Theme: Edit for Meaning
So far, my 52 Week Challenge has focused on camera technique, but this week we look at how editing can be used to enhance your intended meaning.
This image was edited using ‘Snapseed’. You can see that I cropped to get composition proportions correct, then added the HDR ( High Dynamic Range ) filter to really accentuate the dark tones, followed by brightness adjustments. I wanted this image to have a sense of drama by accentuating the colours and the texture of the clouds. The image now speaks of an impending trial, drama or storm.
This image was shot using the macro function on my Camera + App. I then applied only one filter using VSCO. The image is all about the textural details of the poppies and the intertwining stems. Since the edits are understated, the poppies remain the star in this photo.
I shot this image on an early morning walk after the rain. I wanted to capture the freshness of the colours with water still dripping off the fruit, as well as the fragility of the fruit. Using Photoshop Mix, I was able to lightly enhance the greens without losing detail of the textures. By duplicating the layer, enlarging slightly and repositioning, two pears were visible, however, the blending mode created a soft transparency in some sections, adding to the sense of fragility of the fruit.
Mextures features mainly textures and lighting filters great for editing with a sense of timelessness in mind. I wanted the bright colours of the flowers to be a focus so I combined two filters to provide balancing colour to the outer edges of the image. The grunge filter enhanced the texture of the statue while the light leak added an extra hint of retro.
This is a holiday shot of the view from a beachfront hotel. I wanted to capture the relaxed atmospehere of the location along with some slightly abstract elements to create a concept of the beach- rather than a plain shot of the sand and water. To do this I used one of my favourite camera apps- ’Slow Shutter Cam’. As the name suggests, it allows you to manipulate the shutter on your camera phone to achieve all sorts of effects from motion blur to light trails. It also allows you to take a double exposure photo, two different exposures in the same frame. For a conceptual look I simply pointed my camera at two different aspects of my view and the app overlaid them creating a lovely abstract image. The result is an impression of the beach, with some recognisable and some unknown elements, in soft dreamy colours. Strictly speaking, there was no editing involved but still a lovely reminder of a wonderful holiday.
Looking for the perfect gift? Check out my new series ‘Kaleidoscopes’- available in a range of affordable products to suit any budget.
Editing techniques are useful for enhancing the best qualities of an image as well as adding a layer of meaning. These tips will help you on your way;
Less is more- if your editing is so obvious that the image is lost, dial it back a bit.
Think about issues, emotions, topics that mean something to you. What are the visual and psychological cues you can include to get your meaning across.
Explore your preferred software’s filter presets and practice applying meaning to a particular look- what does it remind you of?
If your software allows, it may be possible to adjust the preset settings and save as your own filter.
Consider applying the same filter/ adjustment combinations to a collection of images to create a unified series.
Careful when applying too many filters-your image can become grainy and even pixellated.
Some of my favourite mobile editing apps are: Snapseed, Slow Shutter Cam, Photoshop Mix, Lightroom Mobile, Mextures, VSCO & Enlight.