Thursday, April 12, 2012

Phoneography, Part 7: The Making Of A Photograph

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

I've been asked how I create the images that I capture with my cell phone. So let's take a look at a few and decode a bit.
Here's the fist image (taken at lunch two days ago) unedited, exactly how it came from the Samsung Galaxy S. While I really like the composition, the image isn't really all that great. So let's fix it!
I converted the image to black-and-white using Pixlr-O-Matic (a free app for Droid and Apple) because color isn't important to this image. Black-and-white is more dramatic and forces the viewer to notice the lines and shapes. It also has more of a fine-art feel.
Brewery - Palmdale, California
Here's the completed image. I made some minor contrast adjustments and added a border using Photo Editor (a free app available for Droid).
The second photograph (also taken two days ago at lunch) is a fairly bland image of a brick and stucco wall. This is the original image.
Using Pixlr-O-Matic, I made adjustments to the tone, saturation, contrast, etc, as well as blurred the edges, added a light-leak, and added the film sprocket holes. This is done quickly and easily by selecting pre-made effects.
With Pixlr-O-Matic, you can only stack three effects. For most photographs that is all you need. For some images, you need to stack a few more. Simply save the incomplete image, then open it back up--you can stack three more effects. Here I added some silhouetting and increased the light-leak.
Brick And Stucco - Palmdale, California
I used Photo Editor to make some minor brightness, contrast, tone and saturation adjustments. I wanted the image to look like a 35mm frame taken from a Holga camera, and the results are pretty convincing.
This is pretty close to what I thought the final photograph would look like when I captured the original image. It's helpful to know what you want the results to be before actually taking the picture.
This is the next image (taken at lunch, too) as it came from the camera.
I blurred the edges using Pixlr-O-Matic.
I converted the photograph to black-and-white, silhouetted the corners and added a border using Pixlr-O-Matic.
White Rose - Palmdale, California
Using Photo Editor, I adjusted the contrast and toned the image to make it warmer.
I captured this sunrise yesterday morning while driving.
I made adjustments to the tone, saturation, brightness and contrast using Pixlr-O-Matic. I added a silhouette in the corners and a black border, as well.
Sunrise Over Avenue P - Palmdale, California
Using Photo Editor, I made some further adjustments to the tone, saturation, brightness and contrast. 
Last but not least, I captured this image yesterday morning. This is the original photograph as it came from my Galaxy S cell phone.
Using Pixlr-O-Matic, I made adjustments to the tone, saturation and contrast. I also added a canvas texture.
Painted Tree At Sunrise - Palmdale, California
I added an oil paint effect in Photo Editor. I also adjusted the tone, saturation, brightness and contrast. While I wouldn't do this often, art imitating art can be interesting. 
Each image took anywhere from two to five minutes to complete. Because of digital noise, White Rose might look best as a 5" x 7" print. The other four images could be made into 8" x 10" prints. Framed and matted, one would never know that these were from a free cell phone and not a $1,000 DSLR.

After post-processing is complete, sharing through e-mail, text, Facebook, blogs, etc., is very quick and easy. Heck, you could even upload the photographs to Costco (or your preferred lab) to be printed.
Be creative and experiment. Not every image will work out, but some might just be outstanding.

Part 8.

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