Quick view of how my daily iPhone photography project transpired (June 2012-June 2013). Click on title or thumbnail to see the batch of photos.
[Batch 18 : 26 April - 12 June] It took a long while, it's been a long time, but it's here. 365 in Lo-Fi ends here.
And it took this notice on my iPhone to remind me that I've still a lot of photos to post :
No more space to take photos, no choice but to back up the files and clear space. While I was at it, might as well go back to my May and June photos, process, and post them to finish this iPhotography project.
It was sweet while it lasted. Taking daily photos with the iPhone was fun and easy, the hard part was consolidating them, picking which ones to process, and ultimately choosing which to post. Blogging them this way made it more difficult. But it's the way I wanted to do it.
I'm ending 365 in Lo-Fi with this last batch :
Recommended App : Project 365
June 12, 2012 to June 12, 2013. One year of iPhone photos, from the iPhone 4 to the 5, the vibrant colored to the black and whites. Switching from one app to the next until I get the processing I want, but I know for sure Snapseed was the one constant. Shooting everyday, then spend a day or two culling the photos and processing my favorites for posting and inclusion in 365 in Lo-Fi. Some standout photos, some memorable ones, and also a lot of forgettable snaps. All in all, it was a project that satisfied my photography craving... each and every day.
Thank you for following. Here's where the story ends.
[Batch 17 : 29 March - 25 April] Coffee black and egg white. My favorite Counting Crows song inspired this 365 in Lo-Fi set. I made sure I had a B&W batch before this project ends. And here it is.
Click on thumbnails to view photos in full.
The end is near. It's getting there. 48 photos left.
Until the next post!
[Batch 16 : 1-28 March] Back to the madness of random daily phone photography. Sorry, a lot of photos of my son. He's my favorite subject these days. =)
Recommended App : PicTapGo! (click app icon for comments)
289 down, 76 to go! =)
[Batch 15 : 30 January - 28 February] Paint your palette blue and gray, take your iPhone and shoot all day. Bring out those strokes, swings and swirls. And maybe add some little curls.
After staying in my iPhone's camera roll for months, I got to process and post this batch (and I'd like to thank the national elections for the break). I usually post in weekly batches but I put in two extra days just to round off February and start with March 1 next time. There's an app which I first tried early in February that really made me fall in love with its effects. It reminded me of a Photoshop plug-in named Fractalius. It really renders interesting and painterly effects. I liked it so much that I dedicated the whole batch of February photos to it.
Click on the thumbnails to view the photos in large, and see what effects I'm talking about.
Recommended App : Tangled FX
I've posted some photos on Facebook with these effects, and I've been asked many times what app do I use. Well, here it is. Download it on AppStore now, and discover the magic and fun. Make sure to toggle the settings to fine-tune the effects and make it look best on your photos.
Enjoy the app! And thanks for looking. Till the next batch!
[1 February 2013] Let's have a break from the daily photos. Here are snaps I took in UP Diliman during a food trip I had with my wife and a friend. If photos from the food binge had no filters, in this set I took all the liberty to do what I want (which is another way of saying that yes, I used all the filters that I could). Considering I spurned the Canon EOS M to take all the food trip photos with the iPhone, it merits a set on its own.
Peyups. My alma mater. In iPhone-fidelity.
Back to regular 365 in Lo-Fi posting next. The "fun" batch coming up.
[Batch 14 : 16 - 29 January] Last set it was the Instagram-ish square crops. Now it's time for something longer. WIDEr. These are mostly panos, but some photos were taken conventionally but just cropped wide (there were days when I forgot to take a pano shot).
Please click on the thumbnails to view the photos in full. Viewing them in squares won't give them justice.
Recommended App : Stickr (click app icon for my comments)
The next set will be fun. Different, but really fun. Watch out for it!
[Batch 13 : 2 - 15 January 2013] More likely than not, you already have an Instagram account. Good for you. Well, I don't have one. A lot of people have asked me why not sign up for Instagram so that more people can get to see my 365 in Lo-Fi photos. I can only shrug anytime they ask me. What is it with Instagram that keeps me away from it?
