What do you do when faced with a fabulous photo opportunity and you are totally unprepared. No DSLR, not even a compact camera? Should you panic? Heck no! You reach for your iOS or Android and take a smartphone cat photo that will amaze you and thrill your friends. Here’s how.
One of the most important things I have learned on my own photography journey is that sometimes an opportunity will jump at you in the most unexpected way and you feel you can’t do anything. Like you, I have to remind myself that I am not doing a professional photoshoot, it’s just you and your ‘phone. And, if I can grab my smartphone to take a good photo, so can you.
Let me tell you the story behind this successful photo and the amazing filter I applied to it.
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Capturing A Sudden Cat Moment
Sam, our foster has been allowed to explore the house and interact with the home cats on supervised visits. Of course, I was looking for a photo opportunity as he is a beautiful boy and the camera loves him.
Like many cats, Sam loves looking out the windows all the time, although I don’t think he wanted to go outside. Some cats do, but he was content to look. It was during one of these explorations that he hopped up onto the bed and into the perfect photo opportunity. You guessed it, he was between me and my DSLR.
What would you do? Would you freeze and think ‘”Help my DSLR out of reach”, or would you grab the one thing most of us carry everywhere – your smartphone. You guessed it. I felt my smartphone in my pocket so I slipped it out as Sam sat looking out of the window.
I held my breath hoping he wouldn’t do the ‘cat thing’ and jump away at precisely the wrong moment. I held my breath, lifted the ‘phone and took several pictures before he turned away, jumped down and the moment was gone.
I learned an important lesson in these moments. A photographer of any kind builds their skills over time and I realised that I had recognised the potential for a good photograph in that brief moment and acted on it.
This is the kind of thing I want you to look for yourself as you take photos. Look, and try to see through your camera’s lens, and the more photos you take (good and bad) the more your eye recognises something with potential.
Turn Your Cat Photo Into A Black and White Masterpiece
The picture looks lovely in colour, check out the cheeky outtake below and I know you will agree, but it is transformed when I adjust it in iPhone’s Carbon smartphone photo app to change it to black and white (often called monochrome). You can see how the light on Sam and the fabric beside him forms a soft triangle of light topped by his sharp focused gaze.
- I love black and white and have explored it in my black and white photo tips post where you can check out the more important tips you need to focus on to take your own black and white images. One of these tips is Search for Shapes.
I know you will be keen to try monochrome photos yourself so I will finish with some of the top recommendations for computer and smartphone applications that you can explore.
Black and White for Windows and Macintosh
Not everyone has an iPhone so I am adding suggestions for Android smartphone apps too. If you already have an app I suggest you experiment with it to find out what works best for each photo you want to give the monochrome treatment. Apps update constantly and black and white shows no sign of losing its strong place in the hearts of photographers.
Remember too that you can download your photos to a photo app on your computer or tablet including:
- Photoshop Elements,
- Affinity Photo,
- GIMP and,
- Paint Shop Pro.
Black and White Smartphone Apps
- The Carbon app is for iPhone only as far as I can discover.
- Monochrome Photo Effects for Android is a good monochrome app.
- Snapseed is a versatile app with a learning curve but one that works well with monochrome. Android and iOS