I take a lot of photographs in my free time. Sometimes they look nice, and sometimes they are not so nice. Most of the time they are pretty mediocre.
But if I spend a little time with my photographs, I can take a completely decent, average, boring photo and breathe a little life and interest into it through editing.
My favorite photo editing tool right now is Mextures. One of the photographers I work with right now turned me on to this app. The difference between Mextures and other standard photo editing apps like Camera+ is that Mextures offers unique creative filters, and you can layer the app’s filters on top of each other. The possibilities are really endless.
As a printmaking major and general technical art enthusiast, I get a little giddy over some of the filters Mextures offers. First, their grain filters not only cover film emulsion and photo print grain textures, but they also have copper plate textures that you would find from printing etchings or old daguerrotype photos. Very cool.
Mextures would also allow you to incorporate some hip trendy light leak filters, and layer them on the vintage inspired grain layer edit. Light leaks, although actually a camera error, are a hip trend in today’s digital photography world. Traditionally, light leaks happen when the film is not properly sealed in the camera body and light leaks in through the back of the camera to burn out part of the exposed image. Even a little bit of light will ruin traditional film photographs.
Now light leak effects are used to bring a vintage feel and add interesting color hues to a photograph, especially over large flat swaths of a single color in a photograph. I personally love light leaks in the same way that I love unicorn hair.
Mextures also offers camera film type filters that you can find through other popular photo editing tools like VSCO, but on your iPhone. Most of my VSCO filters are Lightroom presets to make my digital photographs look like old film. Filters in the digital VSCO app are more robust than, say, Instagram’s presets, but they aren’t as thorough as the Lightroom presets. Plus, it’s handy to have the Mextures film presets all in one place with the grain and light leak filters. Mextures’ film presets cover popular slide and saturated color Japanese Fuji films like Velvia and Provia, and also a range of Lomo films. I’ve been a lomographer since my dad put one of their film point and shoots in my hands when I was a bored 14 year old in Cairo, so I always have a soft spot for their aesthetic.
If you don’t want to take the time to layer your own filters or are just overwhelmed by the amount of options available through Mextures, preset filters can be easily applied for a quick pick-me-up on a boring photograph. There are presets available for the 4 seasons, landscapes, old film, black & white, and collaborative photo ambassador presets. You can also save your own filter presets or upload someone else’s. While this feature makes it easy to make a dramatic change to a boring picture, they are more limiting in that you can’t rotate the preset, or adjust the photo settings (brightness/contrast/saturation/etc) to better match the preset.
So give it a try! Take your own boring photographs and make them look a little better!