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Software Technique: Mike Hill takes us through 9 steps to spooky...

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Getting this spooky shot involved more than just turning up and tripping the shutter. In this article, mobile photographer Mike Hill (instagram: @frankensinatra), explains how he created this image with his iPhone 4S, taking us through his editing process in 9 steps. It took Mike seven apps and a lot of time to achieve this spooky, glowing look. Are you ready? 

Apps used:

Estimated total time: one hour

Step 1:

This step is easy - turn up, take the picture (original shown above) then find a nice warm place to work on it. Let's fire up the apps!

Step 2.

Using the Color Splash app I removed the color from my picture, in every area except the exposed bricks on the wall of the building. Then I save this image to my Camera Roll. 

Step 3: 

In Camera+ I used the clarity feature to sharpen everything up, and added the vibrant effect adjusted at about 60%. Again, I'll save this image to my Camera Roll. 

Step 4: 

I thought the sky in the image I created in Step 3 looked a little bare and boring, so I wanted to add some clouds. I opened the image in the Rainy Daze app and played with its various parameters to increase the drama of the sky. I'm only going to use the clouds from this step in the process, so I don't care how the rest of the image looks. Once I'm happy, I save this image. 

After manipulation in Rainy Daze, the sky looks nice and moody, but the rest of the image is rather too dark, and muddy. I'll fix this in the next step. 

Step 5: 

In the Superimpose app I blended the sky from the image I created in Step 4 with the foreground with the image I created in Step 2. Masking out everything except the sky, I used the masking tool (brush) and then used the 'hard light' blending mode and adjusted the transparency a bit to lighten the sky a little, in order to reveal the snowflakes. The result is shown below. 

Here's the result after blending the images I created in Step 2 and Step 4 together in Superimpose. The sky is nice and moody, but I haven't sacrificed detail in the foreground. 

 Step 6:

When I took my original image it was daylight, so the lamp on the corner of the road, in front of the building, wasn't lit. I can fix this digitally, using the 'sun beam' effect in the Light Lens app. In the app, I made one 'sun' as small as I could get it and aligned it with one side of the lamp glass, then another the same way on the other side.

I took this shot in the daytime, but after some fiddling in Lens Light, I've simulated a lamp glow, as if the image was taken at dusk.

Step 7: 

It's pretty rare that I don't use the Tilt Shift Gen app when editing my images. In the Tilt Shift Gen app, I turned the saturation all the way up, while leaving all the other settings alone and at default, to give the lamp a nice glow. Unfortunately, the bricks on the front of the building are glowing too!

Step 8:

In the previous step, I increased the saturation of the lamplight, but this also increased the vibrance of the brickwork on the front of the building. I want to get the brickwork looking like it did in step 5 - some color, but not too saturated. Using Superimpose, again, I added the image from Step 5 and the image from Step 7, using the masking tool again and brushing them together using the parts I wanted from each. Once this is done, I'm going to save the resulting image (below) to my Camera Roll. 

After combining the images from steps 5 and 7, I'm getting pretty close to finished result.

Step 9:

Almost done - just need to add the finishing touch!

Finally, I wanted to add a slight vignette, as I always do. So I opened up Photo Forge 2 and used vignette 3 adjusted at about 60%. 

Final Image:


Mike Hill is a member of We Are JUXT and hails from New Orleans, Louisiana, but makes his home in Orlando, Florida. He shoots and edits using just his iPhone, from beginning to end. 

Comments

Total comments: 2
roblarosa

Turned me on to a couple of new apps and new ideas. Thanks!

0 upvotes
Josh W

I'm guessing step 5 should indicate that it's a blend of steps 3&4, rather than 2&4, as it indicates a few times. If it's actually 2&4, then it seems step 3 was not used, unless step 3's only purpose was to brighten the sky? Would that have been useful to step 4?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 2
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