Photos in Mixed Media Art and Art Journals, and Favorite iPhonography apps

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.

~ Ansel Adams

The art of photography is way more accessible to all of us than ever before.  Pretty much everybody has a camera on their phone…cameras and video cameras are more affordable, for much better quality…and photo editing apps and software are available to the masses.

We perform lots of photography magic around here, I guess that comes with having four kids.  We have delightful moments to capture every couple of moments or so…and the kids are asking to take a picture of this and that all throughout the days.

Just yesterday evening, kid number 3, my younger son Ryland, had me snapping shots of a huge worm.  The worm had surfaced as we were watering the backyard, and he was fighting his way off of the porch and back down into the mud.  Ryland, Bella, and I watched for a long time, keeping track of the worm’s progress.  They were duly impressed, and we just had to record the moment on the iPhone camera.

All of this newly acquired photography ease is fantastic for us artists…we can use pics in our art, we can snap pics of art fodder for later sketching or inspiration…and you don’t have to lug around a huge bag of camera stuff to do it.

And the apps, oh, the photo editing apps!  We can take a quickly snapped photo and turn it into a masterpiece through the many available editing apps.  I know I’m on the way to being the next Ansel Adams!

So here’s the St John Studios two-cents worth on which photo apps we love best (we might be using oldies but goodies, I do look at new apps on a regular basis, but it seems that most of the new apps are aimed at social stuff and not so much new ways of editing).

  1. Pro HDR.  Probably my most used app.  If you haven’t seen it or tried it, it is well-worth the investigation.  I use this app for a whole bunch of my art pics that I post here on the blog.  It will analyze the subject, and then take two photos and merge them together.  You end up with pics that really do a great job with the color of your image.  It will also put the image in high definition and account for any blurring of the image.  The one trick, you must keep really still while taking the pic.  It also has manual applications.
  2. Best Camera.  This is a super-fun app for adding filters to your pics.  Not much else to this app, so I use other apps for cropping and so forth, and then bring the photos here to play with filters.  The app does have some kind of photo-sharing thing with it, Christopher plays with that but I don’t know anything about it.
  3. Color Splash.  Great app for playing with color.  You can create those cool pics that have everything in black and white except for an accent color.  You can turn the whole pic gray-scale, and then go back and colorize just someone’s shirt for instance.  You have the capability of zooming in on any part of the photo so that you can colorize a tiny bit of pixels at at time (which is good for me, I have huge hands and tend to fumble around on the iPhone screen).
  4. Camera Bag.  One of my filter faves.  Again, I do other editing in some of my other apps and then bring here to add the filters.  Magazine, silver, and cinema are my personal faves.
  5. Photogene.  This is my go-to app for cropping, sharpening, and color adjusting.  It also has some fun frames and background effects to play with.  I often start here and get the image ready for the other apps.
  6. Photoshop Express.  The other app I use to prep photos.  It has many of the same features as Photogene.  I do really like its flipping, rotating, and straightening functions.
  7. Filter FX.  Another great filter app.  I sometimes use this one rather than Camera Bag because of the way it adds filters without altering the shape of the photo when it’s adding the filter.
  8. Camera Genius.  This is one of Christopher’s fave apps.  It has a terrific function, Burst, for taking rapid pics in succession.  This is awesome when you have a bunch of little kids running around faster than you can snap the button.  You press the take-a-photo button once, and then it takes a series of rapid-fire shots.  It has a bunch of other cool features, like anti-shake, timer, and big button (which makes the screen your take-a-pic button).  Also works well for taking snapshots for .gif making programs (which Christopher loves).
  9. GifBoom.  App for creating a gif out of pics.  This is a Christopher app, I haven’t played with it other than playing with the funny little gifs that he makes.  He and the kids play together on making the perfect series of pics and then taking them into this app and making the gifs.  Lots of fun!
  10. PhotoFunia.  Okay, this is really a playful app, it’s all about taking a pic that’s already altered in the other ways, and adding fun things to it.  For example, you can turn your photo into a sketch.  Or you can put the photo on a billboard, those kinds of things.
  11. TiltShift.  Another of Christopher’s faves.  Makes the foreground of a pic look all tiny and toy-like by blurring out the background.  The image of a town will look like a model.
  12. PicGruner.  Okay, probably my favorite app.  It’s not where you do any editing, it’s where you take your prepared snapshot and GRUNGE IT UP!!  Love it!!

Whew, that’s a lot of apps, huh??

Prompt: Grab your camera, and go take some pics!  What apps do you use and why?

4 thoughts on “Photos in Mixed Media Art and Art Journals, and Favorite iPhonography apps

  1. That’s an awesome quote from Ansel Adams.

    We use Picasa. Mostly because it’s free and it gives me enough room to tweak things a little bit. I don’t like altering my photos much. Just mostly for straightening, cropping, adjusting the contrast and bring out colors a little bit or adding shadows if if things are too bright.

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