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Smartphone Photography Club

Smartphone Photography Club

By Mike James

Smartphones have made photography more accessible than ever. Mike James invites you into the Smartphone Photography Club to be part of our education community. If you are a photo enthusiast wanting to become more creative and confident using your existing mobile device, this is the podcast for you.
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#19 Powerful mobile photo sharpening secrets using Snapseed

Smartphone Photography ClubJun 07, 2021

00:00
22:28
#60 Visual Tension in Photography - 15 Techniques & Tips

#60 Visual Tension in Photography - 15 Techniques & Tips

Mastering the Art of Visual Tension in Smartphone Photography

Section 1: What is Visual Tension?

Section 2: 15 Techniques for Creating Visual Tension

Section 3: Practical Tips for Applying These Techniques Visual Tension: Visual tension refers to the sense of unease, anticipation, or emotional resonance created within an image. It's a way to challenge the viewer's expectations or perceptions, making the photograph more engaging and impactful.

Significance in Photography: The power of a photograph often lies in its ability to evoke emotion or provoke thought. Creating visual tension can amplify these responses. Tension grabs the viewer's attention and holds it, making the photograph more memorable. It introduces elements of storytelling, drama, and emotional complexity, turning a simple shot into something far more compelling.

Standard Compositional Guidelines: Traditional composition rules—like the Rule of Thirds, framing, and leading lines—generally aim to create balance, harmony, and clarity in an image. They provide a "roadmap" for where to place key elements to make the photo pleasing to the eye.

Difference from Visual Tension: Visual tension often works in opposition to these guidelines. Instead of seeking balance and harmony, visual tension introduces imbalance, discord, or uncertainty. For example, while standard guidelines might recommend placing a subject centrally or on a third, creating visual tension might involve placing that subject near the edge of the frame, facing outwards, or in a way that creates imbalance.

1. Element Cropped Close to the Edge or Cutting Off Part of the photo

Example: A photo of an eye really close to the edge of the photo. 

Key Points: 

  • Makes people wonder what else is in the photo and curious about what’s outside the photo.

  • Goes against and disrupts conventional framing methods that place subjects comfortably within the space.

  • Creates anticipation, a feeling of rush, urgency or immediacy.

  • Great for abstract photos where the usual rules don't matter.

Join me in this episode as we break down 15 different visual tension techniques with practical examples and tips for each.

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club - Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Sep 29, 202325:32
#59 iPhone 15 Camera for Photographers
Sep 16, 202321:14
#58 What makes a good photo composition?

#58 What makes a good photo composition?

Good photo composition should have a visual anchor, space for the eye to move around the photo, contextual elements that create a story and narrative, and strategic editing. In this episode we talk about the new book "Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System'

Spoiler alert! Here are the four steps covered in depth in the book STEP 1: Prepare and position the camera - The simplest control you have in the composition is the position of you and the camera. Even the slightest of tweaks can dramatic improvements to perspective, orientation and use of light direction.

STEP 2: Position of the subject in the frame - Step two is intended to have you thinking about the photography intention and narrative. Where do you position the visual anchor - emphasis or dominant element for the viewer's attention to settle.

STEP 3: Position the supporting elements - The addition, subtraction, or placement of visual elements and how they interact impact the attraction and direction of the viewer's eye. This is a fundamental part of constructing a photo more purposefully.

STEP 4: Composition mobile editing tools - This is the fun part of the composition. You have the basic structure that has the biggest impact all sorted. Now you get to add the finer visual cues to elevate composition to the next level.

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - ⁠⁠www.smartphonephotography.club⁠⁠ Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android. Video courses, eBooks, checklists, forum and direct support.

・・・

Look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - ⁠⁠https://bit.ly/sptbook⁠⁠ 170-page paperback Good Read 5.0 review rating and Amazon 4.8 star review rating.

・・・

Check out the 1/2 day online 'Narrative Photography Workshop' available to 5 people once a month - ⁠⁠https://bit.ly/spt-narrative⁠ Delivered via Zoom. We discuss your goals, your challenges, photographic intention and composition before breaking to undertake a guided practical activity. We then rejoin the Zoom, talk about our photos before exploring mobile photo editing apps, tools and techniques to enhance the visual narrative and viewer experience.

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Jun 28, 202313:06
#57 Computational Photography Explained Using Simple Words

#57 Computational Photography Explained Using Simple Words

Computational photography is software that overcomes hardware limitations of the camera.

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - ⁠⁠www.smartphonephotography.club⁠⁠ Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android. Video courses, eBooks, checklists, forum and direct support.

・・・

Look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - ⁠⁠https://bit.ly/sptbook⁠⁠ 170-page paperback Good Read 5.0 review rating and Amazon 4.8 star review rating.

・・・

Check out the 1/2 day online 'Narrative Photography Workshop' available to 5 people once a month - ⁠⁠https://bit.ly/spt-narrative⁠ Delivered via Zoom. We discuss your goals, your challenges, photographic intention and composition before breaking to undertake a guided practical activity. We then rejoin the Zoom, talk about our photos before exploring mobile photo editing apps, tools and techniques to enhance the visual narrative and viewer experience.

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Jun 21, 202310:07
#56 How Do You Start to Add Art in Your Photography?

#56 How Do You Start to Add Art in Your Photography?

To add art to photography, look for photos in a genre that has an artistic element such as ballet or dance. Then look at other photographers' work and dissect it - consider the angle, lighting, subject, context, and narrative. Art means different things to different people, so find inspiration from photo sharing apps like Flickr and Instagram and try to understand the thinking behind the shot.

The first step to being creative in your photography (adding art) is to pause and consider the photographic intention. Who is this for, where will the photo end up? Then, you can start to think about narrative and composition. When do you position yourself, the main visual anchor, supporting contextual elements and how do you edit the photos to enhance the visual flow and viewer experience.

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - ⁠www.smartphonephotography.club⁠ Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android. Video courses, eBooks, checklists, forum and direct support.

・・・

Look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - ⁠https://bit.ly/sptbook⁠ 170-page paperback Good Read 5.0 review rating and Amazon 4.8 star review rating.

・・・

Check out the 1/2 day online 'Narrative Photography Workshop' available to 5 people once a month - ⁠https://bit.ly/spt-narrative Delivered via Zoom. We discuss your goals, your challenges, photographic intention and composition before breaking to undertake a guided practical activity. We then rejoin the Zoom, talk about our photos before exploring mobile photo editing apps, tools and techniques to enhance the visual narrative and viewer experience.

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Jun 14, 202305:39
#55 Top 6 Mobile Photo Editing Apps

#55 Top 6 Mobile Photo Editing Apps

The best mobile photography photo editing apps are Snapseed, Lightroom, Touch Retouch, After Focus, PicsArt, and Polar. They all have different amazing tools for editing photos with Snapseed and Lightroom being the top two.

Snapseed is a free app by Google. It is not updated frequently, however, it is one of the best. You have whole image and local area-specific editing tools.

Lightroom mobile - 95% of the tools are free requiring a free Adobe account that can be set up inside the app. The texture slider, sharpening and dehaze tools are my favourite. With a paid subscription account, you get access to the masking tools. These are amazing to select the subject, sky, invert, add and subject one mask from another. It is very precise.

TouchRetouch - removes objects... and does it so well. Unlike other apps, you can swipe over and select areas that you want to restore to the original. This allows more precise changes, together with opacity and other tools to make the most precise fixes.

