Learn Mobile Photo Editing: Apps for Beauty and Efficiency | Dan Rubin | Skillshare

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Learn Mobile Photo Editing: Apps for Beauty and Efficiency

teacher avatar Dan Rubin, Designer + Travel & Lifestyle Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Shooting with Camera Apps


    • 3.

      Organizing Your Workflow


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.

      VSCO Cam


    • 8.

      VSCO Cam Examples


    • 9.

      Posting to Instagram


    • 10.

      Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare


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About This Class

Want to bring out the best in your photos? It's easier than you think with the right photo editing apps! Join Instagram star Dan Rubin (@danrubin) to learn tips and tricks for polishing your photos for Instagram, social media, and more — all with apps on your iPhone!

In this 45-minute class, photographer, designer, and adventurer Dan Rubin (danrubin) shares how to spot a great photo and take it through easy and effective mobile editing apps. His step-by-step instructions will teach you how to achieve the aesthetic you seek in your photos through editing, and how to make the process quick and repeatable as you build your photo portfolio.

This class is perfect for both beginner and advanced photographers seeking efficiency and quality in mobile editing. Make your photos show how you see the world!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Dan Rubin

Designer + Travel & Lifestyle Photographer


Born in Miami Beach and now living in London, Dan is a designer, photographer, and teacher.

One of Instagram’s earliest beta testers and a speaker at the world’s first mobile photography conference, 1197, his work was featured in iTunes upon Instagram’s launch and he has become one of the most-followed, non-celebrity mobile photographers, with more than half a million followers on Instagram alone. In addition to co-founding The Photographic Journal and a boutique consultancy, webgraph, Dan travels the world on photographic commissions for select clientele including Barbour, O2, RedBull, Starwood Hotels, Williams Martini, and more.


