As I mentioned on Instagram yesterday, and as a lot of you have been asking of me across every possible social media platform, I’ve finally put together a guide to my go-to image-editing apps for the photos I post to Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr. Contrary to frequent speculation, unless I’m sharing my photography or styling work, or just editorial content from Shine By Three, everything has been taken with my phone. But, let’s keep it real here. No matter how sensational your camera is and, perhaps, how flooded with natural light your whitewashed studio is, there is always colour to be corrected and shadows to be brightened – at least, when it comes to #zhangflat-ing – such that your phone edits might end up looking better than DSLR-and-Photoshop edits (as evidenced below)
Snapseed is the first app I’ll put any flatlay through, with the hero feature being ‘Selective Adjust’. As seen in the shot of my handset above, you can select particular points in the image that you would like to change the brightness, saturation or contrast of. For instance, desaturating the white table that photographed a little yellow in the light, or brightening the shadows that form around taller objects, so as to avoid losing detail in other parts of the shot.
This one is more for fellow photographers who are looking to do a speedy, semi-professional looking edit of a landscape, still life or model. I find this to produce more realistic results, rather than the cartoon effect that can happen with Snapseed, and essentially employs the same tools as Lightroom would on your computer in more abbreviated, sliding menu options.
My main favourites here are the Clarify tool in the main adjustment menu, or the Detail presets in the creative menu – basically a more balanced and sophisticated version of the detail tool in the Instagram app. ‘Devibe’ in the colour presets menu is also a great quick fix for yellow light, or oddly fake-looking saturation.
The contrast and brightness functions in the Lightroom app are also a lot more subtle than apps like Luminance or Afterlight, say.
All you need to be able to use the app is to have a Creative Cloud account with Adobe (which you would probably have if you have bought any kind of Adobe software).
I will admit that VSCO Cam terrified me for a very long time. This was mostly attributed to the fact that VSCO Cam users would follow their gloriously low contrast, hazy hipster ‘grams with huge lists of VSCO-related hashtags. Which, of course, meant that it was a cult. Again, terrifying. However, having come from a film photography background, I have a soft spot for that muted, green-and-blue heavy aesthetic, so when I finally figured out how the hell to use the app (somehow, it’s much easier to navigate on Android than it is on iOS – don’t ask me why, it just is), and that you don’t have to commit to being a complete hipster (you can adjust the strength of the filter you use), I was sold pretty quickly.
Aside from HB1, HB2, A6 and G3, my most used features are definitely the Highlight Save and Shadow Save which are far superior to even the Lightroom app in that it actually does a reasonably natural looking job. The same can be said for its Sharpen tool which I always apply last before uploading to Instagram.
And that’s all there is, folks. Easy as ABC, 123, do-re-mi, ABC, 123, you and me (girl). Study hard. ‘Gram harder.