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On How I Edit Photos (with my iPhone)

A lot of people are really surprised that I take the majority of my photos using my iPhone (previously 5, recently 5s). I do this partially because I don’t own a DSLR and partially because it’s just so easy and convenient to shoot with my phone because it’s always readily available. I’ve had a handful of people ask about my editing process so I am going to share it today (After a bunch of babble about how I got to this point).

I’m fortunate enough to be friends with some really great photographers, and a little less than two years ago my friend Phil gave me a lesson on how to properly edit photos (quality wise). He and Sarah had been trying for years to explain to me that I had to edit QUANTITY wise and I had finally caught on to that so now it was time to work on QUALITY. As for quantity, it took them years to drill it into my head that you don’t have to post seventeen pictures of the same shot! Just pick one! Sometimes I’ll save two if I really can’t help it, but most of the time one is enough.

Anyway, I had dinner with Phil when I was in California visiting and he introduced me to the photo editing app Snapseed, he gave me a REALLY brief overview on how to use it but told me he thought it would be more useful if I figured it out myself. I played with Snapseed for my entire plane ride home and was hooked. It was like magic, suddenly my photos weren’t dull and I could bring out the bright beautiful colors I was seeing with my eyes. I even learned how to white balance properly.  I couldn’t believe I was able to do all of this with my phone! I looked back at my old instagram photos and marveled at what total crap they were (and I never realized it, seriously). Thank god for Phil for showing me the light!

I spent a few months editing in Snapseed and then I saw my friend Katie suddenly using this tag #VSCOcam all the time. I was curious so I texted her about it and found out it’s a photo editing app. I immediately downloaded it and got really into it. VSCOcam is a really easy to use photo editing app that comes with a few free photo filters and TONS of other packages you can buy, I own them all but quickly found my favorites (Almost always F1). VSCOcam is also cool because you can choose how intense you want the filter to be applied. Recently instagram added a lot of the same tools and filter types of features that VSCOcam offers, but I still prefer to use VSCO because I’ve heard editing within Instagram can lower image quality. Sarah told me a handful of other tips and then I took Tyson Wheatly‘s Skillshare class (I talk about that in this post) and now I have a pretty solid photo editing routine, that I will explain here (And there’s an embedded video you can watch to see the process! Technology!)

I decided to edit this photo of my nephew Brayden for you all, because it shows how dramatically you can improve photos using just phone tools. This is the original photo and the photo after the edit.


Photo before editing

Processed with VSCOcam with e3 preset

Photo after edit

Instructions and video on how I edited this photo after the cut!

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Skillshare Class Progress – Everyday Surrealism: Creating Art from Photos

I’ve been a member of Skillshare on and off for the last year but never had a chance to really dive into any classes until recently. I’m signed up for a bunch and have watched bits and pieces of a few here and there but recently I decided I wanted to really make time for these classes and to submit some projects. Part of this is because Skillshare reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in teaching for them (not too big of a deal, anyone can teach a course). This is something I will definitely be doing once I have a space set up to record, so be on the lookout for that!

Anyway, because of their email I became motivated to fully check out a class. The first class I took was Tyson Wheatly‘s course “The Possibilities of Instagram: Sharing Your Best Photos.” I thought I had a pretty good grasp on mobile photo editing before but decided to check it out anyway. Tyson went over some apps I am familiar with (VSCOcam, SKRWT, Snapseed, etc) but also introduced me to some I had heard of but hadn’t tried before (Photoshop Express, Afterlight). The class is really helpful if you’re new to mobile photography, and I highly recommend it! (A post on how I personally edit my photos is coming soon).

For my second class, I stuck with mobile photography and signed up for the “Everyday Surrealism: Creating Art From Photos” taught by Chuck Anderson. This class is really neat and I learned a lot of cool mobile editing tricks I wouldn’t have come up with on my own! It’s really amazing how much you can do just using a phone these days, however, I found the assignment to be way harder than anticipated. Part of this is because the material I’ve been shooting lately isn’t really great for merging and making artsy, part is that I’m not as good at the apps as I’d like to be (specifically photoshop), and part of it is just my brain refusing to be creative. I kept at it and came up with the following images (so far). *Warning: Post is image heavy after the break*

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