iPhone Editing Workflow: Part 1

38 thoughts on “iPhone Editing Workflow: Part 1”

  1. I’ve been on a similar trend for a while of editing my Fuji x100t images on an iPad almost exclusively. I’ve switched between RAW and JPEG in that time (though before Snapseed handled RAW, it would just convert the image to a JPEG when you went to edit it. I haven’t tried it since the RAW update came out). I had avoided the filters in Snapseed because I found them to be far to over processed (things like HDR, Glamour glow etc) and used VSCO filters instead. I think the main reason I like using the iPad and iPhone is it’s more tactile. The way you can slide across an image and touch where you want to burn/dodge just feels a bit more involved than using a mouse IMO.
    Thanks for the post.

    1. I agree with your assessment. I haven’t used the RAW editor either but will probably do so with the iPhone 7 since it shoots RAW. Not sure how much I will use it, but certainly will give it a go. Snapseed to me is just a lot more powerful than VSCO and more convenient. I consider the filters like HDR and the like to be similar to the hundreds of features of Lightroom I ignore, ha. As long as it does what I need it to don’t care much about the rest. In the past, Snapseed used to be more focused on those filters but has become a lot more professional in its recent iterations.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment and appreciate the follow as well!

      1. I’m fairly sure that the default camera on the iPhone 7 doesn’t shoot RAW but you have to use a third party app…which seems pretty strange but there you go.
        I know what you mean about ignoring those features, still the HDR was most prominently featured and isn’t a easy entry. It would be nice if you could remove some of these from the interface but there you go. No problem for the follow. I have been “following” for a while just without using the WordPress reader tool.

      2. Yeah, I noticed what you said with the SE. Always thought they were decent jpg anyway so not sure it matters much. I know what you mean with snapseed so I just leave them on the bottom. All the important ones are on top haha.

      3. Always treated jpeg like film in my digital cameras – set to B&W with red filter and keep it that way for a wholle roll / shoot. Or to any other simulation – just as a rule NO CHANGE DURING THE SHOOT.

        Jpeg is fine in a good camera!

  2. No worries about ditching the Epson – that’s called learning by doing. It’s a fabulous camera, but a bit long in the tooth for digital stuff.

    Thanks a lot for your insights into Snapseed – a great app that I never used to it’s full power. I used Lightroom Mobile but it’s a sluggish behemoth, not my thing. I’m also turning my back on Lightroom on my Mac. I’ll keep to Photos with those great extensions available now (Tonality, Snapheal, Affinity…). Does at least 80% of what I needed LR for.

    And this woke again my thoughts about buying a digital camera again…. The iPhone is great for digital, really, but sometimes you need to feel a proper camera in your hand.

    Besides I’m staying faithful to my Leica IIIa

    1. Yeah I completely understand. I’ve kept my film camera even though I don’t know when I’ll use it. It’s become a right pain here. The Epson gave me the right vibe, but no way I could trust one after that. The olympus is more of a poiny and shoot vibe but still quite like it. Haven’t used it much yet not having the lens in place yet. Like 99 percent set on the 25 (a 50) though.

  3. I enjoy both your photos and your comments and especially the thought process in your choices for photography and your life. You are not a fake and a blow hard, and you share failures and successes and help all of your readers with their conflicts and choices in their lives. If it was me, I would look for a Olympus 17mm f1.7 micro 4/3rds lens. I have that lens and the cheaper Panasonic 25mm f1.8 ($200 model) They both are sharp and great, but I find the 25mm to be a bit too long.

  4. Hey, just wondering how often you print your iPhone shots and at what size. Have you been happy with the results and has seeing the print made you adjust your Snapseed presets at all. Thx!

  5. Hi Josh. Filmwaster from Norway here.
    Just wanted to say I like your blog a lot, or at least what I’ve seen from it up to this point. There’s a lot more to go through, but that will be done. Really like the way you present what you do, and the fact that the editing part of it is such a small and simple no-brainer. What seems to hit me most is the mood you manage to create, and not just with your editing, but maybe more by the way you compose things and of course your subjects. That’s the fine art in here, in my opinion.
    Personnaly I hate to sit on the computer editing stuff, so I just don’t do that any more. I need to scan my film, but I have to say I hate that part as well, but that’s just something I got to do to get the stuff out nowadays. I prefere the darkroom and what’s going on inside that room, but that’s just me.
    Cool to see we more or less do the exactly same thing when editing snaps from the phone, give or take a few minor details.

