Schmutzie can most commonly be found at Schmutzie.com, but she’s also the founder of Ninjamatics and the Grace in Small Things social network in her ongoing efforts to make and spread things on the internet.
If you’ve got an iPhone, and if you would like to learn how to take the photo on the left and make it look like the photo on the right, you’re in the right place.
When I got my first smart phone, an iPhone 3G, I had no idea that it would have such decent camera ability, but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it. Now, two years later and in a household that boasts about 10 to 15 cameras, my iPhone, now an iPhone 4, is just about the only piece of camera equipment I ever use.
I’m not the only one who’s fallen for its charms. iPhoneographers are everywhere these days, and it’s easy to see why once you realize just how much power a few easy camera apps can wield. I have three favourite, go-to camera apps right now that make it easy to create good-looking images: Camera+ ($0.99), Snapseed ($4.99), and Noise Master ($1.99).
Although the price might seem steeper, these apps are well worth the $7.97 I spent on them, and, once you’ve played with them a bit, you’ll look like a master iPhoneographer. I wouldn’t leave home without them, so download those three apps and let me show you how to take a washed out, blurry photo from boring to ooh la la.
Open Camera+. Tap the camera icon at the bottom left to open the camera if it is not already open. Point your iPhone at your subject. Tap the screen on the image where you would like the lens to focus, and then tap the camera button to take a picture.
As you can see, I took a pretty terrible picture. It’s always better to be able to start with a properly blocked, focused, and lit image, but I want to show you that even images shot on the fly can be turned into decent photos. So, if your image isn’t stellar right away, don’t sweat it.
After you’ve taken your photo, go to your Camera+ image gallery by tapping on the tiny thumbnail at the bottom left, and choose your photo from the gallery for editing.
My goal at this point is only to brighten the photo before further editing in Snapseed. You can see what setting I chose in the image below.
Feel free to play around with the different settings to see what they can do, but remember that we will be doing the majority of our editing in Snapseed, so, for this tutorial, keep it simple.
When you are done editing your photo, tap Done in the top right corner, and then tap Save near the bottom right. Close Camera+.
Open Snapseed. Tap Open at the top left, choose Photo Library, and then choose the last edited version of your photo from the photo gallery.
There are a number of options along the bottom of the screen. I opted to alter this particular photo using Tune Image (pictured below), which generally adjust elements of colour and brightness, Crop, which allows you to crop your photo, and Details, which sharpens the edges and image details.
Swipe your finger up and down to use the menu, as pictured at left, and swipe your finger left to right to adjust the value of any menu item, as pictured at right.
Don’t hesitate to sharpen your image quite a bit at this point — I used the full 100% — because we are going to cut down on image noise with the Noise Master, and the image will lose some detail if it is not already quite sharp.
Here is the photo so far after our Camera+ and Snapseed treatments:
When you are done editing your photo, tap the icon in the top right corner, and then tap Save to Photo Library. Close Snapseed.
Open Noise Master. Tap Load from ‘Photos’. Pick the last edited image from your photo gallery.
Put your thumb and forefinger on the screen, and, instead of pinching them together, pull them apart from each other to enlarge your photo. You won’t be able to see your whole photo when it is enlarged, but you will be able to see how much blur you are actually creating to keep you from overdoing it.
Use the slider at the bottom to create more and less noise reduction until you figure out which level you like the best.
I used 25% noise reduction for my photo:
When you are done editing your photo, tap Save in the top right corner. Close Noise Master.
It’s not too shabby for a photo that started out with a whole lot of problems, but I still didn’t feel done with this photo, though, so I opened up Snapseed again to adjust it for structure, focus, and saturation using the Details and Tilt-Shift options to give it a little more pop, and behold!
If I haven’t convinced you of the value of these three apps yet, just take a look at the first and last images side by side:
Camera+, Snapseed, and Noise Master are truly a trifecta of awesome when it comes to iPhoneography. They allow you to shoot photos under less desirable conditions and still create images you love, which is fantastic for those moments when you don’t have the time or opportunity to choose the best lighting or have everyone hold still for that perfect shot.
I’d love to see what you create, so, if you edit any photos using this tutorial, please link to them in the comments! And have fun!
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