photography 101

Photography 103: Apps for Phixing Fotos


Photography has come a long way and the technology continuous to grow every day. Just today Apple announced their new phones with three camera lenses that can shoot a picture so wide it’s almost 360 degrees. Anyone can take a photo. But not all photos are created equal. That’s where filters can help.

The Ethics of Edits

There’s different kinds of edits that can be done. The more frowned upon edits are altering the way someone looks by making them thinner, removing blemishes, etc. We should avoid these kinds of edits, they support an unhealthy way to look at yourself.

And then there’s edits that help express creativity and style. I add grain to my photos because I like film photography and add light leaks because they make a photograph look different rather than just taking a picture.

Aesthetics in a photograph for creative expression, signature style and experimenting aren’t bad edits. It’s kind of like painting or applying make-up.

Apps for Editing

VSCO is a great editing app. Not only does it come with a ton of filters already installed, you can edit the filters or create your own filter and save them to apply to other photos. It’s free and there’s a membership version. The app also has a social media function that’s photography based. Follow other accounts to see their photos, post your own and find inspiration.

Afterlight 2 has a lot of editing capabilities along with creative edits. It also helps add grain for film effect, dust texture, lens distortion, etc. My favorite effect they have is light leaks. It’s free.

Over is sort of a designing app but it can edit photos and videos, too. Add text, overlays, awesome graphics, etc., it really helps when creating visually impactful messages. Using it’s fantastic Blend tool, you can also add light leaks, dust texture, paper texture, a double-exposed photo effect, etc.

Lightroom is for those who have an Adobe account and pay for the programs. It’s very powerful for editing global edits, it can also edit locally for fixing some parts on a photograph rather than all of it. And it syncs between your computer app and the phone app, which is super helpful when uploading photos to lightroom from your camera.


So I recommend playing with these apps, trying new things on your photos and see what you can do. In an effort to not make this post super long, I’ll cut it here. Next photography posts will be about how to edit photos using these apps.

Photography 102: Color In and Out of the camera

Light’s Effect on Color

Here’s the basic science: color exists because of light and the cone receptors in our eyes registering the color. Objects have properties that hold onto certain colors and bounce off other colors; the colors that bounce off are the colors our eyes register. That’s the super simplified version.

Now, a light source (the sun, a lamp, a flame) casts and overall tone to the colors we perceive. The sun, the true light source, doesn’t cast a tone, it shows true colors. A tungsten/incandescent light bulb, the ones usually homes have, casts an orange tone. Fluorescent lights, usually in big stores, cast a blue-ish tone.

Our brain color corrects the tones so that we don’t notice them, everything looks to be in true color. The camera, however, needs to be told what the light source is so that it can color correct the image. This setting is called the White Balance.

When a photo is taken in tungsten light but the white balance is set to fluorescent light, the image will come out very orange-y. If the white balance is set to tungsten light and taken in the same light, the camera will add a blue cast to counter the orange from the tungsten light. If the white balance is on AUTOMATIC then the camera will know to add the correct cast of color to counter the light’s cast but if it’s not on auto then it’ll be evident in the photograph.

The photographs below, although taken very sloppily, illustrate how the white balance affects color. This Disneyland model is lit by tungsten lights but my camera was set to fluorescent lights in the first photograph and then changed to tungsten white balance in the second photograph, correcting the color. In person, the scale model looks like the photo on the right because my brain corrected the color. I only noticed I had the wrong setting when I looked at the image after I took the first photo.

In Conclusion

There’s really not much more to white balance other than its purpose is to correct casted colors. The white balance helps the camera take the photograph the way our eyes perceive the scene, its a way to take straightforward picture. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only way a photograph can look. My previous photography post, Photography 101: The Trifecta of Proper Exposure, and this post are all that’s really needed to understand how to take a basic, correct photo, technically speaking.

Next post I’ll talk about some ways to make a basic photo look not-so-basic.