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Creating Painterly Photographs

Lesson 15 of 21

How to Create Painterly iPhone Photos

Kathleen Clemons

Creating Painterly Photographs

Kathleen Clemons

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Lesson Info

15. How to Create Painterly iPhone Photos

Lesson Info

How to Create Painterly iPhone Photos

So the last thing that I wanna talk to you about is creating painterly photos with your iPhone, both with gadgets that you can add and with apps as well. So this is with distressed effects, a shot from my town. But let's start with things that you can add. This is an olloclip and it's how I get close because you know you can only get like, I don't know, eight inches away probably with your iPhone and when I want to put an emphasis just on the curves of the petals, I wanna get close, so I got an olloclip recently. With the olloclip, I can shoot at a x7, x14, and x21. There's actually three options on the clip and it just clips right on, slides onto the top of your phone. The hardest part that I have is that you have to get so close. You know, I kind of would like to have something in between my regular phone and the olloclip, but I'm having a ball with this, getting in really, really close and shooting flowers with it. There's two more shots from the olloclip. Very, very fun. There's no...

way I could get that close without it. And these are also macros with it. Dandelion and dew, and it's quite sharp as well. This is the same subject, but I got a little bit closer on the right and then on the olloclip, there's a little glass cover. I left it on to see what it would be like to shoot through it, so that's why that one sort of has that diffused look. I asked myself, what would happen if I left it on? And I kind of liked it. So, something else to try. And those are also both closeup of a magnolia and the base of a tulip, getting me in really close and really soft. You can see the detail falls off quite a bit when you're in that close. But my favorite gadget for adding to my phone is the Lensbaby Mobile kit. I was so excited when they came out with this because being able to have a Lensbaby with me all the time was really, really exciting for me. My case is by Mophie and it allows me to take just the top off, so I don't have to take my whole phone out. And then I just would attach ... There's a little gadget to attach the Lensbaby so that it lines right up and then you don't have to add anything permanent to your camera. You don't have to glue magnets or anything and it just sticks right on like that. And there's an app that you would purchase to go along with it as well to shoot with it. There are three different lenses currently right now. The LM-10 is this little long one right here. Has a small sweet spot. The sweet spot is the area in focus, so it has a small sweet spot and smooth blur. I'm gonna show you in the video, but you'll be opening the app and then you can move that area of focus anywhere you want on your screen of your phone with that app. It doesn't have to be centered, so yeah, it's really fun. You just give it a little pinch and that activates it and then you can just move it wherever you want, double tap it to focus, and play. Here are a couple more and you can see that the area in focus is pretty small and I can also get quite close with this as well. These are both in my garden. A cosmos on the right and one of my dahlias. You can see in the dahlia what I'm talking about distortion in the Lensbaby. You can really see that. It's not just blur, it's also distortion. And these are also both ... The one on the left is just inside my house. I put a scarf behind the flowers. It was a winter shot and I have to have something besides snow to shoot and the other one is just a cosmos in my garden. And these both have had filters added to them, but they were taken with the Lensbaby LM-10. And these as well. It's probably my favorite of the three, but I'll show you the other two as well. The other thing that you can do with the Lensbaby app is you can shoot video as well. So picture this, you've got one area in focus and if you shoot a moving subject that's coming in and out of focus, this is what it looks like. It's pretty wild and I'm not gonna let you watch this too long because I don't wanna hypnotize anybody. (audience laughing) As much fun as that might be. (mumbles) we could have some fun with that. So next they came out with the LM-20 and the LM- and now they sell them as a kit, but the LM-20 is just a ... That's the 30 ... Is the same size as the 30, it's just a little wider. The difference is that the sweet spot is a little larger, so a lot of people find that easier to use, having ... Just like when you were starting to use a Lensbaby and I told you that the larger sweet spot would be easier to use. The same goes for the phone, the LM-20 having a bit larger sweet spot is a little bit easier. I focused on the center of the rose and then this was a wonderful little statue at the casino that I stayed at in Santa Fe. I thought it was beautiful and I really just wanted to focus on the faces and let the rest fade off to blur and Lensbaby was great for that. You can see, compared to the other flower shots that I showed you, look how much more I have in focus here, how much bigger the LM- sweet spot of focus is. And same here. There's quite a bit in focus and you can get a good, sharp focus. Here too, if you don't have a steady hand, they make little tripods and little clamps and attachments you can put on your tripod for your phone. These are hand held and that is a little tricky because I can stay pretty steady with a camera. I can brace my arms against my sides, but with a phone, it's really hard not to move. Then they came out with the Lensbaby LM-30, which looks just like the 20, except it has sort of a prism setup inside the glass is shaped for a prism. So you end up with your subject in focus and a prism-like copy of that all around the edges. This is a rose that I shot with a ... It's probably the one I use the least because you have to have just the right subject for it and it's just not my favorite. So, yes? A couple of Q's, Kathleen, before we move on, about the Lensbaby app. This is from Beth. Do you know if you can use the olloclip lens