Rules of iPhoneography: Create Movement in Static Images [Video Tutorial]

The following workflow explains iPhone apps you can use to create motion effects in images. In my previous two posts, I looked at exposure and depth of field. Within, I discussed the limitations of controlling the aperture of the iPhone and the resulting inability to easily control shutter speed without compromising exposure.

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The image at the beginning of this post began as a very static freeze-frame image (shown at right). I thought it was promising but lacked the dynamic quality I wanted to inject.

The following video, which lasts less than 10 minutes, runs through the full process in real time with my own commentary, also in real time.

Workflow Overview

1. Initial Capture Using Hipstamatic ($1.99)

Increasingly, I am migrating across to Hipstamatic's Oggl (free) to capture my Hipstamatic images for a whole host of reasons. Primarily, the light I capture varies widely and , while some combinations are fantastic in certain conditions, they are ineffective in others. Selecting the combination after taking the shot may feel a little like cheating, but it is all about the image, and I'm comfortable with that.

This combination is Madalena lens with Robusta film.

2. Initial Edit with Snapseed (free)

Straighten the horizon, and then crop the image with a 1:1 ratio. The crop removes the border but also allows me to recompose slightly to allow for the time-honored composition principles of rule of thirds and negative space in front of the figure.

The Hipstamatic combination gives quite a flat contrast, so I explore the various Drama presets and elect to go with the standard setting to pull out additional detail.

At this stage, I also decide to convert to black and white, and Snapseed is a very powerful app for this process. I explore the various presets but stick with the normal conversion. I also highlight various color conversion filters available (with green normally being very favorable for skin tone black and white conversion). In the end, I elect for a non-color filtered conversion.

3. Add the Motion with AfterFocus ($0.99)

Afterfocus is the key app for this process. There is no manual masking involved with this image. Instead, I allow motion blur to affect both the subject and the background.

To achieve this, I proceed straight through the first screen and from the second screen:

  • Select blur and maximize the extent;

  • Toggle to motion blur.

At this stage, the whole of the image is blurred. I therefore select the fading background tool, which automatically draws a gradient mask from the central line up and down to the boundary line. A non-blurred area is focused over the subject's tennis racket and the motion blur is gradually uncovered moving away from this area in both directions.

This works well for this image, because it gives the impression of movement in two ways:

  • The subject moving forward toward the ball due to the motion blur in the background;
  • The movement of the subject's legs as she runs toward the ball due to the motion blur in the legs.

4. Add a Distressed or Analog Effect with Mextures ($1.99).

The motion effect has already been achieved and remaining processes are purely to taste. I decide to run the iPhoneography image through Mextures, adding the pre-defined Teen Spirit combination of textures, which introduces light leaks, graining, and other noise.

5. Convert to Black and White with Snapseed.

The Mextures texture introduces color. I therefore bring the image back into Snapseed and convert to black and white. I use the standard black-and-white conversion but reduce brightness, boost contrast, and introduce more grain. This is in effect a watered-down version of the Film black-and-white conversion preset.

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Paul Brown (known to all as Skip) is an exhibited and prizewinning iPhoneographer from Lincoln, England. He is a member of the global <a href="">Ad... Mobile Photography Team</a>, a managing member of Lincolnshire-based regional mobile photography Group <a href="">InstaChimps</a>, and a founding artist at <a href="">New Era Museum</a>. Skip was a finalist in the Photobox Motographer of the Year 2012 with his image ‘Skipping’ and also has a personal iPhoneography blog at <a href=""></a>.