PicsArt is great for overlays, radial blur, dispersion and other unique tools. I use this one for more graphic elements.

After Focus - this app is great for blurring the background on any photo. It is intuitive, easy to use and the gradient tool allows you to blend from no blur at the bottom of the frame to the desired amount of blur toward the top of the frame. This replicates how a dedicated camera works with depth of field.

Polarr - the one tool that I really go to this app for is the fringing tool. You can fix the chromatic aberration and that purple and green fringing issues that you get when you use a zoom lens attachment on a smartphone in high contrast conditions.

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - ⁠www.smartphonephotography.club⁠

- Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - ⁠https://bit.ly/sptbook⁠

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Jun 07, 202311:42
#54 15-Step Roadmap to Your Best Photo Ever!

#54 15-Step Roadmap to Your Best Photo Ever!

Stop me if any of this sounds familiar... 

> Your photos are missing something - leaving you feeling stuck, underwhelmed and frustrated 

> You are tired of spending countless hours on YouTube and are not improving your photography 

> Photography brings you joy and fulfillment you love the convenience of using your smartphone 

This roadmap is the start to feeling confident and satisfied that you can create beautifully composed photos on your existing smartphone in any location, every time... without having to upgrade your phone. ​

PHOTO INTENTION INTENTION 

1. Motivation and Outcome 

2. Story and Narrative 

COMPOSITION 

3. Position Yourself and the Camera 

4. Position the Main Visual Anchor 

5. Position Your Supporting Elements 

CAPTURE PHASE 

6. Clean Your Lens 

7. Camera Mode and Settings 

8. Stabilize Your Phone 

9. Review Your Photo and Take More 

EDITING​​ PHASE 

10. Straighten and Crop 

11. Modify Your Tones 

12. Adjust Your Colours 

13. Bring Back the Details 

14. Make Area-Specific Adjustments 

15. Remove Unwanted Objects

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club

- Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Mar 03, 202325:20
#53 Imposter Syndrome - What, Why, How?
Feb 22, 202326:14
#52 5DayDeal Photography Bundle Expires Today

#52 5DayDeal Photography Bundle Expires Today

Ends today! The biggest photography sale of the year...

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club - Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

Oct 17, 202207:40
#51 Color & Creativity - Photos & Art - Tara Leslie
Mar 30, 202230:60
#50 Smart Phone Smart Editing - Jo Bradford Interview - Snapseed
Mar 23, 202244:04
#49 - Lightroom Presets & Profiles Explained
Mar 17, 202205:59
#48 - Behind The Scenes - Making of '30 Days Of Lightroom Mobile'
Mar 13, 202209:11
#47 TouchRetouch 5.0 - New Tools & Interface

#47 TouchRetouch 5.0 - New Tools & Interface

Very excited to update and share this new version with you. Live and unscripted, let’s explore it together and see why it is better than Snapseed and Lightroom mobile tools for removing objects and distractions.

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club - Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Dec 28, 202107:43
#46 Running A Mobile Photography Community - Lee Cocker

#46 Running A Mobile Photography Community - Lee Cocker

During this enjoyable and informative conversation with Lee Cocker from the Mobile Only Photography Facebook group, we covered the below questions and more. I discovered Lee after joining his Facebook group. I was instantly impressed with both the level of engagement and the incredibly friendly and supportive culture. We discuss the benefits for everyone joining and contributing to a photography community. 

Tell us about your Facebook community – who is it for, who does it attract? Why did you create this community - what did you set out to achieve (goal) with your community? Why did you choose FB over Instagram, Flicker or other options? How do you attract members – website content or appearances on other groups? How do you keep your members engaged and coming back? I see so many members commenting which is so much more valuable than the popularity likes – what do you think contributes to that culture that you and the existing members created? It takes a lot of effort to run photo themes, curate content, seek speakers and other engagement strategies… why do it – what do you personally get out of it instead of joining an existing group? 

Lee is selective of who he approves access to the Facebook group... the first step in a process to create the culture. After listening/watching if you believe you are a great fit, go check out the community at Mobile Only Photography - https://www.facebook.com/groups/372112596784060

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club - Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Dec 19, 202134:55
#45 Assess Your Photo Literacy Using Bloom's Taxonomy

#45 Assess Your Photo Literacy Using Bloom's Taxonomy

In previous tutorials, we've discussed how you can add to the storytelling and visual impact of your photos and how to be a more intentional mobile photographer. Today, we're going to take those skills and kick them up a notch so that by the end of this article, you'll be on your way to being an expert in photographic intention and storytelling.

First, we'll go over the term 'photo literacy,' in detail. Then, I'll explain Bloom's Taxonomy and how you can use it to assess and improve your photo literacy. Finally, you'll learn the 'dont's' of photo literacy and how you can avoid them.

Full article: https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/capturing-photos/photo-literacy-blooms-taxonomy

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club

- Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Dec 13, 202131:28
#44 30 Event Photography Killer Tips Using Your Smartphone

#44 30 Event Photography Killer Tips Using Your Smartphone

During this podcast episode, you will learn the tips I shared when designing and running a workshop for a hospitality team that do event and food photography for their social media accounts. Discover what to photograph and how to capture the moments. I have broken the tips into three categories: Before the event - During the event - After the event

Full article: https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/business/business-event-photos

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club

- Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Dec 10, 202122:10
#43 RAW Long Exposure on your iPhone | David Addison
Dec 05, 202135:12
#42 What Is Juxtaposition, Contrast & Figure To Ground
Nov 27, 202116:34
#41 20 Question Pre Photo Checklist

#41 20 Question Pre Photo Checklist

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club

- Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Nov 24, 202116:42
#40 Mobile Macro Photography Tripod Setup

#40 Mobile Macro Photography Tripod Setup

Learn about my setup for macro photography on the smartphone. There is no perfect solution for every photo. Having a flexible tripod, a second that holds the smartphone at ground level and an option to attach lights for side or fill lighting is a pretty awesome combination. 

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club

- Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Nov 16, 202107:28
#39 - Isolatation - Day 27/30 Live Photo Composition Series On YouTube

#39 - Isolatation - Day 27/30 Live Photo Composition Series On YouTube

Isolation occurs when your subject stands out in a photo by itself, pulling the viewer's attention. To achieve isolation, you can shoot with a low angle where the background behind the subject is the sky, one of the easiest capture techniques for this method. Another way you can isolate the subject is to create separation from the background. This can include utilizing a contrasting background, a blurred background, or a muted background; all are designed to bring the attention back to the subject.

This podcast episode includes a YouTube recording as part of a 30-day series discussing composition techniques and tools. You can check out the video playlist at - https://youtu.be/58UffLd81lA These daily videos are content from my Stronger Photo Composition: 4-Step System. The new way of learning and applying composition avoids the overwhelm of over 100 compositional techniques and empower you to be more intuitive in creating your next favourite photos on any device; iPhone, Android smartphone, mobile device, DSLR or mirrorless camera.

・・・

Join the Smartphone Photography Club - www.smartphonephotography.club

- Packed with in-depth, practical training and resources on photographic intention, storytelling, composition, capture and editing techniques using apps on both iPhone and Android.

・・・

Have a look inside the book 'Stronger Photo Composition 4-Step System: over 100 techniques and tools - https://bit.ly/sptbook

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Nov 08, 202109:56
#38 Cropping - the most powerful photo composition tool

#38 Cropping - the most powerful photo composition tool

Cropping is one of the most powerful techniques you can use to create compositional opportunities. The crop tool also serves a practical purpose, as it allows you to zoom into a photo and change the aspect ratio to accommodate different printing or posting options. Most importantly, cropping helps to recompose a photo to communicate our intention, story and creativity better.