with a Lensbaby mount? No, nope. No, it's a whole different shape. I don't think so. And do you know ... This is from Jennifer (mumbles) ... If you can use an Android phone or only an iPhone? For the Lensbaby? No, they do make them for the different models of phone. Awesome. They started with just the iPhone sort of to see how it was going to go and then they did make them for the other phones. Great, and just for somebody who had asked, the case that you're using ... This was for Duane ... Is Mophie, is the brand? M-O-P-H-I-E. Yes, and it also comes with a whole another battery charge in it. It's a little heavier, but I get another day's battery, so it's a win-win for me and I don't have to take my (mumbles) my phone completely out of the case. I can just pop this in my pocket or in the Lensbaby case. Great, thank you. Do you guys have questions on this at all? Okay. I wanna talk about two of my favorite apps and then I'm gonna show you a video where I used the Lensbaby, so you can see how I focus, and then used these two apps as well. Since I love vertical panning so much, it probably comes as no surprise to you that I love the Slow Shutter app. It's just fabulous and it's just done in the same way. Camera up, slide it down, slide it to the side. And you can go in ans set how long you want your exposure, just like you did. Two seconds is usually a good amount for me with that app. It doesn't have to be a linear subject. I did it with ferns, with autumn foliage, doorways. That's a doorway in New York City that I thought was fun. The other is an archway in Santa Fe. Just a different way of capturing it. It works for trees in all seasons as well. And here too, you're looking for the same things that you were when you were doing with panning with your phone. You're looking for good spaces between the trees, good lines in your subject as well. The other one that I wanna talk to you about is AvgCamPro and this mimics what I did with multiple exposure, but with my phone. So, instead of taking my camera and doing that click, click, click, I'm doing it with my phone. And I can control the amount of exposures. I can set the amount of exposure. Here too I usually use an odd number, 3 or 5. And being able to do multiple exposure with my phone is really, really fun. Here's a couple more samples. Just moving in close to my subject, starting it, and then just moving as it takes the shutter. And you can see the numbers right on the back of the screen of your exposure, so you know when you're done. Then you can decide whether you wanna save it or delete it, but these were also done with the same app. This is (mumbles), same kind of a thing. Instead of turning, I went this way, so it was click, click, click, click, click. And same with this. Just moving down with a little bit of an angle. I think that's five exposures probably. And one more. So, let me show you how I use those three things. The Lensbaby, Slow Shutter, and AvgCamPro. I wanna show you how I use two of my very favorite iPhone apps to create painterly photographs. The first is called Slow Shutter and it's for long exposures. So what I like to do is combine that long exposure with camera movement. So I have the app set for a two second exposure and when I use this app I'm usually looking for long, linear subjects and there is some gorgeous, really tall trees here and I think they would be perfect for the Slow Shutter app. So all you do is frame your subject, push start, and then move the camera slowly, or the phone, slowly down for two seconds. And then it will ask if you wanna save it or clear it. If you love it, save it. If you don't, clear it and do it again. Every time you do this, your results will be a little bit different, so I encourage you to take more than one shot. The other app that I want to show you is called AvgCamPro and with that we can do multiple exposures like I showed you in-camera, but with your phone. So let's open that. And here too, you can set the number of exposures that you want. I'm going to go with just three exposures for this. You can set 1, 3, 5, again, I generally will do odd numbers. If you wanna do a double exposure, you would just set 2. So you can do that as well. But let's try 3. And again, I'm choosing a subject that's compact, has a lot of shape to it. So I'll fill the frame with my subject, focus in, start it, and then take three shots. And each time I move the camera it takes another shot. It combines them and we're gonna get that same swirl pattern. And again, with this, you don't have to do a swirl pattern. You could be moving down, sideways, tilt it, whatever you want. Be creative. And the last thing that I wanna show you for iPhone is the Lensbaby mobile app, which allows you to shoot Lensbaby photos with your phone. I'm gonna take a short walk over here for the subject for that. Lensbaby mobile comes with an app, so I'm gonna open that up. This is a case made by Mophie and it allows me to pull the top of the case right off so that I can attach the Lensbaby mobile lens. It also comes with this little gadget that fits over the top of my camera so that it lines the lens up exactly where it needs to go and you don't have to attach anything permanent to your phone. And then it's a matter of getting into your subject. I'm shooting this Love in a Mist. If I tap, I'll focus, and if I pinch, I can move that area of focus anywhere that I want in the frame. I'm gonna move it here in the upper third and then refocus, take the shot. Now these are moving a little bit because they are really tiny flowers, so I'm gonna be taking more than one shot. A little bit of a different angle. Lensbaby photos right on your phone. Who would have thought? Do any of you have questions about any of those three things? We do have a couple of clarification questions. Okay. Coming in from folks at home. First of all, Linda is asking, can the iPhone images photos be printed the same as your DSLR? Are they high res enough? They're not high res for this. They're fine for 8 x 10 and 8 x 12, even 11 x 14 probably. No, you're not gonna get billboard size images from them. Great, so the next question is from Sunrise and I think we knew this might happen, but the name of the app, she's asking, is it Slow Shutter or Slow Shutter Cam? It's just Slow Shutter? It's just