If you wonder how to create, professional-looking, beautiful, bright and sharp photos with your iPhone – this tutorial is for you.
Everyday iPhone snapshots tend to be dark, full of shadows and sometimes also with a yellow tint caused by artificial light – even daylight can cast a yellow light over your iPhone photos. You might like or dislike this look depending on your taste.
However you like your photos, to look, is 100% up to you. When it comes to editing photos nothing is right or wrong, and we all have different taste – thank goodness for that 🙂
But If you wish for a “cleaner” and more bright look, all, you have to do, is to follow this tutorial.
The thing that most people do “wrong” is they add a filter or even more than one filter and leave it at that. In some cases, it works out perfect and can save a photo, but in some instances, it looks a bit overdone.
To get professional looking photos follow these 3 steps:
#1. Before you begin to take a photo with your iPhone, make sure you have the best light available to you. Stand close to a window if you are inside and turn off all artificial light in the room. Walk around your home to find the most beautiful light – it can easily vary from room to room depending on the time of day.
#2. Start your editing process using basic adjustments like brightness, contrast, exposure, highlights, sharpening and so on.
#3. If you think, your photo, still need something extra apply a filter as a finishing touch. The secret to working with filters is only to add a little. Always lower the effect you add to avoid overdoing it.
What photo editing app to use:
In this tutorial, I use Afterlight. But you can easily use the Instagram app or the VSCO app – both have excellent basic adjustment tools.
What camera app to use:
I mostly use iPhones own camera app – the square format. It can create beautiful and sharp photos as long as you have enough good daylight available.
If I have trouble controlling highlights or shadows, which sometimes happens when there´s too much or not enough light, I like to use the Camera+ app.
Below you see each step in details. Remember that your photos are different from one another depending on the conditions they are photographed in and therefore need different things. Not all your photos will require all of the steps below.
Be open to experimenting and use your eyes to see if you add too much or to little of an effect. It will get much easier with time, I promise.
1. Upload it to Afterlight or any other app with basic adjustments.
2. Follow the instructions below. For a really bright look repeat the steps 1-2 times more.
I absolutely love to shoot in RAW format. The control it gives me in post production is a wonderful feeling. In fact, it’s magical.
When I first started photography, I didn’t understand what Raw files were, nor did I know how to set my camera to shoot in Raw format. But when I finally took the time to learn it, I loved it instantly. I think you will, too.
Perhaps you feel the way I did, that it’s a bit daunting, like stepping into an unknown field. If so work with me here: I promise you that you will love how it improves your photography. 🙂
It can be intimidating to try new things. So much of what photographers do is technical and can be complicated to learn. Fearing failure, we stick to what we know.
Learning photography is like learning to ride a car or bicycle. It´s such a challenge when you first begin because there are so may details and things to remember. But then all of a sudden—WOW—you ride your bike or you drive that car and it seems like the easiest thing in the world! It’s the same with photography.
Just take it one step at a time and you’ll be fine.
Be patient with yourself. Don’t fear failure, because failure dosen´t actually exist. With each step you take, you are growing and learning—no matter the outcome and no matter how long it takes to learn a new skill.
Image: The before and after image below shows just how helpful and powerful shooting in Raw can be. You can truly rescue a photo which was not lit well.
Making The Switch From JPEG To RAW
If you want to see more detailed images, and have the versatility and creative control of the editing then taking photographs in Raw can be very rewarding, especially once you see the end results.
If you love to shoot Jpeg and are happy with your results, then that’s awesome. Continue with what you’re doing, because shooting in Raw will make your workflow take a little longer. But if you secretly dream of improving your photos, why not give Raw a chance?
If you are a portrait photographer then shooting in Raw is a definitely a good thing. To do professional retouching you need to work on a Raw file for the optimal results.
Changing to Raw will not be an instant magic pill, which suddenly gives you state-of-the-art photos. It will take a little time to get it it right. As with everything, patience and practice makes perfect. 🙂
The Major Benefits Of Shooting In RAW
As a photographer you should always aim to “get it right in camera.” As a self-taught photographer I know that this can be difficult at first. This is why shooting in Raw is essential.
You get a second chance to get it right—first chance when you take the picture; second chance when you edit the picture inside the Raw converter.
Which is really helpful when you are still learning to nail the perfect exposure! If you over-exposed or under-exposed your photo, you will be able to recover details and rescue what, otherwise, may be lost. In other words, you can make a decent photo out of a not-so-decent one, which is fantastic.
Image: The image below shows how you are able to restore details and highlights that are overexposed – as long as you shoot in Raw you can do this.
When shooting in Raw, you no longer need to worry about your white balance. Say, for example, you take a photo of your family during an evening when everyone is gathered around the dinner table. There’s not much day light available so all the artificial lights in the house are turned on. There may even be candles lit.
