Tag Archives: apps

Black & White iPhoneography – Photography Editing Tutorial Video

7 Dec

Here’s another fantastic tutorial video from Guy Yang of The Beginner’s Lens on a subject I’m obviously interested in: black & white iPhoneography, that is, photos taken with the iPhone in grayscale, then intensified into expressive art with selective adjustments (brightness, contrast, sharpening, etc.). Guy takes you through a very thorough step-by-step overview using Filterstorm in this 15-minute professional-level clip, showing how to transform a regular snapshot into a striking composition with selective edits. Note: viewable free for a limited time only.

iPhone Camera Essentials from The Beginner's Lens (new window)

"This video is all about editing – in particular transforming some of your less than fabulous color photos into stunning black & white photos, all from your iPhone." via iPhone Camera Essentials

 As a graphic designer for many years, I’ll say it’s still amazing to me how we can achieve these results so easily now with just a few minutes, and app, and a thumb — whereas 5 years ago, this required either a PC running full-on Photoshop… or a dark room and major skills. I elaborate more on this in a discussion about Instagram, and am still very much into that experience, more all the time. See also: Become Popular on Instagram.

What did you think of the video? Have you explored iPhoneography? Do you think black & white is more enjoyable than color, or vice versa? What tips and apps do you prefer for editing? Who inspires you? Let us hear from you in the comments!

PhotoForge2: My First App Review

8 Nov

I’ve used plenty of iPhone apps, reviewing none. PhotoForge2 changes this. For anyone familiar with Photoshop, here’s your app. It’s as good as Photoshop for photo manipulation, and as a graphic designer of 15 years, I would know. It’s nearly all here: layers, masks, blending modes, undo, curves, HSL, freaking Unsharp Mask!?!? Yep, that, too.

Photoforge2 Screen Shot

Screen capture of PhotoForge 2 (credit: GhostBird): Layers, and masks, and tools... oh my!

If you’re a Photoshop user, you already know how to use PhotoForge2. It accomplishes in minutes with your thumb and iDevice what would otherwise require $1000+ in computer & software investment, certainly well enough for things like Instagram, and possibly even commercial work. It’s fast, stable, intuitive, and a steal at anything less than a full-on editing setup. As of this writing it’s on sale for 60% off and will set you back a whopping $1.99. That’s less than a beer.

Do note that PhotoForge2 is more for adjustments rather than painting or illustrating, (emphasis is on filters vs.  pen or brush drawing, for example), but so many of the built-in goods like vignette and frame effects should more than satisfy for basic edits, and set you up nicely for some pro-level results, even from a point-and-shoot camera.

You should also be aware that PhotoForge2 does not offer tools like clone or magic wand (hint-hint… next version maybe?), but you will still be able to execute your vision with what’s available fairly easily. I’ll often do workarounds that get me by, or use it in combination with other apps. The omission of some things like a free rotate or straightening seem glaringly odd, but these are very minor quibbles with an app of this one’s obvious prowess. (UPDATE, MARCH 2012: And, now it has this tool. Proof that Ghostbird Software is awesome)

I gave it 5 stars, but edited some out!

My PhotoForge work on app review. Click for full size.

Other apps specialize in color isolation and light effects, which is fine if that’s all you’ll ever want, but PhotoForge2 is The Mother Lode. Wired magazine says you’ll get $2 worth of entertainment out of it in the first ten minutes. I say two minutes. And they aren’t paying me to say that.

Funny, I remember with the iPad’s debut, all the sudden talk of tablets taking over for PCs. I thought, sure, but not for serious things like image editing. Um… yeah.

If you find this useful, share it on Twitter — thanks!

What’s your favorite photo editing app and why? Do you already use PhotoForge2? What’s your experience been, and what features would you like to see in the next version? Let us hear from you in the comments!

How To Get More Instagram Followers

2 Nov

So you want to become Instagram Popular?

Here are 10 fun tips to help you become Instagram Famous. While there’s no guarantee, and while some just follow a zillion others hoping for follow-backs (aka “ghost follower” Instagram profiles – not cool; I block ’em all) …posting interesting images and participating around the site will always be your best strategies.

Instagram Popular Page

Instagram Classic Popular Page Icon, now the “Explore” page

Instagram Cheat, Instagram Popular Formula…

Can’t be done! Sorry! That said, these tips should not only help you become Instafamous, but also improve your photography and enjoy ever more famous Instagram adventures no matter what. These are from my own experience in about a year of being on the site, rather than from an Instagram computer that magically controls the Explore Page. Like these tips? Share ’em on Twitter!

How to become popular on Instagram:

How to become popular on instagram - start with great images.

My own pics – @rsmithing

  1. Don’t be afraid to get the shot; do it! The opportunity will not come back. Who cares if someone looks at you strangely? They’ll get over it in about 2 seconds. Your image will last forever.
  2. Master a photo editing app. Get one or two apps you’re intuitive with and practice using them for edits. It may take some experimenting, so plan to spend at least $20 in the app store. Hey, do you like pizza? Well for the cost of a decent pizza, you can get a bunch of cool apps to experiment with. Don’t be a cheapo; make the investment.
  3. Enter challenges. They’re an easy and fun way to see what others are doing and grow your skills.
  4. Pick a filter and stick with it for about 20 photos to make a strong impression. The effect is undeniable and eliminates complexity.
  5. Thank people religiously, leave comments, and be funny. Or, at least try to be funny. 😉
  6. Use a 3rd party site like Gramfeed. They’re great for comment effectiveness, and much easier than typing every single letter on your tiny phone keyboard.
  7. Even moths are interesting through a macro lens.Rock and roll all night and party every day. That’s more a just general life lesson, but it should at the very least provide some good raw material. OK, real tip: consider an accessory lens for close-ups. I did this and am seeing the world in a new way, especially bugs.
  8. Hashtag the crap out of your photos. Look up keywords in other languages and make friends from around the world.
  9. Keep a bunch of hashtags handy in a note so you can copy and paste as appropriate. You might also use groups of tags for common subjects (vacation, flowers, retro, etc.). Tap around on some hashtags at the site and find the popular ones that appeal to you most.
  10. Process pics later. You might have a great photo-op in line at the TSA security check, but sometimes it’s best just to get the pic and move on as fast as possible, then dive deeply into the editing afterward (like once you’re on the plane).

BONUS TIP:

Take really, really excellent photos! Get creative, encourage others, and have fun on the site!

Cool Stuff Huh? Share it on Twitter!

>> Click to share on Twitter <<

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Do me a solid and check out the rest of rsmithing.com if you’re interested, and say hello in the comments. Since you’ve read this far about Instagram tips, you might also like the photography category. I’d really like to know if these tips work for you, so say hi in another post or on Instagram. Thanks, and have fun!
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