aquaprofunda: An eye reflected twice in a cut mirror. (Default)
[personal profile] aquaprofunda
A few months ago I was in holiday in Europe, taking hundreds of photos and tweeting them constantly. I got a number of questions from people asking what photography apps I used on the iPhone, so I wrote up a brief 'guide' (as in, 'this is how I use them') for the main three. I have found all three of them really fun to play with, and often use them in combination.

Instagram (free)

Basically, I think of Instagram as visual twitter. It lets you snap photos within it, or choose a photo from your library (which I prefer), and then choose how you want it cropped/framed within the square format (using the usual touch gestures). Then you can use  tilt-shift effect if you like, and/or choose what filter you would like to put on it. The filters attempt to mimic the effects of retro/vintage cameras, and can be quite delightful.

Tip: take your photos first, then later (or on the spot if you prefer) choose to create a new instagram from the library. This gives you opportunity not only to use it in conjunction with other apps (eg shooting the image HDR first, then instagramming it), but to play around with getting the right crop, or using the right image out of the set you shot.

Woods Sunset on the decade Walkers on hilltop La Tour Eiffel Cyclists at the louvre Water bearer

Autostitch (US$2.99)

A panorama app. Imagine you're looking at a stunning vista. Take a number of photos that cover the entire view, with some overlap. Pour all these photos into Autostitch and press the "Stitch" button, then watch as it joins them and creates a panorama. You can also crop the images within the app - as you can see below, the edges can sometimes be ragged - but I prefer to do this in photoshop (I haven't below, as I'm mobile on my ipad at the mo!).

Tip: Don't overlap too much, as it can result in the double-vision blur if the two views don't quite match up. This technique works best on subjects whose positions don't really change as you move the phone - i.e. things in the distance. While you should try and shoot from exactly the same position as much as possible with this technique, inevitably the subjects closest to you are going to change their relationship to their backdrops as your perspective shifts. This can cause problems/blurriness in the stitched image.

Note: This is actually several HDR images stitched.

Pro HDR (US$1.99)

HDR photography is basically taking multiple photos with different exposures, then merging them to gain the best overall exposure in your final image. In the right situations, it can result in brilliant images that better match what you're seeing in reality. I find HDR yields the best best results when you're taking shots of a landscape with both sky and land--usually either the sky will be washed out or the land too dark.

Tip: Be aware that the HDR technique takes two shots in sequence and then merges them, so you need to hold the phone very still as it takes both (brace the phone, or use a tripod where possible). Otherwise, you end up with disappointing double-vision blurriness.

Also, a side-effect of HDR that I find I often quite like is that if you are using this technique to shoot a subject that would otherwise silhouette, in the liminal area between the dark subject and light background, some of the exposure bleeds and he subject seems haloed. See the Eiffel Tower shot in the Instagram section above for an example of this.



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