If you want to know how I get most of my photos to look the way they do read on. I reference this briefly in my post on creating a photo editing work flow. But I’ll go into more detail here.
I do most of my photo taking and photo editing on my smartphone now, because that’s just life. But when you’ve got a pretty high quality camera on your smartphone, you might as well.
First I take my photo. And, with very few exceptions, I always take photos landscape style. I turn my phone on it’s side, you know, the way you take photos with a normal digital camera.
I’ll use this photo of Kiwi, Bravo’s dog cousin, throughout my post so you can see the transformation and the differences between my options.
I use the built in photo editor to do an auto fix and a crop (if necessary). Sometimes I like the auto fix, sometimes I don’t. If I don’t like it then I’ll take it back. I always crop to 4:3 ratio, just to be consistent.
Then I open up Nokia Creative Studio.
Now, if you don’t have a Nokia Windows Phone, then you can’t use this app obviously, but if you’re using an iPhone or iPad or Android smartphone or tablet you can download an app that I’ve used before (and LOVE, I wish they made it for Windows Phone) called snapseed. Use the drama filter and experiment with some other stuff in there and you can get a lot of these same effects.
I loved this one for my Europe photos… anything that might do well to look a little aged works well (so like, all your non-scenic shots from your Europe trip). The colors are very saturated and head more toward a yellow tone.
This one is great for beach shots or shots you want to have that blown out, vintage look. It does look a bit faded and sometimes a bit washed out. The colors are less saturated, and often take on a pastel feel.
If I want to go black and white or monochrome I nearly always use this filter. It’s not true black and white, It has an almost yellow tone to it, but I think it’s great for shots that don’t look great in color, but are bland in a straight black and white.
I also like (but don’t use as often) Amber and Opal.
Amber, appropriately, feels a bit like putting your photo underneath an amber colored glow. Opal gives the photo’s colors their most saturated look, depending on the photo it might also give it a slightly blue glow.
And of course you can choose no filter if you want, by using original.
There are lots of editing choices- selective color (called color pop), collages, cropping, rotating, eliminating red eye, selective focus and blur, but I go straight to the “adjust menu.”. Here I have options for adjusting the color balance, brightness, clarity, and vibrancy.
I choose clarity and bump it to the highest level.
This makes the photo look more defined and dramatic. It often increases contrast and shadows. If it’s a photo of people’s faces I sometimes go lighter on the clarity change because it only enhances the shadows on people’s faces (which really means you’ll make their blemishes, wrinkles, and under eye puffiness stand out. No Bueno). If you’re using snapseed you can accomplish a similar look by using the drama filter.
If I feel like the photo has lost some of its color along the way, and I’d like to add it back in, I go back to the adjust menu and increase the vibrancy. (I did not do that in this case since I was dealing with a monochromatic filter).
This normally creates a very stylized image, and it looks so real that it doesn’t look real. (and in this case, this photo has been touched quite a few times, for various projects, so it’s a bit more pixelly than I would like, but I still like it as an art or style shot). You might not like it, but it works really well for me. Since most of my images are edited to be posted to my blog, I find that using this same workflow gives my images a consistent style. Not always the case, but having the same workflow helps with consistency.
What do you think? Do you have a photo editing workflow?