Create a Beautiful Photo Collage using Pic Collage

Author: Joanne Shipman

A few months ago I wrote about a mobile application called Snapseed for easy and fun post-processing on your cell phone, but now I’m going to show you how to take those photos and arrange them in a beautiful and inspiring collage to print or to post to social media. Just like Snapseed, Pic Collage is a free application that can be downloaded to both an iOS or Android mobile device and includes editing features in an easy-to-understand format.

Let’s get started! When you first open Pic Collage, you have three options: Grids,

Templates and Freestyle. For all three options, the application will ask to access your photos where you will select “ok”. You’ll be taken to the photos that you have on your mobile device and will select the photos that you would like in the collage.

1

For the Grids option, your photos will be auto-populated initially in a default grid. At this point you have a few options: move the photos to where you want them in each shape of the grid or choose a different grid. At the bottom left of your screen you can click on the icon to select a different collage grid or select the plus icon in the bottom center of your screen to add a few items: more photos, web search on key words, text, stickers and backgrounds. For the Templates option, you can insert your photos into various backgrounds such as Christmas, Happy Birthday or Love. Finally, the Freestyle option is a blank canvas – sometimes the best for true creativity.

What’s really helpful is that if you select the “?” at the top of the screen while you are creating your collage, you’ll see a screen like the one shown below with brief explanations to help guide you.

2

Within each collage option (Grids, Templates and Freestyle), simply double-click any photo for even more inspiring options such as: effects, clip, duplicate, back, set as background, border and remove. At this point let your creativity take hold and just have fun!

  • Effects can add various techniques such as changing orientation, enhancing your photo or removing blemishes.
  • Clip will arrange your photo into a shape such as square or circle.
  • Duplicate will create a second exact copy of your original photo.
  • Back arranges the photo layers from back to front or vice versa.
  • Setting a background takes your photo and creates a background in the collage.
  • Border will place a frame around your photo in a chosen color.
  • Remove will delete your last action, but don’t worry, you can always click on the Undo icon in the upper right of the screen to bring back your photo.

3

 

Once editing is complete, click Done then Save to Library. If you have the free version, your collage will have an application watermark. You will find your photo in Photos for iOS or Gallery for Android then within the Pic Collage folder. Just like Snapseed – and taking it a bit further creating a beautiful and fun custom collage – you’re ready to post to social media or text your family and friends!

4

 

Have you ever created a photo collage? If so, what program did you use whether on a  mobile application or on your computer?

 

Joanne is a trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

 

Fast and Easy Photo Editing using Snapseed

Author:  Joanne Shipman

For those quick gotta-post-this-shot for my friends and family, I turn to my iPhone as well as a practical but fun and intuitive photo editing application called Snapseed. This free application can be downloaded to both an iOS or Android mobile device and includes editing features in an easy-to-understand format. Once downloaded, all you have to do is know how to swipe.

To get started, select the Snapseed icon on your mobile device. In order to upload the photo, click Open in the upper right and find your photo saved on your mobile device that you would like to edit. From there, click on the pencil icon in the bottom right. At this point, you will see two sections titled Tools and Filters.

Within Tools, click the Tune Image tool first and adjust Brightness and Contrast for example. Swiping up and down on the photo will allow you to highlight various editing features. Swiping to the right will increase the selection, and likewise, swiping to the left will decrease the selection. Note the number at the bottom of the screen along with the ‘+’ or ‘-’ indicates degree of editing with your selection. The Details tool will allow for sharpening or clarity while Crop and Rotate can align the horizon or skew a photo to give an edgy look.

Snapseed offers many Filters with numerous options within each filter selection. For this Jackson Lake photo taken at Grand Teton National Park, the Drama 1 filter was selected with an adjusted Filter Strength from a preset 90 to 80. Finally, the finishing touch could be a Frame. In this photo, Frame #8 was chosen with a white border and inner ‘choppy’ black border. An additional feature is Frame Width in case you want to increase or decrease the border.

In all cases, after editing click the “Checkmark” at the bottom right of the screen to save your edits and continue with more tools if desired. Alternatively, you can always click on the ‘x’ at the bottom left in order to cancel that tool or filter and go back to the photo with last saved edits. Fortunately, all edits are non-destructive to the original photo saved on your mobile device.

