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A few tricks can save you hours of editing in Photoshop. Let’s say you have a random collection of photos. You or whoever the photographer was didn’t have the foresight to take them with the same camera or lens, but now you wish you could combine them and make them look like they were created during a single photo shoot. Rather than tediously editing each photo, you could run all of them through the same preset filter to create that desired uniform look. Let me explain…
Pick Your Photo Collection
Maybe you have a collection of family photos, taken by different people and with different cameras. Let’s say they are digital photos. I’ll demonstrate the process using photos of the family cat.
The photos I picked are not drastically different, at least the subject is the same, but they were taken with different cameras and under different conditions.
Apply Filters For Uniform Look
Now you have two options. You can either run the photos through an online tool like PicMonkey and apply filters that will create a uniform look or do something that sounds a little crazy: Use a smartphone lens app and re-take the photos from your computer screen.
The Sensible Option: Web Based Photo Editing Filters
You can create collages with PicMonkey. I went with that option, added my photos, and adjusted the exposure to receive similar levels of brightness. This can be done by selecting the Edit option of each photo while arranging the collage.
Then I went into Edit mode (menu option) and applied filters. Here I went with the Cross Process and the Focal Soften filters. I picked the Cross Process Red filter since one of the photos had a pretty strong red tone already.
I applied the focal point of the Focal Soften filter to the cat’s face on the leftmost image and played with the settings a tiny little bit. And I think the resulting image has quite a nice touch to it. If I had to do it again, I would probably edit each image individually.
The Crazy Artsy Option: Smartphone Camera Snapshots With Lens Apps
When turning to your smartphone, you can choose between a variety of apps to yield the desired effects. Instagram comes to mind, or the iconic iPhone photography app Hipstamatic. Being an Android user, I went with Lomo Camera, since it allows you to save the edited photos directly to your phone and it’s also very easy to use.
I took each photo off my HD laptop screen. The better the resolution of your monitor, the better the photos will turn out. To avoid scattered light, turn off all lights and work in the dark. Maximize the photos you want to snap and position your smartphone camera in a way to avoid distortions. You can also play with the screen brightness. I actually played with the angle to get different brightness effects.
While in camera mode, you can also import photos from your Gallery, via the smaller button underneath the camera release button. If you don’t have the images on your smartphone, snapping a photo off the screen is a little quicker and adds an artistic edge to the result. And if you have automatic sync via Dropbox set up, the photos will be transferred back to your computer in seconds.
This collage was easier to produce and I like it better than the one created with PicMonkey. However, Lomo Camera doesn’t offer as many filters and for a more serious project, I would recommend looking into different apps, especially lens apps for Windows Phone on the Nokia Lumia or Camera360, an alternative Android camera app. If you have an iPhone or a Windows Phone, get Hipstamatic’s Oggl to edit existing photos with the same filters you would use to capture new ones.
Shortcuts Are Outside The Box
Instead of editing photos with your standard software, why not play with different tools and look for unusual shortcuts and effects. It may not be very professional, but if it looks cool and isn’t much effort, who’s to judge? It’s beautiful if you like it.
What’s your favorite smartphone photography and image editing shortcut?