Editing Photos on your iPhone — Part 2: Removing distracting objects in travel photos
Backstory for this “Editing Photos on your iPhone” series:
People often ask me what camera I use to take the photos for this blog. And most of the time, they’re surprised to find out that many of the photos were taken and edited on my iPhone. The iPhone camera is no joke, especially with features like Portrait mode. It’s also super convenient for taking photos while traveling or cooking (the idea of having an expensive DSLR by your stove kinda turns me off). You can also find some amazing apps on the app store that will work just as well as Photoshop and prevent you from airdropping photos back and forth between your phone and your computer.
Did you learn some basic color correcting tools in Part 1 yet?
Part 2 TL;DR:
“I took a crappy photo in a nice place. But it has so many distractions in the background that I wish I could get rid of! What should I do?”
The unedited photo:
Goodness gracious! There are so many things wrong with this photo. It’s so hard not to just delete it. But what I do like about this photo is that it’s pretty candid. I really like the movement of the walking, and it really conveys the feeling of being on a trip.
Let’s identify what’s wrong with the photo:
It’s too dark, and most of the photo is in the shadows
There’s trash everywhere on the floor! (For reference, this was shot in the Monti neighborhood of Rome in the morning—so after a wild night out drinking for a lot of Romans)
There’s a trash can taking up a lot of space on the left side of the photo
The photo is lopsided (the walls of the buildings are tilted)
The apps that I’m going to use to fix these issues are:
Step 1: Make the trash disappear
The trash in this photo really doesn’t contribute to the “traveling” vibe of this photo at all and is only a distraction. Let’s remove it by following these steps in TouchRetouch:
Go to the object removal tab
Tap on the brush tool
Brush away the trash by adjusting the brush size and zooming in for precision
Compare before and after by tapping the second icon from the right in the top toolbar
Step 2: Straighten and crop the photo
To fix the tilt of the photo, lets open it up in the Lightroom app:
Select the crop & rotate tool
Crop parts of the image that are uninteresting—like the trash can on the left. This will also make the composition of the photo better and place the subject of interest on the lower left third of the photo (which is more interesting than in the center)
Rotate the image until the lines of the buildings line up with the grid lines of the image.
Step 3: Color correction
Let’s also do some color adjustment in the Lightroom app as well.
In the Light tab:
Bump the exposure to brighten the image
Bump the contrast to make the image pop a bit more
Increasing the exposure may have caused the buildings in the distance to become too washed out. Because of this, I reduced the highlights so we can see more of the building’s details.
Reduce the shadows that was overwhelming most of the image before
In the Color tab:
Make the image warmer to give it a more summery vibe (the warm tones of the building really go well with my dress!)
Increase the saturation to make the image more colorful
Step 4: Creative last tweaks:
Choose a filter that compliments your photo. In my case, I chose the “Fuji Provia 400x” filter, which gives my photo a film-like vibe. You can also adjust the warmth of this filter.
Increase the exposure
Make the shadows weaker
Sharpen the image
Bump the contrast a bit more
original photo vs Final photo with edits:
And voilà! A disastrous photo turned into one that you can actually post on Instagram! The edited photo gives off so much more of a summer vibe, and is free of distractions like the trash on the floor. The composition has improved as well: having the subject offset from the center of the image puts more emphasis on where she’s going rather than on her. (Why am I speaking of myself in the third person…?)
For more iPhone photo help, please check out part 1 of this series!