Even though i am a professional photographer, there are times where i don't have (or don't want to have) my camera with me - both when i'm in Malta and abroad. Like anyone else who has made their merry way into the 21st century, i do however have a mobile phone pretty much always in my pocket.
One of the main benefits a professional camera brings to a photoshoot, is the ability to work fast and in difficult conditions without losing quality. However, if you're prepared to sacrifice image quality a little bit, pushing your photos during editing will make a big difference in the impact.
This article is based on the Snapseed mobile application. This was built on an excellent software suite by a company called Nik (which was then taken over by Google). I use the android version which you can download here and there is also a version for iPhone here
Disclaimer: Is editing going to make my Oneplus 5 images look like they were taken with my Canon 5D mk4? No way! but it will add perceived detail and impact
The first step in our editing is to correct any mistakes that the camera may have made. Remember that the amount of light the phone captures and the colour which it sets to be "white" are guesses and it can get these wrong. (For example you might take a picture of a white plate in a room lit up in warm white light and get a yellow colour cast.)
1. White Balance (ie - is everything yellow-ish?) - The White balance tool has a selection tool that allows you to click on a spot on the photo and set it as white. If you're shooting food, this could be the table cloth or plate. Neutral greys work just as well (or better) than white too. Once you fix this you will see new colours appear in the photo
2. Exposure (ie is the photo too dark or too white?) - For these two questions we'll be using two different tools. Unfortunately, if the photo is too white, it is much harder to fix since the detail is lost and the colours may have become skewed. Your best bet is to use the Tune Image tool and reduce the brightness and highlights settings. Be careful because whites might become greys which are possibly uglier than the white you are trying to fix.
To add light we can either use the Tune Image tool and add brightness but i find that using the Curves tool and selecting "Brighten" from the palette produces a more pleasing effect. You can then adjust the curve to increase/decrease this - or you can just run the Curves tool multiple times (i find this produces the most natural result)
At this point out photo is well exposed and is showing the correct colours. Since these are things mobile phones often make mistakes in, we've already improved the image substantially
Case Study: Dinner