✔︎ Aspects - Aspect ratios

Cropping to different aspects, or aspect ratios, allows you to optimize photos for different outputs. For example, 16:9 is perfect for display on a TV. I crop to this horizontal landscape to display most of my photos on the TV.
Conversely, cropping photos to a square aspect, 1:1, makes them the perfect size to post on your Instagram feed. Depending on how you display your photos and whether you intend to print them, you can adjust your frame dimension to match photo frames, digital displays, and more.

✔︎ Remove distractions

You can remove distracting subjects and speckles of bright light from the edges by cropping your photos a little tighter (closer).

✔︎ Isolating the subject

Cut out sections of the photo to isolate the subject from a distracting background. A more prominent subject helps to communicate your message plainly and makes it easier to interpret in the photo.

✔︎ Symmetry and balance

Using the crop tool, you can also reposition subjects in relation to the frame to create and improve balance for a more aesthetically pleasing photo.

✔︎ People

Cropping in closer can elevate the viewers' feelings of intimacy and familiarity with the subject. In portrait photography, for example, cropping can make the subjects' eyes appear closer to the camera, enabling that contact with the viewer. If you have photos featuring awkward hand or leg positions, you can use the crop tool to remove the offending limb or, if you prefer, the entire person from the photo.

・・・

Learn more about the Stronger Photo Composition: 4-Step System: https://bit.ly/spt-spc

・・・

Enjoy the video? A small way to say thanks is coffee! https://bit.ly/buymikecoffee 

Free 45 minute "STOP Taking Boring Photos' video course: https://bit.ly/sptfreecourse

FREE membership – community forum, tutorials, podcasts - https://bit.ly/sptgetstarted

Recommended smartphone photography gear: https://bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Passionate - Creative - Curious

- Mike

Oct 25, 202113:29
#37 Photography Channels That I Follow On YouTube
Oct 19, 202116:22
#36 Improve Photo Composition by Stacking Techniques

#36 Improve Photo Composition by Stacking Techniques

Question: Do you struggle with photo composition? Do you find yourself limited by the same photo compositional techniques and rules?

Answer: I did too.

Despite working professionally as a photographer, I often wrestled with feeling confident in my creativity. Even with a technical learning background and 20 years of experience in the field, creativity often felt like a kind of elusive creature. I knew it existed, but it always felt beyond my reach.

Until one day, while on an outing with a fellow photographer, I had a kind of epiphany. I realized, if I could master composition, then creativity would follow naturally.

So Many Composition Techniques - Information Overload

I knew that photo composition was the key to creating more compelling photos and feeling more creative. So I set about learning as much about composition as possible. I spent hours upon hours studying composition techniques in photography, painting, drawing, and other arts.

I went from unaware to researching over 60 different photo composition techniques in excruciating detail. I felt as if I had to learn and master every composition technique I could find to unlock my creativity with 'the perfect composition.'

Quickly, I became overwhelmed. I had all the knowledge, a foolproof blueprint for discovering and developing creativity, but I found myself stumped yet again. I'd be out on a shoot with a beautiful scene in front of me, and still, I couldn't decide which technique I should apply.

Just like learning how to craft a well-written story, photo composition is a lifelong pursuit that requires study, practice, and inspiration to master.

Step 1: Prepare the Camera

Every good story needs a strong opening, and photography is no different. How you position your camera isn't just the vital first step to developing composition, it's also an opportunity to hone your style and show off your sense of originality.

Step 2: Position the Subject

In the same way that an author has to develop characters through detailed descriptions and their interactions with others, photographers are responsible for positioning the subject in a way that connects with the viewer.

Step 3: Position the Supporting Elements

Try to think of the position of your supporting elements in the same way that a writer would approach their plot development through effective dialogue.

Step 4 - Edit to direct viewer attention

The last step in finalizing a piece of writing, photography, or really, almost any other form of art, is to edit. When done correctly, the editing process serves as the final satisfying conclusion to your story.

・・・

Learn More at https://bit.ly/spt-spc

・・・

Enjoy the video? A small way to say thanks is coffee! https://bit.ly/buymikecoffee 

Free 45 minute "STOP Taking Boring Photos' video course: https://bit.ly/sptfreecourse

FREE membership – community forum, tutorials, podcasts - https://bit.ly/sptgetstarted

Recommended smartphone photography gear: https://bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Oct 14, 202114:25
#35 Shayne Mostyn Mobile Photography - Astrophotography iPhone 13 Pro Max & Android
Oct 07, 202155:37
#34 iPhoneography Podcast Host Greg McMillan - Favourite Photos Explained
Oct 05, 202145:07
#33 40 Tips To Take Better Car Photos With Your Smartphone
Sep 25, 202124:56
#32 All New iPhone 13 Cameras Released - I Want One!
Sep 15, 202110:01
#31 Be A More Intentional Mobile Photographer

#31 Be A More Intentional Mobile Photographer

Check out the full article and YouTube video here

The intention is both the motivation and reason for taking the photo and the desired result.

Becoming more intentional in your smartphone photography is one of the first transformational steps towards producing photos that have a more considered meaning than snapshots.

Shooting with intent means you take into consideration many aspects of the photo you're creating, including the intended outcome.

Knowing the intention will ensure that when you look at the photo opportunity, you will know exactly what to do. As you practise smartphone photography, your decisions that align with the photographic intention will become subconscious.

Pause to consider the intention
Before taking a photo - pause to recognise what motivated you to take the photo. What was the stimulus that you are reacting to? Is it the tones, colours, shapes, forms or lighting that caught your attention?
Subject and story clarity allow you to experiment with different ways to capture and communicate that subject. You will start to think like a photographer now, by:

  • Focusing your mind (pun intended) to find more creative angles and perspectives
  • Avoiding a cluttered background
  • Looking at how light is falling on the subject
  • Consider other elements in the photo.
  • As you can imagine, a happy snap without intention will struggle to evoke some sort of emotional or physiological response.

Practising photographic intention gives you more confidence and more enjoyment in your creative journey.

・・・

Enjoy the video? A small way to say thanks is coffee! https://bit.ly/buymikecoffee 

Free 45 minute "STOP Taking Boring Photos' video course: https://bit.ly/sptfreecourse

FREE membership – community forum, tutorials, podcasts - https://bit.ly/sptgetstarted

Recommended smartphone photography gear: https://bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Sep 09, 202112:08
#30 Glass Photo Sharing Photography Community App | Pros & Cons

#30 Glass Photo Sharing Photography Community App | Pros & Cons

Full article and YouTube video - here

What is different about Glass?

What I love about the bold concept beyond the distraction-free app focussed on your photos is the return to the chronological feed. After finding photographers to follow, their latest uploads appear in your feed.

It is not designed to keep you scrolling using addictive tricks to encourage engagement or using your usage data to feed an algorithm.

Glass is independent and has not taken outside funding, opting for support by the community itself through subscription $5 a month or $50 a year or, at launch, $30 a year with a free 14-day trial available to new users.

The app is iOS only and to join, you need to join the queue for an invitation or from other Glass members. Once inside you have invitations to provide your friends and family. In a recent Twitter update, they suggested the invites only exist to ensure the quality experience and that they can scale responsibly.

