Today’s iPhone Post-Processing technique comes from a sunrise that I took one cool morning. This was taken on my way back to my car. I look backed as I was walking and noticed this great view, so I took a quick snap at it, with all the elements I wanted within the frame: the CN Tower, bench, foreground snow, and sunrise.
The original image as taken from my iPhone 6 Plus (resized in Photoshop) is below.
The original photo as taken from my iPhone 6 Plus (resized in Photoshop).
You can see how everywhere but around the sun area is quite dark. Further, the snow is a nasty blue colour, which we all know shouldn’t be that colour. I shot this with my iPhone in an app that had no white balance presets, so I wasn’t able to change it to shade, where it may have eased the blue cast in the snow a little bit. The colours near the horizon are also very muddy and not punchy at all, which makes for an even duller image. This was in need of a two-step editing process!
The photo is edited in Instaflash Pro for the top half of the photo only.
I had no choice but to edit this in post, with some of my go-to apps for editing. I brought this photo into Instaflash Pro (seen above) where I first edited the photo to edit the sky and clouds to my preference. The colours were fantastic that morning so I didn’t want to dull the blue, orange, and yellow hues, but at the same time, there’s not a whole lot I could do with the large cloud in the middle of the picture, that adds a lot of grey area. To lessen this grey dominance of the clouds a little, I changed the white balance to add more warmth; this added a little more yellow to the grey clouds, lessening its menacing look. Once I was happy with the results, I saved this image back to my Camera Roll.
Step 1: After the top half of the image has been edited to my liking.
I then went back to Instaflash Pro where I re-edited this same image so that the snow in the foreground was more to my liking.
Step 2: The photo is edited for the bottom half only.
To eliminate the blue cast, there’s really only one thing I could do without going too overboard with my editing. I desaturated the overall image so that the blue turned to white, which is what we all know snow should be. You can see how the sky in this photo has also lost much of its brilliance. I saved this version back to the Camera Roll as well.
The resulting photo after removing the blue cast in the snow.
I then combined these last two images using Image Blender. I used the top portion of the first image, and combined it with the bottom portion of the second image to make the image much more to my liking.
The top part of the photo is masked out so only the bottom is used in the final photo.
And finally, the combined image using the best parts of each image.
The combined image looks much better now.
I fixed the perspective so the CN Tower is no longer leaning toward the centre, using Perspective Correct. However, I still found some areas to be a little flat, in particular near the horizon, so I brought the combined image into VSCOcam, where I applied the KK2 filter (+12), which enhanced the overall colours more to my liking. This gave it an overall warmer feel to the image, in addition to slightly punching the colours up near the horizon.
The final image after perspective correction, and edited in VSCOcam with the KK2 preset.
I really didn’t want to crop this into a square because I felt the full width needed to be present to really get the feel for the shot. And force squaring the image (with white bars on the top and bottom) also didn’t really appeal to me either. But nonetheless, I cropped it right to the edges so the CN Tower and the bench were both still fully visible, which is just ok in my books. I’ll post this full image somewhere else eventually.
Check out the first image on this post, and compare it with the final image right above. there’s a drastic improvement and I’m much happier with the end result. But all this editing does wreak havoc on the image quality. You can tell that the image has gotten noticeably grainy in many places—look at the clouds, blue sky in the top left, and shadow areas of the buildings in the skyline.
If you’re reading this post on a regular computer monitor, these will be much more pronounced than if you were reading this on a mobile device like an iPhone or iPad. Suffice it to say that, the more you edit, the more you degrade the quality of your image. That’s why it’s so important to start off with a good quality image. Don’t try and rely on post-processing for everything that you want in your image.
But honestly, if you’re just going to Instagram it, then all this image degradation may not really make a difference after all.