Slow Shutter. And let's see, maybe you can just mention what those apps were again. Yes, AvgCamPro and Slow Shutter. And if you (mumbles) go back, I had the icon of the app listed because there are a lot that sound the same, I mean, there's so many apps, but the icon is listed right with the first slide of every one of those. Great, and then another question came in from Nicole Wilde. Are these app photos using the Lensbaby mobile clip as well or just with your phone? You're not needing to use a lens and the phone-- Not for the AvgCamPro and Slow Shutter. Correct. Only for the Lensbaby photos did I have to do that. Correct. Great, I think those were the clarification questions. If you try and shoot with just the Lensbaby app and not this attached, your pictures will be upside down. (both laughing) So if you think you can just get the app and do it, no, it's not going to work. But like I said,, there are a ton, and every day new iPhone apps for creating painterly effects. Some I love, some I don't. Some I've had on my phone for three months and haven't had a chance to try yet. It's a new one that I just downloaded yesterday that I'm looking for, but lets talk about my favorite processing apps. I think Snapseed is a must as a basic processing app. It's sort of your Photoshop for your photos. You can tune brightness, darkness, sharpness. You can straighten, do a vignette. There's a healing brush. You can rotate. It's just a really good basic place to start for basic adjustments. It also has some wonderful filters for blur and glamour glow and some different effects that you can add, but I generally am just using the tools part of this app, but it's a must. For this photo, I shot this through a barn and I really needed Snapseed to tone down the brightness in the barn, then in the view through the barn, and then open the barn up a little bit so you could see a little bit more detail and that was really easy to do. And I added a little more saturation as well to the center area and the reflection in the windows. So it's a good place to start with an iPhone photo. This is another favorite called Waterlogue and it creates watercolor paintings. I find this one a little tricky to use. You need just the right subject and I'm still searching to know just what the right subject is. I'll take something and I'll think, which I'm doing a lot with my phone now. When I take it, I'm thinking about the app. Hmm Waterlogue. And it will either be fabulous or it will be horrendous. So you have to experiment with this one a lot. This is a casita in Santa Fe and I think it worked really well for a watercolor look. And it has lots of different presets and you can choose different amounts of detail and you can make your watercolor bold, as you could with a watercolor painting. There are different things that you can change. It's not just one setting. These two are also with Waterlogue. I find things with a lot of detail that seem to be working well with Waterlogue but it's really fun and rather than just have a documentary shot of that gate I have a painting of it instead. And these are both from Longwood Gardens. The Waterlogue. My very favorite app is called Formulas. It creates some .. You can add textures. There are also some presets that are sort of like the old alternative processes like cyanotype and ferrotype and some different things and I think there are 12, 15 different presets for it. It is my very favorite. A couple of them add warmth and texture, like the nautilus shell on the right and then there's some flair and some warmth on the shot of the gentleman that I took in Charleston. Again, warmth and brushstrokes and I'm all about brushstrokes with my textures and presets, so I think the shot on the right, I took in my uncle's house and he had just passed away and we were cleaning out his house and the curtain was just moving slightly and just a straight documentary shot of that was boring, but when I took it into Formulas, to me, it gave it life and it has a special meaning to me. The sailboat is shot from Central Park and the woman that I was shooting with, Nina, if you're listening, Nina, said that she had been trying to shoot these boats and just couldn't do it and I shot it with my phone and then put it into Formulas and she saw the photo on Instagram and said, well yeah, you did it. And that's what we were looking for. The shot on the right is probably the preset that I use the most. You can see the brushstrokes in it. Adds a little bit of warmth as well to a scene. And these are also both ... As you can see on the one in the right, I use that preset a lot. Same brushstrokes. And the flower. And the pink also comes from that preset. There's sort of an opening in the middle where it's a very lighter consistency. It's not completely open, but less, and so the detail in my subject was in the center so that preset worked really well to just fill in texture around the edges and leave the opening. I also love DistressedFX. DistressedFX has textures and color presets and you can add birds. Those birds are not native to that scene. This is Ireland and I added the birds. You're gonna see that same bird formation in a couple of other shots, not that there's anything wrong with that. And also a wonderful texture there too, you can make slight adjustments and then there are two main sliders, one with different color presets and one with different texture presets and you can use one, you can use both, and then you can add the birds. There are those birds again. Same format with a coastal scene, but I used a different texture on that one. There are probably seven or eight different formations of birds. You'll see one more. But you don't have to add the birds. Found this planter in Santa Fe and loved the colors and it was textured, but I wanted a little more texture. Some boats with some wonderful light created by a storm that had just passed on the left and I wanted to make that more dramatic and the color preset that I used has added blue at the top and gold at the bottom, which worked really well. And then a heavy texture and more birds, which also were not there. Those were also added in a different formation. And here I just really wanted a heavily-textured look to this coastal scene with the lobster boats. There was low fog and it was just