ProCam, slow shutter, and Snapseed for motion photo effects

So, a photo recently came up on my Facebook feed from last year, and it was of a tree, in the breeze, with a really neat motion effect to it - 

I recently met up with my old photography professor / first photography boss/ and all around good guy Howard LeVant, and he was telling me how much he loved the motion work and how did I achieve the effects? I thought about it, and actually, it is really easy and a whole ton of fun to do, so let’s take a peek at the process.

The first thing you will need is a Pro camera app for your phone that will allow you to slow the shutter down. There are a number of apps out there that will allow this, and the one i have gone back to is ProCam 5 from Samer Azzam ( Apple App store - $5.99 ). This is actually a full featured camera app with tons of functionality, but the slow shutter options combined with other features made this a no brainer.

After you open the ProCam app, look for the slow shutter setting and you will be presented with a few options. The ones I lean on are the ” Motion Blur” setting circled in red combined with the “bulb” shutter speed ( also in red ). The bulb setting will keep the shutter open as long as you hold the exposure button down, and the actual timed settings are a little long for what I normally do, so I usually keep in open for about a second to 3 seconds. Circled in blue is the other setting I use - “Light Trail”. I tend to switch it up between these for different effects. For example, the Motion Blur setting will give me a blurred effect that will get darker as I hold the shutter with the elements foftly blurring together for a softer effect.  With “Light Trail” - which was originally designed for the streaky car light effect you see on highway long exposures, will render the scene with blocky colors and details and it will get very light very quickly. A light touch on the exposure is a must with this setting, especially during the day. 

to give you an example, using Light Trails, I photographed a magnolia tree and moved the camera during the exposure which resulted in the following image. Right off the bat, nothing spectacular. NOW we will get into the ways to make it cool and painterly.

The app you will need next is Snapseed, from Google - 

If you use your cell phone camera, this is a must. It has a ton of editing features, the results can be downright amazing, and…it’s free. No excuses. Get it.

So, how do we get the cool motion painterly effect?

open from device

opened image

apply HDR

HDR applied!

Crop the image to your liking

cropped image!

First you want to open the image in Snapseed. Go to the HDR setting, circled in red. place your finger on the screen and you will get the menu settings and from there you can slide the amounts up and down depending on what you like and what works. Apply the settings by touching the checkmark. From there I usually crop my images, and you can see the effect from the crop - just getting rid of unnecessary stuff in the image.


details applied

Next you will adjust the following settings - 

Details, which alter the sharpness and structure of the image - I tend to crank these up

Tune Image - this will adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, and ambient for the image. Play around with these to get some neat effects.

Tonal Contrast -  this setting will fine tune the contrast in the image and bring out some values while suppressing others. Once again, play with it.

vignette time

looking good

the save functions within Snapseed

From there its the finishing touches - I will add a little vignette to focus the viewer into the image, and then its time to export. There are three save functions within Snapseed - save ( which will overwrite your original file, NOT RECOMMENDED ), save a copy ( which saves an editable copy that Snapseed will recognize so you can continue your work) and export ( which exports a final copy and will not affect the original file. This is what I normally use )

and your final image?

And there you have it! Try this out with a number of settings in Snapseed, or move the camera while making the exposure. Play. Have fun. 

Talk again soon!