B.C. Camp, Day 1: Mobile editing

By Jiří Královec (instagram @opocor)

The idea behind this tip.

Technology has been evolving really fast in the past few years - and so has photography. By now, mobile phones became really good competitors to compact cameras, and the way we think about taking pictures changed a lot. There is, however, one aspect that has changed a lot, too - but is still being a bit overlooked: I am speaking of postproduction workflow. 

    Today, there is no need to send one’s pictures to a desktop to do all the editing; even mobile devices make editing easy, intuitive and fast - much faster than ever before. Photojournalists can use their iPads to adjust their pictures instantly wherever they are and share them with their audience - now the whole process takes minutes instead of hours. Not all photographers, of course, go along with this workflow: for years, they were used to something completely different and the technological change may be too radical for them to accept. Nevertheless, there are many professionals who already do utilize these tools to produce high quality output.

Even if the picture is not perfect, its quality can be remarkably and rapidly increased - virtually in a minute.

My editing workflow is sometimes rather complex and does involve mobile device as well as a computer, but I don’t want to bore you with loooooong texts about boring procedures I normally apply to some of my shots and which may be of no use for you. Instead, I would like to show you exact editing steps you may find useful when shooting with Hasselnuts - and all the editing can be done right in your phone. Even if the picture is not perfect, its quality can be remarkably and rapidly increased - virtually in a minute - if you know what exactly to do.

    When editing a picture, it is always good not to “overadjust" it, keep it simple. Don’t do things in haste, take time to to come back to your pictures with fresh mind - and don’t allow them to be turned into kitsch.

 

Always think about the picture in advance and try to define what exactly would you like to achieve

Tools we have at our disposal allow us to do incredible things but try not to over focus on the technical aspects. Always think about the picture in advance and try to define what exactly would you like to achieve - I love editing pictures but I often think about what and how to edit already when shooting, and sometimes even before that. I personally don’t think that editing may help to turn ugly pictures into great ones. No - I try to take a picture which, hopefully, is great by itself - and I then use editing to achieve desired effects...

The pictures don’t always capture the original scene faithfully and through editing, you can partly restore its original, authenticatmosphere. 

Our brain perceives and processes things differently than a camera does. Pictures “don’t forgive” —  and what may seem nice to your eye doesn’t always appear in the final image. Editing can help: just try to think how to tell your story better, how to make it simple, how to remove from the picture all that’s disturbing. (Also cropping can be really valuable — I would like to devote my next mini post to cropping, so stay tuned! :-)

B.C. Camp, Day 2: How to take a Macro Shot with Hasselnuts.

The idea behind this tip:

 

When intending to shoot macro pictures on your Hasselblad, you typically need special extenders which allow your lens to shift the focus range — such extenders definitely are good choice if you plan to make macro one of your main photography topics. 

 

Depending on your lens, the focus range can vary; for example the 50mm Distagon can be used for close ups pretty well, but the 80mm Planar is not so good for the purpose.

 

But in case you would like just to experiment with those “dreamy” and detailed shots, there fortunately is a way of getting pretty good results without the need to purchase additional equipment! 

 

Hasseblad is specific because the shutter is built inside of the lens, which means that the lens have to be attached to the camera body all the time — otherwise the shutter won’t fire and you won’t be able to take any pictures with it. BUT! The Hasselnuts allow us something that wouldn’t be otherwise possible: you can detach the lens and shoot with them “handheld”. Even if it may sound rather strange, it’s a big deal because it allows you to manipulate with focus range quite freely. And since we actually use the separate shutter of “Hasselnuts digital back”, we don’t have to worry about the lens shutter synchronisation: the lens shutter stays open all the time.

 

This technique is often used to create characteristic “dreamy” effect: it, of course, employs the change of focus range, but it also - and this is even more important for some filmmakers - allows the side light to get involved which affects the image in quite remarkable way. One of the masters of this technique is British filmmaker James Miller ( https://vimeo.com/millerandmiller ). I love to take advantage of both of those unusual effects. Of course, a macro photography is usually taken in a different way, but there is one aspect I really like on the method I have just described: it’s not just macro you get - the photograph is characterized by remarkably softened light rays which make your final picture really outstanding. 

 

The shooting may seem to be a bit tricky in the beginning, but once you master the focusing procedure, you can enrich the pictures in several other ways and achieve rather unusual results. 

