I know some of you may not care about photo editing and just want to load what you take and be done with it (and that’s absolutely fine…to each his own) but I know some of you do want better photos and just aren’t quite sure what to do (I was in this boat and am still learning something new every day! I’m lucky to have Mr. Love Lexington who’s a total photography nerd and attempts to teach me his nerdy ways!)
Let me start with a disclaimer… I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER. And I’m not pretending to be…nor am I an expert on anything I’m about to tell you.
I am still trying to figure it all out like everyone else. Running a blog and social media really demands a higher level of photography to gain followers/readers and it has become very important to me that my photos look the best that they can. I won’t lie…this is challenging for me as I knew nothing about photography when I started Love, Lexington. Sure if you have a DSLR (and know how to use it) you can take phenomenal photos all the time (and edit them in photoshop/lightroom to get the look you want) but who wants to lug around a big DSLR everyday/all-the-time or even a point-and-shoot (more do-able in my “Mary Poppins” purse)…I do always lug around my iPhone (to the bathroom, to the refrigerator, to the closet, to the car, to take out the trash…it’s everywhere I am). I am constantly whipping that bad boy out and snapping shots of food, places, people and things at a moments notice. The iPhone is great for photos but let’s be honest…sometimes it’s hard to that great photo with an iPhone. The lightening might not be great (which happens a lot in dark restaurants). Sometimes I look at photos of a dish (that I’ve had and love) from a restaurant (taken by someone else…not edited) and thought “ewe…I’d never go there based on that photo”. My photos not only represent me but also represent the companies/restaurants that I am sharing/promoting. As part of my growth for 2015 I did get a new (used) DSLR and Lightroom so I’m hoping to have a new hobby, learn something new, and step-up my photography game…but let’s get focused on how to produce the best photo possible with that hand-dandy iPhone.
1. Clean off your lens.
I cannot stress how important this is. Our phones get so grimy and covered in funk (they are in our hands, in our pockets, in our purses, food dropped on them, etc. etc.). You will get a much clearer, sharp image if you just take the extra second to wipe off your lens (with your shirt or a cloth.)
2. Lighting is your friend!
If you can get good natural light, that is the best! Sit by a window or move to natural lightening (if you can) when taking a iPhone (or any) photo. The flash is not always your friend…if at all possible try not to use it. You can also change the amount of light coming in through your lens by touching different places on your screen…sometimes this works…sometimes it does not. More light=better photo.
3. Get an editing app (and not the instagram one)
I love and swear by Snapseed (Thanks to the Mr. for sharing it and how to use it). I never, ever, ever (anymore) use the filters and/or editing inside Instagram (or Facebook). Snapseed can be a little tricky to learn how to use so I’m going to show you what I features I use most often. Side note: The newer iPhones have better cameras and produce a better photo….I am counting down the days until I can get my iPhone 6 (12 more days!)
VSCO Cam is a great editing app too and can give you that vintage look and feel that some people want. I just personally prefer Snapseed as I want vibrant, clear images.
The Original Photo: (Taken by Mr. Love Lexington with an iPhone 6)
Pretty decent photo to begin with….right?
If you scroll the bottom of the app left and right you will notice your editing options. I will label each section with that option so you know what to open.
CROP: I shoot everything in 1×1 so that it’s a quick and easy load to Instagram. Mr. Love Lex does not..so I am going to go ahead and CROP the photo to 1×1. I like make sure I have a photo for the 1×1 frame before I spend time editing it. If the photo doesn’t fit in the 1×1 frame then you might want to rethink the photo you picked or simply retake the photo.
You can then scroll up and down on the options to begin editing.
TUNE IMAGE/BRIGHTNESS: Start with adding BRIGHTNESS. This is great for dark photos taken in dark restaurants….this specific photo doesn’t need too much brightness but a little extra gives it some life.
TUNE IMAGE/AMBIANCE: I next move to AMBIANCE. Sometimes this is a less or more option (you can go negative on this one). If you’ve gone too bright you can get some texture back in your photo this way. 10+ is good here.
TUNE IMAGE/SHADOWS: If you have a really dark photo…try BRIGHTNESS and SHADOWS first before making other edits. I don’t usually go to high on shadows, but this photo looked a little better when I went up to about ~20+.
DRAMA/FILTER STRENGTH: I then move onto DRAMA. Sometime I love DRAMA…sometimes I don’t…it just depends on the photo. The good thing is you don’t have to commit to the change if you don’t like it (just hit the X to back out and start over.) It will auto change to 90+ drama automatically so from there you can touch the screen, and scroll left for more or right for less DRAMA. The photo (not seen above) will lose saturation when you apply DRAMA so you will need to add that back in.
Sometimes just adding DRAMA alone can make all the difference in your photo….and you don’t need any of the brightness or other edits.
DRAMA/SATURATION: Scroll down to the second option and then left/right for more or less Saturation. You don’t want to over saturate it, but do bring it back to where it was before you added DRAMA.
Left original | Right Edited
You can see that I didn’t change the photo that much but now the veggies pop and little more, the salami is showing some texture with the white spots, and it overall looks more vibrant. Both Vinaigrette Salads look amazing…but the one on the right is the one I’d rather eat.
Want to see more comparisons??
County Club “Return of the Mac” Burger
Original Left | Edited Right (iPhone 5S)
Chick-fil-a nuggets (I took this just to see if I could make nuggets look more awesome looking…and I did!) iPhone 5S
Original Left | Edited Right