Happy Wednesday, SSP family!
We’re back this week from a wonderfully relaxing long weekend with our families. Sara’s family gathered to celebrate baby Katherine coming in October, and my family gathered to celebrate my cousin’s baby coming in just a few short weeks!
At the baby shower this weekend, I brought my big camera and took the “nice pictures” while many of the guests there made the exact comments I usually hear - they struggle to take decent pictures on their phones, let alone attempting to use a real camera, so they’re really glad I’m there to the pictures so they don’t have to. I hear this a lot from our clients and from people who see us out with our cameras - taking decent pictures on their phones is just not their forte. Usually, when I hear that, I think to myself, “but it’s SO easy! Especially with the built in editing tools!” When I do actually voice that out loud, the response is often the same: “built in editing tools?”. YES!
You can use your phone to take great pictures, even if your phone is stuck in the dark ages like mine! My phone doesn’t do portrait mode…GASP! Not only have Facebook and Instragram now incorporated photo editing tools beyond just adding a filter, but your phone has always had built in editing tools. If you didn’t know they were there, they are easy to miss, but knowing they are there is only step one.
Let’s try this together: dig through your camera roll and find a picture you would like to post or print, and we’ll walk through the editing steps. Today, I’m picking a picture of my mom and one of her best friends with the birthday present my mom gave her. It was shot indoors with very warm overhead lighting, so there are unflattering shadows on their faces. It’s also a little off center (pretty sure I was holding a dog and a can of La Croix while shooting this. It’s safe to say I’m almost always holding a dog and a can of bubbly water). There are also lots of bright colors and and a brightly lit chandelier behind them. For my personal preference, I want to correct the shadows on their faces, bring them to the center of the photo, and try to better blend the bright colors in the image with the tone of the photo.
Step 1: Find your photo
Do you have your photo ready? Great! Look in the upper right hand corner. Do you see the word ‘Edit’? Click that!
Step 2: The Magic Wand
You should see lots of options surrounding your picture. What looks like a magic wand in the top right is exactly that! If you touch that, it will retouch your photo in what your phone assumes is the best edits. Go ahead and try it! See if you like it. It does not crop or straighten your picture, but it will adjust light, color temperature, and overall brightness. If you don’t like it (in my case, it made my picture even brighter and very golden…not what I want), just touch the magic wand again to return it to the original.
Step 3: Crop your picture
Next to the word ‘Cancel’, you should see a square with some arrows. This section contains all your cropping, straightening, and flipping options. Go ahead and click it! When you do, it will automatically suggest a angle to straighten it to. You can keep it, manually straighten it yourself by using one finger to rotate that dial on the bottom, or you can hit ‘reset’ to go to the original picture. For my picture, I want to manually straighten it and crop it so the subjects are in the center of my picture. You can also change the dimensions of the picture by using the selection on the bottom right (grey and white squares and rectangles) or flip the image around 90 degrees at a time by using the using the square with one arrow above it at the bottom left. Your phone saves each step as you go, so wait to hit “Done” until you are completely finished!
Step 4: Color Temperature
Next to the cropping setting, you should see 3 grey-scaled circles overlapping. If you touch that button, you’ll see a variety of options for adjusting the temperature of your picture. These look like filters, but they are not. They can warm up or cool down your picture, add contrast, or change it to a black and white photo. Click through these and see if you like any of the temperature changes. Your phone will have functioned as a camera in auto when it took the picture, meaning it will have done its best to match the lighting that was naturally occurring in that moment. When we encounter harsh or unflattering lighting, that’s when to look through these options to see if the change in temperature helps. For my photo, the temperature is fine, and I am going to leave it on original.
Step 5: Light and Contrast
Next to the color temperature tab is a tab that looks like a dial or timer. Selecting this one takes you to three option categories: Light, Color, and B&W (black and white). Let’s start with light.
Step 6: DONE!
Clicking done automatically saves your changes and takes you back to the photo in your photos app. You will always have the option to revert your photo back to the original or cancel and discard changes as you go.
I’m happy with my end result! It’s brighter, the shadows are lifted off their faces, and the colors are better blended. Most importantly, I’m happy enough with this to post it knowing my subjects will appreciate the adjustments I made. It takes some practice and patience to get this photo editing system down, but I hope this encourages you to be more confident that when you take pictures, you can take pictures that you can change, adjust, and fix to your liking!
Happy editing, mommas!