Welcome to my latest iphoneography workflow "Catching the Rays" which will show you some tricks and tips I used to capture and create this photo of the sunset.
I started off taking one of my sons to our favorite local lake to catch the sunset. I usually try to get to my destination about 15 minutes before the sun sets. This gives me time to catch the shifting in colors that sunsets produce. I have found that you get the best results just before or after the sun rises or sets. I usually end up adding my sun to the photo during processing. This is what I did here as well. The setting sun in this photo was very nice thanks to the cloud cover and reflections.
So, lets get started. I took this photo in Camera+ ($1.99). I love this app for taking photos, and it's nice for immediately editing in the first phase. Remember to always take multiple shots to ensure you have the clean capture you're looking for. After taking and choosing my favorite shot, I stayed in this app to start my editing. I first used the Darkened option, and then saved to Camera Roll. I only darkened the image here, I had other plans for the filter process.
Next, I brought the photo into Photoshop Express (free). This is a must-have app for all your iPhone photos. This app has many great features, but the two I use every single time are the De-noise feature, and the Sharpen feature. The De-noise feature smoothes out any grainy imperfections the photo may contain. I adjusted the De-noise to my liking, then went to the Sharpen feature and adjusted that to my liking as well. The Sharpen feature turns your photo into a crisp professional-looking photo that could be mistaken for a photo that was taken by a $900.00 camera. That is how good this app is, and how important it is to use for your photos. I recommend using this app for all photos.
After Photoshop, I saved to camera roll and brought my photo into Mextures ($1.99). This is a rather new app that is so remarkable I use it more and more for its landscape filters. I chose the Enhanced Landscape option, and used the Autumn Skies filter. I adjusted to my liking, and then saved to camera roll.
Next, I brought my photo into LensLight ($1.99), a must-have photo-editing app that allows you to add a variety of light features like sun, glint, rays, lightning, flares, etc. This app allows you to play with these features. I used this app for one thing, the Light Rays feature. In this app you can move them around, brighten them, and place them exactly where you like. I took the rays and turned them upside down, and then used the Aspect Ratio adjustment, which allows you to raise or lower your rays to your liking. After I adjusted the placement of the rays, I used the Brightness adjustment, and dimmed the light to my liking. Also, when using the adjustments, there is a Spectrum you can use to add the right color to your rays. I like to match the color of the rays to the overall tone of the photo.
I then saved to camera roll and opened my photo in Distressed FX ($0.99). This app carries a lot of great features. Most of them lean toward the "grunge" style of filters, but there's one option I can't stop using: The Birds option. Yes, I said birds! You can add a variety of birds to your photo. How cool! They just added some new birds too. My only wish is that they would let you strategically place them where you would like. The birds are in a pattern, with a variety of four to five different patterns. In this photo I used the Reunion option. This pattern of birds seemed to fit this photo rather well. Tip: I found that if there are birds you would like to remove, you can take the photo into iPhoto ($4.99) and use the repair brush to erase unwanted birds. This will only work sometimes, it depends on the photo.
Finally, I brought my photo into iWatermark (free) to add my watermark to my photo to show ownership. There are many nice and useful styles of watermark fonts here. You can create personalized watermarks as well.
Now the photo was ready for the world. I hope this workflow will help you on your next great iphoneography capture.