If you like me, live on this earth, shadows will be cast. It’s the law of nature. But what if you really want a bright white floor or an even coloured floor in your picture?
First thing first, plan to take your picture against a white or plain coloured background. You may remember these recent examples:
The previous how-I-did-it photo editing post dealt with overall brightening of the image, and how I converted the image to high contrast black and white with few shades of grey in between. I got a harder image with a more graphic quality that way.
In this post, we will look at how to brighten or even out specific areas of the photo, rather than the whole photo.
Here’s how I did it on my iPhone for the picture used in Look what I found hiding in the study!
It’s not difficult and in fact, if you have been playing with the Snapseed app, you may already be using the features that I’m going to show you in this post. So apologies in advance, if I am preaching to the choir! :P (which I bet I often do on this blog whether it’s about photography or dogs!!).
Anyway, here we go!
I used the apps – Whitagram, Camera360 and Snapseed – for this picture.
Note, what I am showing is how I did it, it may not be the best practise and I am blogging about it as general reference and a discussion point for anyone interested :) (my… my… what a lot of disclaimers today!)
Screenshots ordered according to sequence of use
- I use this app when I prefer to use the photo in its original format rather than crop it into the square format for Instagram. As you can see, Whitagram helps me to add a white border above and below the landscape image to create the sqaure format necessary for use if I intend to upload the image to instagram.
- Once that is done, I realised I wanted a tighter crop to the image. It’s not obvious but if you compare #1 and #2, I cropped away some of the superfluous space on the left side of Donna’s tail and below the blue dog so that the image is tighter. It’s very subtle but overall I felt it helps to balance and focus the image better.
- As the blue dog provides an interesting and defined pop of colour to the rather neutral image. I thought it would be a good one to use in creating one of those black and white with a pop of colour images.
- The only app I have on my phone that allows me to do this is Camera360 so I used that. This effect on the Camera360 app is called MagicColor. Once you get to the MagicColour screen, the controls are lined up at the bottom of the screen showing me that there are two shades of blue that I can choose from. Not difficult to pick the right one.
- Have to say though Camera360 takes a bit of getting used to. Navigating it may not be as easy or simple as some of the other apps I have talked about before.
3. After I’ve got the colour conversation done, I noticed two patches of shadow cast by my legs (!) to the bottom of the image that I felt was distracting. It looks quite subtle here, but I am sometimes finicky about such things :P
- Snapseed has functions that let you edit areas of the image rather than make adjustments to the whole image, so I fed the picture back into snapseed. The options available are lined up at the bottom of the screen (picture #3). In this case, what I wanted to use was the Selective Adjust feature.
4. If the floor is very white, I would have adjusted these two patches of shadow by raising the level of brightness for them. I can do so by tapping on the (+) sign at the bottom of the screen and then tapping on the picture the area where I want the adjustment to be made. This places those tiny round icons labelled B (for brightness) that you can see in picture #4. Sliding to the right raises the level of brightness, sliding to the left does the reverse.
5. But in the case of my picture, the floor is more grey than white. Using brightness will create an artificially bright area that takes away the focus from Donna and the blue dog. Therefore once I have placed the (B) icon in the area I wanted to adjust, slide down so that the (B) icon expands into a menu that lets you select Contrast (C). That changes the adjustment function from brightness to contrast. I then slide to the left so that I decrease the contrast between the shadow and the floor to achieve a more even colour for the floor.
The original photograph and…
…the final black and white.
Now this problem of unwanted shadow wouldn’t be a problem if I had made sure to position lights strategically to make sure unwanted shadows are not cast. But most of my pictures are taken through the course of the day, pictures of everyday life. I don’t set up for a picture and have professional lights reflecting off the floor. I don’t have the skills for that either. Most of us don’t. This is where editing using mobile apps really helps me when creating better looking or just more interesting looking pictures for my blog posts.
The mobile photo apps used in this post can be downloaded for free. And while each individual app may take some exploring and getting used to, I am pretty happy with the results that I can get just by editing the image on my phone. It’s not perfect, but I don’t want to spend an unnecessarily long time to get it perfect either.
So that is broadly what I did for this photo. It is not a step-by-step with detailed pictorial instructions so I’ll be happy to answer any questions regarding the above. I am also happy to hear if you have other ways of editing to share and other comments. :)
Or if you have questions about my other photos, do drop me a note and perhaps I make it into the next How-I-did-it post! :)