Editing Photos on iPhone and Android with ParkerArrow Lightroom Presets

Editing Photos on iPhone and Android with ParkerArrow Lightroom Presets - www.darkphotography.org

The scope and ability for easily editing photos on iPhone and Android have come a long way. You no longer need to have a full on desktop computer setup to get that amazing look you’re chasing after. In my opinion, the iPhone photo editor, and yes, I’m leaning a little more towards iPhone here for now, but hear me out. The best iPhone photo editor right now has to be Lightroom CC.

You’ve no doubt seen how many Instagrammers have exploded in popularity over the very recent couple of years. This has become something that has caught a lot of people off guard, and some, who were aware enough to see the opportunity, have clearly ridden the wave. But how do they get those amazing shots? I mean, surely the light isn’t always absolutely perfect for them, is it?

You and I both know that it’s not. In a similar way to how you can modify the white balance presets on a range of cameras, Lightroom CC offers this level of flexibility for you to get the final shot you want. It has never been so easy to edit photos on iPhone as it is now, and the smartphone photography industry is booming!

Editing Photos on iPhone and Android with ParkerArrow Lightroom Presets - www.darkphotography.org

For the Android audience, the great news is that you can also take advantage of these Lightroom presets for editing photos on Note 8 or any other compatible device. In fact, Lightroom is the best Android photo editor out there. Consider the strength and experience of the team behind the Lightroom CC project when compared to other apps for editing photos on Android.

The Lightroom CC team has clearly made this a robust platform for editing photos on iPhone and Android. So much so that other developers have the capacity to build on it through the creation of their own custom presets. These Lightroom presets are able to integrate without issue into the main system, and you can use them to get that look that you are chasing without as much of the fuss and expense as you might otherwise have.

Choosing just any old presets off a random website will get you a collection of options that you can apply easily, but often they are not as polished as they could be. I’ve been working with the Lightroom presets for smartphone photography by ParkerArrow and been able to achieve some mind-blowing results.

Tips for editing photos on iPhone and Android

The first thing you need to do is to import the image you want to edit on your iPhone or Android into Lightroom and open it up. Once this has been imported, you will see a series of options or tools for you to edit the image on the bottom of your screen.

The first option I usually apply on any photo I’m editing, whether I’m using Lightroom on my smartphone or the PC version of the software is the Preset Setting which gives me a starting point to determine the mood I want to convey for the photograph.

When working with portraits, I tend to like the feel of a faded, sometimes moody feel. You can get these with a range of different presets, but I’ve found that the Lightroom mobile app preset California Mobile Pack with California 07, as shown below, by ParkerArrow gives me a good basis.

Editing Photos on iPhone and Android with ParkerArrow Lightroom Presets - www.darkphotography.org
The thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to use the exact same settings for every picture, but in this case, the kind of edit I’ll describe gets a specific look that I find works well on portraits. There are a lot of different Lightroom presets for smartphones that you can get through ParkerArrow.

What I would do after selecting this preset is to turn on ‘Lens Correction’ and adjust as needed. After that, I use the  ‘Detail’ tool to sharpen the image. Then I adjust the following effects settings using the slider to get the look and feel that I want:

  • Clarity
  • Dehaze
  • Vignette

The key thing to keep in mind with this is that you don’t want to overdo things here as these settings can easily ruin your image. These settings can make a big difference to the feel of the image with dramatic effect differences applied when compared to the original.

Next, I like to work with Split Toning. I believe that this is a very important part of editing photos on iPhone or Android. Split Tone is essentially adding different colors to the highlights and the shadows of the image. This can help provide an impactful look that really causes your photo to pop. But, be careful not to go too heavy with this.

Once I’m done with the split toning of the image I adjust the temperature of the image through the color palette. Using different colors you are able to change how warm or cool the image looks. This does a lot to help convey a certain type of emotion in the image. Adjusting the vibrancy a little can help with this stage in the editing for specific effect also.

Changing the ‘Light’ settings allows me to be able to adjust pretty much every aspect of the image when editing photos on Android or iPhone. You can change the exposure, contrast, highlights, and shadows here to smooth out the picture. Remember to use these in moderation to maintain the integrity of the image you are editing with your chosen Lightroom presets.