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1. Introduction: Hi. I'm Dan Rubin, @danrubin on Instagram. I was one of the very first users of Instagram weeks before it actually launched publicly. I was a beta tester, playing around with the platform. It's what made me want to shoot and share things that I see every single day. I've been taking photos before that including with my smartphone. But it wasn't until Instagram that I had a reason to share what I shot, to finish editing these images, and to get them out to an audience, to the public. It really is what inspires me to capture what I see every single day. The project for this course is your photos. We're going to cover everything from capturing your image including using the default device camera, as well as a few other third-party apps for specific effects that you need to capture at the time of taking the image. Straight through to how to decide what images to edit, reviewing all of these pictures that you've captured, and making the decisions of what ones to spend more time on. We'll then dive into setting up your editing workflow, including specific apps to use, and when, and for what purpose. Detailed editing like retouching and removing elements that you don't want in your images to lens distortion correction and perspective distortion correction especially for those of you who like taking architectural photos. Then, more broad edits like filtering and presets, but also, sharpening, cropping, highlights and shadows, and adjusting exposure, and all sorts of the broad details that really allow you to make the image your own. Once we're finished with that, we'll look at getting the images onto Instagram or some other platform of your choice so you can share them with the world. 2. Shooting with Camera Apps: In this first section, we're going to be reviewing workflow. Now, this includes capturing the image using either the default camera on your device or any third party apps that you might want to use, and then moving on to the review process, taking a look at what you've shot and how to decide what edits to make, what photos are worth editing and not. Then we'll look at the rest of the workflow, when to do what types of edits, whether the more detailed app specific ones like retouching and perspective correction, or broader edits like exposure, sharpening, cropping, and any of those more generic edits that you might be able to do all within one larger app. So, let's start by talking about capturing. Most of the images that I shoot, I shoot using the default camera app, whether I'm shooting with Android or iOS. It does most of what I need it to do and as long as you figure out how to get the most out of it, you can actually do some pretty cool things with it. For instance, the iOS camera app allows you to tap to focus. Most people know this, but what they don't realize a lot of the time is that when you tap to focus, you're also setting the exposure. So, you have a lot of control, for it being a point-and-shoot camera, by deciding whether you're going to tap on a light area or a dark area. If you just play around a little bit, you'll see on the exact same scene how much of a difference that can make in the overall exposure, and whatever you capture there is what you'll have to edit with, so that's really important. You can also do a little trick on iOS where you can tap and hold on the point where you're going to set the focus and exposure, and if you hold for a couple of seconds, that yellow rectangle around your finger will actually blink a few times and it will lock in the focus and exposure to that area. So, if you find that you want your image to be lighter or darker than any area in that particular frame will allow you to, you can kind of move to some other angle where when you tap on it, it makes the exposure as light or dark as you want. Tap and hold, it'll lock that setting and then you can move the camera around and re-frame, and it will keep that brightness setting as well as things like the white balance. It's pretty cool for such a basic application. Sometimes, you need something different though, and two of the apps that I use the most often when I'm not shooting with the default iOS camera are Average Cam Pro and Cortex Cam. Now, they both do similar things but for different purposes. What they do is take multiple exposures and average those together to create one image. But you can use these for other purposes. The Average Cam Pro, I use a lot with a tripod or balancing the iPhone on a flat surface to be able to smooth water on lakes or rivers, or even cloud movement. You can set a various number of frames that you're going to capture in different distances between your frames, and it gives you a lot of control over things that end up looking like long exposures. It's really fantastic, and on top of that, you also get very, very crisp images from it. Cortex Cam is similar, and the first time it was introduced to me, it was described as a handheld average cam. So, rather than having to set the iPhone on a tripod or a flat surface, you can hold it in your hand and it takes fewer images, somewhere between six and eight images, takes a few seconds for that to capture. It does the same kind of thing, merges them all together, but it uses the sensors within the device to be able to account for your hand shake as you're holding the device. So, you get, again, a very, very crisp image. It takes out all of the sensor noise, especially if you're shooting in low light, but it also gives you a 12-megapixel image instead of the 8-megapixel iPhone camera is set to by default. So, for those of you who want to be able to get a slightly larger image, this is another way for you to kind of cheat that. There's also one more benefit from Cortex Cam. If you switch off one of the settings, the settings that removes motion blur, if you hold really still and you've got a subject like fast rushing water or waterfall, which this works really, really well for, you can actually get the effect of a long exposure without a tripod, without even having to wait as long as you would have to wait for average cam. It doesn't work all the time and every instance, but for the times that it does, it's a really neat hack. 3. Organizing Your Workflow: So now that you've taken your images, let's look at what to do next. Now the first step before we get into actually editing our images, we have to review them. We have to decide which of the myriad images that we've shot are good enough for us to spend more time in. There's always going to be some bad images, whether that's misframed or out of focus or something that's clearly wrong with them, I like to delete those right away. There are a few duplicates in here, kind of things where I might have been taken the same shot but slightly tweaking the angle or maybe changing the exposure a little bit. And what I'll do is just kind of flip through the images and see which ones catch my eye. If I see that in general a particular composition catches my eye and maybe I've got a couple of different versions of that, then I'll flip back and forth between them. It's exactly the process that you might already go through yourself when you're just comparing and reviewing which images you've shot. Except in this case what we're doing is looking for the best ones that we want to invest more time into. Now to make it easier to find these after the fact, what I find useful, you don't have to do this. I don't do this all the time but it can be useful especially if you're going through and reviewing a bunch of images that you want to edit all at once, I create a separate album on the device that I can put the images I want to edit into. So in this case, my album is To Edit. Very straight forward no need to be fancy there. And I'm going