Cropping – step one for improving your iPhone pictures

Crop-8-7Want to improve the iPhone photos you post on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media sites? For beginner photographers and busy amateurs like me, there are a handful of things you can do very quickly to improve your images. The first one is to crop the shot for a better composition.

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional photographer. Almost a year ago, I started doing a daily photo journal because I found that I was so busy with my job as a manager at Adobe that I no longer had time to create art. I figured that if I took just 5 minutes a day to create an image with my iPhone, that might satisfy my need to create without taking too much time. I have been posting my images on Instagram and Facebook and several of my family, friends, and colleagues have asked me for tutorials. This is the first one.

These are the steps I follow to enhance and improve my iPhone photos by cropping.

  1. Take a picture with your iPhone.
  2. Open the Photos app and select the photo that needs cropping.
  3. Optional: To visualize the cropped image before you crop: touch two fingers to the middle of the photo and slowly spread the fingers outward to zoom in on the image. (Pinch your two fingers in to zoom out again.) Use one or two fingers to move the image around on the screen. Zoom in and out on the photo to plan how you want to crop.
  4. Pick a photo editing app for cropping. There are lots of good ones (Photoshop Touch, Lightroom Mobile, Snapseed, Camera+). You can even crop right there or in your Camera Roll.
    Photo Mar 05, 4 06 10 PM     Photo Mar 05, 4 06 20 PM
    Note: in some apps the crop may permanently change your photo. The editing feature in your Camera Roll allows you to revert back to the original if you don’t like the way it cropped. (Or you could try an app that is “non-destructive” like Lightroom Mobile.)

Here are some of the things I try to create when I crop an image:
(All the images below were cropped to a square for posting in Instagram.)

Interesting shapes—especially along the borders:
Crop-3      Crop-2

Less clutter and more focus on the subject:
Crop-8-2   Crop-9-2

Drama or close up detail:
Double-cropSeqMovement of the lines and colors that draw your eye around the image:
Crop-9-5      Crop-8-5

Creating mystery or implied story:
Crop-9-6     Crop-8-6
Crop-8-8     Crop-9-7

One final cropping tip for Instagram posts: your iPhone camera has a setting to take square pictures so you can better frame the shot for Instagram. Check it out:
Photo Mar 05, 5 36 26 PM

Stay tuned to this blog for another tutorial on how to improve your iPhone photos. Next time, how to improve your color photos by making them black & white.

Resources and more info:
Sean Duggan iphoneography blog
10 Rules of Photo Composition blog post
How to crop and Level in Lightroom
Luanne Seymour’s Instagram feed to see lots of iPhone photos

Basic photography questions explained

01-26Ever wonder why your photos turn out too dark or too light? Or how to set up your camera to get crisp action shots? Or how to get that cool effect of having the background of your photo being soft and blurry with the foreground object being sharp and in focus? The Creative Cloud Learn team is experimenting with short videos about photography. They are part of a larger set of tutorials for Novice Photographers. These are totally worth checking out if you are just learning about digital photography:

Be sure to give us feedback on what you think of the tutorials and what other questions or topics you’d like us to cover.

Basic digital photography tutorials

photog-noviceAre you wanting to learn more about digital photography? This is a good place to start: Photography Tutorials. There are some very basic  2-minute tutorials here for novice photographers who are just getting started. If you are a total beginner and just want to learn a few really basic skills, check these out:

Find the right tutorial faster with Adobe’s new Search

Search-2Adobe’s learning search has not been the greatest. We’ve wanted to fix it for a really long time and we’re really excited about our new redesign of tutorial search.

There are almost 1000 Creative Cloud app tutorials on Adobe.com, but they’re often too hard to find. This summer, the Learn team built a totally new tutorial search experience to help you get what you need faster. It just went live yesterday.

Here are some of the improvements:

  • Search is now available on every tutorial page.
  • Search results are totally redesigned to help you decide which tutorial works the best for you. On the results page you’ll find a whole new look.
  • Each search result includes:
    • tutorial description
    • tutorial type:  video, text, hands-on, game
    • duration:  length of the tutorial or time to complete a hands-on project
    • apps covered
    • user level

Take a look:

SearchTry it out for yourself!

Removing red eye in Lightroom

092413Are you a person who prefers visuals in your instruction rather than a wall of words? If so, you’ll love this new visual tutorial from Adobe. Its an experiment we are trying for some of the most commonly asked “how to” questions. I think it will appeal to the people who love Lego and IKEA instructions. No words are necessary because the pictures say it all. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Are you a Lightroom beginner?

080213Here’s a friendly place to get your questions about Lightroom answered. Adobe has just launched the Lightroom for Beginners forum. It’s chock full of great info on how to get started. There are also lots of friendly people there who are waiting to answer your questions, no matter how basic.

Are you a Photoshop Beginner? There’s a friendly place for you too. Check out the Photoshop for Beginners forum.

Learn Creative Cloud by playing a game

blogpost01Here’s something interesting! Looks like these folks are trying to make a learning game for Creative Cloud. Click here if you want to learn more.

Getting started with digital imaging?

If you want to understand some of the basic concepts behind digital photography and editing digital images, you should check out these Key Concepts pages. Each one is a very quick read. I highly recommend taking a peek before you dive into learning how to use any of these programs. Here is the list of Key Concepts for Photoshop and Lightroom:

Special effects

Transformations

Here is the list of Key Concepts for Photoshop Elements 9:

Special effects

Transformations

Tutorial list for Adobe products

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list of Adobe tutorials that you could scan through quickly? Wish you didn’t have to wade through search results full of irrelevant content? What you need is a comprehensive tutorial list! Adobe has created just the list for you. They’ve got lists of all the tutorials (both video and text) that live on Adobe.com for 11 different products. The lists contain tutorials for multiple versions of the products, with the most recent tutorials on the top. You can sign up for an RSS feed to find out when new tutorials are added to the list.

Check out these lists for some really great tutorials (including CS5):

Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Bridge tutorials

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Just signing off for the year. I wanted to tell you that my posts will be less frequent from now on. I will still be posting occasionally when I find a really good topic with great tutorials to tell you about. For now, I highly recommend that you look to the following links for really great content that is being updated regularly:

Photoshop Help and Support

Bridge Help and Support

Lightroom Help and Support

Illustrator Help and Support

If you have great tutorials, try using the comment feature at the bottom of the Help pages to submit your content. If the writers like your work, they might include it in the documentation and give you credit!

Have a great holiday season. See you in 2009. Happy New Year!

Luanne Seymour
Sr Instructional Designer, Digital Imaging
Adobe Systems Inc.