Hmmmmm, let me see...
1.) The 1:1 ratio crop. Squares look fun and Polaroid-ish, but it takes away the creative option of presenting photos. It throws the concept of portrait and landscape orientations out the window. There's a reason cameras use the 3:2, 4:3, or 16:9 ratios. I like that reason better than Instagram restricting all photos to a square crop. Crucial deal-breaker for me.
Yeah, I know IG and some apps remedy this by using borders to make the photo squares. But imagine if I wanted to post this pano taken with the iPhone, just think how small the image would look like on screens or in thumbnail. Yeah, the important part of the photo take up only 25% of the frame. Doesn't make sense to me.
2. Filtered out. Yup, IG offered a lot of cool filters, especially the vintage makeovers. Since then though, a TON of other apps and photo-sharing sites have come up with their own filters. Just as good, if not better. One major come-on by Instagram used to be that it offered filters for your photos, you just had to choose which one you liked best. Well, the playing field has leveled. IG no longer has that distinct advantage. As for me, Snapseed, Picfx and Vintique work just the same and offer even more tools.
3. Altered sharing concept. Instagram was conceived as a photo-sharing site for mobile phone photos. It used to be that way. You take a photo with your phone, you log on, edit, and instantly share it on Instagram (that's why it's named INSTAgram). USED TO BE. Now a lot of IG users share all sorts of photos, not just mobile shots. They take the route of cropping and putting filters to share their old photos on the site. Nothing wrong with that, really, I just find it veering away from the original concept of Instagram.
4. Uh, those quotes. As I said, all sort of pictures are being posted on Instagram. As long as it's square-cropped, it can be shared. So have you noticed all those quotes and other text-dominated pictures on IG? Yeah. I know your pain. Again, nothing criminal about it, but do you really think that's a "photo"? Google the definition of "photograph".
5. Another account. Another reason I haven't signed up for Instagram is that it's another account to maintain. I have Facebook, Twitter, a Tumblr archive of old blogs, my own website, aside from my email. If ever I'm joining a photo-sharing site, I'd like it to be Flickr (a legit, excellent site), not Instagram (where vintage is the norm). But you know what, one day I may go crazy and join IG. If I'm bored.
6. Terms of Service. Ever heard about that TOS issue that would allow Instagram selling rights of its users' photos to third parties without compensation or notification? Need I say further?
7. The crazy hashtags. #I #just #hate #the #rampant #overuse #of #hashtags #as #if #photos #would #get #better #and #gain #more #attention #with #more #more #more #and #more #silly #hashtags. #It #is #plain #and #simple #stupid.
So there. The next time people ask me if I'm on IG or why I'm not on IG, I'd just link them this post. I hope I've made myself clear. I'm not shutting the door on Instagram, like I said, someday I might sign up if I can bear maintaining another account.
Not now. Not yet. I have my own daily iPhone photography project and love posting it on my own site. On my own terms.
Batch 13 for Days 204 to 217 is here. As a salute for what's good in Instagram, I square-cropped these photos. INSTAGRAMMED THIS S(H)ET!
(Click on thumbnails to view photos in full.)
On to the next set.
[Batch 12 : 5 December 2012 - 1 January 2013] After the Hi-Fi batch, I'm back to randoms. This is basically my 2012-ender AND 2013-starter. Sorry, I do these batches by seven days, and the first day of January had to be included. Hence the batch title Omega and Alpha.
I love the iPhone 5's panoramic feature, as evident in this batch with 7 panos in it. Make sure to click the thumbnails to view the photos in full, especially the panos. Cheers!
Recommended App : Genius Scan (click on app logo and sample thumbnails for details)
One of the things we can do to make our photos better is to correct distortion. Distortion is one of the many limitations of our cameras, and we can correct this to give a more accurate depiction of a subject. Purists may claim distortion correction alters the photo. Yes, it alters the photo, but what's more realistic, a distorted photo or what you originally saw with your eyes (the one without distortion)? For my iPhone photos, I use the Genius Scan app to correct distortion. It's an easy process, one which you should certainly try.