Pros - what you will like

  • Subscription-based. Yes, that is a positive... support the developers to keep providing updates and making this an even better experience!
  • No ads or data tracking
  • No algorithm: You see things as they are posted, and when you return to the app the photos you've seen are still there.
  • No engagement tricks to get you hooked on the app... just photos
  • No filters: When you upload a photo, there are no in-app editing tools.
  • P3 colour profile support
  • Minimal compression
  • EXIF data behind your photos automatically upload
  • Community around comments
  • No "likes" or "reactions": If you want to tell someone you like their photo, then you literally leave a comment about the photo.
  • Photos take up the whole screen
  • Tap the photo to see the EXIF
  • Peek at the photographer information by swiping right and holding the screen
  • Can delete an individual photo by swiping left
  • Icons are intuitive
  • Chronological is great to be selective about who I follow

Cons - what you may want

  • Cannot add a hotlink to your website/portfolio in the bio
  • Very hard to find like-minded photographers in your particular interest
  • When looking at other user's profiles, it would be great to see their photos organised in a thumbnail format rather than having to scroll through each photo.
  • Allow users to group photos by album
  • Cannot unfollow unless you block someone - it feels nasty to do!
  • Cannot add a caption after the photo is uploaded
  • Cannot remove or edit EXIF
  • Ability to share profile instead of just one photo
  • If you share a photo outside the app, the recipient needs to open an account
  • Tags or hashtags do not mean algorithm – easier to search
  • The iPad experience is lacking

・・・

Enjoy the video? A small way to say thanks is coffee! https://bit.ly/buymikecoffee 

Free 45 minute "STOP Taking Boring Photos' video course: https://bit.ly/sptfreecourse

FREE membership – community forum, tutorials, podcasts - https://bit.ly/sptgetstarted

Recommended smartphone photography gear: https://bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・ 

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Aug 23, 202126:03
#29 30 Lightroom mobile photo editing tools - Part 3

#29 30 Lightroom mobile photo editing tools - Part 3

G'day and welcome back.

In this episode, I am sharing another 10 Adobe Lightroom mobile app photo editing tools. This is part 3 of the 3-part series covering 30 tools. Episode #27 covered the first 12 tools and #28 another 8 tools

This started as 30 tools written down for the website article. However, when recording the video for the YouTube channel, I actually covered 40 individual tools! Even though the audio is extracted from the video, I believe you are going to achieve a clear understanding of each tool and what they do by listening in on the podcast. These tools are broken down into 3 separate parts to make them more consumable. Me talking for over an hour is a long time!

Today, we explore the texture, clarity, dehaze, selections, healing, versions, watermark, guided tutorials and discovery. This is a deep dive into the Effects and Selective sections of the app.

The video and all the written content are included in my Adobe Lightroom Mobile App eBook - https://www.bit.ly/sptlightroom

Original article can be found on my website over at: https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/editing/lightroom-mobile-editing-tools

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

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Blurry to tack-sharp photos: 4-step system and more: bit.ly/sptcourses

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

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Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Aug 16, 202121:31
#28 30 Lightroom mobile photo editing tools - Part 2

#28 30 Lightroom mobile photo editing tools - Part 2

G'day and welcome back.

In this episode, I am sharing another 8 Adobe Lightroom mobile app photo editing tools. This is part 2 of the 3-part series covering 30 tools. Episode #27 covered the first 12 tools. 

This started as 30 tools written down for the website article. However, when recording the video for the YouTube channel, I actually covered 40 individual tools! Even though the audio is extracted from the video, I believe you are going to achieve a clear understanding of each tool and what they do by listening in on the podcast. These tools are broken down into 3 separate parts to make them more consumable. Me talking for over an hour is a long time!

Today, we explore the histogram, exposure, highlights and shadows, black and white points, tone curve and all the powerful tools inside sharpening and noise reduction. This is a deep dive into the Light and Details sections of the app. 

The video and all the written content are included in my Adobe Lightroom Mobile App eBook - https://www.bit.ly/sptlightroom

Original article can be found on my website over at: https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/editing/lightroom-mobile-editing-tools

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

Smartphone photography accessories: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

Blurry to tack-sharp photos: 4-step system and more: bit.ly/sptcourses

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Aug 12, 202124:24
#27 30 Lightroom mobile photo editing tools - Part 1

#27 30 Lightroom mobile photo editing tools - Part 1

G'day and welcome back.

In this episode, I am going to share Adobe Lightroom mobile app photo editing tools.

This started as 30 tools written down for the website article. However, when recording the video for the YouTube channel, I actually covered 40 individual tools! Even though the audio is extracted from the video, I believe you are going to achieve a clear understanding of each tool and what they do by listening in on the podcast. These tools are broken down into 3 separate parts to make them more consumable. Me talking for over an hour is a long time! 

Today, let's explore the first 12 Lightroom mobile app editing tools in this 3-part series 30 tool playlist. 

Tools covered, include cropping,  presets, profiles, optical, geometry, white balance, vibrance & saturation, colour (color), mix, target tool, color grading, selective colour, black & white 

The video and all the written content are included in my Adobe Lightroom Mobile App eBook - https://www.bit.ly/sptlightroom

Original article can be found on my website over at: https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/editing/lightroom-mobile-editing-tools

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

Smartphone photography accessories: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

Blurry to tack-sharp photos: 4-step system and more: bit.ly/sptcourses

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Aug 10, 202126:05
#26 Meeting my favourite mobile photography educators

#26 Meeting my favourite mobile photography educators

In this episode, I share my experience recently reaching out to three of my favourite mobile photography educators. The first I reached out to was Dean from Take Better Photos. When I first started Smartphone Photography Training, Dean was the only other person in Australia that I could find delivering in-person smartphone photography workshops. I loved the concepts that he was teaching, finding Joy and moments. Dean was also working (and continues to) with businesses to assist staff produce visual assets using their phone. 

Next, I reached out to Shayne, discovering his YouTube channel. It is amazing the power of video to discover and appreciate the training and delivery style of someone. I really appreciated the way Shayne breaks down those sometimes complex techniques into easy to follow steps. The combination of quality and consistency of his videos are second to none in smartphone photography tutorials. Shayne is producing some courses at the moment, which I cannot wait to see and share with you in the future. 

Lastly, in the podcast, I talk about Greg McMillan. I discovered Greg 6 years ago as a co-host of The Tiny Shutter Podcast. It had already been going 4 years! Greg has started another podcast named iPhoneography Podcast. Listening to Greg interview other photographers and contribute to group conversations his passion and breadth of knowledge is obvious. 

It was a pleasure to meet each of these guys on camera and in person. I am very thankful that they took the time to respond to me reaching out. It is so nice to be surrounded by people that share the same passion for mobile photography and supporting others in our communities. 

I encourage you to reach out to people who inspire you in photography or some other area of your life and let them know. It is a lot of hard work and many, many unpaid hours to deliver consistent, new content. Maybe even hit their 'buy me a coffee' links to show your support in a unique and much-appreciated way.

Dean Holland - Take Better Photos - website

Shayne Mostyn - YouTube channel - Phone Photo School website

Greg McMillan - iPhoneography Podcast

 ・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

Smartphone photography accessories: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

Blurry to tack-sharp photos: 4-step system and more: bit.ly/sptcourses

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

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Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Aug 06, 202110:54
#25 Top 6 Android & iPhone mobile photo editing apps

#25 Top 6 Android & iPhone mobile photo editing apps

I have downloaded over 100 apps on my smartphone. Many of them were not worth the free price stage! These are my go-to apps for all of my photo editing!

1. Snapseed is a very intuitive, easy to use app that has more advanced tools and capabilities hidden away for the more serious photo editing. This completely free app can be as simple or advanced as you like as your photo editing knowledge and skills develop.

2. Adobe Lightroom mobile app and is as intuitive to use as most apps. You tap and swipe around the various tools. All you need is a registered Adobe account to get started. Choosing a paid subscription will provide some extra tools and the ability to sync your images to multiple devices.
I will cover some tools in the free version

3. TouchRetouch is the leading app for removing distracting and unwanted elements in your image. Every professional image that you have fallen in love with has had parts of the image removed to assist composition. This tool has all the automatic and manual tools you would find on a desktop editing program.

4. PicsArt claims to be the only editing app you'll ever need... and, they are probably right. It has so many tools available for Android and iPhone users. This app does have some premium tools that are only available on the subscription. That said, they are very generous with the free tools.

5. Polarr has some features that are a struggle to find elsewhere. It is my go-to app after Snapseed and Lightroom. You can use most tools in the free version. This app has just had a major facelift in 6.0.

6. AfterFocus is still really helpful for images we captured before we could select and re-adjust background focus during and post photo capture. This paid app (one payment) works incredibly well to selectively blur the background around an object of your choice

I mention a few more apps in this podcast, you will have to listen to find out what they are!

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

Smartphone photography accessories: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

Blurry to tack-sharp photos: 4-step system and more: bit.ly/sptcourses

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Aug 01, 202124:06
#24 Finding your Photographic Style

#24 Finding your Photographic Style

When discovering your photography style, some typical negative thoughts you may face are:

  • I'm not creative enough to come up with my own style
  • My phone isn't new or expensive enough to take decent photos
  • I'm envious of photographers and discouraged when I compare my work to theirs

Style is a bit of an umbrella term in that it encompasses a variety of elements. Location, subjects, composition, framing, tone, mood, light, colour, and editing contribute to what the viewer sees and perceives as the overall style of a photo.

Developing style in your photography starts with you.

Consider the following questions

  • What interests you outside of photography?
  • Do you have other hobbies like collecting, gardening, walking, travel, dining, etc?
  • Where are your favourite places to go?
  • Do you prefer to be indoors or outdoors?
  • Is it more fun for you to take photos of cityscapes or landscapes?
  • Do you prefer realism over abstraction?
  • How do you express emotion in your photos, if any?
  • Are there any emotions you prefer expressing?
  • Do you prefer to capture people in posed or candid positions?
  • Do you prefer technical perfection over an emotional connection?
  • What are some consistencies you can identify in your process as a photographer?
  • Are there any patterns or consistencies that you can recognize in your editing, colour correction, or colour grading?
  • Do you prefer the approach of less is more, or more is more?
  • Do you have a preference for aesthetics that are sharp or blurred, or low or high contrast, etc?

My personal style comes from my love for the Struman Optics Cinematic Macro Lens. I enjoy taking photos of flowers with a 'real' blurred background at the same field of view and focal distance. When it comes to editing, my preferences often lend themselves to darker backgrounds and increased emphasis on colours and textures.

Get Inspired

A great way to stay creative in your approach to photographic style is to draw inspiration from your favourite photographers, social media, and your peers in photography communities like ours.

As you embark on your style journey, it's important not to put too much pressure on yourself. It can be easy to become preoccupied with identifying your style and get caught up in the chase of identifying the perfect genre. However, this will ultimately rob you of the opportunity for your personal preferences to reveal themselves.

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Enjoy the podcast? A small unique way to show your appreciation is coffee! bit.ly/buymikecoffee 

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FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted 

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Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt 

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Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious 

 - Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/capturing-photos/photographic-style

Jul 21, 202119:21
#23 ISO and shutter explained in adobe Lightroom camera app

#23 ISO and shutter explained in adobe Lightroom camera app

This video lesson is extracted from the Blurry to Tack-Sharp Photos: 4-Step System. More details can be found at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/blurry-to-tack-sharp-photos

ISO and shutter speed manual controls can be increased/decreased to brighten or darken a photo. Each has pros and cons for increasing and decreasing. The goal when changing these settings is to balance these trade-offs to capture a sharp, detailed and vibrant image.

ISO was the 'standard' measurement of photographic film sensitivity to light (film speed). The speed of the film was referenced by its ISO number. The higher the number, the more sensitive it was to light to capture more usable images in low-light.

In a nutshell, ISO means equal (standard) not an acronym for the organisation - it would have been IOS!

ISO is NOT sensor sensitivity!

ISO speed transferred to digital photography and referred to as 'sensor sensitivity. The function of ISO in digital photography is applied gain. The function of ISO in digital photography is applied gain.

Gain signifies the increase/decrease in the image's brightness after capture.

As we take a photo, light enters the lens and every pixel measures the intensity of light by counting the number of photons reaching the pixel. The charge of the photons changes the voltage in each pixel; the voltage values are recorded by the camera. The RAW data is a collection of recorded voltage values from all 12 million pixels. The amplification of the signal happens after the data is collected by applying the 'gain'. Digital cameras, including smartphones, should be using the term Gain not ISO!

All data recorded in your smartphone is actually at the lowest ISO setting (the latest iPhone is 32). For simplicity, let's say it is 100 and you captured an image at an ISO setting of 200. When the image is recorded, the gain is applied to boost the brightness by a factor of two.

As you increase ISO, it is at the gradual cost of details, sharpness, and dynamic range. The higher the amplification, the more noise and grain (that speckled look) appear.

In a nutshell, ISO adds brightness!

What is shutter speed? Shutter speed is responsible for two things: changing the brightness of your photo, and either freezing action or blurring motion.

The longer the shutter remains open and allows light to reach the sensor the more opportunity for both motion blur and camera shake.

Practical tips If you are shooting in manual mode to capture a sharp, detailed image, you should only raise your ISO when your shutter setting creates motion blur.


This video lesson is extracted from the Blurry to Tack-Sharp Photos: 4-Step System. More details on the system can be found here

・・・

Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

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Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/capturing-photos/iso-and-shutter

Jul 05, 202117:38
#22 Manual focus in Lightroom mobile camera app

#22 Manual focus in Lightroom mobile camera app

Why use manual focus on a smartphone?

Autofocus can be fantastic in most circumstances. The smartphone is smart! It can be problematic when scene elements of similar visual weight are at differing distances from the camera lens. The camera can struggle and choose a focal distance between the objects in the scene. 


Let's talk Adobe

You do not need an Adobe subscription. Sign up for a free Adobe ID account within the app using either an email address, Facebook or Google ID. The subscription does offer extra features. 

Adobe Lightroom mobile camera manual focus Inside the camera feature, the manual focus option is available within the Pro shooting mode. Locate the icon [+] that looks like a + symbol inside brackets. By default underneath the icon will be labelled Auto. To activate manual focus tap on that icon to discover a slider. Swipe the slider off Auto to manually adjust the focus area from nearest to the lens (0%) to further distance away from the lens (100%). 


Focus Peaking

My favourite feature of manual focus is the green overlay that appears on the focused area of the image. This is referred to as focus peaking. Other apps will allow you to change the colour of the overlay. This is particularly helpful if you are trying to determine focus on a green leaf that matches the same colour as the Adobe Lightroom green overlay! 

When do I use manual focus? The only time I manually focus the smartphone is using a close-up macro lens attachment and am holding the lens less than 7cm from the subject. The reason is the focus area is very narrow. 

How to use manual focus on a moving subject? Hand holding the smartphone very close to moving subjects, like bees can be very frustrating and challenging. As you can see in the above video, the movement of the camera can easily shift which part of the scene at close range is in focus. 

The green overlay on your image preview communicates in real-time where the focus distance. I find that setting the manual focus and green overlay allows me to rock back and forth and move the camera to achieve the focus. 


Advanced technique

The green overlay can be difficult to see in bright outdoor conditions on a little smartphone screen. The subject matter may be green, also making it difficult to see the manual focus overlay. You can change the live filter to black and white to create a strong contrast against the green. After capture, you can change the filter back to normal again!


This video lesson is extracted from the Blurry to Tack-Sharp Photos: 4-Step System. More details on the system can be found here

・・・

Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

・・・

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Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/capturing-photos/manual-focus-lightroom-app

Jun 28, 202114:12
#21 Reduce image noise & artifacts | Snapseed & Lightroom mobile

#21 Reduce image noise & artifacts | Snapseed & Lightroom mobile

What is noise?

There are many different types of noise. The most visible noise is the random variation of brightness or colour information in images. These often appear as salt and pepper specks in the shadows or as bands of shadows. Some degree of electronic noise is present in any electronic device that transmits or receives a signal. When you sharpen an image, it also sharpens the noise significantly degrading your image quality.

The other most common issue is pixelation noise and jpeg artifacts. This is due to insufficient image information/resolution for the required output. An example is cropping in tight and zooming in. It is also due to down-sampling an image or excessive editing.

Noise reduction

The process of noise reduction smooths the dots of colour and tone in your image, reducing sharpness. The goal is to reduce noise and retain as much sharpness as you can in the image.

Noise reduction trick inside Snapseed

Snapseed does not have a noise reduction tool. However, understanding the process of noise reduction, you can replicate it using the existing Details tool. We need to smooth the image while retaining as much sharpness as we can.

Locate and use the Details tool?

  • Tap on the word Tools or the pencil edit icon - Details
  • Next, tap on the adjust icon that looks like three horizontal sliders
  • Swipe left to blur the image and watch the finer details do not become blurred
  • Swipe up to select Sharpening and swipe right to bring in finer details

Noise reduction inside Adobe Lightroom

One of the great advantages of using the Sharpening tool inside Lightroom is the Masking option. You can avoid enhancing the details in the flat, smoother and darker areas of the image where the noise and artifacts like to hang out! Also within the Details section are two noise reduction tools - Noise Reduction (luminance noise) and Colour Noise Reduction.

Colour noise reduction

My editing process typically involves colour noise first. You can see this when the blotchiness has random colour. A more technical term is mottling artifacts.

Noise reduction

Now you have three sliders to balance! You will need to zoom in to see the effect of your adjustments then zoom back out again to make sure it still has a sense of realism. The Contrast slider protects the contrast in the edges of the objects in the photo. Details is adjusted to bring back details lost when adjusting the Noise Reduction slider. Again, it is a balancing act.

This video lesson is extracted from the Blurry to Tack-Sharp Photos: 4-Step System. More details on the system can be found here

・・・

Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

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Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/editing/reduce-image-noise

Jun 21, 202113:58
#20 Easily stabilize your smartphone camera | Gear tips

#20 Easily stabilize your smartphone camera | Gear tips

There are two main reasons for a blurry photo: focus blur and motion blur which can be broken down into subject and camera movement. We are going to look at techniques and gear to stabilise and steady your mobile phone camera. This video lesson is extracted from the Blurry to Tack-Sharp Photos: 4-Step System. https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/blurry-to-tack-sharp-photos 

Stabilise yourself 

Do not have your outstretched arms away from your body offers the least stability. Try to tuck your elbows in by your side or rest your elbows on a table or post. Better yet, rest your smartphone on a sturdy object. 

What to look for in a tripod 

The only phone holder I recommend is the Sunwayfoto CPC-02. It is lightweight and has a dovetail Arca-Swiss style plate to attach directly to most tripods. If you are planning on using your tripod outside I would recommend investing in a quality tripod. There are several features to consider and prioritise: tripod height, size when folded, centre column, leg release mechanism, centre column removal as a selfie stick and the quality feel of the product. My personal preference out of the 8 tripods I own for smartphone photography is by far the MeFOTO Air range. 

What if you cannot hold your smartphone still? 

You may be hanging on the back of a speed boat or riding on a very bumpy tram - who knows! What if you cannot hold your camera still and the lighting conditions create a blurred image? You can take manual control of the camera ISO and shutter to make it work faster. 


This video lesson is extracted from the Blurry to Tack-Sharp Photos: 4-Step System. More details on the system can be found here

・・・

Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

・・・

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Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/capturing-photos/stabilize-phone

Jun 14, 202117:39
#19 Powerful mobile photo sharpening secrets using Snapseed

#19 Powerful mobile photo sharpening secrets using Snapseed

Sharpening and adding detail to your photos can make it look like you have had a phone upgrade. Using the various Snapseed sharpening options can make it pop and jump off the screen. 

1. Tonal Contrast

Firstly, what is contrast? If you increase contrast, you are increasing the difference between two things. When you have a line in your photo, either side of the edge of that line is brightened and darkened to increase the perception of sharpness. Tap on the Edit pencil icon, then Tonal Contrast. Tap on Adjust to reveal the submenu or swipe up and down on the screen.

High, mid and low tones. Editing the mid and low tones are where you will notice the strongest effect.

2. Details tool

This tool sharpens the whole photo. Tap on the Pencil edit icon > Details. Next, tap on Adjust to reveal two options: Structure and Sharpening. Structure – applies the sharpening to the areas where there is evident contrast. It will make the darker side of a contrasting edge darker and the light section of an edge lighter. Sharpening – indiscriminately sharpens every single pixel (dot) in the image. 

3. Selective Tool

This is my favourite tool to apply strong sharpening in very specific parts of the photo. After opening your photo, go to the Pencil edit icon > Details. Tap on the + symbol and tap on the photo. Pinch and zoom to increase/decrease the selection of surrounding pixels. Swipe up and down to access Structure.

4. Stacks (layers) and Masking

To access the Layers, tap on the icon on the top right side that resembles an undo arrow atop two stacked tiles. Next, tap View edits to reveal a 'Stack' of each adjustment made. Tap on a previous adjustment to reveal a fly-out menu of a bin icon to delete and adjust icons to refine the edit. 

What is masking? When you make an adjustment, the new version of the image is stacked on top of the previous version, hiding the previous layer. Masking is the process of selectively revealing and/or hiding parts or all of the previous layer. The benefit of masking is we can specifically apply varying strength of ANY editing tool to exactly where you want. 

Summary 

When sharpening my photos, my typical workflow involves Tonal Contrast to add some depth to the mid-tones. Next, Details add sharpness to the whole photo. The Selective tool adds heavy sharpening to specific areas of the photo. Lastly, I will use the Stacks and Masking option to apply more controlled sharpening over specific areas of the photo. 

This video lesson is extracted from the Blurry to Tack-Sharp Photos: 4-Step System. More details on the system can be found here

・・・

Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

・・・

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/editing/snapseed-sharpening

Jun 07, 202122:28
#18 Photo Distortion - Avoid and fix in smartphone photography

#18 Photo Distortion - Avoid and fix in smartphone photography

Photo distortion can leave you disappointed with your photography and blaming your Android or iPhone camera. Typical distortion attributes to a recognisable smartphone photo... especially indoors and architecture photos.

Barrel lens distortion

The barrel distortion becomes quite noticeable when you add a wide-angle lens attachment to the phone. Your smartphone is designed to gather and process the information from the field of view of the standard built-in lens. When we attach a wide-angle lens to the phone, it needs to squeeze that extra context onto the same image sensor.

Pincushion lens distortion

Opposite to barrel, straight lines curve inward from the edges looking squashed in the middle of the photo! This distortion is more found in zoom lenses. Zoom lenses increase magnification from the centre to the edges.

Fix or introduce lens distortion using SKWRT app

SKRWT app corrects and introduces different types of distortion is all it does and it does it well.

Perspective Distortion

Objects further away appear smaller. This is even more so when you have a wide-angle lens on your smartphone camera. You have likely seen a beautiful sunset and raised your phone in excitement to be disappointed that the sunset is tiny on your screen!

Distance to subject distortion

Have you noticed that if you hold the phone close to a person’s face, their ears look smaller and appear to move around behind their head? Their nose is closer to the lens looking unflattering larger.

What is angle perspective distortion?

You have seen those roads or train track photos highlighting the converging lines. This is even more emphasized when you shoot from a lower angle! Standing at the bottom of a building the walls taper and look narrow the further away the roof is.

Fix or introduce perspective distortion using apps

My favourite apps for correcting perspective distortion is the Perspective tool inside Snapseed. You have several options: Tilt, Rotate, Scale and Free. Another app for fixing perspective is the paid option of Geometry tool in Adobe Lightroom mobile. Using the guided tool place a reference straight line and the software warps the photo to change the vertical and horizontal perspectives.

・・・

Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

・・・

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/composition/photo-distortion

May 30, 202114:20
#17 Photography app updates are the secret to getting the most out of them

#17 Photography app updates are the secret to getting the most out of them

What are photography apps?

Apps are provided by third-party developers who use the phone operating system and hardware of your phone. Apple developers can access the operating system architecture through the AVFoundation Capture subsystem. Using this 'Application Program Interface (API) and Swift coding, apps provide a custom User Interface (UI). These apps give you more manual control over the photo and video capture (focus, exposure, etc), photo processing, synthesising, controlling, importing and exporting.

The best example of an all-encompassing photography app is Adobe Lightroom mobile app. It is a camera replacement app and photo editor all in one. It provides full manual control of the camera and familiar Lightroom editing tools right there on your smartphone!

Why stay informed of updates to your photography apps?

Our photography apps are constantly being updated. You may have noticed that each time a developers releases an update, most of them provide a little blurb of what was included in the update. This is an amazing opportunity to stay informed of the latest news and developments in all your favourite photography apps.

At the time of recording the above podcast episode, there were interesting update descriptions for the Adobe Photoshop Express app  (local adjustments) and Lightroom app (colour toning).

Why do you need to keep apps updated?

The Android and iOS operating systems regularly patch security and other issues. Now and again they have major releases that affect the API to developers. You will notice each time this happens, it seems that every app on your smartphone requires an update.

How do you manually update your photo apps?

By default, your smartphone updates apps automatically in the background. As discussed, my preference is to manually update the photography apps on my smartphone. I cannot explain every phone model menu, so I will attempt to explain what to look for. Our phone settings are also getting more complicated as they get updated. I find the best way to find a tool or setting is to use the search function. Type in the word 'Update'. You are looking for App Update or similar, then Automatic Downloads.

See what's new in your existing apps

The other option to learn new features of your photography apps is often within the app itself. Many apps have a What's New section in the settings. In this section, you can see the update release date and their attention to bug fixes and new features. In here you can also see how regularly they update the app. Developers who regularly update their apps is one of my selection criteria in apps that I use and recommend.

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FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

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Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/podcast/app-updates


May 17, 202108:51
#16 Add energy to photos using Dutch angle composition technique

#16 Add energy to photos using Dutch angle composition technique

Also known as Dutch tilt, canted angle, or oblique angle. It is basically, an intentionally crooked photo. The keyword there is intentional. It cannot be slightly crooked, because it looks like you just held the smartphone at an angle. You do not want horizons looking slightly tilted. The Dutch angle is more intentional and exaggerated for a creative effect. You can achieve this at capture by angling your smartphone or easily in mobile editing.

This technique is common in cinema cinematography for the dramatic effect. It helps to portray movement and/or introduce some unease and disorientation for that desperate or frantic action scene.

Why and when?

If like me, you struggle with creativity, this is a simple technique that will make even the most mundane look interesting. An angled photo has more diagonal lines adding more energy by introducing the perception of movement.

As you know, the composition is how you position the main subject and other elements within the frame and how they all interact with each other. So if you've got a photo that just has lots of vertical and horizontal lines. It can be static. The viewer's attention can follow up and down or left and right. Rotating the photo turns these lines into more dynamic diagonal lines guiding the viewer through the photo.

This technique does not work on every photo. Dutching the photo can have compositional implications on the rest of the photo. The visual weight of different elements changes when placed higher or lower on either side of the frame. The subject and element emphasis might become something else. The space around the main subject completely changes when you change the angle. It is important to have active space in front of the subject in the frame.

How

It can be a lot of fun to play around intentionally angling straight lines. It is an easy process to hold on either end of your smartphone in a horizontal position, then lift either hand to angle the phone. It can be hard to imagine what an angled photo will look like without looking at the screen. You may need to tilt your head with the camera to see the screen. You have my permission to try this and look weird!

The preference is to consider the Dutch angle at the time of capture. When editing the photo and rotating it, the editor will inevitably zoom in and crop much of the photo.

Most smartphone inbuilt editors have a rotate option. Some are located in the crop tool. Most have a very limited amount of straightening adjustment which may not suit the purpose of creating a Dutch angle.

The app and tool that I use to introduce the Dutch angle is the Perspective tool inside Snapseed. It is amazing! Most rotation tools will zoom in and crop the photo. The Perspective tool has a Rotate option. It copies what is inside the edges of the frame and adds it to the outside corners, minimising how much of the photo is cropped and removed. It is easier to watch this tool in action.

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FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

・・・

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/composition/dutch-angle

May 13, 202111:04
#15 My process as a camera club monthly photo competition judge

#15 My process as a camera club monthly photo competition judge

My process as a camera club monthly photo competition judge

Have you participated in a photo contest or a monthly photo competition and wondered how the judge assesses the images? In this podcast video, I unveil the mystery and explain my process.

Entering a photo competition or a camera club monthly photo competition is a great way to have your work recognised and more importantly, receive some educated and experienced feedback from someone impartial.

As a smartphone photographer educator, I often deliver presentations and workshops at camera clubs. I also have the absolute privilege of judging monthly photo competitions – either for a smartphone category or open theme.

I am acutely aware that I come with prejudices and that my assessments, interpretations and assertions are subjective.

Initial Formulated Sorting Process

I have broken assessments into 5 main stages of image creation with the potential to score 15 points.

Intention – 3 points

Composition – 3 points

Lighting – 3 points

Equipment – 2 point

Editing – 4 points

1. Intention

Whenever you lift your smartphone to take a photo – take a moment to pause and think about what motivated me to take this photo?

