Tag Archives: iphone

photo focus on background

How to Add Depth of Focus to Your Photos

Adding depth of focus to your photos: 16MP smartphone cameras have leveled the playing field. Combine your digital camera with today’s tips on how to add depth of focus to your photos and you’ll be creating professional quality images in no time.

So what exactly is depth of focus? It’s how much of the photo you choose to have in focus.

Most of the time you’ll want the whole photo in focus, but not always.

Sometimes you’ll want the background blurred or softened in order to bring more attention to your subject. This gives you the ability the focus the viewer’s attention where you’d like it to be.

How Depth of Focus Works

Focus depth is changed by adjusting the aperture settings on your digital camera.

The aperture is a hole inside the camera lens that works like the iris in your eye. Adjusting the aperture lets in more or less light.

The larger the aperture, the shallower the depth of focus. This means a smaller portion of the image will be in focus. Conversely, the smaller the aperture the deeper the depth of focus, meaning a large part of the image will be in focus.

Changing Aperture on Your Camera:

adjust aperature camera

Aperture is measured in f-stops. The numbers are a bit tricky because a low aperture setting means a larger aperture and vice versa.

Think of it this way – low aperture number equals low focus depth.

To adjust aperture, your camera must have aperture priority or a manual mode. All SLR and DSLR cameras have priority and manual modes. So do micro four thirds cameras and some advanced point and shoot cameras.

Point and shoot cameras typically have a smaller aperture sensor which means you can’t achieve extremely shallow focus, even with manual control.

DSLR and most point and shoot cameras have a portrait mode, which lowers the aperture setting. This allows you to change the depth of focus to some degree.

Many DSLR cameras also have an ‘A’ setting for Aperture Priority Mode. This allows you to control the aperture while the camera handles all other settings.

Other ways to change the aperture on your DSLR camera are to use a zoom-less, or buy a new lens entirely.

Now you know the basics of changing your camera’s aperture. But how do you know how much depth of focus should be in your photos?

depth of focus camera

How to Choose the Right Aperture:

Let’s start with a portrait.

If you’re not using portrait mode, you’ll want a shallow depth of field so the focus in on your subject’s face.

The great thing about a shallow depth is it’s useful any time you’d like to separate on object from its background.

At other times, you’ll want a deep focus. This works especially well for landscape photos and product shots. Anytime you need to see the foreground and background equally well, a larger f number is best.

That’s it for the basics of depth of focus. Now it’s time to learn how you can create these same types of effects with your smartphone.

Depth of Focus in Smartphone Photos

Smartphones don’t allow you manual control over aperture while taking a photo. However, there are ways to edit photos you’ve already taken to simulate the effects of both shallow and deep focus depths.

This is done through the use of different iOS or Android applications.

Remember, the best way to decide the app for you is to try several and keep the one that provides the best combination of ease of us and results.

Let’s take a moment and review a few of the more popular apps.

Big Lens (iOS or Android)

($0.99) This app was designed with focus depth editing in mind. It’s powerful yet easy to use.

Big Lens uses a masking brush where you can apply blur effects to parts of your photo. Apply the blur then use other settings to control how much blur you’d like.

The one difference with Big Lens is you use the “brush” to cover what you’d like to have in focus. The rest of the photo gets the blur effect.

Filterstorm Neue (iOS)

Filterstorm Neue is a full-featured editing app with an excellent depth of field tool.

The blur capability offers a great range of effect than Big Lens. It’s also more difficult to learn and requires slightly more finesse.

Unlike Big Lens, you’ll use the brush to paint the area you’d like blurred.

If you have an iPhone 7 Plus and have taken the iOS 10.1 update, you now have the new Portrait Mode photo format which does a great job creating desirable depth effects.

Portrait Mode (iPhone 7 Plus w/ iOS 10.1 update):

depth of focus

(portrait mode on left) Photo credit: techcrunch.com

First of all, the reason you can only get Portrait Mode on iPhone 7 Plus is because of the twin-lens rear camera. This is a new feature for the iPhone 7 Plus.

The twin-lens camera allows you to put the subject in focus and blur the background.

