CReative journal

Where I really explore art and what I can do

The Best Android Photography Hacks

Android users, these four photography hacks will change how you take photos from now on!

There are a lot of amazing phone photography hacks on the internet that can give you a unique, artistic look, like this one by Scoop Whoop. But what you’re reading right now is a little different. These are the four best android photography hacks that mimics professional camera-like photos. Yep, you can make your android photos look like a professional photographer took it. The four hacks I’m about to show you are how to get long exposure, lens compression, shallow focus, and panoramas. Using these hacks will help you get the best possible photo every time!

Android Photography Hack #1 – Long Exposures

For the longest time, I thought it was impossible to take a long exposure photo with a phone. I believed that was strictly something that only camera could do but that’s no longer true! Many android phones now offer the settings to create stunning long exposure photos.

Since I have a Samsung Galaxy s20, I’m going to use those settings to show you how to use this long exposure hack.

In your camera, you may have different options to choose from such as portrait, video, or photo. Choose the one that says ‘pro’ or ‘manual’. This will allow you to manually control the settings of the photo, just like you would with a camera in manual mode.

Set your android phone on a tripod or place it somewhere steady. Next, put on a slow shutter speed and -if you can- a high f-stop. The last thing to do is to take the picture and marvel at what you just shot!

Android Photography Hack #2 – Lens Compression

Lens Compression is one of the best android photography hacks I’ve ever learned to use in phone photography. One reason is because it’s something anyone with a phone can do, not only android users. It is so handy when you want to emphasize the background. Take this image for example. I took this photo at Yellowstone. I just snapped a simple photo of it and the mountain in the background just didn’t look as big as it did in real life.

android photography of girl looking at mountain before lens compression hack

The mountain may look big but trust me, it was actually a lot bigger. Because the mountain is the main focal point in this image, lens compression is the best hack we could possibly use on this photo.

This photography hack is so easy. All you do is back up and zoom in. That’s it. This is what my photo looked like after I took a few steps back and zoomed in.

The best android hack, lens compression - girl with enormous mountain in the background

Look at that difference! The mountain is now enormous! I use this android photography hack whenever I travel to scenic locations like Yellowstone. It’s so easy to do. With a camera, you’d have to use an 85 mm lens or larger to get a photo with lens compression like this. And lenses like that are typically very expensive! Using your android phone, or any phone really, and just zooming in is a way better deal!

Android Photography Hack #3 – Shallow Depth of Field

Because of popularity, this hack has become a staple setting already put on most android phones. This is portrait mode, which creates a shallow depth of field by blurring out the background. Although it’s very popular, I just had to share this hack.

This hack is the exact opposite of the lens compression hack. Lens Compression is used when you want to emphasize your background. Shallow depth of field is used when you want to emphasize the foreground. This is very popular in portraits but can be used for other types of photography like landscapes.

Take this photo for example.

Before picture of the android photography hack of shallow depth with girl by mountain

This is a nice photo but its not the best. The mountain is distracting and pulls attention away from my model. So, I decided to use the shallow depth of field hack.

All you have to do is go to portrait mode (or even manual mode) and take the picture. This will blur the background but keep the subject in focus.

best android photography hack - shallow depth girl is focus but the background is blurry

Doesn’t that look much better?! Now, here’s the kicker, my dear android users. The hack isn’t over. Go to gallery and view the picture. Below the picture will be a button that says something along the lines of ‘change background effect’. Click it and you’ll be able to change how blurry the background is! You can make it as blurry or as sharp as you’d like.

Android Photography Hack #4 – Panoramas

Panoramas, like portrait mode, is a setting option on many android phones. However, many people don’t use it enough or creatively enough.

Taking a panorama is simple. You simply choose the panorama option, press the button, and move your camera.  Most people use this to capture horizontal photos. But have you done vertical photos? You get to play with perspective and foreground to make a mind-bending photo. There’s so much potential in them.

photo of the grand tetons before using panorama android hack

Here’s a boring simple snapshot of the grand Tetons. Let’s take it to the next level with out panorama hack.

best android photography panorama hack of the grand tetons and a tree

Look at that! Just by moving my phone vertically rather than horizontally, I’m playing with perspective!

