Tips on en­hanc­ing your smart­phone pho­tos

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - YOUTH - By QUEENIE WONG in Chicago

Pho­tos con­jure up mem­o­ries, evoke emo­tion, tell a story or cap­ture a mood.

I took my first pho­tog­ra­phy class in col­lege. I didn’t snap im­ages with an ex­pen­sive cam­era or smart­phone. In­stead, my pro­fes­sor handed me a vin­tage film cam­era. I spent hours in the dark­room print­ing photographs.

Tak­ing that class taught me you can cre­ate eye-catch­ing im­ages with any cam­era.

But pro­duc­ing a pho­to­graph in the dark­room in­volved many steps. I used a ma­chine called an en­larger to darken or lighten parts of a black-and-white im­age. It wasn’t easy at first to get right. There wasn’t one but­ton to click. No In­sta­gram fil­ters.

Nowa­days, I use my smart­phone to take pho­tos on va­ca­tion or in my ev­ery­day life.

While noth­ing beats proper light­ing and com­po­si­tion, photo-edit­ing apps or tools can help you quickly en­hance a photo or un­leash your cre­ative side.

Here’s how:

The dif­fer­ences in light­ing and color within a shot can make it ap­pear more dra­matic.

Smart­phones al­ready have ba­sic photo-edit­ing tools, in­clud­ing ways to ad­just the light­ing.

By us­ing a slider, you can ad­just the bright­ness, high­lights, con­trast and more.

But mak­ing an im­age too light or too dark can wash out the de­tails in the shot. I typ­i­cally zoom into the dark­est and light­est part of an im­age to make sure I didn’t go over­board with adding con­trast.

And if you make a mis­take, you can also re­vert the im­age back to the original.

Va­len­cia. Rose. Summer. Noir. Grunge. There are plenty of fil­ters out there that can trans­form the mood of a pho­to­graph. So­cial net­works all have them.

Still can’t find the one you want?

Photo-edit­ing app Snapseed has vari­a­tions of its fil­ters, al­low­ing you to tai­lor how you want the photo to look.

Want to bring out more de­tails in a photo? Try the Drama fil­ter. Go­ing for a dreamy look? Try the Glam­our Glow fil­ter.

You can also try blend­ing fil­tered im­ages to­gether.

I once was walk­ing through an in­stal­la­tion called the Rain Room in the Los Angeles County Mu­seum of Art. Cap­tur­ing a good photo was tough. The light­ing was bright in one spot and low in an­other. Water fell from the ceil­ing, al­though it didn’t touch the peo­ple who moved around.

Us­ing Snapseed, I took two pho­tos and used a fil­ter to turn them black and white. Then I used an­other fil­ter called Dou­ble Ex­po­sure to blend the two im­ages to­gether. The re­sult­ing pho­to­graph cap­tured the gloomy mood I as­so­ci­ate with rainy days.

A gi­ant zit on your face can ruin a good selfie.

Photo-edit­ing apps like Beau­tyPlus and Air­Brush have tools that can make your face look more smooth, get rid of acne, look slim­mer or whiten your teeth.

Air­Brush has a fea­ture to add makeup to your face, giv­ing you false eye­lashes, lipstick and blush.

You can even ap­pear taller, or nar­row the bridge of your nose. No plas­tic surgery needed.

Ever won­dered what your photo would look like if pop artist Roy Licht­en­stein painted it?

Har­ness­ing the power of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, Prisma can trans­form your pho­to­graph into a work of art.

From cu­bism to ex­pres­sion­ism, the app in­cludes artis­tic styles from well-known artists in­clud­ing Piet Mon­drian, Ed­vard Munch and Edgar De­gas.

I used the fil­ter Thota Vaikun­tam — the name of an In­dian painter — to add bright col­ors in a photo I took dur­ing a beach day in Santa Cruz.


Photo-edit­ing apps can help you quickly en­hance a photo or un­leash your cre­ative side.

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