Tag Archives: tutorial

Quick Tips for Better Composition

Composition is a key component of a great image. As photographers we shoot a LOT of images and only a portion of those images make the cut, if we have a discerning eye that is. I’m pretty critical of my work, some days more than I should be.

One of the things I really focus on in workshops that I teach is: composition. There are many “rules of composition” and no you don’t necessarily have to follow them to create a compelling image, however I am of the school of thought of …
Learn the rules then break the rules.

I thought I’d share a couple of basic tips for better composition, do these things in camera if you can, instead of fixing them in post. It will make your life easier. Personally I’d rather spend more time behind the camera instead of being in front of a computer. :)

1. Mind your Horizons

When the horizon is off kilter in your image, it can really kill it for the viewer, makes me feel crooked. One of my ways to combat this is to turn on the grid in the viewfinder/LCD screen. See if your camera has this option, if so, give it a try and see how it goes. If it doesn’t then try to be mindful of your horizon and keep it straight when you’re shooting. If you missed it by a bit, that’s okay, software like Lightroom have a great tool set to help you fix this.


Now perhaps you’re thinking, but I want my horizon askew! You can do this and probably should do this on occasion to just to flip the perspective and see something in a different way. Just do it with intention.


2. Use Leading Lines

Leading lines bring the viewer into the image and lead them to the main subject of your image. When composing an image think of how you’re leading the viewer into the shot and what you want them to focus on. In some cases these lines may seem to go on forever, leaving the viewer to wonder what exists at the end of the line, or tunnel or bridge…

columbira river



That’s it for today, I’ll put more of these together!

~ kate


decim8 your iPhoneography

I recently asked what questions you had, or what apps you were curious about. One response I received was Decim8 ($1.99 in the app store). And I can understand why. Decim8 is a fun app which lets you destroy elements within an image. Now you’re why would I want to do that? Well, you might not, but some folks like to experiment and create abstract art on their iPhones/iPads, and this app is a great tool in that creative process.

Now I don’t normally use Decim8 as a camera replacement app, but if you want to shoot within the app, you can. I use the import button to bring in an image that I want to play with.


Once i’ve imported my image, I click on the Erlenmeyer Flask, like a mad scientist in the making to select my formula(s).


Now I do have a few fave formulas, that have become my go to, especially: Beamrider. I also kinda dig 59.94 & Agency.

You can change how the effect works by tapping on the icon image, I believe each effect has three versions. So tap, tap, tap till you see one you think might work for you. On the iPhone you can preview what the effect will do on an image by clicking the “i”. On the iPad the previews will show up on the right side of the effects.

Once you have your effect(s) selected, click on the “X” to close this screen. This puts you back on the image preview and processing options.

Click on the white circle, to the left of the + to Decim8 your image. For this image I clicked the white circle 3 times to achieve the final result.





Other options in the app:

– Click the + to add a layer of sorts, you can stack up your decim8tion.

– Click the die to randomise effects

– Click the up arrow to share on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook; or order a CanvasPop Print or send a post card.

– Click the down arrow to save to your device.

So the moral of this story… decimation is okay, if you like to play. I’m always a fan of experimentation, and have really embraced this on the iPhone.

What other apps are you interested in? Let me know and we can chat about them!

~ kate

tutorial: appsperiment – lemon-lime

i’ve recently come across a facebook group called “appstracts“. they post a weekly theme/colour or something and members upload their images that meet the theme, or their interpretation of the theme. this week’s theme was “lemon-lime”. i created an image for the theme and realised it might make a fun tutorial. so here goes!

you can approach the theme in a couple of ways: take a photo of something that is lemon/lime in colour, take a photo of a lemon and lime or create something in that colour scheme. i opted for the latter.

starting in the saturation app, i selected a colour palette that was a good fit, there’s a visualiser within the app, so i let that roll and did a screen shot of it to capture the image below. from there i went to snapseed, to crop it square, and add one of the vintage filters, which boosts the saturation a bit.


moving into the photoartista haiku app, i added a bit of a watercolour/painterly effect. using “style abstract 04″ as a starting point and then adjusting the detail/pen and colour.


the next step was into decim8, i have a couple of filters in decim8 i really love: beam rider & spaif (you have to look at the names closely to get these spellings, as they like to use english and foreign characters in their filter names).


on to FocalLab to add a bit of blur.


and back to snapseed to boost the contrast and saturation, plus using the sharpening/structure to add a bit more detail/depth. resulting in this final image.


experiments on the iPhone can be a lot of fun… have you tried it yet?

~ kate