      1. Good morning, sir, and thank you for your reply.
        Well, I do understand just that at least to a point. I mean it can really get boring in there if you are really going deep into something. Anyway, we all got a bit different approach to everything and it’s great to have a look at how other people do their stuff. I must say I really like the way you compose and create. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  6. Hey Josh
    good of you to start this discussion re iPhone workflow. I’m looking forward to the next chapter, as I struggle integrating my (rare) phone images into my standard LR flow.
    iPhone-ography is something I continue to struggle with. On the one hand the ease of access of a phone in all circumstances is unbeatable, not even my dear Ricoh GR is with me all the time, let alone the M9. On the other though, the handling of a wafer-thin, too light object that I can’t wrap my hands around to properly stabilize it is what I find deeply disturbing, I just can’t adapt to it. But perhaps the main reason why I can’t use the phone as a real camera is that in my mind… it is not! The simple fact that there is an alternative workflow, let alone in-app presets, as opposed to importing in LR and doing the ‘usual stuff’, puts images I take with the iPhone in a separate mental compartment for me. One more reason to wait eagerly for your next post, if you will address this very point…
    (Snapseed vs VSCO vs Hipsta? Can’t say. VSCO is somehow too subtle, Snapseed I’ve not used for a while, Hipsta for me a reasonable tool if one picks the less extreme film packs. But I don’t like the ida of having a separate ‘phone style’ vs my usual ‘camera style’ visual signature…
    Thanks for putting the subject back on the table! Looking forward to the rest…
    Best,
    Giovanni

    1. Yeah, dealing with thought of the phone being a real camera is a difficult one. I try to think of it in terms of history. There was a time when people thought a Leica wasn’t a real camera. There are still people that don’t think the Ricoh is one. It is all relative to the mindset of the photographer. I originally shot with my iPhone for the first time when my M8’s battery died when I was out shooting with a friend years ago. I took my favourite photo of the day with my phone and after that I never thought of it as anything less than a capable camera. It takes photos, therefore it is! I know what you mean though, as before that I didn’t think of it as one. Later, I took a trip with nothing but my phone. It was a great experience and really opened my mind to what a phone could do if I got it out of my head that it wasn’t an actual camera. And, I also should say I edited those photos from the trip in Lightroom at my hotel. You don’t have to forsake your workflow because it is a phone. Import them as if it were a regular camera, why not! I did so for many years.

      1. Hey thanks Josh for your reply. I guess you are right, I need to go through my import routine instead of allowing Apple to force its images through the Photos app (which I hate but perhaps I shouldn’t…)
        The remaining question is handling (the physical kind). I just am uncomfortable with the way one must hold the phone, releasing the shutter with the volume button and all. Tapping on the screen button is anathema, by def you are rocking the ‘camera’ by bumping it that way. But perhaps issue nr 1 is that my brain still does not think it is taking a serious photo if the camera is not stuck to my right eye socket! ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I really understand this Giovanni, I have an iPhone SE (though I’m sure this is an issue with bigger smartphones too) and holding it comfortably and being able to trigger the shutter isn’t the easiest thing. Using a more traditional camera grip makes a lot of sense IMO. I find it great for those moments when I went out not planning on taking a photo and suddenly see something I have to take a picture of, but I really don’t like it for when I want to go out and try and find something. It just feels a little too awkward for me.

      1. Very true, though the iPhone is a very capable camera (and still more so the new iPhone 7Plus), I don’t like to use it for planned outings. I tried iPhone cases with grips, but they are all less than ideal. Good for a quick snap but not a real camera!

        If anyone knows of a well made, working camera grip for the iPhone, perhaps with shutter button etc…. please tell us!

      2. Agree with Frank, square format feels better. Hipstamatic is the app I toy with the most, but it becomes a totally separate medium comparred to my camera work. (Nothing wrong with that, except it is a distraction.)
        I still would like to blend invisibly the odd ‘just in case’ iPhone shot with the rest of my images. Looking forward to Josh’s second post….

      3. I usually use the camera in the vertical position with the lens at the top. But I mostly shoot in full frame vertical and crop it square in snapseed to start. That way I can put the square image anywhere on the full sensor view, adding and cutting out views that I do not want to be part of the final picture.

        *Bob Travaglione FoToEdge*

      4. Great to see you guys having a meaningful conversation here. I also use the iPhone SE and find it fine to shoot with. I generally shoot in portrait orientation as well. To be fair though, I don’t so much buy into the ‘it doesn’t feel like a real camera’ thing. Maybe just because I actually feel quite the opposite. To each their own though! For me right now it is just the widest lens I own, haha.

  7. Thanks Josh for sharing! While I’ve heard good things about Snapseed, I never got far with trying it as I prefer to use VSCO for editing photos on my phone. It was useful to follow your steps to see how it works though I’ll probably stick, out of habit, to VSCO for colour photos and Blackie for B&W (I love its film simulations) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I don’t have a one-minute for editing rule. I probably spend way too much time toying with the settings. Even something as simple as the vignette effect on Blackie fascinates me with its impact on an image. If I were to process raw photos – which I don’t take much of these days as I don’t use my Fuji x100 most of the time – I go about it in a roundabout way. I’ve never used Lightroom, which I know is a popular and efficient tool. Instead I use Real Photo Processor (RPP) because I love its film simulations and I add some basic finishing touches in Photoshop before creating a jpeg. So each to his/her own – just like your approach with editing photos! ๐Ÿ™‚

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