to take a couple of these images and just kind of move them into that album so that they'll be much easier for me to access later. Now the images I'm selecting are the ones that I have already looked at and decided yeah these are the best ones. And now that I've got them in that place it will be really easy for me to find them when I'm opening each image into a separate app later. I'll just be able to go directly into that To Edit album and all my images I want to work on will be there. The next step is to think about your editing workflow. Now over time, you'll develop your own processes that you'd like to use, which apps you'd like to use when. For me, I like to do small specific edits first using apps that do one or two things maybe and then move into whatever app I'm going to used for my final filtering and processing which in this case we're going to be using this co-cam. That's what I like to do last. So, what we're going to look at here are apps like touch Retouch which is great for removing unwanted elements from your image. But that's all it does you do that you save it back out and move on to the next app. I also love using Snapseed from Google which is a pretty fantastic app. It does a lot of different things. In fact it could be the only app that you use. But for me I like to use it for a couple of key tasks. For architectural images which could include the outside of a building or interiors anything with parallel lines that you want to straighten up, Skrwt is a fantastic app for doing this. It also allows you to correct for lens distortion but parallax distortion is something that we find in a lot of images. Again, it's a nimble application that does one thing really well and dipping into these kinds of apps first allows you to kind of open and save and open and save while focusing on one specific task. Now you won't necessarily need apps like that for every image but by doing that first, I find that it makes more sense in the overall workflow and then after I've edited the images in these specific apps, I'll go into VSCO cam and import that final edited version from my camera roll and then I'll start actually working on my final edits and filters adjusting the exposure, adding some sharpening, straightening any kind of things that VSCO does and then that's my last stop. 4. SKRWT: In this next section, we're going to be looking at small app-specific edits. Now what I mean by that, are edits that require apps that do one thing really, really well. We're going to be looking at TouchRetouch, which is fantastic for removing unwanted items from your images. We're also going to be looking at SKRWT, a fantastic app to correct lens distortion as well as parallax distortion in your images, and then Snapspeed, an app that does a whole lot of things really well but I like to use for some specific edits, including selective adjust and adding structure. So, for correcting any kind of parallax distortion or lens distortion, SKRWT is fantastic by far, the only app that really does this kind of correction well. And I've got a great example photo for you from Stockholm. This is a great example of the kind of distortion that you'd want to correct with an app like this, and for me I like shooting architecture so this happens a lot. I also like shooting interiors and it's the same sort of thing. Anytime you've got a parallel, or an element that should be parallel, to the camera but for whatever reason you can't keep the camera parallel to it, you're going to get this kind of distortion. So in this case, this building is clearly much taller than I am and I'm shooting from ground level so the camera is tilted up, which means that the parallel lines of the building itself are going to appear to recede. So, what SKRWT allows me to do here, is correct each plane, so horizontal or vertical as well as the lens distortion. So, along here at the bottom, we've got a whole range of tools and it also include cropping and various different types of grids that I can overlay. I'm not really worried about any of that right now, because my main issue is that my horizontal and vertical, especially the vertical, planes aren't parallel. So, these icons at the bottom here show the planes, the horizontal and vertical, and if I just tap on the vertical plane here, as I move the dial you can see that the image adjusts accordingly. And using those grid lines, I can make minute adjustments here, gives me a lot of fine control and now I can make sure that those lines that should be parallel to each other are. Now, the great thing about SKRWT is that all of these edits until you save and export that image back to your camera roll, are essentially non-destructive. So, if I want to go through and go back and tweak that a little bit, I'm not throwing away any image data. So, I've noticed that there's a little bit of a slant on here, left to right, so that means I've got some horizontal distortion in addition to the vertical distortion. So, I can kind of look at the lines of the stairs at the bottom of this image, as well as the roof at the top, and make another minute adjustment here and it allows you to do rotation adjustments and some other things. In this case it was pretty straight on this image. So, I see a couple of more minor tweaks here, and I think I like where that is. If I want to make sure that it doesn't look too strange before and after, a nice thing that SKRWT does, and a lot of other apps do as well that I can tap and hold on the screen here and as I'm tapping and holding, it shows me the original and I can just compare and make sure that it doesn't look too crazy because sometimes if you correct the distortion, it will actually look like you've corrected the distortion. Most of the times, it won't and in this case, I'm really happy with these parallels. So now I will just save it to the camera roll and now it's ready for me to go into the next app of my editing process 5. TouchRetouch: Now, sometimes you might be reviewing your images and realize that something snuck into the frame that you didn't see when you are lining it up, maybe it's a straight pipe or wires overhead or even a person or a cat, something that you don't want in the image. You might even see it when you capture the image. But after using TouchRetouch, you'll definitely understand when there's something in your frame as you're capturing that you know you can take out afterwards. It's fantastic and it will change the way that you think about what's possible on a smartphone. TouchRetouch is available for Android and iOS, which is fantastic. It's one of my favorite little one-hit wonder applications. Now, I don't use it on every image, it's not always necessary. But when it is, it's the only thing that can do its job. So, I'm going to use an image here that I shot from a hotel room in London and nothing else done to it yet, so it's the raw kind of original image. I know that based on the tones and the exposure, I can get a whole lot out of this, but what I don't want are all of these cranes. So, if we zoom in and look at this image, also got a few spots on the image from the window that I was shooting through and these cranes obviously they're getting in the way of this, otherwise, lovely rooftop view of London. So, with TouchRetouch, essentially, what it's doing is allowing you to paint with your finger a mask over the element that you wanted to remove. It also has the ability to do what's called a Clone Stamping where you're setting the source point and then painting with that part of the image. Photoshop users will be familiar with that. But for the most part, you don't need to use that, you just need to paint with the mask. So, what I'm going to do here is adjust the size of my mask, now that I'm zoomed in, and I'm just going to touch on the image and