Friday, February 24, 2012

Phoneography, Part 2: Apps

Overcoming Adversity - Palmdale, California
I want to first mention that it does not matter what camera phone you have. I have had several people tell me something like, "Well, my phone is simply not capable of taking good pictures." Nonsense! Check out this photograph:
Sadness - Bodfish, California
The above photograph was taken with a VGA (0.3 megapixel) "toy" camera--by a four-year-old! While less than one megapixel is not close to ideal, even it can be used to craft great photographs. 
Dry Red Rose - Tehachapi, California
So no matter how old or cheap your cell phone may be, just as long as it has a built-in camera, you have the tools you need to be a phoneographer.
Bench Leg - Tehachapi, California
Ideally, you want a sensor with at least five megapixels, but if your camera phone only has 3.2 or even 2 megapixels, you can still be a phoneographer, no problem. Some new cell phones have 8 megapixels.
Train At Monolith - Tehachapi, California
OK, now on to applications (or apps). This part is somewhat dry, but hang in there. At least there are plenty of photographs for you to enjoy.
Evening Fence - Tehachapi, California
I have a Droid phone (a Samsung Galaxy S), so I cannot comment on apps for Apple or other types. Some apps have versions for both Droid and Apple, so even if you have an iPhone, what I say may still apply. Also, I have only used free apps. The ones that cost money might be just as good or better, but it didn't make sense to spend money on something when everything I need can be had for free.
Broken Wood - Tehachapi, California
After playing around with the phone and different apps for two weeks, I have found what works for me and what doesn't.
Sunrise Tracks - Lancaster, California
My favorite app is Pixlr-O-Matic, which is quick, easy to use and produces good results. Because the fun of phoneography is that you can take the photograph, post-process and share the image within moments, an app like Pixlr-O-Matic is essential.
Ghost Light - Palmdale, California
This is an image of a brick wall at night. The wavy light was an effect added in post processing.
The way it works is that there are three categories of pre-made effects. The first category has 25 pre-set contrast, color saturation and tone adjustments (among other things). The second category has 30 artifacts and vignettes that you can overlay on your image. The third category has 30 borders that you can put around your photograph.
Cracked Paint - Palmdale, California
You can only pick one effect from each catagory. However, if you save the image and open it back up, you can select another effect from each catagory. I've done that with a few photographs, but most don't require that level of adjustments.
Chain Link And Stone - Tehachapi, California
Pixlr-O-Matic works great for 75% of my phoneographs, but it doesn't offer enough control for some images. Thankfully, an app simply title Photo Editor gives me the control that I need.
Picket Fence, Stucco Wall - Tehachapi, California
Photo Editor has slider bars to adjust hue, color saturation, contrast, brightness and sharpness. Even more, you can mess with the red, green and blue color curves with this app. You have complete control over your images.
Mimi's Cafe - Bakersfield, California
I use Photo Editor as a stand-alone app and also to make minor adjustments to some images post-processed with Pixlr-O-Matic. Between the two, I have everything I need to create "professional-looking" photographs (as in, no one will know that I used a cell phone unless I told them).
Joshua Tree Sunrise #2 - Rosamond, California
Another app worth having is PicsArt. In some ways, it is like having Pixlr-O-Matic and Photo Editor combined into one. However, this app does have one large flaw: it downsizes the file by half when saved. That could be the difference between an image being enlarged to an 8" x 10" (or 8" x 12") print or only a 5" x 7" print. It depends on the image.
Cracked Circles - Palmdale, California
I used PiscArt to turn an uninteresting image of a manhole cover into abstract art. 
PicsArt does have some interesting effects that will allow you to create some images that you can't create using Pixlr-O-Matic and Photo Editor. Sometimes it is worth the downsized file in order to create a certain image. Even if you rarely use this app, it is worth having available.
Head First - Tehachapi, California
Adobe Photoshop Express reduces file sizes by 75%, which really is too much for it to be useful. I don't recommend this app, but it does have a couple useful features and I have had some good results with it. You can give it a try and decide for yourself--afterall, it is free.
Evacuation Assistance - Palmdale, California
I used Pudding Camera and Pixlr-O-Matic for this image.
Some other apps I tried are Color Splash, Photo Art, LittlePhoto, Color Touch and Pudding Camera. I wasn't impressed with any of them, but they are free so there is no harm giving them a test drive.
Lines And Train - Tehachapi, California
Check out these phoneographs: 2011 iPhone Photography Contest Winners. If you have an iPhone (instead of a Droid phone like me), you can enter their 2012 contest.
Mojave Sunrise - Rosamond, California

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