The past few months I’ve been getting into Mobile photography alot. Now I’m no gifted photographer and all I’m using is Instagram to show case my work. In order to keep my creativity or inspiration going I have been joining some Instagram challenges and playing with other mobile photography apps to make my amateur attempts look a bit better.
In about a month or too I’m thinking of jumping into the DSLR thing, and will learn whats involved there, but for now I wanted to show you some of the cool challenges and tools out there. Hopefully this will help you too.
Something to note, alot of these tools are due to me being bored with Instagram’s filters. I think they are overused. On top of this, even though I’m about to show you some cool apps, there is always that chance of over editing a photo. I’ve done this a few times, thinking an image looks great when in fact it looks like some badly photoshopped clipart from the 90’s. Don’t over do it. No amount of fairy bubble or sparkly lights will make that image any better.
Right, first up. The challenges.
The 30 day challenge :
Theres a few of these, some wanky ‘love ones’ and then the scavenger type ones. Myself and some of the people I work with are currently taking part in this one : The 30day instagram challenge – a simple little task list of theme you need to take each day. We are in day 4 right now, been a few drop out, but the die hards are still going. Sunday’s challenge was water, I ended up trying various splash techniques in the sink, wrecked the kitchen – no photo. Ended up adding this one :
It will do for now. The challenge itself is going to get interesting as the month progresses. Monday is ‘Black and White’, Tuesday is ‘Nature’ and Wednesday is ‘Clouds’ However, further down the list is more emotive themes : Romance, Friendship, Identity and Talent. The thing I like about this challenge is that it helps you keep taking images, plus may help you find that niche for your instagram account. Maybe you spot something in water that you like to record and display or you have a talent for Black and white.
Its a great little challenge, I’m contemplating a few for some client work too and at work we may create our own Instagram scavenger hunt. At least this way, you are always creating fresh content, learning to find inspiration moments and then showing them how you want.
To join all you have to do is hashtag your posts with #30daysnp and a heading for the day. For instance ” Day 4 : Water #30daynsp”
Next up, and my favourite one, comes straight from Instagram. Its called, The Weekend Hashtag Project or WHP for short. Each Friday instagram releases what that weekend’s project will be. This weekend was Hide and seek, or #WHPHideandseek.
In short you go out and take pictures for that weekends theme. The rules are, no old photos, you have to go out and get new ones in. As expected this challenge gets a lot of activity. Whats cool is, if Instagram likes your post you get mentioned by them to all thier followers. Nice for the growth of your account.
I’ve discovered some amazing photographers through this challenge. From there I’ve looked into how they get their techniques. So on top of amazing images you get to learn a bit too.
My favourite thing about this challenge is that it can help give you an idea as to what to get up to on the weekend. No plans, simply get out and take images all around your city, town, field, whatever and then select your best one and upload. Not forgetting to tag it with that weekend’s theme.
Those are just two I’m taking part in right now. There are a few others (google search) and this great Pinterest board of challenges and tips, but you obviously don’t want too many. Plus you probably want to add your own images. Check them out anyway, maybe Ill see a few of your attempts. I’m vincenth on Instagram.
Now the apps. This list is some I’m using. I’m constantly trying new ones, but these are the favourites. Check it :
Snapseed : Bought by Google some time ago, so it must be good. I use snap seed to fix up those boring images. There are a lot of editing features. However I mostly use it for Cropping (Instagram likes squares – your camera doesn’t). I use snapseed for HDR as well, in the app its called Drama. That image of the river above, I used the drama filter to enhance the clouds. Lastly there is a straighten tool in there as well, helps you line up any horizons for that neater look. Snapseed is the first app I go to when fixing images up. I call it my mobile photoshop.
iQuikDoF : You know those pics you get where it shows something like a coffee cup up close and clear, the back ground blurred? Or those other way round? For those that don’t know, this is called Depth of Field. I love this effect. You normally find the professionals achieves this through their lenses and settings (I’m guessing). Anyway, iQuikD0F helps you get that sort of effect. You take a picture, then simply paint the area you want in focus. I’ve used this app to lie a few times about my amazing eye for detail. 😉
PicsPlay : Another great effects tool. I use this to enhance images when snapseed can’t. It has loads of presets under each categories. Categrorise suchs as ‘Scene’, Grunge, HDR, Black and White, Blur , art and professional. Easiy to used, but be a little careful, I stay away from the HDR filters. I find the iPhones native HDR or Snapseed’s filters a lot better. This is more of a quick fix app.
Tiltshift Gen : Instagram has its own tiltShift filter but I find it limited. This app specialises in TiltShift – er hence the name, I love it. It makes those little people and houses shots that much easier thanks to its easier adjustment settings. There are few other features, such as saturation settings and a vignetting filter. (bit of an overdone effect I think)
TouchRetouch : I’ve noticed to specs appearing in my images due to some lens damage. TouchRetouch helps remove them. For the Photoshop users out there, this is the clone stam tool in an app. Its amazing. You can remove signs, little details or in some cases those irritating tourists in view. The tool allows you to paint over a section you want removed and them is enviromonet aware and attempts to remocve the object in a subtle way. It even animates this removal for you. (Does not remove dodgy ex girlfriends). Powerful, helpful little tool
Hueless : The developers of Huelsee state it is not a post processing app. This is an app that takes imgaes and applies the effect live. This is what Black and White Photography should be. I love Black and White photography and would love to get a good shot, but a lot of the post processing apps desaturate the image, making in look shitty. This app allows you to apply images live to the image you are taking, so you can see the effects light has and so forth. Hoping to play with this one a bit more
That’s just a few of the apps I’m playing with. Honorable mentions go out to Magic Shutter : helps achieve those slow shutter shots. Those moving lights from cars sort of shots. Still figuring it out. Hipstamatic and Camera+ are some cool apps to check out too. Hoping to add another one of these posts soon with image comparisons. For now, go check out the above and take part in those challenges.
One of my goals is to be featured by Instagram one day, every Sunday Instagram features some of the best imagery on their blog. Keep at it and you may end up there, other that that not really any point, other than generating loads of inspired images.