start painting this red transparent mask over the parts that I don't want. Now, I can also switch to the eraser tool and clean up that mask a little bit. I can zoom in to a great level here and do kind of detailed retouching. So, all I'm doing really is getting rid of the obvious extensions of these letters above the skyline. I'm not too worried about the parts that are below it because you won't really notice those in the edit. So, I can pan and zoom around, I'm also going to get rid of some of these more obvious marks and blemishes from dirt on the window, and I think somewhere in there, there was a plane in the sky or a bird. A lot of the time, that might get in the way of a nice blue sky. This isn't the blue sky, but you do get the point. If that kind of thing bugs you on an image that you might not have used otherwise, now with TouchRetouch, you can recover a lot of that image. So, just going to continue to paint over these crane lines here and all their wires. I don't have to worry about being too precise here because, again, I can go in and use the eraser to clean up parts of that a little bit. When TouchRetouch does its magic, it's kind of a little bit flexible in how it interprets what elements of the image to repaint, which you'll see in a minute. So, I'm just not going to be too worried here because I can adjust and undo as well. We go and clean up some of these lines a bit, though, just to be careful. Now, if I go back out here and look at this image, I mean, those are the main crane elements that I want to get rid of. Just for completion sake, let's get rid of this one back here. You can really just do whatever you want to with this, but I've covered most of those extending elements or those spots on the part of the image that I want to crop into. Now, I'll press this start button. It looks like a play button here at the bottom. It will process the image, and like magic it removes all those elements. If I undo a little bit, you can see where they were and now they're gone. I also notice this one little blemish up here. I'll go in and correct that, hit play again, it's gone, and my image is suddenly crane free. All that's left is to save it to the library. Once it's there, I can move on to the next stage of my editing. 6. Snapseed: Some photos may require a little extra attention, perhaps you want to adjust the exposure for only part of the image, rather than the entire one or the contrast or a couple of other elements. This is where Snapseed comes in really handy. It has a feature called Selective Adjust that allows you to mask a particular part of an image based on color and adjust a couple of different elements, contrast, brightness and saturation which end up working really well with each other to make these specific adjustments. So, what I'm gonna do is open an image I shot in Switzerland, that features a person standing on the end of the pier. Overall, this exposure is pretty even, I like the highlights and the shadows. It's a cloudy day and what I wanted to do is feature not only the person but I wanted to feature one element of their outfit, in this case a red jumper. The problem is the red isn't quite bright enough, so this is where Snapseed comes in. Because if I make adjustments to the entire image, I'm going to lose the parts of that exposure that I really love. All I really want is to brighten up that jumper and maybe tweak some of the contrast and other elements, I really like what's going on with this image overall though. So, Selective Adjust allows me to place points on the image then I can place up to eight at once and then I have to apply those points and then I can go back and set more, just requires you to limit to eight at a time, which is very easy to get to by the way. So, as I tap the plus sign and then tap my finger and hold on the image, you'll see that this zoomed-in view, this magnifying glass comes up with a cross hair in the middle. Wherever that cross hair is placed, the ring around the zoomed area picks up the color from it, that's telling you what color is going to be used for the basis of this mask. So, I'm going to kind of center it on the subject's back here and if I pinch and zoom, you can see that there's a red mask here, much the same as with other apps like TouchRetouch where it tells you what portion of the image is being selected. Now, I'm going to make this as small as I can here to just select. I primarily select his red jumper, I don't want to really adjust anything else. The way Snapseed's controls work in all of its tools, is that you can switch between settings by swiping up and down, so this case brightness, contrast and saturation vertically and then horizontally, left and right adjusts that specific aspect. So, if I want to turn the brightness up, I swipe to the right and you can see that brightness turning up or down. In this case, I do want to turn the brightness kind of way up and I can actually preview before and after, by tapping and holding on this little image icon in the top right. So, just by seeing this before and after, I can see that I'm brightening the jumper a little bit, I'm going to actually brighten that even more. I'm actually going to increase the contrast a little bit which also ends up increasing the saturation. So I get, I have an extra bonus you can see that now but there's a little bit more contrast with the surrounding areas, with the water behind, but I also get a brighter red. I think I'm going to try and see what some extra saturation does. So, yeah, I know I'm going to make additional edits to this image, this is the image straight out of the iPhone camera, but if I give myself enough of a difference, enough extra saturation, enough extra contrast here, when I make my overall edits in VSCO Cam later, I know that that brightness will be maintained throughout. So, whatever other adjustments I make to the entire image, now I know that I've got enough separation here before I get to that point. So, I want this to have a lot of separation, I want that red to be the feature. When you're using something like Selective Adjust, the process is very much trial and error, you're going to be moving these dials back and forth, switching between brightness, contrast and saturation and testing your before and after to see whether you like it or not. Now, the nice thing is the mask is also adjustable after you've made those changes, so as I'm tweaking this, I recognize that it's actually brightening the water a little bit behind as well, so now I've made this mask a little bit smaller and it's keeping those adjustments just to the jumper, which is more to my liking. Now on this image in particular, I could go crazy with Selective Adjust but I'm not going to, I'm going to select a few places here on the boardwalk behind on this Jedi and increase their contrast a little bit, because I really want to have the focus on that reflection of the subject. So, now I've made a couple of tweaks that don't change the entire image drastically, if I was to bump the saturation on the entire image, or the contrast on the entire image, it would change the feel of the entire image which is not what I want, I'm happy with most of it. In this case, I think I can be okay with just those two adjustments and now I hit the check mark, that processes those changes. Now, if I want to just see the before and after for all of the changes I make in Snapseed, I can tap and hold and I get the before and after. One of the other things that I really like using Snapseed for is under the details menu and it's called structure. Structure in essence adds a little bit of contrast between areas of the image that change contrast and color naturally in the image. So, if I turn it way up, we get a little bit of an HDR effect with a single image. Same thing turning it all