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Thursday, December 1, 2016

"Make the "Stuff" you stand in front of more interesting"

Captured with Camera+ Processed in Snapseed
I just love getting inspiration from other photographers and artists and one never knows where or how it will come. A good friend who attended Nature Visions posted on her Facebook page one of her favorite quotes from the keynote speaker Bob Krist, who is a tremendously talented travel photographer, she wrote "Stand in front of more interesting stuff."
Well a bit out of context but I can imagine what it was in reference to...creating compelling images.

So as I read that, I was inspired to think:
"Make the stuff you are standing in front of more interesting!"
I was at the beach when I read her post in the morning and when I went out for a beach walk in the late afternoon, I was challenging myself to,  "Make the stuff I was standing in front of more interesting."
What do you do with sand, and windblown dead plant life? Study it! Look at the, shapes, textures, light and how it interacts with your subject, look at how you can put the material into the frame so that it makes a pleasing or dynamic composition. Then make a correct exposure, then shoot it again..then go home and do your best processing! Monochrome or color with software does not matter, its what makes the image work.

I don't believe you have to be in exotic locations or have amazing subjects to create a compelling image! In your own back yard there are subjects and light situations that can work! But you have to stretch your imagination, "see" the opportunity. See how to make the image! See light!
In other words, challenging yourself to,
"Make the stuff you are standing in front of more interesting."

 When you can do this you can create compelling images anywhere you are standing! I will admit though the beach is a pretty cool place! But I was the only photographer out there looking for images on a simple beach walk on a bright sunny bluebird sky afternoon. So get out there, take your iPhone and see the stuff you are standing in front of in a more interesting way, then work hard with your skills to make it compelling!
Tidepool light
Captured with Camera+ processed in Snapseed
It has been a great and busy fall season of iPhone education, teaching two courses at Johns Hopkins in the Odyssey Program and one at Osher as well as weekend workshops at Capital Photography Center.
Look for spring course listing in a couple weeks! I will be teaching in Odyssey in the spring and maybe Osher again...and as always at Capital Photography Center!
Hope to see you  in a class!! I have three more spots open on December 18 at Union Station. Click here for more info:

Also we will be adding an iPhone photography walk about next spring at Capital Photography Center, that will be fun!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Creating a Photo Series on your iPhone ~ Hipstamatic ~ Stackables

It's no secret, I love the beach and I love the app Hipstamatic for shooting in certain situations where you want a very unique look. I went for a walk on the beach late in the afternoon and loved the fading light, tide pools and the sparse amount of people enjoying the beach.
My idea was to use Hipstamatic loaded with the Fashion Pak while adding exposure using the shutter speed dial in Classic Mode, I wanted a bit of an ethereal look in my images.
The latest Hipstamatic update added an in App "Settings" menu under the Photos Icon in the lower left of the Classic screen: Tap the photos icon, then Tap Menu, Then Settings, it is a bit obscure but there.
There are new features for 1. Capture: Raw original unfiltered image in a 2x3 orientation along with the Square Filtered image, adding more complexity to the app and for, 2. Saving: as separate files or versions. You will need to make choices there in the settings based on your preference for Capture and Saving...

Hipstamatic now has a lens preview switch, a small toggle next to the shooting screen, which allows you to see what the image will look like with the selected film and lens combo. It was a big update on September 1: there are lots more updated features. This app, though adding improvements, has gone from a really cool simple to use app, to a somewhat complex to a new user app. I still enjoy shooting in classic mode, as I love the large screen feature of shutter release...though the pro mode shooting side of the app is pretty cool too!
So much for updates, back to creating the images: After I captured the images I wanted, I took the images into the Stackables app applied a texture filter and saved it as a formula in the app so I could apply the same filter with the same opacity to the series I shot.
I then finished the series by adding my name using the app Impression. So give it a try..create a series with intent, a point of view and consistency...
Check out my Getting Started iPhone workshops at Capital Photography Center in Washington, DC

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Snapseed new feature " Face" rocks!

