November 08, 2018
I’ll be honest with you; I’m pretty basic when it comes to photo editing - like pumpkin spice latte-level basic. This is partly because I’ve never thought of myself as much of a photographer and partly because I’ve never had a good camera. At the moment, I’m working with a second-to-bottom-shelf android that at times makes my attempts at landscape photography feel only slightly less pixelated than an early Mario background. As Foterra expands and enables our community to design pieces with their own images, we realized that a number of people likely feel as I do: I don’t have the best gear, I take a lot of pictures and don’t know how to make them pop. Thus, knowing my relative inexperience and the underwhelming quality of my camera, I'm fully qualified to be your green guide to smartphone photography and editing. So let's dive in!
I will be the first to admit that my phone’s capacities are limited, so I up my game I downloaded a few different editing apps that the friendly folks on the internet recommended. As the quality of my phone might also suggest, I care about price point, so I opted for three free ones (still some of the top ranking) that had additional add ons for purchase: A Color Story, Lightroom, and Snapseed.
A Color Story
My main complaint with filters is that they can often lack subtly. A Color Story takes away the filter or not to filter dilemma. Unlike a lot of other programs which take an all or nothing approach, A Color Story lets you adjust the intensity of a filter. Apply them like a thin layer of blush or go full-on Kardashian contour. You can even layer filters to make the results less generic. Like the brightness that one gives you, but like the way another boosts the color? Save them as a custom filter! In this photo of me at the Grand Canyon, for example, I set the Everyday filter to 48% then added the Ice Ice filter at 52% to enhance the greens in the foreground without washing out the shadows behind me. I saved the combination as Nerd on a Rock.
Still, I wanted to learn how to achieve more intense picture without relying on filters. I toy around with brightness, shadow, etc, but I don’t really know what I’m doing. I just slide dials around until the image looks spunkier than when I started. So I asked Google for a more methodical way to approach the editing process and found some listicles to guide me through the basics. This article proved really helpful, breaking down six go to tools that can give your pictures a boost.
It quickly explained what each of the functions do, what their effects are, and thus the reason it helps to do them in a certain order. For instance, increasing the shadows can brighten the foreground but leave other areas pale. So reducing the blacks afterward can bring some the color back by adding contrast.
Snapseed and Adobe Lightroom
To test the steps, I experimented with Snapseed and Adobe Lightroom. As someone used to the most basic selection of my phone’s tools, upgrading to these apps felt like having my Fisher-Price junior doctor’s bag snatched from me, then handed a paramedic’s kit complete with adrenaline shots, scalpels, and defibrillator. With a game plan, I followed the steps in Snapseed to enhance this picture of a sunrise hike in Lanikai
And Lightroom for this sunset on the North York moors
Both apps functioned similarly and both brought life back into my images. I found Lightroom a bit more user friendly. Snapseed has some more heavy-duty tools that I don’t quite know what to do with. Also, Lightroom saves your edited pictures in albums within the app, whereas Snapseed has to export them. And who wants to organize all those photos on their phone? My phone is way too cluttered for that!
Exciting as it is to see your photograph come to life in processing, so much lies in the original. Editing can only do so much, and getting a few great shots can take patience - waiting for the cloud to pass, the pedestrian to get out of the frame. My advice? Don’t forget to put down the lens for a moment. You are there, in a place, in a moment; your memory of it will be sweeter if it isn’t seen entirely from behind the lens.
Make your own custom jewelry!
Now it's your turn. Are you ready to Foterra? You can make your own custom jewelry using your very own photographs!
DIY Photo Jewelry is coming soon!
We are still working hard behind the scenes to get everything working correctly. We are launching the collection on November 13th. Sign up to be notified one day earlier!
While you wait, we will send you photo tips and tricks from our professional Foterra Fotographers and staff. These guys have the know how to get even the novice iPhone photographer the best results with their photography AND their new jewelry. Sign up below and be the first in the know!
Post by Head Jewelry Maker at Foterra, Jana
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