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Photography

Want To Make Your Smartphone Images Even Better? Try These Cutting-Edge Apps

Around 85% of all digital photos taken in a single year are snapped on a smartphone. So, it’s no wonder that more people are looking for convenient and efficient ways of editing their photos on the move.

There’s a lot of software for your PC to help you to fine-tune images, but if all your pest pictures are on your cell phone, what do you do? The good news is that there are a bunch of apps which have been recently released to help you to get the perfect look you want for your shots.

Here are some of the most cutting-edge that will help you to get the amazing selfies and Instagram-worthy photos you’ve been dreaming of.

Making Photographs Pop

Whether you’re using an Android or iOS device, A Color Story is an amazing solution for making photos really stand out from the crowd. This is a particularly good choice for anyone who needs to hone their photos for use on an eCommerce website since it is perfect for enhancing product images. There are lots of filters to choose from, both free and paid. Even the free filters do a great job of whitening and brightening dull photographs and you can simply drag along the slider for an easy way of adjusting the intensity of the filter. You can even apply several filters at once. There are Crop & Frame or Adjust & Crop options which can edit a host of individual photographic elements like contrast, clarity, saturation, exposure and brightness. Even better, you can save all the editing steps you make and reuse them on future edits – perfect if you’re batch-editing.

Pixomatic – Great For Blurring A Distracting Background

If you’ve taken a fantastic photo, but then discovered that the background is messy and distracting, you need an app which can blur it out. Pixomatic is perfect. You can get it for free for Android or for a small fee for iOS devices. This app is super simple to use, letting you outline the focal point the blur the background so you can achieve the DSLR look without needing a DSLR camera.

Alternatively, if you’ve spotted unwanted objects in your shot, they won’t be a problem with the TouchRetouch app. You don’t need to trash your photo or fire up Photoshop. All you need is this handy app to remove anything that is too eye-catching or distracting from the background of your image. This incredibly cheap app is suitable for both Android and iOS devices and the result is very clean, with no trace of your edit left behind.

Future Apps On The Horizon?

Although they haven’t been developed yet, the future of photographic apps looks very exciting. Experts are predicting that augmented and virtual reality will be the future of enhanced photography, and new and advanced apps are within reaching distance which will allow ordinary photographers to achieve AR and VR from their own cell phones. VR gaming has been around for a few years now, with games available on devices like the PSVR and HTC Vive, and also  on Steam allowing us to experience a virtual world close up. The technology is close at hand to allow us to experience our own videos and photographs in the same way.

Already, app makers are experimenting with Virtual, mixed and augmented reality. However, these are still very much in their infancy, mainly focusing on funny selfies.

However, the widespread adoption of these early apps shows that there is a drive towards the improvement of image recognition technology, and device manufacturers and operating systems providers are heading towards improving technology so that app developers can harness the potential of the latest capabilities.

This is an exciting time in the world of photography, and for both professional and amateur photographers who are looking for ways to enhance, improve and upgrade their images, the world of apps looks set to be one to watch over the years to come.

The Most Important Basics of Photographing Food Well

Quite apart from the Instagram crowd that can’t stop themselves from posting a photo of every bowl of cereal they come across, there’s also professional food photography. The best food photographers can command very high rates, since the ultimate purpose of their work is always to make somebody money, whether it will appear in a cookbook or on a restaurant’s website.

It’s also a job that requires some specialized skills and rigorous attention to detail. Unlike with most other kinds of product photography or portraits, screwing up a shoot often means having to do it over from step zero rather than just catching any mistakes in Photoshop or Lightroom.

No single article can turn you into a specialist in this area, but there are certainly a few simple principles that can help any semi-pro photographer do a good job if working for a food blogger or local restaurant.

Color Is (Almost) Everything

The whole point of food photography is that we “eat with our eyes,” as they supposedly say in the Far East. It’s a well-known fact that red and yellow dominate fast food logos, since these colors have an emotional association with the kind of food they serve. More upscale places will use muted colors, while an ice cream shop can get away with including bright pink in their logo.

Much the same happens with actual food or pictures thereof: an apple that looks slightly brown won’t make your mouth water, just like a steak that looks slightly green will be sent back. Aspects such as shape, composition and plate design are also important, which is why “Food Design” is an actual job.

The color balance can, of course, easily be adjusted in Photoshop, but tiny errors matter a great deal and you’ll need an exceptional eye to get it right. Also remember the subtler differences between working in RGB (for screen display) and CMYK (print); and make sure your monitor is calibrated. In general, though, the best approach is simply to shoot in natural light and not mess with the camera’s white balance setting (i.e. keep it on “neutral white”). This displays the food as it looks in real life, and nobody can ask more than that. If you’re going to be off, though, it’s generally better to have food looking too red than too blue. If a white plate ends up pinkish, this is easy enough to fix in software.

Temperature Is Not Your Friend

It’s understandable that a restaurant manager will want to have (say) a $50 steak photographed, once, just as it leaves the kitchen and then serve it immediately. They can’t sell it once it has gotten cold.

For a food photographer, though, this represents a problem. Steam fogs up lenses, juices run out onto the plate, grease starts congealing, and of course you have a limited time to get multiple shots. There are numerous ways to get around this, though: spraying cold food with oil to make it glisten, using coloring and a blowtorch to “cook” that steak perfectly, or taking a hair dryer to cheese slices to make them look beautifully melted are just some of the better-known hacks.

In fact, photographing cold objects such as bottles is even more of a chore. As one example, ice cream and lamps don’t go well together. As another, you’ll often want a bottle of beer or white wine to have just the right amount of condensation on it without soaking the label. Since condensation forms evenly over a whole surface, it’s really difficult to achieve a natural effect by taking a spray bottle to it.

Serving wine at the correct temperature is surprisingly complicated and an expert will likely notice if “something” is off (assuming reasonable temperature and humidity), even if this is a subconscious impression. You first need to decide (along with the client) if this particular detail is worth the candle.

What Photoshop Can Do For You

Shooting is one thing, and you may be surprised how much the process of photographing a still-life can make you literally want to shoot somebody. There are plenty of things to get right while actually holding the camera; luckily, various functions in Photoshop are still extremely useful.

Firstly, it’s quite possible that your lens collection doesn’t allow you to get quite the depth of field you really need to make the food stand out, especially with diagonal shots. This is easily fixable, though, with the Gaussian Blur function. Steam and decoration can be composited, and in fact there are a number of pre-made actions you can download.

So, in conclusion, you can (and should) edit food photos, but starting with a bad image will make it impossible to get a good one by the end of the process, regardless of what you do. Photoshop isn’t magic, so learning the basics of the photography trade is essential.

References

Photoshop Actions
Food Photography
Cooling Wine