Saturday, April 27, 2013


Cellphoneography ~ try saying that five times fast!  I'm not even sure if it is a real word, but it accurately describes a type of photography that has become extremely popular in this generation.  With Camera phones and iPad's with cameras, photography is literally at our fingertips.

There are many different photo sharing apps that you can use to share photos you've taken with your cell phone.  Here are a few of them: Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Pixlr-O-Matic, Hipster, Camera+,  Adobe Photoshop Express 2.0, and Streamzoo.

I personally use Instagram to share my photos.  I enjoy the community and the "relationships" I've formed through this platform.  Even though I post photos through Instagram, I do most of my editing with other apps.  I'm going to walk you through what I do and hopefully some of my tips will help you to take better cell phone photos.

Step One ~ Take a good photo

This may seem like a trivial statement, but in order to have a good final product, you must have a good photo to start out with.  Make sure it is in focus.  You do this by touching the part of your screen you want your camera to focus on.  Look at the background, can you create a more pleasing or appealing background by changing your position?  Is there enough light?  If there isn't, your photo will be grainy (higher ISO).  And lastly, as I always say, TURN OFF THAT FLASH!  Yes, even with your cell phone, turn off your flash!  Turn lights on, go outside, move out of the shade... all things you can do in place of the flash.

Step Two ~ Composition

If you will be posting your photo on Instagram, remember that it will be in a 1x1 format (basically a square).  Keep this in mind when taking your photograph.  If I am taking a photo specifically for Instagram I will purposely add space in the photo so that when I crop it later, my "square" is still intact how I want it.  As with regular photography, make sure your lighting is how you want it.  If the sun is in front of you, you will have washed out tones and a sunflare.  If the sun is behind you, you will have a certain flatness (limited depth) to your photo.  If the sun is to the left or right a bit you will achieve a nice depth and shadowing on your subject.  There is no "right" way to take the photo ~ just pay attention and try to make your results "intentional."

Step Three ~ Editing

Many people just throw their photo into one program do a few edits and post (either to a sharing site, Facebook, or email).  I go a little crazy with my editing.  I'm going to show you a few apps that I use and take you through my process.  Something I'm not doing here is adding texture.  I will leave that for another post...


First I take the photo with my regular cell camera.  Some of the apps allow you to take the photo through them but I prefer to use my regular phone camera and then open the photo in the app that way. My personal favorite and go to editing app is Snapseed.  I open my photo into the app as you see below.

Next I crop the image.  If I am just throwing it up on FB, I only crop if something needs to be straightened or cropped out.  If I am using the photo for Instagram I crop it to a 1x1 ratio.  As you can see below, I have the option now to move my box around the photo and crop it how it pleases me.  I choose to have more of the bottom than the top because I like the curvature of the carousel and want to retain that in my photo.

Next I straighten the photo.  Again, this is optional depending on your photo and if you need to make any adjustments.  This is also where you have the option to flip your photo to the right or left.

Now I make exposure or white balance adjustments.  I want to brighten up my photograph a bit and also increase the contrast.

From here I can continue to make artistic edits if I choose, or just continue on.  I am happy with how it looks, so I will save my image as is.  I usually choose the top option as I like to make additional edits in other programs.  But you can share this photo directly from this app if you choose.

Now I open up an app called "Color Cap."  This is where I add my watermark.  Again, there are other apps that you can do the same thing, but I prefer this one.  You can change the size, color, and font of your text.

Here is my photo with my watermark added to it.  I will move the watermark around so it is in an eye pleasing place.  When I started on Instagram, I never watermarked my photos as they were all cell phone images.  However, there are enough people on there who "steal" images and market them as their own.  I just slap my watermark on the photo and personally have not had a problem.

Now you save your image again and can either open directly into Instagram or Share another way.  I am done with the photo so I will open directly into Instagram from here.

In Instagram, I look at the possible filters and choose the one I like.  For this specific photo I like the way that the Earlybird filter looks.  I click the "Next" button at the top, write a little caption, and share the photo.

And VIOLA, you have a nicely edited photograph to share with friends and add to your personal library.  Enjoy ~ and if you are on Instagram, let me know so I can follow you!  <3

Capturing the Moment,

Corrie <3


  1. ~ I still don't understand how I missed this the last time I was here! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I love my cell phone vintage looking pictures thanks to you. I have a long trip coming up and these apps are going to provide me w hours of entertainment during the drive.

    1. I'm so happy you found the tutorial helpful! Please feel free to share some of your favorites on the Traveling Hearts Photography Facebook page :)