2. Composition

This refers to the structure of the photo – positioning the main subject and different elements and how they all interact with each other to direct and hold the attention of the viewer.

3. Lighting

This is very under-rated in photography. The light direction, quality and quantity can really add to the intention of the image.

4. Equipment

Knowing how to get more out of your iPhone or Android camera, all the features of your camera and camera replacement apps and accessories for your smartphone can really extend the capability of your photographic tool.

5. Editing

As much as I am an absolute advocate for editing every image – I also scrutinize it for it being over-done. Unnatural colours, unrealistic lighting, awkwardly cut-off objects and balance and visual tension can create a visual irritation for the viewer.

Deciding placements and feedback

For each image – I document one or two positive observations that really work in the image and one or two considerations pivoted around the five stages of a great image, listed above. The most common suggestions are a re-crop to focus more on the subject and editing suggestions to make the intention of the image stand out further.

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Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

・・・

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/capturing-photos/camera-club-photo-competition-judge

Apr 12, 202119:50
#14 Isolate the subject - add to the storytelling and visual impact

#14 Isolate the subject - add to the storytelling and visual impact

Here's the list:

  1. Identify the subject
  2. Remove background clutter BEFORE the photo
  3. Remove background clutter AFTER the photo
  4. Blur the background to remove distractions
  5. Shoot from a lower angle to isolate the subject against the sky
  6. Use lighting to place a spotlight on the subject
  7. Darken the background
  8. Get closer to the subject
  9. Use selective colour to make your subject stand out
  10. Simple, single colour or texture background

Have you noticed that the most professional looking images are ‘clean,’ distraction-free? A photo without a clear subject divides your attention and causes confusion.

The first step to isolating the subject is identifying your photographic intention. Once, you recognise your motivation for capturing the photo, you will attempt to make it stand out to the viewer.

There are many techniques to isolate the subject. You can remove background clutter from the frame before capture, or in editing!

If you do not have control over the background, you can blur it. A blurred background will contrast against the sharp detail of the subject.

You can isolate the subject against the sky by shooting from a low angle. Other options to contrast the subject, could be the positioning in front of a simple, single colour or texture background.

Contrast colour or lighting by darkening the background or adding a spotlight on the subject can make it isolated and stand out.

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Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

・・・

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/composition/isolate-the-subject

Mar 21, 202111:06
#13 88 reasons to love and improve your photography - Part 2

#13 88 reasons to love and improve your photography - Part 2

Mar 18, 202137:01
#12 88 reasons to love and improve your photography - Part 1

#12 88 reasons to love and improve your photography - Part 1

Identifying other reasons for improving and learning photography may help to realise new motivations to get out there and develop a little each day.

You are a photo enthusiast who loves to capture photos and create your favourite photos. Taking the step to learn photography brings you so much joy, love for life and transferrable skills to other arts and hobbies, even travel.

Photography is therapy and a distraction for many of us in this busy, crazy world we live in. Committing to study photography, you will further love the creative process and your results.

It took me too long to go discuss all 88 reasons identified, so I split the episode to deliver it to you into two parts. In this episode, I discuss each of the first 36 reasons. 

  1. Anyone can learn photography
  2. You can do it anytime, anywhere
  3. Capture a memory
  4. Document the life of your loved ones
  5. Photography preserves memories of lost loved ones
  6. Capture more valuable memories
  7. Preserve the big events
  8. Create more impactful images
  9. Create more engaging images
  10. Create aesthetically pleasing images
  11. Improve your existing photos
  12. Receive feedback on your images
  13. Help others to recover bad photos
  14. Do photoshop edits without the complexity and steep learning curve
  15. See the beauty in everyday
  16. Live in the present
  17. Have fun on your own
  18. Have fun with family and friends
  19. Photography is accessible for people with physical disabilities
  20. Photography is accessible for people with mental illness
  21. Photography is a safe hobby
  22. Photography can be a shared activity with children
  23. Bring you closer to your family and loved ones
  24. Create better family photos than you have
  25. Bond with other photographers
  26. Meet new people
  27. Study the great photographers of our past
  28. Experiment with different genres
  29. See everything you normally overlook in front of you
  30. Notice all the detail
  31. Achieve macro photography on my smartphone
  32. Capture fleeting moments of expressions in children and pets
  33. Improve other art hobbies
  34. Learn photo composition
  35. Photography is subjective
  36. Camera knowledge ensures you don’t miss ‘the decisive moment’

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Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

・・・

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike

Mar 15, 202139:28
#11: Fix angle perspective distortion in smartphone photos

#11: Fix angle perspective distortion in smartphone photos

In this episode, I show you how to fix the angle perspective that is very common in smartphone photography. It is one of those visual clues that indicate tt the photo was captured on a smartphone!

What is angle perspective distortion?

As objects become further away, they appear smaller. You have seen those roads or train track photos highlighting the converging lines. This is even more emphasized when you shoot from a lower angle! Another example is standing at the bottom of a building. The ground level is closer to you is super wide. As you look up, the top floors further away from our vantage point begin to narrow. Be careful you don’t fall over if you do this!

Buildings captured at ground level using a smartphone with a built-in wide-angle lens further emphasises this angle distortion. If you want to get really creative, you can stand close and angle the smartphone to shoot upward toward the top of the building. This dramatic emphasis of the building narrowing is referred to as ‘keystoning.’

My two favourite apps for correcting lens distortion is SKRWT. The simple task of correcting or introducing angle distortion is one of my favourites – the free Snapseed app.

Inside the app, go to Tools then Perspective. At the bottom of the screen, you have three icons. The Perspective icon reveals and hides the four tools available: Tilt, Rotate, Scale and Free. As you tap each of these options, an icon appears in the middle of your photo to confirm the mode you selected. How cool are they? Now, tap on Tilt again to reveal the two arrow icons in the middle of your photo.

The second icon at the bottom is the Fill mode that will become clearer when we start playing with this tool. The three options here are Smart, White and Black. Tap on Smart. The third icon at the bottom is Autocorrect. Don’t bother with that one!

Next, place your finger on the photo preview and swipe up and down. Three things happen, the grid overlay now has many more lines to help you align elements in the photo with a straight line – very helpful for straight poles of edges of buildings! The photo stretches to make either the top or bottom of the photo narrow. This counteracts the tapering that occurred at the original capture. The third thing that happens here is even cooler, it magically creates and fills in areas that are not there! It is a process called ‘content-aware fill.’ It looks at the existing content inside the edges of the frame and fills in the missing bits. So cool!! Don’t forget to tap on the tick to confirm you want to apply this adjustment.

Now, swipe left and right to see how you can either correct angle perspective on a horizontal axis. I normally use this for a creative effect than a corrective technique.

・・・

Take the14-Day Photo Creativity Challenge to quickly unleash your photo creativity through daily project-based learning: bit.ly/3aBXPhy

・・・

FREE membership – full access to the community forum, unlocked tutorials, downloadable PDFs and 5-part video series: bit.ly/sptgetstarted

・・・

Smartphone photography gear: Struman Optics lens accessories and tripods: bit.ly/3gv9JuC

・・・

Accelerate your learning. Join the Live 6-week small group program: Smartphone Photography Transformation: 5-Step System: bit.ly/sptspt

・・・

Join the email list to stay up to date on the latest articles and tutorials: bit.ly/sptemail

Be passionate, Be creative and Stay curious

- Mike


Read the full article at https://www.smartphonephotographytraining.com/composition/photo-distortion

Mar 10, 202111:42