Like many of you, the vast majority of the photos I take of my little critters are with my phone. Our phones have become the go-to point-and-shoot cameras in our lives due, at least in part, to quick access and ease of use. I use an iPhone X, which is just one among the many phones that are capable of taking fantastic photographs.
Over the years, I have collected dozens and dozens of camera and editing apps for my phone. Many amount to a neat single feature that I use from time to time, but I have found that there are only a few apps that I routinely use when editing photos on my phone.
My two favorite apps to use for photo editing are Camera+ 2 and Facetune, both of which can be found in the iTunes App Store. While Facetune is in the Google Play Store, Camera+ 2 is only for iPhones. Do not let that dissuade you, because you can find both Lightroom CC and VSCO in the Google Play Store, and they are excellent alternatives to Camera+ 2.
Let’s use a photograph of Luka to go through my editing workflow on the phone!
Photo 1: This is the original unedited photo already in the editing section of Camera+ 2. I have selected The Lab tab to edit particular settings instead of choosing any of the preset filters that the app provides.
Photo 2: I have selected the Brightness & Contrast tab and increased the brightness to +10.
Photo 3: In the Clarity tab, I have increased the intensity to 50%.
Photo 4: In the same Clarity tab you can also change the vibrancy of the photograph. Here I increased the vibrancy to 30. Notice that the vibrancy and color saturation of the background and Luka’s collar and coat have become more apparent.
Photo 5: To offset the increased orange coloring in Luka’s fur that was caused by the increase in vibrancy, I changed the temperature of the photo to a cooler color setting. This type of temperature setting change can be very helpful for photos that you take inside under the slightly yellow glow of many indoor lightbulbs. This setting is particularly helpful for white dogs!
Photo 6: At this point, I have saved the final photo back to my camera roll and then opened that new photo in the Facetune app. I like to select the Details tab and run my finger on the colored part of his eyes (irises) and his nose. Note that you can zoom in and out of the photo in order to make specific selections in the photograph more easily. The use of the details modification causes the colors to become more luminous and the textures to be more apparent. In short, it makes the eyes pop and makes the nose look wet.
Photo 7: Notice the marks on the blue paper just below Luka’s leg. Luka’s paws were a bit dirty and marred some spots on the paper. This can be removed by using the patch feature which allows you to select an area that you want to be replaced with another area. In this case, I just chose the other area from a spot on the blue paper that was free of marks. Depending on what you may be trying to remove, this can be repeated multiple times to achieve the desired effect.
Photo 8: The result of removing the previously described marks can be seen here.
Photo 9: When I increased the vibrancy boost in photo 4 and changed the temperature setting in photo 5, that left Luka’s paws looking a little dirty. I used the whitening feature and ran my finger over the dirty looking section of his paws to return his paws to a nice lustrous white.
Finally, we have our final edited photograph on the right, as compared to the original unedited photograph on the left.
A photo taken under different conditions (lighting, exposure, white balance, etc.) will likely require slight tweaks to the editing workflow described above. Take your time with the apps and play with the numerous settings to find an editing style that fits your taste.
One aspect of Camera+ 2 that I really enjoy is the ability to change aspects of the photo at different depths. If you are shooting with a phone that has a Portrait Mode setting (iPhone 7+, iPhone 8+, and iPhone X), Camera+ 2 provides options that allow you to change a variety of aspects of your photo based upon the depth-of-field. For example, you could lighten or darken only the background of your photo leaving the foreground untouched, or vice versa. While the above photos were shot in Portrait Mode I chose not to change any of the aspects via depth because the background is just a monotone paper roll. I mention this so that you can explore the depth options if you have one of the above phones.
Share your favorite apps and tips for editing photos on your phone in the comments below.
Jeff lives in Washington D.C. with his boyfriend, dog (Luka), and cat (Digby). Jeff is a biotech patent agent by day, and a law student by night.