Saturday, August 18

CoffeeShop Tutorial: HDR & Double-Exposure Fun on your Phone!

I follow the Kevin & Amanda blog because Amanda is always posting great photos of her adventures and food. She also has great free fonts and informative product reviews.  I want to hang around with her for a weekend, she sounds so fun!

I was inspired by this post to download the Pro HDR app for my iPhone (it is also available for the Android). I usually don't buy apps but this one sounded neat and was only $1.99.  The app takes two photos (one exposes for the light, one for the dark) and then combines them.

So I brought my iPhone and the boys to the park this morning and took some photos with my normal iPhone app  and compared them to ones taken with the Pro HDR app.  And the HDR ones were pretty cool!  This would be a great app to use for landscapes/cityscapes.

I really hate editing on my phone because the photo is so tiny and I have old eyes, so these edits were a little over-saturated/red for my taste.  You can make several adjustments to the image before saving it, but once saved can't be altered unless you remember to save the original.  Next time I will try to not add so much color/red.

You have to hold your camera really still because there is a lag between the two shots so I sometimes had some blurring.  But this lag gave me an idea.  I started thinking that it would be fun to do some double exposures with the kids.

I found a shaded area and posed the kids, told them not to move and started the Pro HDR app. Immediately after it took the first image, I told them to run and I captured this image.  It is not perfect (and a bit spooky); you can see through the boys in the original pose, but I like it!

I cropped it in Photoshop and ran the CoffeeShop  Velvet Ash action and burned in the edges.  I love this edit!

I took another one.  This time you can really see I was moving too much while taking the photos (probably screaming at the boys...), but unless it is printed large it is not that noticeable.

I processed this one in-camera with Instagram.  It looks really sketchy, but I love it!  I think it looks very artistic.   Isn't that what you say when you take a technically bad image and run it through some filters ;-)? But this would be really cute printed small and hung on the wall or fridge.

The key to take these types of double-exposure shots is finding an area with consistent lighting.  If there are areas that are really bright and areas that are shaded, your subjects might disappear completely in one blown-out or darkened exposure.  So you will only have one pose in your HRD image. Believe me, I had to take quite a few images to figure this out.

I will write a tutorial next to show you how to do this using your real camera and Photoshop or PSE. It is really easy using layer masks.

It was really hot this morning at the park so the boys were covered in sweat and I had to promise them donuts...  Poor kids.  I tried to tell them that their hard work in the park keeps me from having to work outside of home but at that point they would rather be anywhere where there was air conditioning...

Hope you had fun with this little tutorial!  Phone cameras won't replace our real cameras (at least in the near future), but they are great for snapshots and can even be used for artistic small prints.  I also have the Camera+ app (like it) and the Camera360 app (don't use it much, but like it).  I still love Instagram the most for my in-camera filters.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


  1. Wow, would love to do that with my dslr. Is there a way?

  2. Sure there is dborato! I don't know how to do it in-camera, but just take 2 photos of your kids (one where they are standing still, one moving) and then put them together in Photoshop and use layer masks to add them running and put that one in lower opacity.

    I will write a tutorial! Rita

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  4. very cool!Can't wait to see your photoshop tutorial!

  5. So fun, and appropriate for boys since they are always on the go. Love you creativity!

  6. Thanks! I just downloaded the app. Going outside to have some fun. 8-)

  7. where can I find the tutorial for this?

  8. Haven't written the tutorial yet! Thanks for reminding me, I will try to set up a shoot this weekend.


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