My iOS Photo Workflow
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I thought I should share my “photo workflow” here, mainly because I don’t take that many pictures and consider myself a “non-photo-workflow person”. I was hoping this would add a new light on the “photo workflows” postings that you see around the web.
That said, I do like to take pictures, and I do like to add filters and edit them on a regular basis, but the moments that I actually find worth capturing are just not that often.
When I take a photo on my iPhone or iPad it gets saved in whatever app I’m using. Currently my favorites are the built-in Camera app, Camera+, KitCam, VSCOCam, and ProCamera. I use the built-in Camera and 8mm for videos.
I want to go into depth about the editing, because that’s something I have been unhappy with for quite some time and just recently got my joy back. Using one of the apps mentioned above I usually do a couple of editing steps:
- Straighten: find right angles and make them align with the border. This requires an app that does fine angles. All photo apps mentioned above do this well.
- Crop: not as often, but sometimes I need to cut off something I didn’t want to capture.
- Aspect: usually I want to share on Instagram (@zettt). Instagram has 1:1 pictures only. It makes sense to crop out unnecessary parts, before putting on any filters and borders.
- Correct: it also makes sense to correct some things like color balance and temperature when the lighting is a tad off. Also taking care of levels so that colors are better distributed. Contrast, exposure, saturation, and tint sometimes need correction as well.
- Filters, borders, effects: after all this is done and I’m happy with my capture, I put on some filter that works well with the picture. If the picture works well without, then I don’t. In most cases I want to add a border as well. I think it makes the picture stand out a little more. It just underlines the fact that the picture is an emulated “old style” photo, rather than a shiny, clean, modern picture. That said, VSCO doesn’t have borders, nor does ProCamera.
Normally all the editing, or correcting, rather, I can do in any of these apps. Sometimes though, I need to edit things more carefully. These cases are:
- Hide personal information
- Move things around
- Other edits that require more complicated editing
In the past I used PhotoForge for this. It wasn’t too fancy, but it got the job done. Blurring out personal information required putting a blurred layer on top of the original and some masking. Typically not too big of a deal for someone who knows his way around image editing apps. But just as KitCam isn’t available in the store anymore, so is PhotoForge. I tried Filterstorm again, but Filterstorm Neue just doesn’t cut it, to put it mildly. Don’t take me wrong, this app is awesome! But for blurring out parts of an image, you have to jump through so many hoops, and the app does so many weird things along the way, it causes more frustration than I can handle.
Just the other day I was checking out Photoshop Express and Photoshop touch. Both are solid apps. I tried them, and you know what? I love them. PS Express has quite a different audience than PS touch. Express is more an app for users who want to add effects and makes things look awesome, whereas PS touch has layers, edge detection, effects, editing, warp, etc. It’s absurd. Both apps have found a place in my iOS photo editing, and, right now, I don’t want to miss the two.
Other notables mentions:
- Picfx: one of the first filter apps that I had on my phone and I still like it.
- Moldiv: the collage maker I use. I like it because it also allows me to put captions and whatnot on a picture as well.
- Facetune: corrects faces. Does more. Really cool.
- Decim8 and PowerUp: well, if you want to destroy a picture, here you go. I personally am a bigger fan of Decim8, but PowerUp takes GameBoy pictures. I mean that’s cool, right?
- iPhoto: if I had the space available on my phone, this would probably replace PS touch or Express, but because iPhoto also has photo management built in, this app does more than I want it to, therefore doesn’t add anything to my experience, and therefore isn’t worth so much precious space.
I have “My Photo Stream” turned off in iCloud settings, but have enabled “Photo Sharing”. The reason is that I don’t want to randomly share photos I take on my iPhone to be uploaded and be available on my iPad and Mac. I would rather pick the photos that get transferred. I set up a Photo Stream named “Photo Stream”. It is not public, and only I can post stuff to it. When I take a screenshot on my iPhone that I want to use on my Mac, I go into the Photos app and add it to this Photo Stream.
It will take some moments, but the photo will show up in iPhoto shortly. That’s good enough for me. It doesn’t have to be immediate, it doesn’t have to have Push Notications, it doesn’t have to be fancy. Just don’t be automatic, and don’t have all photos. That said, if iCloud refuses to work, then I just use Dropbox.
I’m testing out Dropbox photo management, but the way Dropbox does it is far from ideal. Dropbox’ Camera Uploads feature creates a separate “Camera Uploads” folder at root level and doesn’t allow to change this. No go. Sharing screen shots automatically? Why would I want to do that? Also: doesn’t allow to change the folder. Unbound, while being a nice app, still doesn’t allow subfolders to show up in the list view. What is up with that? PhotoSync transfers all pictures in the Photos app’ Camera Rool automatically, without realizing which photos it has transferred and ignoring those which exist already. Really?
Carousel is nice, but it’s a 1.0. It’s a nice start, but it’s far from being perfect. I really like the private chat in it. If I had a girlfriend, I’d probably recommend to her that we do most of our chatting through Carousel. Though, from experience, Facebook is so dominant that most people just use their chat and don’t care much about privacy issues, etc. Sad, but true fact.
So… my Dropbox photo experience hasn’t been so great. I stick with it for some time going forward though, but eventually if it is more complicated to sift through my photos than iPhoto (OS X) then it’s not worth my effort and time.