[Tutorial] Dealing with Wood

Using the Windows phone has been an interesting challenge for me. I went into this with an open mind, the same way as I would going from one camera to the next back in my film photography days. After all, that’s what it was to me more than a phone, a camera. I feel that the Lumia 920 had no previous plans to be a device used for mobile photography, and instead they are testing the waters to see what works.

For this tutorial, I decided to shoot a place I was familiar with and have already done about a year ago to see if I could match the vision I already knew I wanted to produce with a completely different device from what I was used to, and trust me it is a completely different device! I had a few doubts at first, but I had an idea of what I wanted to do, a vision, and a idea is like a really nasty disease that grows until you conquer it. So I had to push myself. After all, within limits the master is revealed. Last time I was using an iPhone 4s and it was during high tide on a cloudy day. This was at a very low tide on a bright, sunny day and that combined with using a new device for capturing and editing my photo has given me a totally different perspective on this place.

I thank Microsoft for presenting me with this opportunity and challenge, and look forward to learning more on photography with a Windows Phone.

Apps used: ProShot, Fotor, PhotoPatcher (reduces resolution), fhotoroom

Step 1 ) For me the editing process starts when I see the subject I want to photograph, and is the most important part followed by taking the picture, and that IS step 1. If you take a bad photo then you’ll edit a bad photo. For this shot I used the camera app ProShot with the ratio set to 4:3 and saturation at -1.

But sometimes no matter how well you compose a shot there’s still some things that need to be fixed and removed like the stump on the right and a few of the pieces out of the center, which aren’t that bad but I know it would look better without it. And so the process begins…

Step 2 ) Removing that stump on the right is easy, just crop it out. I was considering making this photo square anyway, and while I don’t always agree with the played out over use of square format photos sometimes it works, It creates a good center for your photo so that your eyes can move from each corner and border at the same pace to the deepest place right in the middle. Plus there would be an excessive amount of empty space on each side if not and my subject would get lost. So I just used Fotor for the crop.

Step 3 ) This is where it gets difficult, and your patience will be tested using this app, but PhotoPatcher is the smoothest one I’ve used so far on Windows phone to clone out all the unwanted areas. Please note that this app will also lower the resolution of the photo that you save, and if you get frustrated easily it’s probably best just to stay away from this one. But if you have an idea you just can’t shake, like I usually have, this is what you do:

Using the clone stamp find an area that matches the spot you want to cover as far as texture, color and tones. I’m planing on making this monochrome so they don’t have to match 100% but it’s important to get as close as you can. Luckily for me the sand was a pretty smooth, consistent tone and the sun was at an angle that didn’t cause a lot shadows. Zoom in as much as you can and slowly start brushing out the spot with your finger like I did in numbers 1 and 2 below, the cloning target will move with you so be careful not to do it for long without resetting the target or you’ll start cloning things INTO the photo you don’t want, in my case here the branches on the

The shore line here was the most difficult. PhotoPatcher has no way to adjust the brush size or opacity so sometimes you have to clone one area and then add another clone over it on the sides or bottom to reduce the bigger one, like I did in numbers 3 and 4 above. This can get tedious and is where the frustration was starting to set in, if you look close you can see in number 6 below a part of the shore line was barely off just to the left of that middle branch sticking up. Eventually I was able to get it right enough in number 7 and 8 to move on.

Step 4 ) After I conquered that agonizing feat I opened up Fotor again and used the tilt shift effect, I chose the center tab with it dialed at 75% just enough to barely touch the tips of each part of the tree and blur every corner of the square to give the photo more depth and add a moody vibe to it.

Step 5 ) Under paint effects, I chose the B/W category and used the “Glow Grayscale” filter and saved it.

Step 6 ) Next I opened up the fhotoroom app. Tap basic edit and then vignette. I chose the vignette called “portrait 1″ set at 65% which is heavy on the top left and lower right corners and added part of the framing I wanted for this without overdoing it. Saved and then opened the vignette folder again, this time using the one called “blend” and I set it at 75%. Now it has a nice frame that’s just slightly heavier in diagonal corners.

Step 7 ) I wanted to give the sky a more surreal look and smooth out the vignettes so everything kinda flowed into one another so I opened up the tilt shift in fhotoroom and positioned it like in the photo below. This combined with the one from step 4 made a nice subtle transition into the blur and helped the dark borders merge with the rest of the photo, drawing your attention to the subject and adding a nice ambiance outside of it, while keeping the subject itself untouched and sharper. It has much more dimension and structure now.

And that’s it!

Appreciate ya stopping by!