Conclusion

These are the best android photography hacks that I know of. I use them every time I take a picture and I hope you will too! These hacks will really take your photography skills to the next level and wow your friends. I’m excited to see what you create using these tips. Happy shooting!

My Version of the Titanic Poster

I made a recreation of the iconic Titanic poster!

I wanted to put my photoshop skills to the test, but in a fun way! So I decided to do something I normally don’t do. I decided to recreate the Titanic movie poster.

Original Titanic Movie Poster

Original Titanic Movie Poster

There isn’t a huge, important reason why I chose this movie poster. To be honest, I haven’t even seen the Titanic. When I saw this poster, I noticed that she had curly hair like I do and my husband has blonde hair like Leonardo Di Caprio. So it sounded like a great one to recreate!

The Process of Recreating the Titanic Poster

Posing

The hardest part was the posing. It doesn’t look like it was an awkward position but it really was! I’m still not entirely sure how Rose is angled. I guessed that her back was facing the camera and they photoshopped the crease at her neck out. It was a little uncomfortable but my husband and I were able to recreate something similar.

Editing the Skin and Hair

Editing the skin and hair took a very long time, specifically while editing me. Since Rose has red hair, I added a little red to my hair. I tried to match it the best I could! But because I don’t naturally have red hair it looked very fake. My conclusion was to alter my skin tone slightly. I have a very slight olive skin tone whereas Rose has more pink in her skin. So I painted, with a light opacity, a color similar to Rose’s skin over mine. It wasn’t a huge difference but it helped the red hair look a lot more believable.

My husband didn’t really need any editing. He already looked pretty close to Jack.

Making the Titanic

I first considered finding a royalty free image of a boat that looked similar to the Titanic but I wasn’t having any luck. In hindsight, I’m glad I couldn’t find one because I’m proud of how it turned out. I decided to make it a vector graphic. I used the same colors as the Titanic image in the original poster to make it look more believable. Once I added it to my background, I realized the lighting looked a little off. The sky looked like it had light coming in from the right but on the ship, I had light coming in from the left. I liked where the sky was so I simply flipped the ship.

Creating the Titanic Logo

This part was pretty easy because I actually had the font they used in the poster! I just made a few minor adjustments like kerning and voila! I made the Titanic logo!

My Version of the Titanic Poster – Finished Work

Well, it took me some time to make this but I did it! It was really fun making this and I learned a few tricks here and there while making it. So I’d call that a success!

My recreation of the Titanic movie poster

My recreation of the Titanic Poster

What do you think about it? Do you think I should make another? If so, what movie do you want to see next?

Creative Composite and Cinemagraph

Exercising my Photoshop skills by creating a Cinemagraph and a Composite!

Nearly every photographer can agree, the art is in the post production. Sometimes creating your art is by simply upping the exposure or changing a few hues. Other times, you have to watch a ton of YouTube tutorials, have a ton of layers, bracketing, filters, warping, etc. This type of editing can take hours, even days. It’s exhausting but worth it. You not only get a beautiful image, you learn your way around photoshop pretty well!

Because I’m always digging for new tips and tricks, I tried to make two creative images: a composite and a cinemagraph.

A composite is an image made up of multiple images. For example, you could find a picture of a giraffe and a picture of a birthday party, combine them, and make it look like the giraffe is at a birthday party! Now I’m wishing I did that as my composite. . .

A cinemagraph is very similar to a gif, but there is a key difference. In a gif, everything is moving. In a cinemagraph, everything is still -like a picture- and one key aspect is moving. For example, you take a picture of a man next to a waterfall and a video of the waterfall. You compile the two and it makes a cinemagraph.

Creating the composite

To make this exercise a little more challenging, I decided to only use photos that I’ve recently shot. I can’t use any images from UnSplash, Pixabay, nothing. Thankfully I had a great photoshoot a few days ago that I was excited to try a composite on.

During my photoshoot, I took a bunch of photos of a cute little bird. It was sadly stuck inside an abandoned school and was trying to fly out of a closed window. The poor thing! I quickly took a few photos and opened the window and it flew off. The photos I got were pretty good and I was excited to use them in a composite. I used these photos as my key inspiration and image.

