Friday, January 27, 2017

The Art of Phone Photos

I haven't done a Friday Photo post in a while, so I thought I would go over some of my process. This was an impromptu photo shoot. When I was making tea in my new teapot, I wanted to get a photo of it, but didn't want to take too much time to set up.

I don't like taking the big camera out too much, and my iPhone camera takes a halfway decent photo, plus many of the various camera apps with their filters will do in a pinch. The best camera is the one that you have on you.

The following photo took about 3 minutes to take, process, and upload, which is about the same amount of time it took my tea to steep enough to drink. So, it might seem like a lot of steps, it really isn't.

As readers of this blog might be familiar, my dining room table usually has a protective board on it or cats. Neither of which are appropriate backdrops for my image, despite the cats being super cat regardless.

For the background, I grabbed a piece of scrap fabric nearby so as to give it a bit more ambiance. Unfortunately, the fabric was all wrinkled and I didn't want to pull out the ironing board. I hoped that maybe some post processing would minimize the wrinkling in the background.

I opened up the blinds on the left side  (you can see more light shining on the left side), which would give me a bit of natural side lighting.

Original Photo

I was going to post this on Instagram so I knew that it'd have to be cropped accordingly. I shot the photo in a regular frame, capturing the elements I wanted --- the spout, the bottom of the board, the cover of the tea, the tea leaves, and part of the teapot handle. 

I didn't want to use the "SQUARE" option because I wanted to control what was shown. I took this photo, then rotated it slightly so that the square board was level and cropped.

Important Elements

The cropping took a lot of the distracting wrinkles out. The tea leaves were a bit too dark, so I increased the exposure. I also increased the contrast , black point, and saturation by a little bit to make the red pop and the handle a bit darker.

Cropped photo

At that point, I took the photo into Prisma, and used one of their base filters. I wanted it to give the impression of a drawing, but I did lower the opacity of the filter to about 15%.

After the Prisma filter @ 15% opacity

I took that photo into Instagram and used  another one of their filters at a lower opacity. Then I increased the contrast and saturation to give a better distinction between the reds & golds. I also used a radial tilt shift and a vignette to downplay the wrinkles a bit more.

The wrinkles still bothered me QUITE a bit, but it would have meant that I needed to find another non-wrinkled piece of fabric or iron the one I had, but that would had meant more work plus at that point my tea was ready to drink.

I suppose I might take this photo again in the future and set it up properly, but for what I had, it worked well enough.