You walk into your favorite marble table coffee shop, and to no one’s surprise, you see at least 4 people taking an overhead shot of their pretty table setting. So you decide today’s the day. You’re going to try and do the same thing. You do! You take the pretty coffee & matcha latte shot, but it doesn’t look like a dream because Instagram filters make everything look insane. Well, I’m here to share a few of the mobile photo editing tips I’ve learned.
If you visit my insta, you’ll see I’ve developed a semi-consistent look and feel to my feed. I normally use the same two filters and the same editing app. So here’s what I use:
Here are some things that you should know about VSCOcam. Not all filters are free, and I’m pretty sure the one I swear by isn’t free.
But for $29.99 you can get ALL. OF. THE. FILTERS! I don’t recommend this to everyone, but it is fun to have if you’re just looking to experimenting and finding your perfect filter. I found a filter that works for 99.9% of the images that I take on my phone. It works so well, that this summer I shot an event that needed real-time photo editing, and I uploaded my high res DSLR photos to my phone so I could quick edit through VSCOcam.
My favorite filter is A6. I’ve been using A6 since it’s release which was probably forever ago. As you can see, the cool thing about A6 is that it is part of VSCO’s ‘aesthetic series,’ which is available for zero dollars and zero cents. So go download that right now. Recently I’ve been trying to go for a more muted tone in my photos. This means things are less saturated, a little warmer and very cool undertones. Occasionally there are other filters that will help me keep that style. M5 is a favorite of mine. It is a little too warm for me, so I tend to make those photos cooler. I also like A4 which is also too warm, but again, cooler. ::Plays Digable Planets’ ‘Cool like that::.
Here’s an example:
As you can see, for this photo I used M5. It was a little dark for my taste so I brought up the exposure, kept the temperature as is and brought up the clarity a little tiny bit. You probably have no idea what you just read and that’s totally okay. I’ll show you what all of those things I mentioned are.
I’ve highlighted the two icons I use the most. The little sun icon is the exposure / brightness. This will allow you to control how light or dark you’d like a photo. Right next to that is the contrast icon, followed by the photo adjuster icon. That one allows you to fix crooked photos which I am infamous for. I don’t use the next two, and the L with the reverse L under is the crop symbol. That will allow you to cut /crop your photo. The last icon which is the triangle with the line through it is the clarity icon. I LOVE that feature because it allows me to make the edges of my photo bolder / darker.
Here we have the two features I use the most in this section. To get to that section you just scroll side to side. The first highlighted icon is the saturation icon. Oftentimes when using A6 the colours will be a bit too saturated for me and so sliding this over to the left allows me to achieve that muted tone that I’m into. Lastly, the thermometer you see highlighted is used for your temperature. With this tool, you can either make your photo warmer (yellow) or cooler (blue). This is a must have for me because a lot of these filters are very warm. Also, I can’t look like an Oompa Loompa in my selfies. I am not about that life. Anyway, here is the final edit for the photo above.
Exposure (sun) +3.2
Clarity (triangle with middle line) +1.2
Scroll up to see the before, and then admire the sorcery that is VSCOcam. Here are a few more photos and recipes.
Super obsessed with my new @google phone. The camera is incredible AND the unlimited storage make it super easy for me to save all of my Snapchat, instagram and BTS photos without worrying about running out of space (y’all know this is a problem for me). Okay, brb taking a thousand selfies. #madebygoogle #giftfromgoogle
In addition, for this photo, I used the app I mentioned above, “Photo Eraser” to remove unwanted marks on the table. The app is pretty user-friendly and super easy to use. Here’s what I did:
I saved it, uploaded it and done! You should note that sometimes when you save photos on photo eraser, there’s this weird almost invisible white border that is in the photo. I’m super picky and meticulous so I usually just crop it a tiny bit on insta before I post. Or If I’m going the image in its entirety, I crop it in the native photo app on my iPhone.
Here are some useful tips I like to keep in mind when initially taking the image:
- Window lighting is everything.
- Negative space is always great.
- Symmetry is key.
- Avoid harsh yellow lighting.
- Use the light exposure meter in the native camera app (the little yellow box with the sun that comes up when you focus on something. You can use that to darken or brighten your photo).
So there you have it folks. Mobile editing 101. Now please keep in mind that none of this is bible. These are just tips and preferences that I’ve picked up along the way. You can most certainly adopt some of these tricks and apply them to finding your own filter. Everyone’s photo style is different and I cannot wait to see all of your photos.