Lesson 90: Slow Shutter

In Lesson 83, I showed you how to look at the shutter speed used when you took a photo by looking at the metadata in iPhoto iOS.  But, we didn’t have any choice about what shutter speed was used; it was picked by the camera app we used.  Today, I want to introduce you to an app that allows you to choose slow shutter speeds for fun effects.  It’s called SlowShutter and it’s available in the app store for $.99.

Using a slow shutter speed allows you to create interesting effects like light trails when cars drive by or to pan with a subject in motion, allowing the background to blur behind your subject.  For today’s example, I thought I’d start with something fun–drawing with a light source.

To do this, you need a light of some kind in darkness.  I have two examples.  For one, I found a healthy use for a lit cigarette–use it as your light source for a light trail.  For the other, I used a small light for a bicycle and handheld it.  In both cases, I set the SlowShutter app to a shutter speed of 8 seconds and then drew a heart shape in front of the camera.  I propped the camera on a steady base for both images, although a tripod would have been better–my hearts are a little shaky!

Because the light source is so much brighter than the rest of the scene, it registers in the image while the rest of the scene remains dark.  To change the shutter speed setting, tap the lens icon in the lower left corner of the SlowShutter app and then select the shutter speed you want.  I started with the “light trails” category to get to the 8 second shutter speed.

photo

Your Assignment:  Try downloading the SlowShutter app and then using a flashlight or other light source to see if you can capture words drawn with light.  Hint:  you’ll need a second person to draw the words or operation the camera so you can get enough distance between you and the light source to fit a word in the frame.

Lesson 89: Retromatic Wallpaper

Moving along to something just a bit too funky for me, but fun none-the-less.  Today, we’re going to take a look at the Retromatic app.  This app is designed to help you create really funky, retro creations.  They aren’t really photos anymore when you’re done, but they could make for fun cards, flyers, etc.

I decided to take an image I thought was cute but maybe not really a wall-hanger and see if I could make it wall-worthy by turning it into some silly wallpaper.  I can’t quite visualize what wall I would ever put this on, but I certainly had a good time playing with the capabilities of the Retromatic app.

The one challenge is highlighting just the parts of my subjects with my finger–this was especially tricky on my dog’s legs.  A stylus would probably make this much more accurate.

 

Your Assignment:  Try following these steps (an improvising) to create your own funky wallpaper:

Lesson 88: Hip Heads

In yesterday’s lesson, I took a rather mundane photo of the recent sculpture addition in my local park, a giant head.  I did several edits on it and showed you what I did.  Now, for those of you who are not particularly excited by the prospect of following 17 steps to make your image more interesting, don’t forget about Hipstamatic.  This gives you the ability to create many effects in a point-and-shoot way.

We first looked at the Hipstamatic app back in Lesson 13 and again in Lessons 14, 24, 29, and 30.  The thing about Hipstamatic is that you choose the “film” and “lens” you want to use, which is the same as picking a collection of editing effects and the camera does all the work for you.

In the 3 examples shown here, I used the same lens:  Helga Viking and 3 different films.  The first is the Ina’s 1935 film.  It gives the image more color and makes the sculpture pop out more.  The second example used D-Type Plate film, which simulates an old black-and-white Tintype photo.  Finally, in the 3rd example I used the C-Type Plate film, which intensifies the contrasts and shadows and also adds a touch of color.

Your Assignment:  Dust the cobwebs off of Hipstamatic and choose a lens/film you want to use.  Take an image of your favorite subject and then try changing to a different film.  Experiment with the film that creates an effect that works best with your subject.

Lesson 87: Adding Drama in iPhoto iOS

This will be the last iPhoto iOS lesson for a bit.  But, I wanted to show some editing on a “regular” photo rather than using the Paper Camera images I edited in Lessons 85 and 86.

This sculpture recently appeared in a park in my neighborhood.  It’s a pretty dramatic sculpture all on its own, but somehow the drama doesn’t quite translate in the photo taken in the Apple Camera app.  Perhaps because this was taken on an overcast day with very even lighting–as you may recall from Lesson 16, lighting makes all the difference.

In any case, I used iPhoto to bring back the drama and maybe even add a little extra.  Here’s what I did:

Your Assignment:

Choose an image that is lackluster.  Yesterday we played with the Exposure settings.  That’s a good way to add drama as a starting place.  Now try using the saturate brush and “Drama” effect in iPhoto to see if you can create an image that really “pops.”

Lesson 86: My Silly Dog and the iPhoto Exposure Tool

If yesterday’s abstract example hurt your eyes, today’s lesson should at least make you smile.  Well, if you’re a dog lover, anyway.

There is just something fun about the way the Paper Camera app’s Con Tours effect renders my dog.  I think it’s that it outlines his spots and turns his nose into a giant white circle that amuses me so much.  Hopefully you find it amusing, too.

In any case, just as in yesterday’s lesson, I started with a Paper Camera Con Tours image (see Lesson 77 for instructions on Paper Camera) and opened it in the iOS 7 version of iPhoto to see if I could make it a little more exciting.

The Paper Camera version is fun, but it isn’t quite contrasty enough for me.

Here are the steps I used to make my dog stand out better:

Your Assignment:  Use the iPhoto exposure adjustment on one of your photos that maybe looks a little dull or hazy.  Notice that the slider is split into 5 parts.  You can slide the black square at the far left to the right to brighten the whole image.  You can slide the white square right to turn down the brightness.  You can move the 3 markers in the middle to adjust the mid-tones.

This works better in a color image where there is more diversity in the range of tones than in my black and white example.  It’s worth experimenting with this because it makes a big difference in the appearance of your photo.  It also can turn into something pretty awful if you go too far with it–have a little fun!  🙂

Lesson 85: iPhoto Con Tours

Back in Lesson 77, we downloaded Paper Camera and did a bunch of fun stuff with it over several lessons.  Today we’re going to take a Paper Camera image using the Con Tours option and then do some editing with it in iPhoto to see what we can do.

Since I was out hiking with my dog, I took one photo of him and one photo of some trees using Paper Camera Con Tours.  Refer to Lesson 77 for instructions on how to take a photo with Paper Camera and to see an example of Con Tours.

After I saved my two photos to my Camera Roll from within Paper Camera, I opened up iPhoto and did some editing.

Here are the steps I used for the image of the trees (we’ll take a look at my dog in tomorrow’s lesson):

Your Assignment:  Try combining apps like Paper Camera and iPhoto and see what you can do.

Lesson 84: iPhoto Mobile Editing

Yesterday, I introduced you to metadata in the mobile version of iPhoto, a free app from Apple.  Today, I thought I’d show you a combination of using one of the brush editing tools and a filter to take my photo from not very interesting to a more retro look.  I particularly like how the light showing through the leaves in the foreground (left side) looks with the black-and-white effect.

 

Your Assignment:  Download iPhoto if you haven’t already.  Then open it up and select the photo you want to work on.  Here are the steps I followed for my edit: