Learn How Camera+ Can Liven Up Your Baby Photos

camera+ logo

A parent photography coach’s tour of the Camera+ app

Last week I talked about my five favorite photo editing iPhone apps and, as promised, this week I’m going to take you on a more in depth tour of Camera+ and show you the most powerful features I recommend you use to transform your baby photos from blah to wow!

One of the great things about Camera+ is that it is a relatively simple app so it’s easy to learn without getting too overwhelmed, yet powerful in what it can do for you.

Here are the steps I recommend for transforming your photos using Camera+.

1) Use Camera+ to take photos

Camera+ is not just a photo editing app – you can also take photos from within the app and, in fact, I take almost all my iPhone photos using it.

There are two main benefits to doing so:

a) Not only can you tap to focus (something I recommend) but you can also tap again to create a separate exposure meter that you can move around on your photo to adjust the exposure without affecting focus. So if your photo is too dark, move it to a dark area of the photo and it will get brighter and vice versa.

b) The flash has a “flashlight” option where the flash stays on continuously as it does for video. The advantage of using this for photos is that you can avoid the startled “deer caught in headlights” look that you often get with a burst of flash.

There are many other shooting features including stabilizer, timer and burst, but these two that I use the most.

2) Import the photo you want to edit

Under “settings” set “autosave” to “camera roll” so all your photos go to the camera roll as with the regular camera app. You can then import only the photos you want to edit, knowing that all your photos are safely in your camera roll and backed up using Photostream (and if you don’t have Photostream turned on, I highly recommend that you do).

I usually import photos one at a time into the Camera+ “Lightbox”, edit them and then save and close them.

camera+ lightbox screenshot

3) Add a border

I like to add a border first so I can see the “finished” photo, and I like to use the “offset” border 99.9% of the time. I like how it looks but it also, to me, calls out that this is an iPhone photo. I’m big on consistency so I like to stay with the same border but you can have fun playing around with different borders if you like. Just bear in mind how it will look if say, you put a whole bunch of photos into an album. Will you like that they have different borders or will that bother you? Or will you crop the border out?
Note: If your photo needs to be rotated, you can do so under “adjust.”

camera+ photo adjustments screenshot

4) Apply a scene

Check out these “scenes” in particular as the ones most likely to improve your photos – clarity – flash – backlit.
There are many other scenes available too but those are most helpful if the “white balance” of your photo is off ie it looks for warm/yellow or cool/blue.

camera+ lighting screenshot

5) Crop

Don’t underestimate the power of cropping! You can strengthen the composition, get rid of background clutter, and zoom in where you may not have had time to in real life. Don’t be afraid to try a few different crops to see which you like best. I like to keep the crop ratio to “original” for consistency (photo will be cropped to the same height and width ratio as your original photo) or to square but many other ratios are provided for different print sizes etc.

camera+ crop screenshot

6) Effects

Now comes the fun part! “Effects” are filters that will transform your photo usually by increasing brightness, contrast and saturation, adjusting colors and sometimes adding a subtle texture or vignette (where the outside edges of your photo are darker to bring more focus to the center). There are several different sets of effects, including a couple of extra ones that require an additional purchase but are worth the tiny price!
As I mentioned before, one of the things I love about Camera+ is that you can adjust the intensity of an effect, and with a recent update, it is now really easy to layer effects as well, so it gives you a lot more control than most apps as far as effects. For most purposes, I don’t like to edit my photos in too stylized a fashion, so I usually apply effects at around 20%.

Here are some of my favorites:

Color:

  • So Emo

Retro:

  • Lomographic
  • Lo-Fi
  • Ansel
  • Toy Camera

Special:

  • Polorize
  • Color Dodge
  • Cross Process
  • Overlay

I Love Analog (special purchase):

  • Silver Gelatin
  • Contessa
  • XPRO C-41

Hollywood (special purchase):

  • Enterprise
  • Madison Ave
  • Amelie
  • Gotham

I know, that’s a long list! I would start out identifying a handful of favorites and using them as your go-to effects.

camera+ advanced settings and effects screenshot

7) Save

That’s it, you’re done! If you hold down on the save button after closing out your photo you have several options for saving. The default is “save and remove” which removes the photo from the Camera+ Lightbox, but if you want to save a version and keep editing, you can chose “save and keep” instead.

camera+ save and export screenshot

You can also share your photo right from within Camera+ to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr but I prefer to do so from my camera roll.

One final note: Don’t over obsess on editing your photos to the point where you no longer want to edit your photos as it takes too long! To start with, you’ll want to take longer to try out all the features, but once you get the hang of it, you should literally be able to go through all these steps in less than a minute. I’ll edit on the fly while I’m out so I can instantly share a photo on Facebook – it should not be a long drawn out process.
Here’s the original unedited photo

camera+ original photo

Here’s the photo as edited here in this blog post

camera+ after photo

And here’s the same photo edited in Snapseed and THEN Camera+


camera+ and snapseed after photo of baby

Why Snapseed as well? Many photos will look great edited in Camera+ alone but photos like this one are more tricky. You can see that editing it in Snapseed first enabled me to get a better edit – join me next week and I’ll show you how.

In the meantime, check out more beach iphone photos and tips from a recent long weekend at the beach, all edited with Snapseed and Camera+.