Sunday, April 21, 2013

Best Photo Editing Apps for iPhoneographers & Photographers - A how-to guide with Pictures

My mom took this picture. I edited the photo for fun, rather than necessity. I love adding effects to pictures that are already perfect without my meddling manipulations. I've improved upon my photography this spring, but not on my resistance to photo editing urges. No matter how good a picture is, I always wonder what it would look like with a few adjustments. Sometimes, my alterations work out- sometimes they don't. In this particular editing instance, I probably should have left the photo unaltered.
This is the original shot, taken by Cindy Cannon, my mother. We took pictures together on April 14, during my visit to their home. Mom took this picture while I took an up-close shot of a pine tree I planted with Dad when I was a little kid. That's a story worth telling, by the way, but it deserves it's own blog post. This post will give you some insight into photo editing, what apps to use, and how to manipulate pictures that may or may not need manipulation. Most people would leave the picture above alone. I probably should have, but my iPad is fun to meddle around in editing effects. I couldn't resist...

My first bit of advice for editing pictures is to use every device you've got. Camera, iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, etc. - Whatever tools you have, you need all of them if you're going to have fun with photo editing. Unless you have all devices synced to one master editing tool, you'll have to jump around during the editing process. The point is, you'll want to try them all during this experiment. I prefer all things Mac, but you may be a whiz with other devices. Just have them all when you go about your editing adventures. You'll get a better result when you combine the efforts of all editing tools. Combining effects from one program, adding an app edit effect from another, and transferring files from your computer to your iPad will be your strategy during photo editing efforts. 

STEP 1: Take a picture. (If you needed me to tell you that part, this blog is not for you.) 
STEP 2: Transfer your picture file to the device that has an editing program or app that you want to use first.  I usually opt for iPhoto, which is a Mac program that's fairly simple and user friendly. (The first picture posted here was edited with iPhoto and no other apps were combined to result in the soft glow, sepia effect.)
STEP 3: Try using Collage Creator Lite. This app will allow you to include more than one picture in your editing project. See example below...the app has an add-frame option for pictures, shadow effect, and other simple additions that you may like to try.
 I wanted to combine pictures that mom and I took for this particular project. Pic-a-pic-a-pic-a is a term I coined to describe a photography project idea- One person takes a picture of another person who is taking a picture of another person, object, or photography subject. A layered effect of one moment is captured from different perspectives when one applies this concept. In the above Collage Creator Lite effect, my mom's perspective is shown on the left and my own perspective is depicted on the right. You see what she saw and what I saw at two separate moments, here. A cool idea, I think, and the concept can be applied to use more than two photographers to add more layers of perspective(s). The collage app is great to give you a starting point for further steps of editing...

The effect above was used by transferring the first collage from a Mac to an iPad. (email, save to camera roll, or transfer your file by connecting devices manually.) I used an iPad app called PhotoEdit to get the above result. Whatever effect you add from this app will apply to all pictures added into your collage. 

PS Express will be your best friend for photo editing. It's a must-have app for photography enthusiasts. Borders and other effects can be added with this app, creating the above result and allowing for other edit options that you'll love to try.

SAVE YOUR FILE after each editing step and switch from edit app to edit app. Repeat the process until you have created a masterpiece or disaster. :) You can delete all the duplicate files when you finish. I used them to write this blog and provide a step-by-step guide with pictures. Having all the images saved will allow you to compare results and catch edit steps that you may not want to use ever again, along with effects you'll implement next time.

I jumped around from iPad apps to iPhone apps, using the following programs:

PS Express
PicShop Lite
Collage Creator Lite

 Water drops, frames, color tints, collages, and all sorts of other additions were layered and combined to create this outcome:

Here are some other photo editing apps I recommend:

- PhotoEditor
- PhotoSketcher
- iSplash
- iPhoto
- Pic Jointer
- 360
- Color Effects
- PhotoFrame
- Photo Pen HD
- Collage
-  AppiPopColor
- Photo Booth
- Vibrance
- iPhoto
- Instagram
- PixIromatic

Use screenshots. To take a screen shot on an iPhone or iPad, press and hold both the power button and main central control buttons down, simultaneously. This allows you to then save to camera roll and crop your pictures. This also saves storage space. Screenshots are your best friend. Let's say you want to edit your picture before publishing from an app. You don't have a save option in that app. You have screenshots. It's a work-around techie tip that you're gonna LOVE. You're welcome. :) 

We've all been disappointed by an app or two (hundred). Have a photo editing app that you love? Share your advice here! :)  

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