Sunday, August 2, 2015

Let's Talk About Editing - Cell Phone Photography & Snapseed

Editing, Post Processing, Workflow

These are all terms that you've no doubt seen if you are thinking of getting into photography or already dabbling in photography. But if you are indeed "new" to photography you may not know what this means or what you need to do or how to even get started with it. And you've probably seen some smug jerk somewhere saying "blah, blah blah the photograph should be exceptional straight out of the camera. You should not have to do anything but minor tweaks to get the look you want. Everything should be done before the shutter snap. blah blah blah." I like to call these people purists. There's another word I use for them but I'm trying to make this blog user friendly for all ages. 

There are many many many editing/ post processing programs out there today. And much depends on how you're taking your photos and where you plan to edit them. I know some people who ONLY take cell phone pictures. Before you scoff too hard at that, let me remind you that some of the cell phones out now days have capabilities that rival "real live cameras". Currently, my cell phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with a 16 megapixel resolution.That's not too shabby people. And I can tell you that in low light, it takes fantastic pictures easier and with less noise than my big ol' brand new Canon EOS 70D. So with that being said, if you are a cell phone shooter, you can still take fantastic pics but in my opinion they are just not complete until they've been fine tuned. 

I use Snapseed on my cell phone. There's also a built in editor and downloadable filters but to me, for many years now, Snapseed has given the most bang for the buck. Of course, now it's free so that's even better. It used to be a $5.00 app in the IOS store. I also used it exclusively on my iPad until Adobe Lightroom Mobile became available as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Recently, Adobe also saw fit to make an android counterpart as well so now you can use Lightroom Mobile on IOS or Android. Yippee! But I will cover all of that Lightroom business in a later post since it costs money and I'm talking about FREE editors. 

Snapseed offers you a vast amount of controls and tweaks from brightness, contrast, saturation, ambiance, warmth, shadows, highlights. Cropping can be done with free aspect ratio or certain presets for instagram etc. Vignettes may be added, colors modified. There are a ton of things you can do with your cell phone snaps to make them fantastic. 

This is my before shot. It's ok. Nothing to write home about. 
 This my after shot. Much nicer. 

All processing was done in Snapseed in less than 5 minutes for demonstration purposes. 

BTW if you like Bloody Mary's I suggest you head on up to Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Ok. and have one in the Terrace Cafe'. I'm totally addicted now. 

Let's Talk About Editing

Let's talk about editing. 
Sometimes in our excitement to get out and shoot, we can't always frame a shot the way we want. In my case, I saw this Longhorn by the side of the road so I slammed on the brakes, pulled over, got out my camera, switched lenses, put the cap where I wouldn't lose it, jumped out of the car and by this time, the Longhorn was beginning to notice this was not average behavior.He started moving so I hastily fired a few shots. And then he turned his butt to me. How rude! So I got home and the shot on the left was the best of him but if you'll notice, he had a sunflower stalk over his horn, one above his head, one in the middle of his back and it looked like a jungle. I could have said it wasn't worth the time and chucked it but I like this rude animal and I wanted his picture. So I recomposed. Removed the things I hated which took wayyy longer than it would for a pro and now, it's still not a great shot, but it's much better than it was. The moral of the story is this. Don't give up just because it didn't look perfect right out of the camera. Ideally, we would all love that but only the best pros get that option most of the time. Take it into your editing program. I must say at this time that if you are not shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG then this won't really help you nearly as much. You should always shoot in RAW. (And no that doesn't mean get naked and go outside.) But RAW allows you to completely change lighting, exposure, clarity, vibrance, basically everything after the shot in post editing. JPEGS do NOT. Yeah they give you the feeling you can change some things but really you can't.
So ...again...moral of the story is "Don't give up on a bad shot. Some are beyond hope but most can be given a second chance just with a little creative post processing."