Snapseed "Face" adjustments made and monochrome conversion.
Labor Day was a great day in South Bethany, De. Just being at the beach again is enough! But I also enjoyed a super beach picnic dinner with neighbors Don and Elayne and their children Matt and Michele. Don grilled awesome chicken, Elayne cooked corn on the cob and prepared some fabulous pasta shells stuffed with manicotti cheese...and we sat outside on the picnic table.
Now that's an American Labor Day!
After dinner, as the evening was coming on Elayne asked if I would take a family pic as Matt is now living in San Francisco, Snowy their family dog is now 14 years old, and they have their beach house on the market: it may be the last time they are all together at the beach. So I obliged, actually I was honored! I used their iPhone but I also wanted to use mine as no picture is ever done when you take it, it needs processing, even an iPhone pic benefits from some aesthetic tweaks!
So...I was excited to try a new feature in my favorite processing App, Snapseed. Google just added a new feature called "Face" in the artistic filter section of the iPhone app.
I decided to give it a try on the one pic I thought was best of their family. Well I was blown away by its ability to do the work. It has three adjustment features: Face Spotlight: Eye Clarity and Skin Smoothing. I applied differing degrees of each and was pleased with the result.
Below are the before and after images.
I also enjoyed making a Monochrome file and a vintage file of the same image with the "Face" adjustments already applied. I think it works great in the monochrome conversion as well.
Join me on my next iPhone class September 18 in Washington DC. Sponsored by Capital Photography Center!
Or in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus this session is full and one has a few spaces so hurry!
After "Face" adjustment in Snapseed. Subtle but different. Zoom in for details.

And then as we sat in the chairs in conversation, watching day fade into night, this happened in the sky!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The value of "Play" in your photography..Hipstamatic Classic

Last night several members from the Baltimore Camera Club went to the Maryland State Fair to create images. It was a great time with friends, music, lights and lots of energy there! I decided to go without the big camera. So with my iPhone in hand I selected the Hipstamatic App, loaded with the Fashion Lens/Film combo: Tacman Lens (adds motion and energy) and Runway film. I thought it would be perfect for the feeling I wanted to represent in my images. I also experimented with the shutter speed control dial that was added to the Classic Camera interface in January. I have not really experimented with it to any degree of difference but thought this would be a perfect time to play with that feature. I also used the multiple exposure feature that is built into the Classic Camera of Hipstamatic...So the combination of shutter speed control, multiple exposure and the Fashion Pak gave me the exact results I was hoping for, crazy fun images with lots of energy! I then finished the images in Snapseed for saturation, and sharpening.
I was really playing with the idea I wanted to communicate and used some cool features the App has to offer...just for fun! Don't take your photography so seriously that it becomes work or route, experiment have some fun with the art!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Capturing and Teaching High Dynamic Range Imagery on the iPhone

High Dynamic Range photography is not new, but teaching the concept to non photographers is always a "wow" when they see it in action. It is a part my curriculum when conducting the "Getting Started in iPhone Photography" workshops sponsored by Capital Photography Center and my sessions at Johns Hopkins in their Odyssey Program.
I like to capture images with Bracket Mode, even though there are numerous quality HDR apps available. It's easy, it's effective and I can just keep shooting, no need to stop and process while capturing the images. I like to process later; when I am shooting, I just want to shoot. I use the Pro HDR X app to process the two captured images from Bracket Mode. Pro HDR though still available in the app store will not handle the larger 12mp files from the newer iPhones.

When using Bracket Mode you have to make a few simple settings within the app. You have to turn on "Auto Save" images. When you purchase it from the App store, it downloads with the default not to save them, don't ask me you could shoot and never see a file, so make sure you fix that setting, by tapping on the cog like icon on the lower right of the App interface. Camera technique is also important during the capture process, a very steady hand is critical, so when the images blend they will overlay and create a sharp image file.