When you look at the back of your camera the photo appears to have a yellow tone. This yellow light comes from the lamps that are surrounding you. What happens is that the light from the lamps interferes with the available light in the room.
It’s not very attractive, so here’s the main reason you will love Raw files: they’re easy to fix and you can make changes without damaging the photo file.
Raw editing is simply non-destructive, unlike a Jpeg file in which any changes made to the image are permanent. What’s great about a Raw file is that you can never destroy it, no matter how many changes you make. And you can go back to a specific photo at any time and re-process it over and over again.
Raw files tend to be dull and boring straight out of the camera. It’s because they are not finished inside the camera as Jpegs are.
You will need to finish it on your computer, which is beneficial: it will give you control over the final image output.
The richness, sharpness, color range and ability to adjust these settings end up being so much greater with a Raw file, even if a Raw file looks dull before processing.
Shooting Raw Is Helpful When:
You shoot portraits. To ensure professional retouching without losing image quality.
You risk blown out highlights. For example, you shoot outside on a bright sunny day and the sky turns out white. In a Raw file, you can often restore details and highlights that are overexposed.
The white balance is off and your photo is affected by sourroundings that are interfering with the available light. This can make your photos look yellow or green.
You are going to enlarge the photo and print it in a big size. With Raw you never have to worry about loss of quality.
Positive Attributes of JPEGs
If you just need to take everyday snapshots, such as pictures of your kids’ school play, your grandma’s birthday or shoes you want to sell on ebay.
If you are a blogger and post many photos on a daily basis, Jpeg can give you a fast and easy workflow.
Jpeg is also great if you need to email photos or post them to Facebook without much hassle. Whenever you need to process photos quickly, and the quality is less important, then Jpeg is perfectly fine.
But if you shoot fine art, fashion, portraits—photos that clients are paying for—it’s time to shift into Raw mode to upgrade your image quality.
JPEG VS RAW: What Are The Differences?
Processed by the camera
Fairly small in size
Higher in contrast
Sharper straight out of the camera
Immediately suitable for printing and web posting
Takes up less space on your hard drive
Is like a print
Takes up less space on your memory card
Shoot in Jpeg when you:
Photograph in perfect daylight conditions
Want a quick workflow
Don’t need to do much post-processing
Want to save space on your hard drive
Take everyday snapshots
Waiting to be processed by software like Photoshop or Lightroom
Large in size
Not as sharp. You get to fine-tune sharpen in Photoshop
Gives you great control over exposure, highlights, contrast, colors, etc.
Not suitable for printing directly from the camera
Is like having a negative
Takes up a lot of space on your memory card
Shoot in RAW when you:
Photograph in not-so-perfect light conditions
Want a perfect white balance
Want quality photos for your portfolio and clients
Want full control over the final look of your image
Print large photos and posters
Organizing & Storing RAW Files
There are some downsides to shooting in Raw:
The files are much bigger
There is no standard Raw format
Every camera manufacturer has its own format
Raw takes longer for the camera to write, which decreases the FPS (frames per second)
Most software has to be updated to support the latest cameras.
When you’re shooting Raw, the camera has a larger amount of data to process so there will be more megabytes to save to the memory card. (Shooting in jpeg will allow you to capture 2 or 3 times more images.) This also means that the images will take up much more space on your computer.
What you can do
The best thing you can do is to buy an external hard drive. Personally, I don´t want my Raw files stored on my computer because they quickly take up all the space, and the computer slows down and can make software programs like Photoshop crash while being used.
When I upload Raw images to the computer after a photoshoot I immediately transfer them to an external hard disk.
As soon as I have backed up all the pictures, I delete them from my computer, leaving my computer fresh, clean and fast. 🙂
What Kind of Software to Use
When you shoot in RAW you’re using computer software to convert your images. It’s similar to taking a negative into the darkroom.
You´ll need to use the software that came with your camera, or you could use a software such as Adobe photoshop CC, photoshop elements or Lightroom.
6 Easy Steps to Start Shooting in RAW
1. Set your camera to Raw. In camera settings click on quality (Canon) and choose Raw. If you can´t find it, grab your camera manual and look for Raw.
2. Take a few pictures with your camera in Raw mode.
3. Connect your camera to your computer and upload the photos.
4. Pick a photo you wish to work on and open it up in Photoshop. When you upload a RAW file into Photoshop the Raw converter program will automatically open up. The Raw converter program comes free with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. If you don’t have Photoshop you can use Lightroom.
5. Inside the Raw converter play with the sliders to the right side. Each slider control a specific adjustment like exposure, contrast, brightness, color tones, shadows, saturation. This is where you get to finish your Raw file. It’s sort of like being inside a darkroom working on a negative. You can adjust so many things inside Camera Raw, but as a beginner this is enough to familiarize yourself with this part of the program.