Access Portrait Mode from the rotating swipe menu at the bottom of the Camera app’s interface. One cool thing is the app will offer tips on lighting, position and composition.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Portrait Mode.

  1. Make sure the subject is close. No further away than 8 feet is ideal.
  2. Make sure the background is quite a bit further away. The larger the gap, the greater the depth of focus effect will appear.
  3. Lighting is big. Early morning sunlight does rather well. Indoor artificial light, not so much. Professional Jeremy Cowart suggests putting the sun behind your subject as a back light.
  4. Look out for small items in your shot. A recent test showed they may confuse the depth effect.
  5. Find a space that isn’t too busy or distracting.

*More: iPhone Portrait mode – techcrunch.com

Portrait Mode – Other Cool Stuff:

depth focus potrait mode

Two versions of each photo taken are saved. One has the effect applied, the other doesn’t. The photo with the effect is labeled in the top left corner.

To save the Portrait Mode image and discard the other, open Settings (when in Portrait Mode) and scroll down to the sixth screen of options. Tap Photos and Camera. Scroll down more and find the Portrait Mode section.

Tap the green slider, where you see Keep Normal Photo, until it becomes white.

Are you addicted to taking photos, especially from your smartphone? Share your photographing experience with us in the comments section below. Also, check out our latest coupons for photo printing sites like Shutterfly and Walgreens Photo!

how to turn on iphone camera grid

iPhone: Why You Should Use the Camera Grid (Turn It On Now!)

Why you should turn on your iPhone’s camera grid, and how: Want to take professional-looking photos with your iPhone? Wondering how to take your snaps to the next level?

There’s one cool iPhone camera feature that you’ve probably been missing, and it’s called the, “camera grid.”

It’s surprisingly simple and requires no extra downloads. Scroll down to learn more about the iPhone camera’s hidden secret and how to use it.

iPhone Photography

Gone are the days when we all carried digital cameras around with us. Smartphones are now starting to dominate the photography world.

In 2016, 48% of all photos uploaded to Flikr were taken on a smartphone. Of those photos, 47% were taken on an Apple device. And for good reason.

iPhones are known for having fantastic cameras. As well as an ever-increasing number of megapixels with each model, there are numerous features that make them a rival of DSLRs.

One of those is the camera grid.

What Is the iPhone Camera Grid?

iphone camera grid enable

The camera grid is a feature which divides the frame of your photos using four lines which run horizontally and vertically along the screen.

When activated, it shows 9 squares overlayed across the screen. It looks like an empty tic tac toe grid, but there’s much more to it than that.

Placing objects in your photos at the points where those lines intersect can make them much more visually striking.


How to Turn on the Camera Grid: (settings)

iphone settings camera grid

In order to start playing with the camera grid, you need to know how to use it. Here’s how to activate it.

Enabling the camera grid:

  • Open Settings
  • Select Photos & Camera
  • Select Grid and turn it on
  • Open the Camera app and you’ll see the grid.

*If you’re using a version of iOS earlier than iOS7:

  • Open Camera app
  • Select Options
  • Find Grid and turn it ON.

Benefits of the iPhone Camera Grid

The iPhone camera grid can add a lot to your photos. Here are the top reasons why you should be using it.

It’s Based on a Technique Used by Professionals

The entire premise of the camera grid is the rule of thirds.

It’s a technique commonly known amongst professional photographers, which has been used in art since the 18th Century.

To most photographers and artists, the rule of thirds is second nature. To untrained iPhone photography enthusiasts, it’s not so obvious. That’s where the camera grid comes in handy.

With the camera grid, anyone can take photos like a pro.

The rule of thirds is the concept of dividing your shot with a 3 x 3 square grid and matching the subjects up to the lines on that grid.

As a result, you end up with much more captivating photos. Add in a great iPhone filter, and you are set. It’s really that easy.

camera grid settings on iphone

It Makes Your Photos Level

The camera grid enables you to make your photos level by matching objects up with the straight lines on your screen.

You can avoid wonky, uneven photos and line things up perfectly. This means there’s no need to rotate or angle the photos when editing.