I wanted to find an image that would look good with the birds and seem like the images are interacting with each other. Thankfully, I took the perfect image for this. It was of a cowboy holding out his hat.

I immediately knew I wanted to have multiple images of the bird perched on the hat looking at him. Using the object select tool, I selected the birds and added it to the cowboy’s hat. I rotated them and used the free transform tool to scale them as well. However, after doing all of that, the birds looked obviously out of place. So, I selected my layers, went to Edit and clicked Auto-Blend Layers. It added light and color to the birds and shadows on the hat. This made it look a lot more realistic!

Composite- cowboy holding out his hat with birds on it

Composite- cowboy holding out his hat with birds on it

Creating the Cinemagraph

I’ve never made a cinemagraph before. Yet for some reason, I decided to do an incredibly difficult type of cinemagraph: a double exposure cinemagraph. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do this with out the help of YouTube and Jobi, the creator of dR-DesignResources. Thank you!

I started with an image of my cowboy, the same one I used for my composite. After selecting him, I created a new document. I then grabbed a video I took while at the photoshoot and made it a layer. Then, I made the video layer a mask and painted the video wherever I wanted it to be visible. The video was too fast so I had to slow that down quite a bit.

Then, ta-da! I finished it! Just I clicked save, Photoshop had an error with saving it and crashed. So I had to start all over. But it’s all good! I’m happy with how it turned out!

Cinemagraph - Double Negative Cowboy with snow

Cinemagraph – Double Negative Cowboy with snow

After finishing those two, I was pretty tired. But my mind is already stirring with ideas of what I can do next. So, who knows, you might just see a few more composites and cinemagraphs from me soon!

Making a Business Branding Template

Want so see how I branded my website by making my own template?

It can be very hard to brand your business. There is so many fonts, colors, and themes you have to consider, let alone your audience. That’s why I decided making my own business branding template. This is how I decided on my branding! I hope this template helps all you photographers and other design enthusiasts!

Business Branding starts with Pinterest

Business Branding Mood Board from Pinterest

My Business Branding Mood Board from Pinterest

Pinterest quickly became my best friend when I started thinking about my business brand. When I started, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in. Looking at logos, color palettes, fonts, and website layouts on Pinterest really helped me get ideas about what I want to do and see what the trends were in my pinned images.

A huge inspiration for my website was Bastien Allard. I love his incorporation of photography with typography. I absolutely love his work and I would never have found him if I didn’t make this mood board on Pinterest!

My Branding

LaShay and Light Business Branding Template

Business Branding

Because I am obsessed with typography, I spent most of my time trying to find the best font. After that, I used colors that I often see in my own photos. This way, my photos look like they go with my website.

For my logo, I ran it through a few people in my target audience. After I knew they liked it, I needed to make sure I like it. So, I decided to put it on mock ups. Seeing it on a product helped me see what alterations I needed to make.

As I made my own branding template, I often referred back to my business branding mood board. This helped me stay on track and keep a structured style.

 

Ordinary Spot Extraordinary Shot

Some every day spots may look ordinary at first glance, but you can make them extraordinary shots with just a little creativity!

Think about what you see everyday. You probably don’t even think about what’s around you. This little exercise I did really makes you look at your surroundings. The idea of an ordinary spot, extraordinary shot is a little self explanatory but I highly recommend it. It pushes your creativity and makes you see things in a different light.

Some of my favorite photographers use this exercise to help them see in a new way and find beauty in what could be seen as very boring places or objects. A great example of this is Maryline Rivard. One of my favorite pictures of hers is a closeup photo she took of a pinecone. It seems like a boring picture but then she adds a composite of a fairy on the pinecone. Very clever and very cute! Maryline is a great example of finding ordinary sports and making them magical.

Green Bottle

 green spray bottle

Ordinary spot – green spray bottle

 

Close up of a green glass spray bottle -ordinary spot extraordinary shot

Extraordinary Shot – Close up of a green glass spray bottle

When in doubt, do a close-up shot. This is a photo of this really pretty spray bottle. I decided to take this picture because I love the because of it’s beautiful emerald green color. First, I took the cap off the bottle and lifted it up towards the ceiling light. Using a macro lens, I angled it so the camera was looking through the bottle’s opening and towards the bottom of the bottle. I love how this turned out! The colors were so rich, there was very little editing for me to do!