Next batch will have another theme. I'm speeding up posting these as I'm backlogged for two months. Not cool.
[Batch 11 : 21 November - 4 December] Remember when I said in my last post to watch out for the next one, because the iPhone 5 redeems itself with it? Well, this is it. Took a while to post this because of the extra work of "product ad layout" (yeah, really, ahem) but alas, here it is.
In the previous post, I "broke in" the iPhone 5 and reviewed how it's better than the 4 (which I formerly used). I named this project "365 ni Lo-Fi" because obviously, it's a daily iPhone photography setup, "Lo-Fi" alluding to how camera phone photos are mostly grainy and have obvious loss of details and sharpness, hence low-fidelity. Well, you know what, I noticed that SOMETIMES, you could overcome the iPhone's lo-fi nature. How? By having sufficient lighting for your photo. The grainy, lossy output of phone cameras (the iPhone's in particular) is brought about by low-light scenarios where the iPhone compensates by bumping its ISO. It's the same dilemma we have in using DLSRs - boost the ISO and absorb more light at the expense of introducing noise to the image. Only thing is, with the iPhone, we can't do anything if it wants to increase its ISO even if we don't want it to. It does that automatically (and that's been the feature I've been pining for - the ability to fully control the iPhone's camera settings). Since we're at the mercy of the iPhone's own metering and adjustments, sometimes we get lucky with the exposure, sometimes we're screwed.
On the positive side, I noticed that with ample exposure, the iPhone can actually produce very good quality images, those with minimal grain, high contrast and colors plus sharpness. It can be done, and with the iPhone 5, the output was better than ever. Then I noticed something as I was sorting through my 365 in Lo-Fi photos on my computer (they have to go through it so I can post them here like this). The iPhone images actually had their EXIF data intact, even after using processing, effects and other apps. Like this :
You can see even after I used the Snapseed (image adjustments) and FilterStorm (text layout) apps for this photo, the image retained the EXIF data (in this case : f/2.4, 1/120 shutterspeed, ISO 80). I noticed the metadata many batches ago, and it got me thinking : if the iPhone can use a low ISO, then the image wouldn't be that bad at all.
Now, how do you force the iPhone to use low ISO (the lowest setting I've seen is 50)? By making it "see" enough brightness. But there's a problem there : sometimes the iPhone re-meters and evaluates the whole scene (just like DSLR systems). If it sees a scene as well-lit in the center but underexposed overall, it adjusts its settings (I'm sure you've experienced this, the iPhone screen shows you an exposure, then the next second or two it shows a different exposure preview). Now, how to go around this? By quickly pressing the capture button, the iPhone will have no time to re-meter and adjust its settings. That was what I did for the photo above.
With these observations and tricks in hand, I decided to do a high-fidelity shoot with the iPhone 5. I aimed for photos that will look like they were taken by a DSLR or a high-end point-and-shoot. A product ad theme seemed like a good fit.
I don't usually show 365 in Lo-Fi photos like this (I do it in thumbnails), but to make you see the difference of this hi-fi shoot, I'm posting them bigger. Captions are provided for some info about how the photo was taken. My regular workflow for processing the photos in Snapseed include increasing contrast (lo-fi photos have low contrast), adjusting white balance, increasing details, and the center focus effect.
The Kit Lens. This experiment encouraged me to continue with the product ad theme. I used a table lamp and a video LED to light the subject. Fortunately, the iPhone metered correctly. When I transferred the file to my computer, I saw the details were there and there was minimal noise. Contrast and details adjustments with Snapseed and text layout using TitleFx later, this hi-fi batch was well on its way.
Marine. I took a similar photo (http://www.jersandelphoto.com/#/album/3458cz/photo/3407971) years ago using a DSLR. I wanted to replicate it this time using an iPhone. I didn't have the same reflective background surface to work with, but I still added the water effect. Very difficult shot. My main concern was the reflection and the iPhone changing its metering and overexposing the shot. I did the quick-trigger method like I mentioned above, and this was the compromise I accepted regarding the reflection. I like the output.
