Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Understand the uses of mobile apps, part of Introduction to Photography: Lightroom and Photoshop.
- These days, most photos are shot with cellphones, and whether they're shot with a cellphone or a regular camera, most photos are destined for a social media site, photo sharing site or website. For that reason, a lot of developers have worked hard to create mobile image editing apps that you can run on your smartphone. With a good cellphone camera and a good editing app, you can create extremely high-quality photos and not just for online output, but actual high-quality printable photos. Most of the apps I'm talking about work in a fairly traditional way.
You launch them, open an image that you've shot, make your edits, then save the image back to your phone storage. There are a lot of these apps out there. Some offer predefined canned effects that you can apply to an image with a single button press, while others offer high-end editing tools that give you more control. My personal favorite of these is made by Google. It's an app for IOS and Android called Snapseed. I like it because it has a very full feature set. It offers better localized editing tools than what anyone else has, and it gives me the pro level features that I expect for making accurate, precise adjustments.
Here I am in Snapseed; I've already opened up this image of Devil's Tower. And right off the bat, you see that I get a nice big view of my image, a very minimal interface onscreen so I can really just focus on the image. I do have a histogram in the lower left-hand corner. That's great. That's gonna let me make precise adjustments, which is important because this iPhone's screen isn't really calibrated to any kind of standard that I know of, so it's really good for me to be able to go by the numbers, and that's what the histogram is for. And you can learn more about it and all kinds of other stuff in the library, and all decent image editing applications have one.
I'm gonna start by just fixing up the contrast in this image globally. It's a little bit low contrast, and so with Snapseed I can really easily dial in some more. According to the histogram, the brightest bits are a little weak, so I'm gonna brighten those up. My shadows are maybe a little under exposed. I'm gonna brighten those up. That looks pretty good. But I'd like to brighten those trees and add a little contrast to the foreground, so I'm gonna go down here to the selective tools and add something called a Control Point, which is really cool because these red areas indicate the areas that are gonna be affected.
It's automatically building stencils and masks and things for me to constrain my edits to specific places. That's one of the reasons Snapseed is so powerful. So when I'm done, I've got an image that has a little more punch. A cellphone is not yet a complete substitute for a real camera. And smartphone-based editing is not yet a complete substitute for desktop editing tools, but there's a lot you can do with a good cellphone camera and a good editing tool. They're a lot of fun, and they can definitely be part of your photographic arsenal.
Where to begin learning tools like these? Right here. In this course, photographer, author, and educator Ben Long introduces the concepts and creative options behind photographic post-processing. From fixing problems to retouching, Ben shows how to do it, without overdoing it, with Lightroom, Photoshop, and the Adobe mobile apps.
- Importing and organizing images in Lightroom
- Rating images in Lightroom
- Adjusting images in Lightroom
- Retouching in Photoshop
- Making pixel-level edits in Photoshop
- Syncing and editing images in Lightroom mobile