The camera grid Improves Your Landscape Photos

The camera grid is especially useful for landscape shots, as it shows you where to frame the horizon in order to get the most interesting picture.

Putting the horizon right in the center of the photo is just plain boring. Anyone can do that.

You can match up objects of interest in the foreground to the lines, making sure they complement your shot and draw the eye into the scene.

The area of the photo that is most interesting to you should take up two-thirds the frame. The grid makes it incredibly easy to place it that way.

It’s Easier to Frame Your Subjects

When we take out our phones to snap a photo, we usually put the subject right in the center and think nothing of it.

The subject is the entire focus of the photo, so, therefore, should be in the middle, right?

According to professional photographers, that’s not the case. Not only is that method bland and unimaginative, it’s not even the best way to display a subject.

Using the camera grid to match the subject up with lines on different sides of the screen actually draws more attention to them in more subtle, artistic ways. That way, you get the most out of your pictures.

When shooting portrait photos, align the subject’s eyes with the grid; they’re usually the most important part of the shot.

It Improves Photo Composition

iphone camera grid how to use

Activating the grid highlights different areas of your photos to show the exact composition of the frame.

It forces you to focus on the entire frame rather than just the subject alone.

By placing points of interest along the lines of the grid, you create a much more balanced photo and avoid using a lot of negative space.

This results in a picture which is much richer in composition.

It Will Get Your More Likes

300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day.

With so many photos on social media, you want to make sure yours are getting their share of attention.

The camera grid is a sure-fire way to do that. If you start using it, you’ll already be a step ahead of many others.


Get Creative with It

Use the camera grid to your advantage, but don’t get too sucked into it. It’s there to help you, not to dictate you.

The rule of thirds is a general guide and doesn’t need to be strictly followed. Subjects don’t need to match up with the grid precisely; placing them relatively near them could still do the trick.

If you feel it doesn’t complement your picture, throw caution to the wind and do it your own way.

What to Do with Your New Photos

With this newfound technique, you’re sure to be snapping some beautiful photos. Why not get them printed so you can admire your work?

  • Snapfish: Click here for discount coupons for Snapfish, a printing service which can turn your photos into prints, calendars, wedding invitations, notebooks and more. We also have their latest shipping times.
  • Walgreens Photo: A hugely popular way to print your 4×6 and 4×4 digital photos. Coupons here
  • Shutterfly – Probably the best place to print photos online – coupons here ,

Now, get out there and give it a try!

best iphone photo apps

The Best iPhone Filters (2017) to Make Your Photos Go, “POP!”

Best photography apps / filters for iPhones: Do you want to turn a good photo on your iPhone into a great photo? You’ll need to discover the best iPhone filters, then.

Whether you want to have a little fun, cover up a flaw or create an unusual effect, there’s a filter to match your needs. For this reason, we are taking a look at the best free or low-cost filters on the App store to put a unique twist on your iPhone snaps.


VSCO Cam Is One of the Best iPhone Filters:

vscocam iphone app

“VSCO has quickly emerged as the premier mobile photography app.” – The Verge

If you’re looking for a range of iPhone filters to choose from, you need to take a look at VSCO Cam.

It offers the largest collection of unique filters and effects, which you can crop and edit as much as you like. There are various readily-available free filters, but you can also buy extra filters, too.

VSCO Cam also often update the app with new effects and filters. Don’t expect to become bored with the same-old filters, because you won’t have time to be.


Litely:

litely iphone app

Litely is similar to VSCO Cam in that you can choose from free and for sale filters.

The extra filter packs are updated on a regular basis, so it’s great if you want to avoid filter boredom. It also offers a handy library that contains all your photo edits, so you can go back to recover an image.

One of the biggest benefits is Litely’s editing tools, as you can improve exposure or vibrancy with ease.

You can also see how the edit compares to the original with the split screen feature.

It’s one of the best iPhone filters if you want to make subtle changes rather than fully-enhancing your photos.


Afterlight:

afterlight iphone photo app

Another filter app that allows you make subtle changes is Afterlight.