6. When you are happy with the result, you can now use the image in Photoshop to make final adjustments. To bring your photo into Photoshop, simply click on “Open Image” down in the right-hand corner. In Photoshop you can choose to do even more adjustments and/or save it as a JPEG file.
That’s it! I hope you are inspired to try shooting in RAW 🙂
I am going to be honest with you; taking your photography hobby to a place where you actually make a good living takes a lot work. But if you do it the right way, you will have a FUN, life-changing and exciting ride! When I made the decision to go Pro, my business grew very quickly. In fact I could hardly keep up! But my success was not because of my talent, camera gear or connections.
When I first started out, these were my odds:
I had a cheap beginners camera + one lens
I knew nothing about camera settings, lighting, posing or anything related to photography
I knew no one who could help me out
I knew nothing about blogging or branding
I had no connections in the photography industry
I knew absolutely nothing about the photography industry
And as a native Dane, my English was poor—and it still is 🙂
So how the heck did I do it?
My strengths that came in handy
Passion – It might sound strange, but I don’t believe that talent is enough; I believe that passion is the fuel and I am deeply and madly in love with photography.
Determination and willingness to learn – I spend hours, days, nights and months practicing.
Ambition + vision – I knew I wanted to help women in photography (in front of the lens + behind the lens) to believe in themselves.
A creative mind – In the past I’ve crossed paths with fashion design, interior decoration, styling and art in many form.
Business know-how – This was due to running my former life coaching business.
Now, let’s focus on YOU!
Do you have what it takes?
What it Takes To Go From Hobbyist To Full-Time Photographer
1. You have PASSION
You LOVE photography so much that it’s ALL you think about (besides your loved ones, of course). Your camera is your baby and the only thing you want for Christmas is a new lens! You wake up, excited about what you do.
2. You are WILLING to do the work
You are ready to put in the hours.
You are willing to put a minimum of 10-15 hours a week into learning, creating, and building your business.
You can build your business while you still keep your day job, which is what I did the first year. Some mornings I would get up before my children, to get a few quiet hours of work done. Other times I would sit up all night to practice photoshop. You are willing to do what it takes, because you know it will change your life.
You are realistic and understand that nothing comes to you, without you taking ACTION.
3. You LOVE to learn new things
As the owner of a photography business, you need to master a lot more than the camera. You must be willing to learn how to design your blog, run a Facebook page, book yourself solid, connect with clients and so much more.
Personally what I love the most about photography is that there is always something new to learn. I never get stuck in “I-know-it-all-and-now-I-am-bored” land.”
If you want to be a success, you’ll want to love learning more than just how to take photos—it’s an entire business and lifestyle to embrace and enjoy.
4. You know your strengths and understand how to use them
One of the keys to success in the photography industry is to choose a niche, a passion that you combine with photography.
If you love dogs, for example, and know everything about them, you might want to consider specializing in dog portraits. If you are the master of cake baking and love decorating cakes, you might want to consider specializing in photographing pastry. If you love nature, sports, weddings, beaches, traveling…you get the idea. The possibilities are endless!
Your niche might shift during your growth as a photographer—mine certainly did many times. I started with boudoir photography and then moved into fashion and glamour-inspired portraiture. Now my niche has shifting again to lifestyle images.
My main niche is to inspire and motivate women around the world to believe in themselves, whether they are my clients, my students or my readers. No matter what I do, that will always be my core niche!
Choosing a niche will not make it difficult to get clients; rather your focus will attract clients to you. More importantly, it will help set you apart from the competition.
5. Build relationships with clients AND like-minded photographers
When I first started out, I didn’t know any other photographers. So I started networking on flickr and by being very active—liking, commenting and sharing tips—I gained a whole new group of friends. With their support and the inspiration I felt from these relationships, I started to grow really fast. Soon after that I created my blog and then later my Facebook page.
If you truly want to grow your business, take your time to to connect with people. Show your support, write comments, cheer, be positive and say “THANK YOU” when people care about you and take their time to like your work. Be nice and give people a reason to care.
How you treat people will determine how well your business will do.
6. Walk through your FEARS
The truth is: you can never actually be completely fear-free. So that’s not really the goal here. The true goal is to ACT, despite the fear you are feeling.
Ninety-percent of the time, fear is just thoughts running through your mind, and has nothing to do with reality.
The best thing you can do, in order to propel forward, is to IGNORE your fearful thoughts and start putting one leg in front of the other. As NIKE so clearly puts it: Just Do It!
When you act despite your fears, the fears will slowly die and leave you alone.
New fears will pop up as you move forward, but with time, you become much better at dealing with them.
Never let your fears stop you from creating the life you truly want for yourself!
YOU deserve the best of the best. Now go for it, girl!
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