Once editing is complete, click Save at the top of your screen. You will find your photo in Photos for iOS or Gallery for Android then within the Snapseed folder. You’re ready to post to social media or text your family and friends with your photo.

photo1

Now if that isn’t a “snap”, I don’t know what is!

Joanne Shipman is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

 

 

 

 

 

The Excitement of Bird Photography

Author: Joanne Shipman

I love photographing birds in the wild. There is an excitement in being outdoors to seek out birds and watch their behaviors, hear them call to one another or get a glimpse from a safe distance of a nest.

Nuthatcher - Globe, Arizona in Pinal Mountains

Nuthatcher – Globe, Arizona in Pinal Mountains

Snow Geese and Coyote - San Antonio, New Mexico in Bosque Del Apache

Snow Geese and Coyote – San Antonio, New Mexico in Bosque Del Apache

Every experience is different. A group of us were photographing thousands of Snow Geese at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge when a Coyote decided to meander into the area. In another instance, we were photographing birds in Pinal Mountain when we heard loud grunts from a nearby tree and were surprised to see a White-Nosed Coatimundi moving down a tree then into the woods.

Coati - Globe, Arizona in Pinal Mountains (Not the best photograph, but these guys are elusive!)

Coati – Globe, Arizona in Pinal Mountains (Not the best photograph, but these guys are elusive!)

For my photos I used a Canon 5DMII and 400mm L prime lens. In many cases, you may not be able to get close to the birds, so a longer lens is essential. Depending on the environment I adjust ISO and aperture as necessary, but typically, my ISO is set higher anywhere from 400 to 1000 to ensure a fast shutter speed. I prefer aperture priority and start with f2.8 to f5-6 as a good starting point. Finally, I use continuous shooting mode to get the most frames per second, especially for birds in flight, and I select a single point auto focus in AI Servo mode.

Willet - Huntington Beach, California in Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Willet – Huntington Beach, California in Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Hopefully you will have an opportunity to go out and challenge yourself with bird photography. For me at least (moment of truth!), not every photo is perfect, but like anything, practice makes close-to-perfect.

Common Black-Hawk - Cornville, Arizona in Page Springs Hatchery

Common Black-Hawk – Cornville, Arizona in Page Springs Hatchery

Be sure to check out the Birds of South Texas workshop scheduled in March 2017, and keep an eye out for future scheduled workshops in Bosque Del Apache.

Joanne Shipman is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

Panning For Fun

Author Joann Shipman

I watched eagerly as each contestant advanced towards the start line, confidently put on their helmets (safety first!) and sat down on their vehicles with hands firmly grasping the handle bars. As the green flag waved frantically, the contestants hunched into position and pedaled in a fury while the crowd cheered each one towards the finish line. Go, team, go! When I was asked if I wouldn’t mind photographing a team-building tricycle race within my company’s department recently, I jumped at the opportunity. What a great way to have some fun and practice a technique known as panning.

IMG_1015

In photography, panning involves following an object in motion. As an example, when I’m moving my camera simultaneously with the moving tricycle on the raceway, the tricycle remains in focus while the background is blurred. In order to achieve the effect of panning, the camera should be set to adjust shutter speed (Tv in Canon and S in Nikon). Start with 1/30 second as a guideline and adjust either faster or slower with each practice shot. However, be careful when choosing too slow of a slow shutter speed, or the photo may be blurry due to camera shake. For each of the photos in this blog, my settings varied slightly. The tricycle shot was taken at a 50mm focal length at f13 aperture and 1/60 second, and the state fair swing ride was taken at a 24mm focal length at f22 aperture and 1/30 second.

In addition to the shutter speed, there are other considerations. Depending on your subject and time of day, you may need to adjust the shutter speed as well as aperture and ISO for proper exposure. Also, setting the camera for continuous shoot will give you a selection of multiple panning photos and increase the chances for that one perfect shot. Last, think about a panning angle that would be best for the subject. Using the tricycle example again, I chose to remain very low to the ground in order to be at eye level with my subject to make the biggest impact.

Fair 77

Panning can be a fun and creative way to give a feeling of motion to your subject in a photograph. Start with slow shutter speeds and continuous shoot mode and practice as many times as you can with different subjects like your dog running in the backyard or a friend snowboarding on the slopes. Before long, you will be the one crossing the finish line with a perfected new technique.

Joanne is a trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.