Winter’s Grasses: An iPhoneography Apps Tutorial

A Guest Post by David Hayes

My wife and I recently brought a Brittany Spaniel puppy into our home…and true to all the “warnings” we received, she is one insanely active animal! Highly intelligent and very athletic, we are constantly being challenged to keep up with her. This has led us to be outside more in all types of weather so she can work off her energy and explore like the good “bird dog” she is. Naturally I always have my iPhone with me and grab quick snaps when I can. The source image for Winter’s Grasses came from one such walk.


As I looked over this image I noticed several “distractions” that I decided to remove before going on. So…I opened the image in the app Handy Photo that is a great app to use if you need to make such adjustments. Once the photo was loaded, I clicked on the hand icon in the right top corner.


From this pop up menu, I picked “Retouch”.


And from this pop menu (lower left corner), I picked the brush tool.


With this tool active, I proceeded to paint over those areas that I wanted removed. This done, all you have to do is tap on the screen to start the process.


My distractions removed, I clicked on the check mark icon in the lower right corner to put this into place.


I then went to the main menu and saved the image to my camera roll.


Next step…open image in FX Photo Studio, an old favorite off mine that has some great filters to call upon and an easy workflow. Picking the “Glow” category, I went straight for the “Sepia Glow” filter to bring out the browns in the grasses.


Once in “Sepia Glow” (A), I adjusted the Brightness and Glow Amount as shown (B). This done, I clicked Apply (C) to put this layer into place.


I next went to the “Cross Process” category (A) and chose “Crystal River” (B).


Here I played around with the Amount until I settled on the level shown on the screen shot. As before, I clicked Apply to put this into place.


This was all I wanted to do in this app, so I saved my work-in-process to my camera roll…and took a break!


After my break, I reopened the image and considered what I wanted to do to it next…if anything. The first thing that struck me was that the sky needed a bit of “drama” to help the grasses stand out in the composition. I knew just the app I wanted to use to achieve this…Snapseed.


Opening the app and loading the image, I went to “Tune Image” to do some tweaking before working on the sky.


While in “Tune Image” I worked on three things…Ambience, Contrast and Brightness that you see here. To put all these adjustments into place, I clicked on Apply (B).


Snapseed’s “Selective Adjust” tool is a great way to pin-point adjustments in an image. I selected this to work on the sky.


I clicked on the “Add” button in the bottom tool bar and then tapped on the screen in the top left corner to place my first adjustment point…that shows a “B” as I’ll be adjusting the brightness in this corner.


Using a finger swipe across the screen, I adjusted the brightness to -100 creating a nice graying in that corner. Liking this effect, I decided to do this in the remained of the sky. Since I wasn’t leaving this tool screen I didn’t have to click Apply to continue.


Repeating my steps, I placed my next adjustment point in the right top corner.


In this corner I didn’t adjust the brightness the same amount…maybe -90.


One last time…I put an adjustment point in the top center (A-B), adjusted to just the other side of -50 (C) . Liking all these adjustments, I then clicked on Apply (D).


I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before in my other tutorials, but my favorite tool in Snapseed had to be “Drama.” So of course I had to try it out on this image!


“Drama 1” really does the trick in giving the sky more depth and helping the grasses stand out from the background. So…I put it into place!


After cranking the “Filter Strength” all the way up, I clicked on Apply to put lock down this layer.


Going back to “Tune Image”…I first did some more adjustments to Saturation…


…as well as Contrast to finish up.


But wait…I’m not quite done! This image is crying for a frame!


So…in Frames, I picked “Frame 11” and then clicked “Apply.” Then I was finished!


Here’s the finished image, Winter’s Grasses. Quite different from where I started, wouldn’t you say!! Just a side note…my puppy and I went back to this place several days later and found that something or someone had flatten this stand of grasses!

David Hayes is a photographer, mixed-media artist, painter and explorer of life. Visit his blog at

Photo Craft_160For more photo manipulation, check out Photo Craft: Creative Mixed Media and Digital Approaches to Transforming Your Photographs by Susan Tuttle and Christy Hydeck.





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