You can choose from more than 50 filters and 60 textures to create tasteful snaps. It also offers basic editing tools to transform an image.

What makes Afterlight stand out is its ability to layer photos over each other. So, if texture is important to you when selecting filters, look no further than Afterlight.


Snapseed:

snapseed best photo iphone app

If you are looking for iPhone filters that offer endless possibilities, download Snapseed by Google.

It provides so many different effects and filters that you could spend all day altering images.

What’s great about Snapseed is that you can use multiple filters on one photo. Once you have achieved your desired image, you have the option to either export it to your camera roll or share it with your friends.


Mextures:

mextures best iphone photo app

Another app allowing you to combine filters is Mextures.

You can tone layered images by adding editing or film presents, such as:

  • Fade
  • Exposure
  • Tint
  • White balance

Also, as you can layer on top of layer, you will be able to restore the image to its original state by deleting a layer or two.

It’s the perfect app for those looking for dramatic iPhone filters with many layers.


Instagram:

Instagram is more than just a photo filter app.

It has become one of the most popular social media platforms due to its flexible photo capabilities.

More than 500 million people use Instagram to share photos with their followers. The free app allows you to use free filters to alter brightness, saturation and contrast.

Once you’re happy with your photo, you can share it with your followers, who can like or comment on the image.

You can even tag locations onto your photos – or search for other images or members on the app.

Click here to learn how to print your Instagram photos.


Rookie Cam:

best photo iphone apps rookie

Rookie Cam offers a live filter camera to maximize picture quality.

As well as its 116 custom filters, it also features:

  • Geo-tagging
  • Anti-shake
  • Self-timer
  • Shutter interval control
  • Grid and leveler
  • Mirror Mode
  • plus more

You can also create stunning collages to capture many moments in a single photo. It allows you to add 9 photographs into one frame.

Choose from 10 unique filter themes to have a little fun and show off your creativity. For instance, you can use an elegant mode or a film camera to create superb shots.

Not only that, but you can crop, rotate, brighten, straighten and contrast your pictures.

Whether you want to have a little fun or create professional shots, you’ll have a great time playing with the Rookie Cam app.


Adobe Photoshop Express:

photoshop express iphone filter
If you want to remove any flaws from your photos, you should download Adobe Photoshop Express.

The free app can remove facial blemishes, dirt or dust from your photo in an instant.

You can also adjust the image’s exposure, contrast or white balance at the click of a button.

It makes editing photos a doddle, and it offers 20 unique effects to make your images a little more fun.

For instance, you can choose from various borders and frames that will make an image pop.

It’s a great way to edit photos for social media, email or texts.


EyeEm:

eyeem iphone filter

EyeEm is more than a filter app. It’s more like a community.

Not only can you transform your photos with many features, but you can find inspiration.

The app allows you to learn how other EyeEm photographers edit their photographers. You can then apply the new-found knowledge into your own snapshots.

So, you’ll be able to alter a photo by effectively using exposure, format, contrast, sharpen and more.


How to Print Your Photos

Smartphones have made it easier than ever to take professional looking photos. While third-party apps have made it simple to transform images in an instant.

Yet, you don’t only have to use the images online.

If you have a photo you love, print your favorite snaps using websites such as Shutterfly or Snapfish (get coupons) .

You can use the images for a photo canvas, wall calendar or you can frame your best images.

It’s a great way to showcase your beautiful photos using your filters, and they can also make great gifts, too.

If you are a photographer, consider having some cheap business cards on hand, as you never know when you might get a gig.

Vistaprint has a deal for 500 business cards for $10 + shipping, so cost is no issue. You know that sounds good!

Just taking photos for personal use? You can even save money by using a Shutterfly coupon codes, which will allow you to print off more photos for your cash.

Do you have any tips for using iPhone filters? Share your advice in the comment section below.

iphone cases from shutterfly

Photo iPhone Cases: 30% Off Promo Code for Shutterfly.com

shutterfly logo smalliPhone Case on Sale: 30% off code for Shutterfly.com – The average smartphone user checks their phone over 100 times every day. Since it’s such a popular gadget to stare at, why not make it worth looking at?