The next step I take is to adjust the curves to change the highlights and shadows, and the RGB to adjust the Red, Ble, and Green respectively. This is done in a graphical manner with the curves tool. Once all of this is done, it is time for the last stage of editing, which is the cropping and rotating.

Cropping and rotating an image is often overlooked by many when editing photos on iPhone or Android. If you want to find that viral look, you need to check out what is curently getting the likes and shares online, and apply that into your photos. I find that the 4 x 5 crop works very nicely for Instagram. Make sure that you adjust your photo accordingly before you save it. When saving, select the highest quality possible, and save the image to your device.

Using your creative flare when editing photos on iPhone or Android are just as important as applying suitable techniques, as this is what is going to result in you developing your own style. Download the Lightroom presets for smartphone photography from ParkerArrow, and have fun exploring and developing your style.

13 Bad Photography Habits That Can Ruin Your Photos

13 Bad Photography Habits That Can Ruin Your Photos

Do this simple test below. See if you have developed some of these bad photography habits. They are easy to pick up, but hard to shake off! For each bad habit, give yourself a test score. Finally, resolve to drop at least one of these habits this year.

01 Leave the Camera at Home

The best camera is the one you have with you – even if it’s on your smartphone. Not every photo you take is photography competition material, or is of commercial value. Regardless, a huge megapixel count and optimum lens quality on a DSLR is useless if left at home. You can see why tis is right up the top of the list of bad photography habits, right?

02 Rely on a Single Memory Card

Those little storage cards are hugely expensive, but the temptation to be frugal will bite you on the bum. Murphy’s Law states that your memory card will fill up precisely when you’re shooting that ‘money shot’; when the light is right; or when the entire group is all smiling at you. The remedy? Buy more memory cards.

03 Don’t Back Up Your Photos

I know a friend who fills up a memory card with images, then buys another, fill that up, then buys another – a dangerous habit! He recently confessed he’s lost some of his precious photos. Personally, I have experienced the pain of having a hard drive fail, losing more than a year’s commercial photography work. To be super-secure, you really should store your photographs in three different locations.

04 Chimp

Constantly checking your images on the LCD display is called chimping, and it’s a really bad photography habit. To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with it, per se, except if you’re into street photography, or at a wedding or party. You may miss that definitive moment, as you’re too engrossed in the perfectionistic tendency of chimping.

05 Shoot From Eye Level

Amateur shutterbugs tend to hold the camera at head-height. However, this will produce predictable results. When shooting in a location, learn to ‘work the scene’. Drop to your knees, or even lie on the ground, searching for fresh angles. An aerial perspective can be stunning. Remember that the best tool of composition is your feet.

06 Fail to Consider the Background

Look for a simple background behind your subject. For example, avoid having a telephone pole (in the distance) that appears to protrude from a person’s head. If you have a long lens, you can employ a narrow depth-of-field to blur the background. This will isolate your subject from the clutter beyond, achieving a degree of separation.

07 Center the Subject

Ignore the rules of composition at your peril. This bad photography habit is practiced all too often. If you want your photos to stand out, learn and use the Rule of Thirds, rather than place your focal point bang in the middle, like most folks do, (in blissful ignorance). Or, add dynamic by tilting your camera at an angle. Don’t forget to try different types of framing: portrait orientation versus landscape orientation. Or even a really wide panoramic crop.

08 Shoot Only in Bright Daylight

Confession time… I am guilty of this. Because I trained back in the bad old days of film, when strong light was necessary to capture good images, I became a fair-weather photographer. Also, I used compact digital cameras for a decade, which were hopeless in low light situations. So I was infatuated with clear, blue skies, as cloudy skies often washed out into a white haze.

However, under a harsh, midday sun, shadows are short and therefore objects do not look three-dimensional, lacking form. Human subjects may squint into the sun, or blink. Worse, they may have an ugly ‘sun-dial’ effect under their noses! Better to pose people in the shade.

Landscapers should learn to work with softer, diffused light – this is mandatory for waterfall scenes. Thunderclouds overhead will introduce a sense of foreboding that blue skies cannot. Golden hour lighting will exude warmer tones and longer shadows.

09 Don’t Read the Camera Manual

Same old story: you buy a new camera, put the box away and the camera’s manual stays inside the plastic bag. Perhaps you were too eager to use your new gadget. Well, now it’s time to dig out the manual and attack it with a highlighter pen. Not so much a bad photography, as a really obvious rookie mistake I guess, but still, it is often the source of lost opportunities in photography.

Be methodical, and diligently work through each function of your camera. You may find features you didn’t know existed!

10 Shoot on Auto

If you haven’t read the camera manual, your photos may suffer from the restrictions of shooting in Automatic mode. Modern cameras are amazing, and can produce great results on Auto, but not consistently. Better to take control yourself. Learn the semi-automatic shooting modes, such as Shutter or Aperture Priority. Then, if you are brave, try shooting on Manual.

11 Think that Post-Processing Can Fix Everything

This is a lazy habit to fall into. It’s much better to get a shot right in-camera, including the correct exposure, as blown-out highlights cannot be retrieved later. Another consideration is ensuring that the horizon is straight, or you will lose the edges of your image when rotating then cropping it on a computer. Use the 3 x 3 grid on your LCD display, or a spirit level fitted on the hot shoe.

If you shoot landscapes, buy some ND and ND Grad filters. The most useful filter is the Polariser, the effects of which cannot be replicated using software. Finally, it’s better to do a bit of gardening, removing distractions from a scene, than be forced to clone them out in Photoshop – tedious work!

12 Shoot Only JPEGs

JPEG files are compressed. Unfortunately, this narrows the dynamic range of your photographs, and changes the colour, according to the camera’s presets. This can’t be undone. Shoot using the RAW file format, as this is more forgiving. RAW allows you the latitude to correct exposure and colour, as well as sharpen the image, on computer software. Think of RAW files as digital negatives, that need processing and fine tuning.

13 Post Too Many Photos

We all take poor pictures, badly exposed or blurry… but there’s no need to inflict these on the unsuspecting public! Carefully select only your best images, then process these on the computer.

Also, display a variety of images on social media, or online galleries, but limit these to 3–5. Essentially, don’t submit minor variations of the same shot.

So, what’s your score? How many bad habits can you identify with? Tick these habits and tally up your total.


1–3 habits: Wow! You are disciplined, and must have done a few photography courses.

4–6 habits: Not bad. But there is room for improvement.

7–9 habits: Don’t despair; there’s still hope for you.

10–13 habits: You need professional help!

Photo Exercise

Dark Photography - Starry Night and Aurora Photography - Photo Exercises

Exercise 1

Here’s what you do; go into a field in the early morning, just after the sun clears the horizon. With the sun directly in front of you, get down low to the ground and scout around until you find a nicely shaped spider web.

Dark Photography - Starry Night and Aurora Photography - Photo Exercise

Beautiful isn’t it? Now, as long as you’re there anyway, take a few shots for your collection. Get down low and fill the frame with the web. Don’t forget to pre-visualise and write everything in your notebook. Once you are done with that – make a mental note of exactly where the spider web is and go around to the other side of it. Now, with the sun at your back, what do you see? Is it as beautiful? Can you see it as well? Can you see it at all?

Hopefully, it will have some dewdrops on it. If not, bring a spray bottle of water with you and give it a gentle spritz.  By the way, spritzing “dewdrops” onto flowers and spider webs is an old professional trick. It makes them look so much better that few pros would go into the field without a spray bottle! Want bigger drops? Add some glycerin to the water.

The dew drops or the spritz of water should help you see the filaments of the web.

Dark Photography - Starry Night and Aurora Photography - Photo Exercise

This is not just an exercise of hard light versus soft light. You are now learning a bit about the angle of light. When you put the finished photos side by side in your notebook, which one do you like best? Why? This exercise should help you to remember to always turn around and check the scene behind you when you are doing a photo session. By that I mean, the scene in front of you may be beautiful, but the scene behind you could be even better. The angle of the light can make a big difference.

Hmmm… I got a little off topic there, talking about light angle rather than talking about the light being hard. Let’s get back to hard light and talk about how to modify it.

Exercise 2

Go back and look at each of the ways we shape and control our hard light source, then try to figure out a way to manipulate the sun and your on camera flash using these techniques.

Can you make a snoot for your flash? How about a cookie?

Find ways to use flags to control the light hitting your scene.

Stop by a local camera store and ask them if they will show you a flag, a cookie, a snoot.

Just because these modifiers are generally used on studio lights, doesn’t mean that you can’t find a way to get the same look. Try making a snoot out of paper and tape it to your light.

Next time, we’ll go into soft light, you’re going to like this one!