CD

 plain cd

Ordinary Spot- plain cd

My husband has an old soul. He still keeps a bunch of plain cd’s in case he wants to make a sweet mixtape. I’ve always loved the colors that shine on them. So, I decided to play with light and take a picture. I grabbed my laptop and found a picture with colors I really liked. Then, I place my cd next it and it shined these beautiful colors!

Extraordinary Shot - Rainbow CD

Extraordinary Shot – Rainbow CD

Mirror and Accessories

 Mirror and accessories

Ordinary Shot – Mirror and accessories

I love reflections. My husband’s tie was out and I loved the texture on it. I decided to add a little bit of my jewelry. To spice it up even more, I added a mirror. Trying to angle it just right was a little tricky but I finally got it! I love how it turned out.

Extraordinary Shot - tie with accessories blue stone necklace

Extraordinary Shot – blue stone necklace with accessories

Wedding Ring

wedding ring

Ordinary Shot- wedding ring in the clouds

I sat on my couch and stared at my hands, wondering what I should shoot next. As I stared at my hands, I noticed my beautiful wedding ring. I decided to take pictures of it. This setup was inspired by a tiktok trend where they would place a product on a mirror. Then, you find a picture or video and play it on your laptop to get cool reflections. I’m not sure who first started it but the person I saw do it was Katarina Mogus. Props to her! This was a fun way to play with reflections!

Extraordinary Shot - Ring in the clouds

Extraordinary Shot – Ring in the clouds

This exercise, ordinary spot extraordinary shot, really helped me break out of my comfort zone. I definitely recommend trying this! Happy shooting!

DIY Black Background Studio Lighting

I learned how to achieve beautiful black backgrounds without using a studio!

I don’t know about you but I’ve always loved studio lighting, especially those with sleek black backgrounds. It looks so classy and dramatic! For quite a while, I couldn’t figure it out how on earth they were able to do it. I was certain that you would need a huge studio to make those photos.

Well, you won’t believe what I learned.

You don’t need to have an entire studio full of equipment to make those photos. All you need is a camera, a speedlight, and a snoot (or just a reflector folded to be a snoot). That’s it!

Basically, you need to use a high f-stop, a low ISO, and a shutter speed around 1/200th of a second. Because you’re using such a high f-stop, low ISO, and fast shutter speed, you’re image is going to be really dark. It should look completely black. If it doesn’t look black, play with your settings. I don’t recommend using a faster shutter speed though. If it’s too fast, your camera won’t capture all of the light from the flash. If half of your image is well lit but the other half is completely black, it’s a sign that your shutter speed is too high. So instead of raising your shutter speed, raise your f-stop.

For sake of time, I’ll explain the next part briefly. Sync your camera to the speedlight using a trigger and take a few test shots. Add more or less power if you need more or less light in the photo.

Glyn Dewis does a wonderful job of explaining this technique in a lot more detail. So if you want any more information about doing a DIY studio black background, I highly recommend checking his work out.

When I learned this, I quickly tried them out. Here’s a few of the photos I took using a faux studio black background.

Gold Crown in a DIY studio black background

Gold Crown in a DIY studio black background

Isn’t this crown just lovely? I know nowadays everyone loves crisp, true to life colors. But I was trying to go for a vintage look so I matted the blacks. This way the black isn’t a true black. Like I explained above, I made this by using a snoot light and a high exposure.

Woman putting on a crown with a dark sequin background

Woman putting on a crown with a dark sequin background

This one was a team effort. I had someone on a step ladder holding the snoot light, making it a sort of spotlight on my model, Jasmine Peery. We had a really pretty pink sequin tablecloth we used as a backdrop. This gave it nice texture while still having some black in it.

Boxing Gloves in a DIY Black Background

Boxing Gloves in a DIY Black Background

After taking this shot, I’m considering doing a little more sports photography. I just love how worn this boxing gloves are. I think this slick black background really makes these old boxing gloves really stand out.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting!

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