 

I recommend you to use tripod and to make some time just for experimenting - even your kitchen table can be turned into a small studio, just place your camera on the tripod, set some kind of flower in front of it and try to change the surroundings and settings — and see what happens. You can, for example, use black background (A4 paper is in most cases okay)  and illuminate the flower from one side so no shadows will be seen in the picture - they will not reach the black paper and the light will beautifully separate the flower from its surroundings (you can even shoot more flowers in front of the same background and then combine those pictures to so get complete picture of all your flowers in a very nice resolution).

 

We will talk about light later and in greater depth - but let’s mention here that while shooting indoor, it is necessary to give the Hasselnuts enough light. Light is crucial for this kind of shooting and it can dramatically increase the quality of the picture and reveal many details. No one says, however, that it is necessary to have an expensive soft box or something that was originally meant and made as a piece of photography equipment. 

 

Try to look around and I am sure you will find something what can be used as a source of light for your mini studio. Table lamps are perfect as the main light but you can also use phones or small led lights (if you have some) to backlight the flower (hide the light behind it) and it will beautifully highlight the edges. There are many things you can experiment with - and we can’t wait to see your pictures!

Step by step instructions:

 

1. 

Attach the Hasselnuts adapter and any lens to the body (basic 80mm Planar works okay).

 

2. 

Set the lens aperture to the lowest possible number (you may adjust it later but start with this) and set the shutter speed to bulb - “B”.

 

3. 

Set the release to keep the mirror up (move the switch from “O” to “T”).

 

4. 

Wind up the camera.

 

5. 

Carefully remove the lens.

 

6. 

Press the shutter release.

 

SHOOTING

Set the focus on your lens, and than fine focus by moving the camera backward and forward. Try to find the best distance and position for your handheld lens. 

Keep in mind the light coming from the side and try to find setup which suits your choice best. You can dramatically change the contrast and overall feeling of the image just by covering or uncovering the gap between the body and the lens. 

 

I prefer to insert Apple headphones to my iPhone and control shutter through them - it allows me to work more freely without the need to stretch my finger or to attach camera to the tripod. Once you connect headphones to your iPhone, all you have to do is simply press volume button and the shutter will "fire" instantly. 

 

According to my experience, for flowers (and detailed pictures of nature in general) centered composition works best. I recommend you to start experimenting outside - for example with some garden flowers - and during the day. The golden hour can be great but plain daylight works better (at least in the beginning) as it allows you to keep the ISO (chip sensitivity)/noise down and the shutter speed relatively high so that your pictures don't get blurred.

 

AFTER YOU FINISH

After you are done, let the mirror go down by pushing the switch back to “O”, wind up the body and re-attach the lens.

 

EDITS

When shooting trough an unofficial app, you need to rotate the picture and cut of the “black areas”, to do so you can use either the native Photos app or some more sophisticated ones such as Skrwt (I would like to deal with it in a separate post in the future). I also recommend you to download an app such as Snapped (free on the App Store) and play with the shadows.

DON'T HAVE A HASSELNUTS YET?

You can order yours using Amazon.com!

 

TAKE THIS TIP WITH YOU

In case that you would like to take this text on the go we prepared compact formatted version of it for you in PDF and you can download it here:

B.C. Camp, Day 3: How to remove vignetting.

By Jiří Královec (instagram @opocor)

The very first editing step I would like to show you is elimination of the “vignette effect” - with the help of selective adjust tool.

    This effect may appear (not only) in your Hasselnuts shots but its removal is fairly simple. Those picture above were taken with my Hasselnuts in Barcelona some months ago; unfortunately, I was using my iPod Touch (do not do that! :-D) on an iPhone adapter. The result was, however, still reasonably good. I applied some black and white filter and the only thing I had to get rid of was the black area in the corner (vignette). I chose this picture as it’s quite illustrative and will give you the idea of how to use the tool. It’s really just an illustration - the result shown is not 100% perfect but I could have improved it even more by further cleaning of the edges through multiple repeating of some steps or combining various techniques but the magic of the adjustments shown is that I was able to fix the picture in less than a minute. 

 

Use Snapseed iOS App

You can apply this type of adjustments to all kinds of different pictures and get all sorts of interesting results. The app I am using to achieve the desired effect is called “Snapseed”. It’s available for free through AppStore (http://apple.co/1euFQ56) and is powerful enough to perfectly perform most of the basic editing jobs.