the way down, it leaves us exactly where we are, there's no change. What I like to do with some images that are very flat with their exposure, there's a lot of detail in here that I like, but rather than just adding sharpening, I might add a little bit of structure. So, maybe in the 15 to 20 range, somewhere in there, I know from experiences is enough, that it doesn't seem like I've changed anything but it reinforces the detail level. A little quick before and after shows that there's not much of a difference, but it does add a slightly more punch to what's otherwise a little bit of a flat image, because of it being such a great day. I'll apply that and now I can see the before and after for the combination of those two changes and now I'm kind of happy with that, because that red and all the other detail, and the reflection below the subject now draw my attention in a way that they didn't before. So I'll just save that to my photo library and now it's ready for the rest of my edit 7. VSCO Cam: In this final section, we're going to be looking at the broad edits. Now, these might be simple. They could be complex. But in general, the goal here is to take all of these specific edits that you might have made to any of your images prior to this point and then take them into the final application. In this case, we're going to be looking at VSCO Cam, a fantastic app on iOS and Android. This app is my favorite for covering everything from white balance to exposure, shadows, and highlights. There are so many things that you can do inside this one application that for me, it's the final step in all of my images. Now, VSCO Cam is available on iOS and Android, and is my current favorite overall post-production and editing app on smartphones. It allows a wide range of edits. The way that it's set up is very conducive to a fast workflow once you get used to using it, and that's the most important thing for me. I don't want to spend all my time editing photos. No one really wants to. I want to get them done the way I want them as quickly as possible and as consistently as possible. The more an app helps me do that, the more likely I am to use it a lot, and VSCO Cam is great for this. So, we're going to look at an image that I shot earlier today of some sunflowers. Now, in VSCO Cam, you can shoot within the app, natively, it does have a camera mode, or you can import images from your camera roll, which is what I'm doing in this case, and you can import them from the camera roll itself or from any of the albums that you have. So, we're going to go into the To Edit album here. One neat trick, when you're importing images, is if you tap and hold on one of the images, it shows you a larger version, and then you can tap to dismiss that. So, if you can't quite see everything in the image you're going to import from a little cropped square, this is a great way of seeing that you're getting the exact image that you want. Now, even though I've got all these images organized into an album, I just want to import one image right now, and that's going to be this sunflower image. So, I'll tap on it and then tap the check mark. It imports the image, puts it into the internal VSCO Cam library. This is a separate library of images than the default camera roll library. The nice thing about that is that all of the images inside VSCO Cam are editable even after you've made your edits and exported something. If you decide that you want to go and change the crop later or you cropped it to a square for Instagram and now you want some different orientation, you can still do that and retain all your other edits. That's one of the best things about it for me. So, I'm going into the edit mode, which is this tool-looking icon on the bottom here. The first thing I'm presented with, when I go into edit mode, is a list of what VSCO calls presets. Some apps call them filters. Other apps call them presets. They're essentially the same thing. What they are is a set of adjustments to the color and contrast of your image that get applied with one tap. So, I've got a range of different ones here because I've gone and purchased all of the in-app purchases for VSCO Cam. So, it gives me a range of both. I've got black and whites here that mimic some of my favorite black and white films, about various color presets. Some of them are more extreme than others. Some of them are warmer or cooler than others. Now, what I'm looking for, when I'm selecting my preset on image, is something that gets closest to what I felt when I felt compelled to capture that image. Now, for every image, that's something completely different. A feeling is something that maybe I can't explain, but I know when I'm coming close to it. Sometimes I want a completely different feeling, and it's my image. I can do whatever I want. This is the same for you. The point is to make it your own. But most of the time, I'm looking for a particular feel. Now, with this image, what really struck me was the contrast between the break, the rigid lines, as well as the very earthy colors, and then the bright green and yellow of the sunflowers. Especially on this day where when this was shot, it was a little overcast. There weren't any harsh shadows. So, all of the tones were pretty evenly exposed in that way, which means that if I edit this right, I can pull those brighter colors out, as well as giving a lot of extra grit to the brick wall. That's what I felt when I took the picture. Now, I'll be honest. Sometimes I will sit with VSCO Cam, and I'll just play and not really be watching the time. I have easily spent half an hour, 45 minutes, an hour on a single image just playing around with it because I really enjoy that process. I enjoy getting to where I want to go with an image. It's a lot of fun. I encourage you to try and do the same thing. In this case, I'm not going to spend 45 minutes or an hour playing around with it, but I will show you a shortened version of the process that I go through. So, what I'll do first is, again, find a preset that feels closest to the mark, and then I'll leave that alone and go into the other mode that VSCO has, which is the more detailed set of tools. Then I can always come back and switch the preset later again. Nothing is locked in here. So, my current favorite set of presets are the E series. They feel a lot like film stocks that I like to shoot when I shoot on my film cameras. There's a range of warm and cool within these presets. Even though the day itself was cool, I think I like what these E1 or E3 are doing. They keep the greens a little greener than some of these warmer ones. It's not too faded, I think. Then again, you look at this E5 and that little bit of extra fade makes it for a completely different mood. This is the process that I go through when I'm editing images, and it's something I really enjoy. For the purposes of this, let's go with, let's say, the E3. It's a little on the cooler side. If I want to compare, again, between not just presets, but before and after, VSCO Cam, like many other images, allows me to tap and hold on the image, and I get to see the before and after. Now, in this case, we can see it's quite drastic, even though this preset is a fairly subtle preset, and already it's feeling very much how I hoped it would feel. Now, it's happening the white bar at the bottom of the app pulls up in a couple of different options. Very important to know that the black ones at the bottom, the X will cancel out any adjustments that you've made. The check mark will put those adjustments into effect and then put you back into the VSCO Cam library. Then these four white icons: the one on the left is the mode we're in right now, that's the presets; the one next to it is the tools, the more detailed tools, which we're about to look at; and the other