Below are two examples of the power of this app and its ability to Auto-detect the brightest and darkest part of an image. I will also be teaching two sessions at Johns Hopkins this fall in the Odyssey Program and hope you can join me there or at Capital Photography Center in DC.
Captured with Bracket Mode in Auto Mode (for the brightest area of the scene~ the sky)

Captured with Bracket Mode in Auto Mode (for the darkest area of the scene~ the foreground)

Blended image in Pro HDRx and then further processed using Snapseed for sharpening, saturation, and contrast.

Captured with Bracket Mode in Auto Mode (for the brightest area of the scene~ the sky)

Captured with Bracket Mode in Auto Mode (for the darkest area of the scene~ the foreground and under the roof of the gas station)

Blended image in Pro HDR X and then further processed using Snapseed for sharpening, saturation, and contrast.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Conservatory ~ Apps: Glaze ~ Camera + ~ Leonardo ~ Snapseed ~ BracketMode ~ Pro HDR x ~ Impression

Captured with BracketMode: Blended using Pro HDR x: Processed in Snapseed: Artistic filter rendered in Glaze: enhanced using Leonardo and signed using Impression
Sharing new ways to capture images on the iPhone with students is so much fun! I just love to see their faces when they blend their first HDR image, they capture using BracketMode and blend using Pro HDR x. It's always an "Oh Wow! Today I had a group of students in a local conservatory and we worked mainly on capturing macro images with our iPhones, but I also had a student who wanted to expand her knowledge on shooting and capturing bracketed HDR images. The images here are an assortment from today's workshop.
Join me in Washington, DC for my next "Getting Started in iPhone Photography" at the National Portrait Gallery, March 13, just a few spots open.
Orchid: Captured using the Macro feature in Camera+: Processed in Snapseed: Artistic filter applied using Glaze: Enhanced using Leonardo: signed using Impression
Captured with BracketMode: Blended using Pro HDR x: Processed in Snapseed: Artistic filter rendered in Glaze: enhanced using Leonardo and signed using Impression

Cactus Flower: Captured using the Macro feature in Camera+: Processed in Snapseed: Artistic filter applied using Glaze: Enhanced using Leonardo: signed using Impression

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tips for creating "Sharp" iPhone images~

Often I am asked how I get such "sharp" iPhone I thought I would share a few tips which often help my students.

1. Protect your lens!!! I know this device is so easy to "throw" in a handbag with car keys and wallets, or for the men in pockets with change and keys, but I often say..."would you treat a $1500.00 DSLR lens that way? Of course not, it gets a lens cap then into a camera even though the mobile device is not a $1500.00 DSLR lens, if you want "sharp" images you must treat it so!
Protect it!
a. Use a Mophie Battery pack! It keeps the lens recessed due to the packs design, so if you lay it on a table the lens will not be vulnerable to scratches.
b. Put it into a protective cloth (I love my Vera Bradley Cross Body Pouch) or neoprene pouch before putting it in your pocket or handbag!

2. Clean your lens: I always use a micro fiber lens cloth to wipe the lens off each day I use it to capture images. I keep it in the pouch where I keep my phone stored.

3. Capture technique matters:    
a. Don't use the volume button to trigger the shutter, when you push on the button you inherently shake the camera (or phone).
b. Shoot with an app that allows you to use a focus point on screen like Camera+ for maximum sharpness, and remember to use it.
c. Tap gently on the shutter button in the shooting app. There is no need to push hard on the screen on any shutter button: just a real soft gentle touch and release and it will fire.
d. Camera holding technique, I use a rock steady grip on my iPhone cradling it in both hands for maximum stability when I shoot, as if I was hand holding and shooting with my big camera, I also stabilize my body.

4. Processing technique: 
a. I use Snapseed on every image I create on my iPhone sharpening them up to about 25% (no more). The sharpening feature can be found under the details filter menu in Snapseed. In addition every image gets a little bit of Structure, anywhere from 10-20%, also under the details menu in Snapseed.

I hope these few tips, help you improve the sharpness of your mobile phone images.