Now that we live in a world where everyone has a high-res camera in their pocket, taking beautiful photos has never been easier. Not only have smartphones made picture taking easy, but thanks to hundreds of new apps, mobile photo editing lets you take your images even further.
To demonstrate this brave new world, we teamed up with Doctor Popular, avid Flickr member and mobile photographer extraordinaire, to learn about some of his favorite photo editing apps and hacks to get your mobile photos looking hot for summer.
The San Francisco native actually started his photography career on his iPhone. “I used to think I needed an expensive camera to be any good,” says Doc, “but when Instagram first came out, I realized other people were taking great photos with the exact same tools I had.” Thus began his dive into the mobile photography world, where he started working on a variety of photo projects. One of our favorite projects of his is the Daily App Experiment project. Every day for a year, he tested out different photo editing apps on his iPhone and posted the results to Flickr. The results he got showed an artist who embraced the speed and versatility of editing on the go.
“Shoot, destroy, repair.” Doc Pop says is his motto. “I like to start with a strong image, glitch it out, then use a combination of apps to make the photo ‘readable’ again.” His two go-to editing apps are Decim8 and GlitchLab. Sometimes he uses just one app, however most of the time he will run his image through several apps to “stack” effects. Check out his hacks below.
To make your portraits a little more exciting, Doc says to start with a strong image first. Hipstamtic is a good place to start with capturing your shot. Next, open the image in the app Decim8. Start clicking the “random” tab and going through the different effects until you land on one you like. For the above center image, Doc used a combination of the effects “Graboid” and “Beamrider.” Save your image and then open it again in a new app called Layrs. Click to add a new layer and select your original image. Here, you can select different sections of your image to overlay onto the Decim8 version. For Doc, his goal is to retain some of the more important parts of the image like the face or hands, so they are clear and readable.
For the finished product, Doc opens the image in Mextures to add a grunge filter that brings the whole shot together.
Doc tested out StripeCam on this city shot and really took it to the next level. He first ran the image through Decim8, then separately ran it through the app, StripeCam. Lastly, he merged the two together in True HDR to get a pretty amazing piece of work.
Adding some shapes and textures over an image will help bring it to life like Doc does with this “Cross That Line” shot. Similar to the portrait image, he opened this image in Decim8 and selected an effect he liked. From there, he used the app, Filterstorm, which offers several different tools to tweak the brightness and contrast as well as many other options. Lastly, he opened the image in the app, Tangent, and applied one of their customizable shape overlays. The possibilities are endless and the results are really fun.
To take a panorama shot to the next level, Doc uses the app, AutoStitch. This app allows you to take several different images and mesh them together into one panoramic. With his image below, he first shot all of them using Hipstamatic then stitched them together in Autostitch.
Another fun technique is to shoot a couple images of the same subject and merge them together using the app, Interlacer, just like Doc did for this kitty photo. For the final result, he took the Interlacer version and one of the original versions, and ran them through True HDR, to get the result below.
Doc Pop is a bit of a purist. When doing his app experiments, he likes to keep the entire process contained to his phone. “It’s cool to wrap it up by publishing straight to the Flickr App from my phone,” says Doc. Flickr has become an outlet for Doc to share his photos with a community of others who love the art of mobile photography. “I love following users who are transparent about their work. It’s great to see a user stumble upon a new technique and share what they learned.” Doc also takes this one step further by hosting several photo walks and meetups around his city. He encourages people to come out and shoot together on their phones and talk about their own processes. He was actually the organizer of the first Instawalk. For more tips and ideas about great photo editing apps, stay connected to Doc Pop through his Flickr photostream where he keeps content fresh with new projects and new app experiments. Maybe even go hang out at one of his photo meetups and show off some of your own mobile photo skills.