two are related to undo. The third one across on the left just undoes the last thing you did, and you can continue to go back a number of steps, undo, undo, undo, undo. The one on the right that looks like a bit of a U-turn icon, that will undo everything that you've done to the image. So, only press that when you really feel like scrapping everything you've done. So, we're going to tap here on the tools icon. Now you see instead of presets, we've got a range of tools. Now, these are also customizable in a couple of important ways. In the preferences of VSCO Cam, you can change the order. So, if there are a number of those tools that you always use all the time, you can move those to the left so that those will be at the top of the list essentially, and you'll see them right away. I've done that with a few of these. You can also hide tools that you don't use. I never use the green tool the VSCO Cam has. So, you don't see it in here because I've hidden it. I can get it back whenever I want to, but it's nice to not have it in my way. You can do that with presets as well. So, if there are presets that you just never use, you can hide them, or if they're ones you use all the time, you can order them so that they're easier to get. In this case, I'm going to quickly do some of the things I tend to do to every image. So, I don't always trust the iPhone's default exposure, it's the same on Android. Any camera really even with my Canons or any digital camera that I've used, I don't trust it. Because I have the ability to adjust, I'd like to take advantage of that. So, I'll always have check the exposure. So, either underexposing or overexposing. In this case, I think making it a little brighter helps because it was already a bit of a dim day. So, I'm going to give a little bit of extra light to this image I think I'll just do it at the one mark. This also shows something that VSCO Cam does that other apps don't where instead of a full slider for these adjustments it has points for each of them. It means that I can jump into sharpness for instance where I always put plus one sharpness on almost every image I think and I don't have to think about it. I go into the sharpening tool, I'll add plus one, which we'll see in a minute. That's one of the things that makes VSCO Cam so quick for me as a tool. So, contrast here, I find that compared to what I'm used to feeling from lenses on my film cameras or on my SLR, smartphone images can often be a little too soft and adding just a tiniest bit of contrast add some punch to the colors much like we saw in Snapseed. When you add contrast to something you also increase its saturation. So, we can see that by playing around by dialing this contrast all the way up or all the way down, you notice that we also affect the saturation. So, in this case again, it was a flat day, a little on the grey side and I want the colors to be emphasized. So, by hitting that to plus one. It's not a lot but again I can tap and hold. I can see my before and after. Now, I'm starting to really get both some tones but also a little bit of separation between these elements. Now, there are a lot of other tools here and I encourage you to play around with it. Things like shadow recovery, so I can dial this up and pull up detail in the shadows. Sometimes, that's really useful but I don't need it on this image. You've got the same with highlight. You've got rotation and cropping within the app which with this image I shot this nice and straight. So, I don't need to rotate it at all. Sharpening, as I said, we're going to just add plus one to that. It's a great way to get that little bit of extra crispness to an image from a really tiny lens. I don't feel you need to add much. If you add too much it starts to feel like you've sharpened it but it's amazing how much of a difference just a tiny bit of sharpening in a tool like VSCO Cam will do. You can also do highlight recovery. If you notice as I dial this way up the white in the window it gets pulled way down. I don't really need it on this image again but it's really handy to have it. There are a whole bunch of tools here and I don't use all of them all the time but it's amazing how frequently I'll use many of them. In this case, I'm also going to look at the temperature which is another way of saying white balance, hot versus cold in the overall tone. I'll always look at the temperature, sometimes I won't need to adjust it but I think it's important to make slight adjustments to see what feels more natural. So, in this case, I've used a preset that's a little cool already. I'm using that because I like what it does to the greens not just the fact that it's cool, it actually adjusts some of the colors in different ways. But it feels slightly too cold for me so I can bump the temperature up toward the warm spectrum a little bit. I retain the tones that that specific preset has but now I've brought back some of the warmth into the image and this feels a little bit better still to me. Another trick that I learned from my friend Dan Cole in Seattle is using fade in VSCO Cam to lift some of the shadows just slightly. Now, this is different than shadow recovery but what I find is on a lot of images, there's just a little too much density in the shadows especially once I've added some contrast. But by adding like one or two or three on the fade slider, I don't really make the image feel faded because I've added some contrast already but it lifts the shadows just enough that I feel like I've got that much more detail in the entire image. So, I tend to do that on most of my images. Some of these other settings I won't play with all the time. But things like tint, it can be useful to mess around with to see if the overall tint might be on the green or the magenta side. In this case, I'm doing one of the tricks that I like to play with the tint slider where I'll slide it all the way to the left to the green side, all the way to the right the magenta side and then back to the center and when I pull it back to the center, what I'm trying to look for is whether I feel like the overall tone is greener or more magenta. In this case, when it snaps back to center, I feel like it's actually fairly green and that's affecting some of the brick tones. So, by moving very, very slightly towards that magenta side, I'm pulling some of the brick color back into the bricks while not taking it away from the greens, and again showing myself the before and after. What I'm starting to feel now is something that has tones that well represent the yellows, the greens, the bricks, all the elements of this composition and that's what I'm shooting for. So, in this case, I've made almost all the edits that I want to make to this image. I could just post this to Facebook or to my VSCO Grid which is another publishing platform that VSCO has itself without any adjustment. I like the crop, I like the composition. However, if I'm going to post this to Instagram, what I like to do is do the crop inside VSCO Cam. It just means that I can undo that crop whenever I feel like it but it gives me the full control over how that crop occurs. Not every image ends up being croppable to a square. So, there are sometimes where I just decide I don't want to post it in Instagram, I'd rather post it somewhere else. I'd rather leave it to breathe on its own. Other times, I'll post the same image in a number of different formats, a number of different ratios of the crop to different places. For me, that's more of the play involved, that's more of where I got my joy out of it. So, now that I've cropped it here. This is a full crop tool, I can do all sorts of exciting things if I wanted to but I'm not going to on this case. I'm just going to do a very simple crop where I get some of the window, the sunflowers especially, those big sunflowers that are on the left, and a lot of this detail in the brick. Again, I can check my before and after. I can look closely to see if I'm losing any detail that I'd rather keep. In this case, I'm really happy with both the crop, the composition, the alignment, everything is working really well. So, I'm just going to save those edits and now I'm ready to export. 