How I edited Tokyo Bay Sunset on my iPhone

Today’s iPhone Post-Processing technique is of the sunset that I took from Odaiba, looking towards the Tokyo Bay. It was a glorious sunset and I wanted to show the world how I felt when I saw this. While the original photo doesn’t look that bad, I felt the overall photo lacked a little excitement. The sunset at the time was a warm orange colour, and the clouds were a little dark, grey, and gloomy. I wanted to edit this photo as if I were seeing one of those beautiful sunsets of Thailand or Fiji.

Let’s see how I made this happen. The photo below is what I took from the iPhone 6 Plus native camera app. You can see how I exposed primarily for the highlights because that’s what I wanted to highlight in this photo.

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Taku’s Though Process

My focus here was to capture the changing light in the clouds, so by exposing for the highlights I allowed the shadows to fill in, attracting the eye to the most important part of the image.

Tokyo sunset
Photo as it was taken from the iPhone 6 Plus native camera app.

See those orange clouds in the centre of the image? I felt as if that area needed some more excitement, as it looked too plain the way it was. I imported the image into LensLight, a great app by Brain Fever Media, which allows you to add lighting effects-among other things-to your image. I added a subtle sun glow and made it peak out from the clouds. One of the great things about this app is that it allows you to fully customize the look of the lighting effect. I changed the opacity of the sun, and the colour to match my scene. In addition to this sun glow, I added a warming filter as well, which gave it more of an orange hue to the overall image.

First round of editing done in LensLight, where I added a sun glow and warming filter to give rise to a more pleasing sunset.

After saving this image back to my camera roll, I imported it into Mextures where I edited the image to reflect more of what I envisioned with this particular photo. Adding the Bonfire filter in the Radiance section gave it the purple-pink hue I was looking for. It added a little more excitement to the bland, grey areas of the photo, giving it new life. In addition, I did some further tweaking by adjusting the Tint, Fade, and Sharpen options to my liking.

As a final touch, I often like to import my image into VSCOcam to see if anything else can be done to give it that extra something special. As it turns out, applying an F3 Mellow filter at a strength of 8 yielded a softer version of the image that I liked. So that’s the version I uploaded to Instagram, after cropping it to a square format.

The final image after editing in Mextures and VSCOcam, giving it the overall feel that I was after with this particular image.

Cropping an image is an equally important part of editing an image. It’s important to take care in that you don’t crop out any vital part of the image, and that you retain the feeling that you wanted to disseminate.

I could have easily left out the hand rail on the bottom left of this image, but I wanted to keep just a little portion of it in the final image so that it looks like we are peaking over it. Leaving it out would have made for a nice sunset image, but keeping it in adds just a little more interest to it.

The final image cropped and uploaded to Instagram.
The final image cropped and uploaded to Instagram.

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