    In Photoshop, you have the whole array of specific editing tools at your disposal, in case of mobile editing workflow, however, you will probably use several separate apps to perform particular editing procedures - one app for adding filters, one for perspective correction, another one for layer adjusting etc... There has been many attempts to create an “all in one” app but none of them works perfectly so far - combining more apps still seems to be the best option. 

 
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1: In the left corner, press [OPEN], then [OPEN FROM DEVICE], choose the picture you would like to edit. 

Once you click on it, the photo will be automatically imported.

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2: After the picture is open, click on the pencil logo in the bottom right corner to start editing; the tool selection menu will pop-up.

3: Click on the icon labelled [SELECTIVE] to enter the selective editing mode.

 
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4: Now click on the vignetted corner to add “adjusting point”, you can expand the selection by pinching in or out by two fingers.

The area to be affected by the editing will appear as red .

5: Make sure that only the vignette is selected and choose the type of intended change by swiping your finger up and down. 

6: Choose [B] (Brightness) and brighten the area by swiping the finger to the right site of the screen all the way to the [100%] . 

Add another “adjusting point” by choosing the + icon in the bottom panel and then go on tapping onto the picture. You can repeat brightening of the vignetted area (or try some other editing tools, such as [HEALING]) till you are satisfied.

 

7: After you are happy with your picture (or after you have used up maximum number of adjusting points), press the TICK button to save your edits and return to the main page.

You can repeat the adjusting till you are satisfied with the result and then export the picture by pressing the [SAVE] on the top panel and choose the [EXPORT] option. 

 
 

B.C. Camp, Day 4: Cloning.

By Jiří Královec (instagram @opocor)

So, you already know how to remove vignetting from your pictures (If you missed my previous post, go Badass Camera Camp, Day 2. How to remove vignetting). 

    Color filters are substantial part of mobile editing and almost anyone who shoots on a phone for some time is familiar with them. In this post, I decided to focus on something that may not sound that familiar but can be as useful and do the same service as color filters and color corrections usually do.

Cloning is to cover one area of picture with another.

Cloning is one of the most complex adjustments. The main idea of cloning is to cover one area of picture with another. Let’s imagine you have an unwanted logo (or other disturbing element) somewhere in your picture. What cloning allows you to do is to hide those items (or duplicate them). This technique is available in many desktop editing programs - it is a photoshop technique, however, that you can use it even on an iPhone.

Use Facetune App

The app which probably works best for cloning is called Facetune, it’s currently for 3,99 $ on the AppStore (http://apple.co/1m7DOyJ). For some it’s not cheap, but if you really want to get seriously involved in mobile editing, you should be able to “clone” your pictures.

    This app (as its self-descriptive name reveals) is designed to help you with portrait retouching primarily - I have, however, found the cloning option to be most useful; it may come in handy especially when you need to remove smaller objects from your picture. (Sometimes I prefer to work with multiple layers as it gives you better control over the picture -  we may get to this later.)

    Example picture for this test (picture above) is from London and was taken in a park in Hackney on my iPod Touch with fisheye lenses. The result isn’t outstanding but I can use it to show how cloning works — by removing the cyclist. What I did was that I covered the cyclist by a spot that looked similar to the cyclist’s background. Just to give you an idea how easily this can be done —  the whole edit took me approximately a minute.

 
SCREENSHOT 1.jpg

1: To import the picture press the [CAMERA ICON] in the left corner.

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2: Select [IMPORT PHOTO].

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3: After that your photo gallery should show up where you will select the right picture which should then open in the app menu.

 
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4: Now you can choose the tool you would like to use from the bottom panel, to clone please select [PATCH] button.

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5: Now patch editor should open and to start editing press the [PATCH] button in the bottom panel once again - now two “circles” appear on your photo and by moving them you can adjust what will be moved from where to where.

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6: You can change the size of them by pinching by two fingers or rotate them and when you are satisfied with it’s position press the [RED PATCH BUTTON] in the left bottom corner right. You can always let the app help you by pressing the [?] button that will open some help window.

 
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7: After completing your edits, you intended to do all you have to do to save it is to press the blue “tick off” sign in the top right corner — this will bring you back to the main menu (picture 6) from which you can save the picture by pressing the [EXPORT] button in the top right corner and than select the [SAVE TO CAMERA ROLL] option.