8. VSCO Cam Examples: Earlier, I mentioned one of the tricks that you can use with Cortex Cam for capturing things like rushing water, hand-held. So, one of the images that I want to show you in VSCO Cam is an image that was captured just that way on a trip to Turkey earlier this year. So, it's in our To Edit album, and looking at this image, this is the image unaltered, straight out of Cortex Cam. It's still one of my favorite raw images that I've captured because this was with the phone just standing, holding it in front of me and I get the power of this waterfall behind that little mill building in the middle. The combination of the colors and the textures is something that's still amazes me when I look at it that this was captured on such a tiny little device with an app that wasn't really even meant for doing this. It shows how much you can discover by playing around and trying to hack how each of these apps and devices work. So, I've already got this image edited a little bit in VSCO cam. So, if we look at the final image, we're actually going to do something different here. I'm going to rewind some of the changes that I've made, so you can see them unfold in the opposite direction. Now, this is the image as it was posted to Instagram at the time. You can see that it's cropped to a square already, but also looks a little bit different than that default image, it's a little punchier, a little bit more saturation. So, if we go into the Edit mode, this is also a good way of showing you what I was mentioning earlier about VSCO Cam being non-destructive. I can show you everything that I've done, because it retains all of those edits in a way that I can further tweak them. So, now that I'm in Edit mode, for instance, I can tap and hold and show you the before and after of this image. Just like I've done before, even though I edited this months ago. Now, if we scroll through this list of presets, what we'll also see is the preset that was used over here, it's K2, you see the preset that was used to edit this image. Now, something else I want to show you about the presets is that if you tap on one that's already selected, it brings up another slider in the same kind of style of all of the tools sliders. Now, as you see here, it's set to plus nine. By default when you tap on a preset, it's actually plus 12, it's a scale of 12. That means that it's at 100% essentially of that preset. But you can dial that preset all the way down to zero, and at zero, it's making slight changes, but those changes are actually maybe some contrast and brightness it edits and in this case, maybe I don't want the full adjustment, maybe I want to dial it back a little bit, maybe I want more of that natural original image to show through. In this case I'd set it to nine, so we're going to leave it right there. Now I'm going to switch over to the tools again and take a look at each of the edits that I've made. So, you can see that in this image, that I was already posted on Instagram and finished at another time, I only made a handful of small edits. So, I made no changes to the Exposure, whatsoever, because I was happy with it. I could underexpose or overexpose, but I would have played with this at the time and decided I didn't need it. The same with Shadows, nothing on the Shadows. Contrast, nothing on the Contrastas well. What we'll find is that on this image, I barely had to do anything because the original image was so nice. I did add plus one of sharpening, like I mentioned earlier, that's something I tend to do quite regularly. I also adjusted the temperature or right balanced by plus two. So, if I pull that back down to zero, what we'll see here is that, it's a little cold and I'm sure I would have seen that to begin with. What I want is for all those reds and the bricks and the deep colors of the stone to come out. By pulling that temperature up, I'm also not affecting any of the colder temperatures in the image, like the greens. So, I can leave that right where it is. I would have adjusted fade a little bit, to pull up the the shadows just a bit, and I also adjusted the tint here by plus two. So again, it's a magenta-to-green scale, so it means that at zero, I was feeling a little bit of green cast across the entire image and by pulling that up a little bit, I just got rid of it and that's what I did to that image aside from the crop. You'll see that in the crop tool, I can again go in and change the crop, if I wanted to. This is one of the things again that I love about VSCO cam, I can adjust any of these things that I've already done, even months later as long as I leave that image in the VSCO cam library. This is pretty fantastic that a tool on an iPhone can do this, and again it works the exact same on Android. So, I'm also going to look at one of the other images that we've just edited earlier. This is the image of the subject on the end of a pier in Switzerland. We've already made those adjustments in Snapseed earlier. So, much like that other image, this is already in VSCO cam. So, it'll pop up here to the top of my library where I have this image already kind of cropped down and with my edit applied. We'll do the same thing, look at these edits in reverse. Once again, I can tap and hold and we see these changes. So, even with all these edits, I can have a really cool feel around the subject and because I brought the brightness and saturation up and the contrast up of that red jumper, it's still pops, it doesn't become cool, which it would have had I not done the selective adjustments earlier in Snapseed. Scrolling through my list here, I can see that E7 is the preset that I used, also dialed down to plus nine because up at 12, it was a little too faded, a little too intense. I just felt that bringing it down pulls a little bit more detail back into the clouds where I wanted it. Switching over to the tools, same kind of thing, in this case, I've brought the exposure up because it was a little too dark and too moody at the normal exposure. Contrast, I've added plus one and we can see the difference. It's actually quite drastic especially in the foreground and that ends up drawing more attention to the subject. Again, plus one on sharpening. I almost always use plus one in sharpening, it just feels right to me. We can check and see if there was any Shadow saved, there wasn't. The crop, pretty straightforward. Again, around to temperature in this case, I wanted it to be cooler than that preset was by default. So I pulled the temperature down minus one and it's just the tiniest bit, but it takes some of the warmth out of the wood which, in this case, I wanted, because I don't want any of the warmth anywhere except for in that jumper. There's minute adjustments like plus one fade again to pull some of those shadows up. The minute adjustments are the ones that I think make the biggest difference when you add them all up. They create an overall feel and sense and tone that's unique to my images because I tend to make these minute adjustments. In this case again, we've got plus one of the tint, takes a little bit of the green out of the water and that will be most likely all of the changes I've made. We could do other things like highlights tint and shadows tint. I encourage you to play with some of those settings as well because you can counter various existing tones and casts in your images sometimes or add some for more artistic effects. But in