Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Photography Circle: Process, Create, Alter

In part two of our week long discussion about photography and the artjournal, we will be discussing how we alter our images, if we even alter them at all. Check out Traci Bunkers and Less Herger.for their thoughts on this subject.

Part of the call of using photographs in my journal is the ability to alter them to my hearts content.  Can I use them straight out of the camera?  Yes and I have done so on occasion but the transformation lures me – small stories that evolve with the right tone or crop.

I cut my teeth on digital photo manipulation.  This is my home base.

There are a few ways you can alter your photos depending on what you have available to you and how much time you want to put into it. I’m going to go over  my favorite ways of digitally altering my photos. (Physically altering is a totally different post for another time.)

Originally, I would download my photos into my personal computer and use a program like Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop to alter my pictures.  The great thing about these programs is the amount of control you have over your pictures.  You can create any look or correct almost any flaw with them. The downside?  The time you spend altering your pictures to get them just right.  I find myself using this method less and less as my time gets taken up by other responsibilities.

Picture of my daughter altered in Photoshop

Then I discovered the smartphone and my way of dealing with photos changed.

Smart phone Apps:

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love, love, love, love my smart phone for one reason and one reason only.  APPS.  I have many photo apps that I use and it’s like an addiction. Give me more apps.  (I’m not shaky right now, I swear!)  

As I mentioned in the previous post, my smart phone has allowed me to document my everyday and the apps that alter my photos spark my creativity in so many ways.  It feeds the artistic soul when she has no other place to go. Two of my favorite phone apps are:


Vignette using their retro filter with a grid option. (take four pictures and  have it show up next to each other)

Vignette is a cool little app that offers a free and paid version to Android users. The app gives you a few options that mimic certain types of cameras:  Holga, Diana, Polariod. More importantly it is very customizable and once you get the hang of it creates amazing pictures.  The paid version offers more options and allows you to save your pictures at a larger resolution, which the free version does not.  Another thing I really love about this app is the fact that is allows me to load pictures from my gallery and alter them as well.

Retro Camera (free and paid)

Morning fog

Photo taken with Retro Camera - The Bärbl

Retro Camera is an app that - you guessed it - mimics the look of cameras of times past.  The free version offers five options: The Bärbl, The Little Orange Box, Xolaroid 2000, The Pinhole Camera and The FudgeCan  The sixth option: Hipstamatic only comes with the paid ad free version of the app.

There are many more apps, so many in fact that I could not even begin to list them all.  No matter what you're looking for though, you'll find one that fits your needs.

On Friday we'll talk about how we use our photos in our journaling practice.  Leave a comment to add to the discussion.



Wendy said...

I've been following the blog circle posts - absolutely fantastic. So much information to consider. 3 fantastic women artists, how can you miss!

Sandra L. said...

I found this post through Traci Bunkers' blog. I was going to ask Traci this, but I will ask you, since you mentioned Photoshop.

I must be one of the last people on the planet who does NOT have an iPhone and no plans to get one in the near future. I love the looks people get with apps like Hipstamatic.

How can I get them w/o hours of tweaking in PS? I don't have the time or patience to do it. I've tried a few free actions and they haven't worked very well.

I'm open to any and all suggestions. Thanks!

Mariposa said...

@Wendy I am so glad you found this informative! I hope that it inspires you to try it yourself.

@Sandra L I can understand not wanting to spend all your time altering photos. I recently discovered and enjoy Pixlr-o-matic which comes as a smartphone app, a chrome google app or a stand alone download.

It will quickly add filters and borders around your pictures and better yet, you can download more if you can't find what you want. I've tried it via my Chrome browser and like the results. Try it and see what you think.

Melanie said...

I alter some of my pictures and others I do not, just depends on the mood of the original picture. I have the Retro camera app. I love it. There are some others that are great, too. PicsArt is another one that is good, too. Thank you for the great tips on your blog. I am off to explore te rest of it.