There is currently a great promotion going on at Shutterfly for a 30% discount on photo gifts, including custom iPhone cases. Although this specific sale ends in a week, we’ve noticed that there is always a coupon of some kind available, (look for free shipping) so be sure to check below for the best code or discount:


How to design an iPhone case at Shutterfly:

This video shows you just how simple it is to make a personalized iPhone case!

Click a thumbnail to view larger: (don’t forget to use a coupon!)

Personalized iPhone cases from Shutterfly – best value and quality

There are a few photo services, including Shutterfly, that offer a combination of value and quality for custom iPhone cases. (Check out coupons for Tiny Prints, their sister-site too) They make it easy to import pictures from your phone or digital camera, and their design tools are simple, but powerful to use. Because there are one or two other stores online that offer similar, exceptional quality, it’s important to use a coupon every time you place an order so that you get the best value possible. They fit the latest iPhones, too: whether it’s 5, 5S, 6, 6S, 7, and so on!

vintage iphone case piciPhone Cases – A great personalized photo gift idea

The statistics on how often people check their iPhones is shocking, but it shows you how indispensable these devices have become in our lives. While photo gifts like coffee mugs and calendars are a top notch idea, I’ll bet that the grandparents aren’t checking the calendar 100 times throughout the day! (and hopefully they’re not drinking that much coffee!)

In other words, customizing an iPhone with family photos, or other special pictures is a brilliant, yet practical gift idea which is going to remind your loved one of you throughout the entire day.

These cases are made pf tough plastic, and come with a removable silicone liner, giving your phone added protection. They allow you to charge your phone without having to adjust of remove the case.

personalized iphone case pic shutterflyNeed ideas for personalizing these iPhone cases?

I love simplicity, so the picture on my own iPhone features my 3 kids and the word, “love.” If you want to get more creative, or have more than one photo, consider the following:

  • A photo collage: Choose layouts of 8, or 15 of your pictures
  • Incorporate a monogram (like the first letter of your last name) to many of these designs
  • Photo(s) or your dog or cat – I must have 100 pics of my dogs on my phone as we speak, so why not feature them on the case too? My in-laws just brought their new puppy over, so I’m thinking of getting them an iPhone case with one of the great shots we took of him
  • Your favorite vacation spot – Odds are that you or a loved one enjoy being reminded of your favorite place in the world. Whether that is Disney World, the Caribbean, or your cottage in the woods
  • A filmstrip of 3 related pictures – There are multiple designs that allow you to feature a series of photos, like a filmstrip. Consider taking 3 or more pictures in a row that show different expressions or moments or even ultrasound pictures
  • Candid pictures – No need to have a pic where everyone is looking at the camera. Often, the candid ones have more personality
  • Vintage photos – How about a great photo of your family celebrating Christmas in the 1980s, or one of your mother holding you as a baby for a Mother’s Day gift? Try taking a picture of an old photo; usually it produces a sharp digital version
  • As Wedding party gifts – Feature your favorite pic of the gang, and give them away on your wedding day. Of course, an iPhone case featuring your wedding photo(s) would also make a memorable Anniversary gift too

Don’t forget to use a promotional code at checkout

There is nothing worse (ok, there is) than realizing that you forgot to use your coupon at the grocery store. Same thing is true here, and there are always coupons available, (updated every day) so you have no excuse to pay retail price!

filmstrip photo iphone case

Hurricane Sandy vs. Al Roker

Al Roker Today show Hurricane Sandy in Point Pleasant NJ

Hurricane Sandy in Point Pleasant – Mother nature has shown her true colors with Hurricane Sandy, and she is one mean bitch!  In this shot, Al Roker prepares for his update for the Today Show, from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.  Hopefully Al doesn’t get swept away!

Though many surfers would drool over the prospect of large, intense waves such as these, this situation might be better to surf from the coach with your remote and a nice hot chocolate.

As we are prone to quotes with our OMG Photos, one clearly comes to mind:
“Its Gon’ Rain!”, Ollie Williams, BlaccuWeather Forecast.

Stay safe everyone!

Instagram photo by todayshow