The Dreamy Fifty. A shake-my-head moment. I took this photo using the same lighting setup as I did with the kit lens photo (above). I thought it gave me the same quality output. When I previewed it on my computer, days later, there was a lot more noise than I would have wanted. Good enough, but not happy with it. Did the bokeh effect and light bue tint with Picfx.
EarPods. The iPhone 5 came with a new design of earphones that Apple excpectedly called earpods. I thought they looked cute, especially on a similar white background (this case, an illustration board). Used ambient light from the window. Boosted the exposure with Snapseed then increased the contrast. Got the look I wanted : minimalist white product photo.
Show Off. I got the idea from an automobile ad a few years ago (can't recall which brand) : garage doors closed but one was half-opened to show off the vehicle inside. So I did it with our garage and used my CX-7. It was high noon and you can see the deep contrast shadows, reason which convinced me to convert this to black-and-white. I wish I did a better text layout, though.
X100. My favorite. It all came together for this shot. The retro-look camera, the simple layout I had in mind, and the sunlight hit the back of the illustration board and gave it a brownish, textured appearance. Easy to shoot, easy to process.
Skagen. Again, I recycled an old photo (http://www.jersandelphoto.com/#/album/3458cz/photo/3407963) I took with a DSLR. The tricky part was the reflection. Once I figured out an angle where there was little reflection, it was good enough for me. It's my favorite watch, by the way, because it's so thin and classy-neutral.
Energy Loops. Two reasons I love Eneloops : they are reliable rechargeable batteries, and they come in white. I love white stuff. The hard part here was arranging the batts so they'd show the Eneloop mark. Everything else was basic.
QWERTY. I miss having a physical keypad on my phone. Since I used the iPhone as my main phone in 2010, I've been making do with virtual keys and the countless typo errors that come with it. I still hope they come out with a really good touch smartphone that also features a real keypad. That's the origin of this idea. Simple setup using window light with the phone placed on top of a laptop's brushed metal surface.
2K13. I wanted to include a basketball in the photo, but the ball I've kept already has faded markings and a little dirty, not really what you want in a supposed product ad. Again, just basic lighting using window light (on the right) and a table lamp (on the left).
Rings. This day I wanted to shoot jewelry, then I realized I don't own any aside from my wedding band and college ring. Went with the bands. I tried, but I couldn't make the iPhone's camera maintain sharp focus on both rings' text. This is f/2.4. Placed the rings on top of a video LED light.
Jag. How could I not include my dream car? Impossible. The top photo (of the Bonnet Leaper) was very tricky, I lost count how many times I repositioned myself so I didn't cast a reflection on the grill. The other two photos were quite easy, but you'd notice the tire is a bit underinflated. I always feel guilty that I don't drive the car regularly, but taking photos of it is a happy experience. Used Diptic for combining into a triptych. Text via Filterstorm.
Relief. I was looking for a subject that could be hilarious, and I found one. I know you know what the text is talking about, right? Placed the tiny pill on a laptop sleeve and made sure to include a lot of negative space for the text. Then I placed large text so the size of the pill is emphasized.
Aviator. I took this photo while on the road to Baguio (not while driving, of course). The ambient light streaming in from the windshield was perfect for the look. The sunglasses is easily recognizable, so instead I put in "no need for introduction" for the text. Because seriously, it doesn't need an introduction. Reduced saturation and slightly adjusted white balance for a soft-blue tone.
Recommended App : TitleFx
Text layout app that's simple and easy to use - especially on text positioning and spacing. Also has an array of effects backgrounds. What I find lacking is the choice of fonts. Overall, a very useful app and a good alternative to Phoster and Filterstorm.
365 in Lo-Fi
For a whole year (365 days), I took a photo with my mobile phone camera and presented them here, in batches. Lower quality as the technology is still improving, just the same phone photography has altered the way people take and look at pictures.