Slow Shutter Cam

When I thought of the theme of Abstract for this weeks images, it came to mind that the Slow Shutter Cam app would be of great use. It is an app I have played with off and on since some time in earlier 2011. It’s great for playing with light, showing motion and well, exploring abstract iPhoneography.

Here are some notes on how I’ve used the app.

First off this is an action app. You can utilise this app to embracement movement, blur and the abstract in our world. At least that how I like to use it. There are a few shooting modes: Automatic, Manual and Light Trail.

Before we talk about those, here is an intro to the controls.

Along the top of the app:

LP – Tap on this to show a smaller preview instead of full screen image. Tap on the small preview to go back to full screen.

Flashlight Icon – Tap on this to turn the flash – light off or on (iPhone4/iPhone4s).

Reverse camera – Tap on this to take a self portrait (iPhone4/iPhone4s).

Along the bottom of the app:

Aperture icon – Tap on this to bring up the shooting modes, Automatic, Manual and Light Trail.

Camera icon – Tap on this to start the exposure (when you are taking a photo the camera button turns into a stop button, this allows you to stop the exposure early, if you like).

Settings – Self-Timer, Exposure Adjust, Exposure Lock, Screen Shutter, Auto-Save, Pictures Size. Through these settings you can enable things like tapping on the screen to start your exposure or lock the exposure etc…

Once you have snapped a photo a new set of icons show up along the bottom.

Left Arrow – Will delete the image you’ve just taken and take you back to the screen to take a new photo.

Sliders icon – Click on this to access an additional control labeled Freeze, move the slider to the left or right to select at which point in the movement of the image you would like to save. Sounds a bit nuts but it’s kind of cool.

Save – You can use this to save the photo.

I spend 98% of my time in Light Trail mode, so I have a better understanding of that area more than others.

All of the modes allow you to Control the Shutter Speed, ranging from 0.5/seconds to B for Bulb. For the Automatic mode I’ve found some successes in just slowly moving either myself or the iPhone, to either create a bit of a ghostly effect or even a double exposure. If you do say a 4 second exposure on something, hold it on one thing for maybe 2-3 seconds then move it quick onto something else. See what you get.

I’ve had the least success or mastery with the Manual mode. I’m sure it just takes practice, but most of the images I’ve captured in this mode are over exposed. What I’d suggest is not moving the camera about too much during manual. But again, play about with it and see what ya get.

Along with the various shutter speed controls in Light Trail mode you have the option to control sensitivity. These are rated at 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64. What I have experienced with this additional control is the “1” is brighter and may have more detail, and “1/64″ is darker. And again, I say play around with it!

An app like this really is about experimentation and exploration. So mess about with combinations of settings until you find something that works for you. You can also use it for things like Fireworks and other such fun events.

Before image captured via Slow Shutter Cam

Final image, edited via Snapseed


The week, so far has been focused on abstraction.

Starting with a play on holiday lights.

Abstract 22

To a Journey, Abstracted.

Journey, abstracted.

I decided to play with a couple of apps this week, so I’m going to do two posts. This first post talks about ScratchCam. As with many photo apps you can either shoot within the app, or pull an existing image from your camera roll. Once you open the app I might suggest going to Options first and increasing the output to Original, I’m unsure of the default, as I’ve had this app for sometime.

Also check out the Download Centre on the home screen. There are 10 Packs available to download, that include either additional textures, borders, or colours. Please note I do have the paid version of this app so if you’re using the “Lite version” your options may be different.

Once you’ve either taken a photo or opened one to work on, the editing screen should load. Along the bottom you’ll see the following:

FX, Faves, Undo, Random and Share. Also a slider at the top, this helps you control the amount of the opacity of a given effect.

Fx – This brings up a dozen or so presets, which you can apply to an image.

Faves – This allows you to “Fave” or save your own presets. If you put together something that you like, you can save it, for future use.

Undo – Go back a step, it looks like you can only go back once.

Random – Choose this if you want spontaneity and well if you don’t like it, you can try again! :)

Share – You can send to Facebook, Twitter, email, another app, or ot your camera roll.

Say you’ve found a preset that you kinda like, but you want a different border, or texture, or something. If you click on Edit, this opens up some additional options. Depending on whether you’ve visited the download center and downloaded additional packs,

Once in the Edit menu, you’ll have the option to scroll through a variety of textures, borders or colours, selecting what you like, then adjusting the opacity, as you like. I’ve also discovered that if you tap on the same effect more than once there may be additional versions available. There’s a nice variety. Thus far I’ve been using this in combination with Slow Shutter Cam, which I’ll be doing a post on later this week. Check out this nice How To on their website.

Here’s some screen shots of the edit menu.

Here’s the before image:

Here’s the after image:

Overall a pretty fun little app, allowing you to add the grungy texture which is kind of popular right now.


I spent a lot of time this week working through the PhotoToaster app. My original plan of editing only with this one for the week, kind of fell to the wayside. However it was used for many of the iPhone images for this week.

Here is the run down!

You can shoot with the app and/or process with the app. I only did processing, the shooting interface loads the basic iPhone camera, however doesn’t include the grid or HDR options if you have the newest device. For most of my iPhone images, I tend to shoot with the native camera, making exceptions for apps like Hipstamatic or Cameramatic. On that note, the image used for the screen shots was originally captured with Hipstamatic.

To get started tap the icon in the top left corner, this presents options for either bringing in an image or taking one. If you want to crop an image, tap the wrench, it brings up a tool bar for cropping as well straightening an image. And the usual right arrow swoosh to save the file (we’ll get to that towards the end of this post!).

Here’s the meat and potatoes.

Filters – Tap on the world icon in the bottom left to access a series of presets.
Basic contains about 13 presets. Deluxe contains about 18 presets; Supreme contains about another 18 presets. So in all there are over 15 just to get you started. You’ll see there’s a small preview of the preset to help your selection.

Ready to be in some control now?

Basic Adjustments – Tap on the Sun icon along the bottom. There are 13 presets, as well as a world of adjustments: Exposure, Temperature, Add light, Contrast and Tint. To move between these options tap on the three dots or the sliders.

Fx – Here there are 17 presets, as well the power to adjust the following bits: Saturation, Color Filter, Sharpen, Cross Process and Technicolor. Some of these certainly allow for creative licence to get a little crazy if you choose to do so.

Vignette – Tap on the stars to access 15 presets and make adjustments to those presets. Some of these do include a bit of a tilt shift effect.

Texture – Want to add just a bit of texture? This is the spot. The icon looks a bit like a checkerboard. Here you have about 11 presets, once selected you can adjust the intensity of it. Of the textures I’ve used thus far, these are not quite as intense as I’ve seen in some other apps.

Borders – Add a frame to your images, there are 22 presets here. And you can adjust the width of the border once selected, that’s kind of a nice feature.

Please note: On the Vignette, Texture and Borders, when you use the sliders of the same name, within those options, it will run you through the presets. So you have two ways to move through those presets.

Now when it comes to saving your images, or sharing them hang on to your hats…

You can save to Camera Roll, email, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram, SMS, Twitter and even to the clipboard. There’s also a “Send to app” button. This loaded a list of other apps I have installed on my iPhone that I can send the file directly to. Some other examples: Bleach Bypass, Lensflare, TiltShiftGen, Halftone, ScratchCam and more. Plus if you click on “More Apps” it lists even more. I know that more and more apps are doing this.

What are your favourite apps? What are you curious about?

~ kate