coming in right over the water and I shot the boats in it with my phone. One of my other favorites is Tiny Planets. (mumbles) have played with Tiny Planets. This is actually a shot of the Angel Oak in Charleston. I don't know if you've seen it. It's that really old tree with all the branches and I didn't really ... I shot it in a normal way, but then thought, what else could I do with it and put it into Tiny Planets and I loved it. It's odd, yes, and distorted, and a little dark and spooky, but I really like it. And I've been doing it with some of my flowers too. These are just flower macros, a straight shot with a flower filling the frame and then you put it into Tiny Planets and you can choose whether you want the subject to go in or out of the circle. You can also make videos. Now this might make you dizzy. I'm gonna warn you, so look away if you're feeling queasy. I just want to show you how it actually takes your picture and distorts it. Is that not wild? (laughs) Yeah, it's a short video. But that shows you both of the ways that it transforms your pictures and you can play with video as well. One of my other favorites is called Brushstroke and it's a true painting app for painterly effects. There are dozens of presets of brushstroke effects to choose from from very subtle to very dramatic and with all of them you can reduce the opacity of the effect if you would like to. The tree on the left was outside Winslow Homer's studio and it had beautiful branches and I thought it would make a beautiful painting. And then the rose, you can actually see the brushstrokes very clearly in the rose. You'll end up with a few favorite presets, and I really wish there was a way to save your favorites so that you could just go to those and not have to scroll through all of them, but if there is, I haven't found it yet. But you will, as with any app that has presets, you'll find some that are your very favorites. So you can go from just a subtle effect, very light brushstrokes. You can also apply the filter and then you can take the original and layer them together with one of the layering apps and that will also reduce the effect a little bit. Or you may wanna go for a very strong painterly look, which I did at Longwood Gardens and Longwood Gardens featured this on their Instagram. They liked it too. So you could use an app like (mumbles) or Image Blender to blend the original with the painterly one if you just want a little bit of a painterly effect. And I wanted to talk just for a minute about Instagram because I think Instagram can be really good for photographers. It's a place to share and view photos every day. I get so much inspiration from it and there's no drama. There's no politics. It's all about photos. And if you wanna follow me, I'm just @kathleenclemons, that's pretty easy to remember. If you tag your photos, #365kc, I'll see what you're shooting because every day I go in at that tag and I like to see what my students and my friends are shooting. So I can see your photos if you tag that. The reason that I think Instagram can be really good for photographers and shooting with your phone can be ... You don't have to shoot with your phone for Instagram. I choose to because it got me using my phone. I made myself a pledge that I would take a shot ... I would, not take a shot ... I would put a shot up every day on Instagram. That doesn't mean I shot it that day, but I processed it that day if I didn't shoot it that day. So I always take extras. It gets me doing something artistic with my camera phone every single day, so if I'm not shooting, I'm playing with apps, I'm processing, and I'm uploading a photo. I'm in the middle of my second year and I have not missed a day yet. You don't have to do that. I'm not trying to pressure you into submitting a photo every day, but if you ... It's good for you to be doing something artistic and one of the best things about shooting with your phone is that it takes a lot of the heavy technical stuff away. You're still dealing with light, you're still dealing with composition, but you're worrying less about aperture and gear and lens changes. It's just you and your phone. And the more you use your phone, you're composing more, you're shooting more. That's gonna show in your other photography as well because you're getting more practice on a daily basis. So it can only be good things for you. So I would encourage you to join me on Instagram. Here's just a picture of my recent shots, so everyday. And it's not always a flower ... Wherever I am. When I shot the new textured glass shots with my friends when we were holding it for each other and I went, "iPhone!" and I shot it with my iPhone as well. It's all good. The more you shoot, the better you get. Questions about any of these apps or using your phone or Instagram? We'll start with the folks at home. Let's see, question from (mumbles), do you typically shoot with the iPhone camera, the native camera, and then process or do you use some of the cameras that are like ViSCO or Camera+? I use Camera+ a lot, especially if I have a tricky exposure. Okay. And if I don't, I sometimes will start with the native one and if I'm just not having good results, I'll switch over to Camera+. Which, as you were saying, allows you to adjust your exposure much more tightly. Your exposure and your focus can be done separately instead of all with the same thing, so I think it's a really good app to have as well, especially when you have a tricky exposure. Great, and that was Camera+. Little plus sign. Exactly. So I just wanted to clarify for folks at home who might not be as familiar with mobile photography, the question was, are these programs being discussed for the iPhone or can they be used with Photoshop and Lightroom? So from this segment? They're iPhone apps to be done right on your phone. If you need more space, you can use your iPad. If it's really hard for you to process a photo with a small screen, it can also be done on your iPad. They are meant to be used on your phone.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Make yourself stand out among nature photographers by adding a new dimension to your images. Painterly techniques draw attention to the delicate patterns, lines, textures, and designs that we often overlook in the natural world.