this case, we've got our original and then our edited version and that red still comes out strongly in the middle while keeping the entire composition very moody, which is exactly what I want. 9. Posting to Instagram: Now that we've edited our images, it's time to get them somewhere to share them with the world. If I've edited an image in VSCO Cam, typically I want to go straight from there to Instagram, because I've done all my other edits prior to getting it into VSCO Cam. This is one of the reasons why I finish all my edits in VSCO Cam. It means that I know that the canonical version of that image, the one that I can always go back to and tweak, is inside the VSCO Cam library. So, if we look at this image here of the sunflowers that we've just edited, along the bottom, we've got a number of controls. We can close the large preview, we can flag the image which can be useful for finding your favorite images later, we can go back into edit tools. On the far right, it's delete. I don't want to do that really, or we can export. So, this Share option here gives us loads of options to Google+, email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Save it to the camera roll. So, if you want to actually save a version of that outside of VSCO Cam at its highest resolution, you can, as well as publishing it to the VSCO grid. So in this case, I want to publish it to Instagram. So, I'll tap Instagram. It prepares the photo which is actually resizing the photo down from its highest resolution to the smaller resolution that Instagram publishes. Then, I tap Open in Instagram, and it pops me right into the main interface of Instagram without me having to do anything else. I love how straightforward and simple this is. Now, this also gives us a chance to look at some of the additional features that Instagram has that you may or may not be familiar with. We've looked at all these tools for editing certain aspects of your image: brightness, contrast, exposure, sharpness in VSCO Cam, and a lot of other tools have this but Instagram has it as well. So, if Instagram is your publishing platform of choice, there's a really good chance that Instagram could be that last application. Maybe you don't want or like VSCO Cam. That's completely okay. The point is you have the flexibility to do these kind of edits in Instagram directly. So, on these Tool menu, you see we can adjust the horizon, brightness, contrast, warmth, which again warmth is the same as temperature which is the same as white balance, saturation, highlights, and shadows, the same adjustments with VSCO Cam. We've got a vignette tool, the tilt shift that Instagram has always had, and then sharpening. Now, these works slightly differently than they do in VSCO Cam, but I can apply some sharpening. I don't want to because I've already applied it in VSCO, but we can see live these adjustments on the image. I can add a vignette inside the app. Maybe I didn't feel like doing it in VSCO, but once I'm in here, I decide I want to. The important thing to remember is that different apps apply these similar adjustments in their own unique way. So, the vignette in VSCO Cam is different than the vignette in Instagram. Temperature might be different. Sharpening might be different. The best way to discover which method suits your own style is to play, and then you'll discover what suits your style of photography and your style of editing. In this case, I don't want to add anything to this image. However, sometimes, I'll want to add a little bit of one of the default Instagram filters on top of my VSCO edit. Now, this is something that I rarely do. But every once in a while, when I get to this point, I feel like maybe I just want that certain something that I know one of these Instagram filters has. For instance, rise has always been a favorite of mine. Now with this update, I can decide how much of a filter in Instagram I want to apply. So, I've just tapped Rise and it's changed my image, and I can again tap and hold to see it before and after, which is great. But if I tap on rise again, much like in VSCO Cam, I can now adjust the amount of filtering. So, if I dial it all the way down to zero, it's adding nothing. But because the Instagram filters add a combination of different things, some texture, some coloring, maybe even some grain and noise, and also some vignettes. By using this slider, I can decide that I want my VSCO edit, but maybe I want a little bit of whatever rise gives me, where it gives a little bit of a vignette, it brightens the center a little bit and I love to use a lot. But by using a tiny bit and then looking at the before and after, you can see that it's drastically changed the feel of that image and the balance of my edit. In this case though, I'm going to leave that off because I really like where that image is on its own. Now, let's talk a little bit about a few things to keep in mind when posting to Instagram. Most of you are probably familiar with how to tag people, how to name a location, how to post to a number of different platforms at the same time as Instagram. So, we won't cover those, but something that I find catches a lot of people off guard, and that a lot of people don't know how to fix, is longer captions. I like to write long captions and writing them within Instagram is a little tedious. But also, I get worried that I might lose them when I write too many things inside an app that's not meant for writing and it doesn't save my edits. So, I use the Notes app and I've got something here that I've written for a few other posts already. You can see, I write, sometimes, some pretty long stories especially for some of my portraits. I like telling those stories. Something that Instagram still seems to manage weirdly is carriage returns or line breaks between paragraphs. For some people, they're really frustrated that their line breaks when they see them in Instagram. The minute they go to post, it mushes them all together and suddenly, you lose all those line breaks. Now, after a bit of testing, I think I've figured out how to get around that. So, if this is the kind of thing you struggle with, pay attention. First of all, I make sure that I write my captions outside of Instagram. Then if something happens to go wrong when I post, I can just copy and paste later on. It also allows me to save them. So, in this case, I'm going to copy some of these paragraphs that I've written here. This is my normal process. I write in notes, copy, then move back into Instagram, and paste them into the caption. Now, this doesn't fix the carriage returns. However, what does fix the carriage returns is not having two characters of punctuation at the end of a paragraph. I'll say that again. You can't have a full stop and then an exclamation mark or a question mark back-to-back. This also accounts for emoji characters, dollar signs Or pound signs, ampersands, @ symbols, anything like that. You can only have one before you move on to the next paragraph. For some reason, Instagram, when it sees those multiple characters together, it merges the paragraphs together. It's a bit of a hack and it's just something you have to be aware of. But if like me, you like posting long captions, this will save you loads of frustration and tedious editing and deleting posts to try and figure out how to get your caption posted the right way. So, there you have it. My approach to shooting with a smartphone, editing, and post-production, and getting the work out to Instagram. I hope that these tips and tricks and techniques help you develop your own workflow and your own style. Ultimately, I hope that all of this encourages you and inspires you to go out and shoot more every day with the camera dyou always have in your pocket. 10. Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare: