One of the most important things that I have just started learning about blogging is how to create good photography. I usually take photos with my iPhone, but they come out shadowy and shaky. They’re also a pain to move from my phone to the computer since iPhone cords are expensive and I don’t have enough to have one everywhere I may happen to write a blog post. I mentioned in my first blogging adventure post that I started using the Camera+ app, but that there is also a Camera Plus app. I have both and they are very similar, but I just barely prefer the “+” app. It is easy to use, has plenty of present white balances for less-than-ideal settings (like inside at night), and can save directly to my camera roll.
In order to choose a storage solution and an editing solutions, I had some requirements. I wanted:
- Automatic uploading from my phone’s camera roll to wherever I decided to store the photos.
- Photos automatically available on my phone, online, and somewhere on in my PC’s photo drive so I can edit them anywhere, save them anywhere, and upload them from anywhere to the blog.
- Ability to upload photos from a URL or from a file.
- Decent editing capabilities.
- Editing from my iPhone, iPad, and online/on my PC.
- Editing directly from wherever the photos are stored, and a copy of the edited version of photos automatically uploaded back to the storage area.
Tall order, right? I took a lot of finagling to get all of these requirements met, but I did it eventually.
The storage options I had were:
- iCloud/Photos– automatic upload to a cloud, which I could get online and on my PC, but the upload was very, very slow and there was no editing integration
- Flickr– Automatic upload from my phone or my PC to online, but all of this was ridiculously slow. Also, all the photos were uploaded privately, which meant I had to take each one and make it public before editing or downloading to then upload to my blog. Ugh. Also, there used to be integration with Pixlr, but that no longer exists. And I had to create a Yahoo account… when’s the last time anyone used Yahoo?? I’m not gonna use flickr anymore, but I’ll keep the account just to have the photos in another place.
- Google Photos– This is a new feature from Google that replaced whatever photo storage option used to be part of Google+. There is an app that can automatically upload from my phone, which is slow but much faster than Flickr, particularly when the app is open on my phone. Also, it is integrated both online and on my phone with Snapseed (see below). However, there is no ability to store photos directly on my PC as files rather than as a webpage, which means uploading to the blog is less flexible. I already have a google account for my email and Google+ (which is very confusing. I have a profile, linked to here and previously, that shows all my posts from my blog since figuring out how to make them public. I also have a Google page, but it seems kinda useless… anyone know how to integrate this with other sites like WordPress and Facebook?)
- Google Drive– Automatic upload is slow and there is no editing integration, but it does have a desktop app that automatically stores all uploaded photos on my PC (offline). Also, I already have the Google account.
The editing options I had were:
- VSCO– I really liked the editing capabilities of this app, and it was easy to open photos from my phone and save them back on my phone. However, there is no integration with a storage folder and no online editing options.
- Pixlr– The editing capabilities were fine and it was easy to save to my phone, and there was a separate app for online/desktop editing, which is nice. However, there were a lot of bugs with starting an account and such. Also, I thought this was integrated with Flickr, but that is no longer the case.
- Fotor– I honestly used this app for about 2 photos before deleting it. I don’t really remember what I didn’t like about it, but it at least had online editing abilities. I just remember it being non-intuitive.
- Snapseed– I’ll just say this right now, this is the best app. The editing capabilities are great and it is very easy to upload and resave to my iPhone. It is also integrated with the Google Photos app, so it’s easy to go between the two. It is also kind of available online through Google (it is owned by Google now), but with slightly limited capabilities. If anyone knows how to find all the capabilities online (I’ve seen evidence that it exists, I just can’t figure it out). My favorite feature of this app is that you can edit in “layers” of changes, meaning that you can go back and edit each change individually without altering other changes you’ve made, i.e. cropping, sharpening, and filters are totally independent; you can go back and change one without altering the others, even after saving to your phone.
Since this took me about a week of after-work-work to figure all this out, I’ll just share it with you all directly:
- I use the Camera+ app to take photos, which has considerably more flexibility than the regular iPhone. I then save to my camera roll on my phone.
- I edit using Snapseed and “save a copy” that is eternally modifyable back on to my camera roll.
- I have the Google Photos app on my phone, which automatically uploads to Google Photos online, which is part of my blog’s Google account.
- It was easy to integrate Google Photos and Google Drive, so the photos, including those altered in Snapseed and saved to my camera roll, that upload to Photos also are saved in Drive, which then saves the photos to the Drive folder that I set up on my PC.
- Google Photos/Drive has editing capabilities online that are similar to the Snapseed phone app, and after alteration, the photos are saved in all locations.
- To upload to my blog, I can choose photos from the Drive folder or from the links provided by the Photos page, depending on what I want to use the photos for.
It sounds complicated, but once you have everything downloaded and signed in, it’s all automatic and easily alterable. No cables, flash drives or extra clicking around required. I don’t really have any new tips on actually photography because I am still practicing, but having these apps all set up really helps ensure that the photos I do take end up as beautiful as possible. Now I just have to update all those ugly old photos on old posts…