Kathleen Clemons is an experienced nature photographer, known for her creative techniques and her unique, stunning compositions. 

Join Kathleen for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to achieve the painterly look in-camera with slow shutter, selective focus, Lensbaby, and multiple exposures.
  • How to evoke the painterly look in Photoshop with panning.
  • How to use Topaz Impression and NIK software to make painterly photos.
In this class, you’ll learn how to create painterly images by using a wide variety of techniques. Kathleen will show you how to apply effects using in-camera settings, different lenses, Adobe Photoshop®, and low-tech tricks like applying vaseline to filters. Capture the magic of nature and turn your photography into remarkable impressionistic art. 



Wow. I really loved this class. I took her other class, "The Art of Flower Photography" as well. She is very thorough, explains concepts clearly and is professional, yet kind. I have been doing photography for decades, but flower photography is a little bit of a different animal. I have found it to be extraordinarily challenging - which is also invigorating! At the same time, using Kathleen's principles, I feel like I now have basic rules and tools under my belt which I did not have before. This is a little humbling as I have been doing photography for so long and was surprised there were a few basic concepts I didn't "get the memo" on. haha. This class will save me heaps of trial and error time. I will be much better able to zero in on what I really need to work on. I actually recommend taking both her Creative Live courses. Yes, there is a bit of overlap - but that little bit of repetition is actually helpful. They are not the same class. Oh, and one more "perk" get to view some of the most stunning flower photography ever created. Masterful. Thank you, Kathleen.

Donna Macri Stevens

As I've been watching this class, I have literally been sitting at my computer and saying aloud, "Wow....WOW!" This is an absolutely amazing class!!! I began watching it while it streamed, but had to buy it. Kathleen is an amazing instructor, and she is SO generous with her tips and techniques. I love that she supplemented her instruction with on-site videos, in class photo manipulation and so much more. If you love flower photography or want amazing tips on how to make your photos more painterly, CLICK BUY NOW! I'm just blown away! This is a GREAT, GREAT class!


Kathleen's images have a very artistic and painterly character, so she is a great presenter for this subject. In this class she openly shares many of her methods of shooting to create in-camera artistic images (even with your phone) as well as post-processing techniques. She presents this material with her open, calm, strong and passionate manner that gives you an "artistic license" to experiment and discover "What happens if?" I have admired her work for a long time and am so excited that she shares the secrets of creating her enchanting images here. If you are interested in capturing images that go beyond what you see to incorporate how you feel about a subject, you will love this class!