Editing portraits, especially camera phone portraits, doesn’t have to be complicated or too time-consuming.
Sometimes it’s just as simple as one or a few favorite apps to get your portrait photography ready to share.
My favorite portrait editing apps:
Lightroom: Create presets to get a consistent look across your photo shoot. Great for vignettes, lighting effects, color toning.
Facetune: Great for making details pop, adding our effects (including faux lens blur), lighting effects, healing, and textures.
The more simplified you can make your process, the easier and quicker it’ll be to create and edit beautiful photo sets without having to turn on a desktop and pull out a tablet. With a few apps, you can shoot and edit beautiful portraits on your phone or iPod!
What are your favorite editing apps? How do you streamline your editing process?
Headdresses and couture like these red floral horns and this lace couture top are available in the Blessed Shadows shop!
What’s your favorite way to source backdrops for your fantasy photography? This one is a ‘sigil’ floor mat that’s been framed by thrifted lace throws and scarves… not mention lighted by a few standard floor lamps from a department store.
It really can be that simple to create a thrifty, simple photoshoot that looks gorgeous!
This tarot-inspired photoshoot was the perfect opportunity to experiment with backdrop, framing, and implied movement, all while lying down in the studio.
When you’re not using a fast lens (or Burst mode on a camera phone), don’t have a lot of room and definitely don’t have someone to hold or toss fabric and hair to create movement, what do you do?
You lie down!
This backdrop is a fabric print of a forrest with a ribbon-wrapped hula hoop with me laying on top of it.
There are quite a few wrinkles, so I’m curious how this kind of shoot will look when done on the studio floor instead of a mattress.
The frame was ringed with black shawls and the hair was fluffed to give the impression of movement or weightlessness. Underwater shoots are so stunning when it comes to that graceful movement, but in studio, the best we can do sometimes is to lie down or jump in front of a fast lens.
I highly encourage you do some fantasy photoshoots lying down. It can get some great lighting and some beautiful effects.
What have you been experimenting with in the photo studio? How do you bring a little more magic to your fantasy photoshoots?
It’s been wonderful to practice lighting that’s better for showing off design, as I’m not a huge fan of photographing with high-key lighting.
I love those dark, sultry shadows, which don’t always go hand in hand with studio photography meant to inspire sales. Practice is paying off, so it’s nice to see a little more detail in those darker costumes like the one in this photo set.
Sometimes we, as photographers and creators and models, need to practice letting our designs stand out and not fade into the shadows, literally and figuratively.
So much has changed here in the studio. Not only in workflow and equipment changes, but how I’ve learned to see myself and my work.
I have found self-portraiture as a way to learn self-love. Not only has it helped me with my dysphoria, it’s allowed me to learn to see myself as a piece of art. It’s helped me better comes to terms with the skin I’ve been given.
Along with the grander scheme of not feeling at home in my body, I’m no longer so embarrassed by my hands. My hands are often a very bright red, presumably because of a thyroid issue and my very low blood pressure. It’s been a pain to edit out or otherwise try to prevent, but I’ve learned to accept that that’s just how they are.
Instead of seeing an embarrassing bright red, I see it as a blush that fits well with my style of portraiture, especially in this photoset.
Self-portrature can help us to not only learn about who we are, but how we are all pieces of artwork.
This sultry red and gold shoot was such a glamorous blast!
With the floral headdress from the Blessed Shadows Shop and this chain harness from Charlie’s Revamps coming together so perfectly with the backdrop and faux floral, this was a joy to photograph.
This backdrop is one of my favorites, a thrifted blanket that’s quite literally a bed of flowers.
These 1/2-1/2 shoots, where half the photoshoot is taken with an iPod and the other half is photographed with a DSLR have been wonderful. These photo sessions have given an opportunity to better utilize the studio space (with the bed serving as a second backdrop) as well as practice with different equipment.
Gorgeous portraits come from each setup, and it’s been a joy to continue practicing without entirely taking over the studio.
In this list you’re going to find my favorite additions to the photography studio over the last ten years, big and small.
Everyone’s favorite tools and equipment and accessories for their work are personal, here’s mine:
DSLR body: Start out with a basic body. I still love my kit camera from 10 years ago, it’s a Nikon D3100 with my upgrade being a D3300.
Glass: I’ve become a sucker for fast prime lenses in this small studio. My favorites are 85mm f/1.8 and my 50mm lens.
Ring light: Perfect for smaller studio spaces.
ContinuousLighting: I love lightweight floor lamps with daylight LED bulbs.
Flashgunsand umbrellas: These have given me my most luscious lighting, but not my favorite option in a cramped studio.
Remote TriggerRelease: This has been indispensable. I almost always use this one but I also have a few other versions depending on the shooting situation. It prevents a LOT of running back and forth.
Polarizing Filters: Remember to choose quality so you’re not degrading the quality of your images. Not only will these handy filters boost colors and reduce glare, they’ll help keep your lenses safe from scratches.
RechargeableBatteries: Extra points if you use a solar panel to charge these.
PS and Lightroom: I bought PS CS5 for my computer back when Adobe wasn’t subscription based. I use the free Lightroom app on my IPod to edit my mobile shots.
Computer: Editing photography on a laptop isn’t ideal (depending who you ask) but it frees up a lot of space in the studio. If buying a computer, research ahead to see if it’s a good option for photography.
Monitor Color Calibrator: Calibrate your monitor and, in your editing program, use the best color space when editing and saving. Plenty of great tutorials for this online.
Backdrops: aka: Blankets, curtains, etc outfitted with safety pins to hang from nails on the wall. Check out your local thrift shop to see what colors, textures, patterns and prints you can find.
Mobile Camera: Gorgeous shots are absolutely possible on a smartphone and other devices. A growing number of my portraits are taken with my IPod. It’s a great way to experiment and get different shots before shooting the same look with a DSLR, or to do an entire shoot.
Mobile Camera Accessories: Tripods, selfie sticks, and clip on polarizing filters and other accessories are available for mobile devices.
Flash Drives: You’ve worked hard to create your work, be sure to save copies somewhere off your computer.
There you have it!
My favorite tools and equipment that I’ve adored the most over the past decade in the photography studio.
What are your own favorite tools and pieces of equipment?
Share with your friends and trade your own list of must-haves!