image edited with fotor and picassa

[Tutorial] The Luminous Landscape by Anna Cox

Landscape photography is easy, right? Just find a field and shoot. I kid, I kid. Yes, it is easy to find a pretty place to shoot but it is hard to find a perspective that makes it interesting for the viewers. They, obviously, weren’t standing next to you to experience the calm atmosphere or the golden clarity dusk brings to a scene. So how do you communicate that to your viewers? And more so, how do you communicate that to your viewers on the Nokia Lumia 1020?

Here are five things you can do before taking your photo:

Do use the light at dawn or dusk. This is called golden hour. The light at these times of day is diffused and golden or rosy hued. You will find this light not only brings out details more but it also creates atmosphere.

Do find a point of interest for the eye to rest on.

Do utilize lines within your composition. Diagonals that cut the picture plane or leading lines that draw your eye through the photo create a more dynamic composition .

Do get creative with your perspective. Get high or get low.

Do use objects in the photo to create back ground and fore ground. This creates depth. The lumia was made for these kind of shots because of the focus depth. Play around with your focus. You will get some interesting results.

Image taken with Oggl


Now that you have your photo lets talk post processing. Let’s start with apps and what I use. I am a huge fan of Oggl and hipstamatic so for my photos I want square I go there but be aware that it only saves in 2 mp. We have heard that they are working on a fix to up the res so that is something to look forward to in the future. Although I prefer to work in black and white I am drawn to the long colorful landscapes the Nokia Lumia produces. I am starting to really enjoy working with color and adding a tinge of age to the photos.


Original unedited image 


My go to shooting app is Nokia Camera. It has a range of options to pick from when you are shooting. You can adjust white balance, focus, speed, exposure, and ISO. You can shoot manually and keep it simple but I have enjoyed the ability to tweak the settings as I shoot. Recently I went out to shoot for the day. I started early afternoon in harsh light and continued through sunset. I was pleasantly surprised at the versatility this camera app offered. I found the smart burst function to be the easiest way to capture my son or other moving objects like seagulls.

For me, the hardest part of shooting, processing, and posting is the post processing. I find it very easy to blow edits out and in the process lose the details of the photo on the Nokia. Most nokia apps are filter heavy without the option to back them off.  I have found that the app Fotor allows adjustments within the filter strength and maintains most of the photo resolution. I have also started uploading photos to Picassa through G+ to use  a couple basic tools like straightening and adding a controllable vignette. Picassa is also a free tool for those of you that want to edit your high res images but don’t want to buy an editing suite for your computer.    Below i have walked you through an edit of the photo above of the Galveston Pier using apps found on my Nokia Lumia 1020.

This is the opening screen of Fotor. From this screen you can choose from rotate,  enhance, crop, FX effects, borders, adjust, and tilt shift. The photo was a tinge dark to start  with so I headed to the adjust screen to increase the brightness  to 31 and increase the saturation to 55.

I then went to the FX effects and chose  blue set at 59 to set off the water and also to bring out the tones in the buildings on the pier more. From here I headed to the adjust tab to Sharpen the details.

I then cropped a little off to have the photo fit the rule of thirds loosely. The rule of thirds basically means that the picture plane is broken into 9 equal parts and you put the points of interest on the intersections of lines or along the lines. This effectively sets your focal point off center. After cropping, I added some texture. Textures can be found under the FX effects in the Scratch tab. Some of the textures are a bit heavy handed but like the filters they can be dialed back. For this photo I chose Old Wall set at around 30 percent. After all of this, I saved the edit and opened Fhotoroom which has an adjustable vignette.

You can pick a color and the type of vignette you would like to use. I used the soft filter to just get a tinge of black around the edges. The purpose of the vignette is to help draw your eye to the end of the pier.

I was pleasantly surprised with the apps I used to edit, My main goal was to bring out the color of the buildings and draw your eye to the end of the pier which I think I accomplished.

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Anna Cox