that I recently upgraded my iPhone to the 6s because of the camera. I had the iPhone 4s for the LONGEST time and it never gave me the photo quality that I wanted. Before I never used phone images in my blog posts because they just weren’t up to par, but now that I upgraded my phone to a better camera I find that they are much easier to edit to get the look I want and I am finding myself using more and more of my phone pictures in my blog posts.
If you are a blogger, getting to know your phone camera can definitely makes things so much easier. You can edit your pictures and write your blog posts all from your phone! Much easier than having to upload DSLR photos to edit before finishing up your post. I still use my DSLR images for blog posts because there is still a difference, don’t get me wrong about that. But there are times when you are in the moment and you don’t have time to get out your big camera. Especially when it comes to my kids, there are just those moments that pass in an instant that can’t be recreated or posed or if you try to they just aren’t the same.
So here are a few of my favorite editing apps and a few options that I like to use to get the images to look the way I want them to.
A Color Story: One of my first go-to apps is A Color Story. I just recently discovered this app and I love it! It’s great for bright colors and your whites. I like to use this depending on the mood of the image, if I am capturing window light I use this app to enhance this. I like to use the Airy filters. There are some bokeh and light flare options too that I have used occasionally depending on the image.
This image is edited using only A Color Story.
VSCO Cam:This is one of my favorites. VSCO filters are film filters so they give a different type of feel to an image. I use this app when I play with shadows and lighting. I like to use A4, A5, ACG. C1, C8, C9. F1-F3, and for black and white images I like B1 and B5.
I used A Color Story in the image below to brighten and also added a light flare. Then I used C9 in VSCO Cam. C9 has a monochromatic effect.
Mextures: This app has lots and lots of options, the only ones I really use are the light enhancing ones. Grit and Grain – Window Shopping, ISO800 and Leaker. These are side lighting effects that can really enhance the lighting in your images.
I added Window Shopping to this one over on the right side of his face to play up the light just a bit. I also used C9 in VSCO Cam.
Lens Distortions: Lens Distortions is an amazing app to play up the light. I like to use the light flares to enhance what is already there. If I can get away with it, I will use the Light Hits to add sunsets and flares if I have an image with landscape or trees. It just depends on the image. I don’t like the lighting to look fake so I tend to play up with what is already there.
Sometimes though, I do feel the need to get a bit more creative and this app is perfect for it.
Take a look at the edited image below. She is holding a little grow your own garden in a mason jar. She is sitting right in front of one of our windows in our home against a white curtain with some lovely diffused light.
I wanted to get a little more creative so I added one of the Light Hits and made it seem as though she was holding a lantern with a light or maybe even a jar with some fireflies. 😀 I think the fact that she was wearing her Anna princess dress made me want to make this image appear more magical.
I also used one of the Light Hits to add a flare in the trees to this one.
The few images below already had some amazing light and shadows, so I skipped A Color Story altogether because that app tends to brighten up a lot and I wanted to keep what was in the shadows there. I went straight to using VSCO Cam and then Lens Distortion to play up and warm the light.
Facetune: When it comes to portraits this is one of my favorites. I use the Smooth option to smooth out skin, just a tad because you don’t want it to look fake or overdone. I also love to use the Defocus option. The Defocus option can help your subject stand out more. I use the Details option to sharpen eyes.
In this particular photo of June below, I used the Smoothing option for her face, then I used the Defocus option to defocus the background and then right around her hair. Then I used Details to make her eyes stand out more. The combination of Defocus and Details really made her face and eyes really pop.
This is the original version. You can also see how cropping your photo for the best composition also helps.
Pic Tap Go: This app is a great finishing app. I like my photos to look a bit matte, so if by the time I am done editing it still does not have enough of the matte effect that I like I will go into Pic Tap Go. Here are some of my favorite filters not in any particular order- Cool It Down, Highlights, Auto Color, High Fives, Sweet Tooth, Skinny Jeans and I have only used Eternal once and it was for the image above with the latern/mason jar firefly photo but I found that it gave the lighting a really neat effect.
Pic Tap Go is also a great one for black and white images.
Snapseed: This is an app I use only occasionally and I use it more as a correcting tool. Snapseed has a Selective option that allows you to select only certain parts of your image and gives you the option to change only that. You can decrease or increase Saturation, Contrast and Brightness. So for example, I have used this Selective option if I find a face in an image is too shadowy I will selectively brighten only the face and same goes for contrast and saturation. Sometimes when shooting in shadows faces can be dark and more saturated than they would normally look so I will use this to correct that.
Instagram: The only option I use in the Instagram app is the sharpening tool. All of these images have been uploaded to Instagram at some point, and right before I go to upload I will sharpen just a bit. It really makes the photo pop on screen. That said, if you aren’t uploading to Instagram and just want to sharpen for printing, some of the apps above also have the sharpening option.
All my favorite images are uploaded to Instagram and I would love it if you would follow me HERE @thestoryoffive.
This is probably my most detailed photo editing post yet. You can see my previous post HERE. You will see that some of my favorite apps have changed and that’s because they are continuously coming out with new apps that make phone editing easier and more creative.
Later on I will go into some specific techniques that I use for lighting and shadow play to get these types of images in addition to some talk about cropping and composition.
In the meantime, feel free to tag me on Instagram if you have used any of the tips from this post, I would love to see them!