Here they are! Photos of our new kitchen. We love, love, love it. I never dreamed of designing a kitchen from scratch, so this is the dream kitchen I never knew I wanted.
I’ve been meaning to get good pics to share on the blog since the remodel finished. I was disappointed this weekend when, after cleaning and polishing the kitchen, I pulled out my dSLR and discovered I don’t have a lens with wide enough angle to get the whole kitchen in. With my small house, I couldn’t move far enough back to get the views I wanted. So I tried the iPhone, which had a wider angle to fit more in the frame, and I went with it.
Now, let’s get one thing straight right out of the gate: An iPhone isn’t the right camera for serious architectural photography. A full frame dSLR with a wide angle lens, some additional lighting and a tripod would do the job nicely. If you would like to see photos of our kitchen like that, you can visit Kirk Design and Construction’s website, here.
I needed to pull out some tricks to eke out the best from the iPhone instead. I thought I’d share a couple of the apps I used along with the pics today. All of these pics are in full resolution, so you can click on them to see a larger image. I wanted you to be able to see the detail I’m talking about.
With the arrival of iOS 8, ProCamera rolled out a new version with an HDR upgrade option. For $1.99, you can add this new camera option to the already-great app.
Use of the HDR camera is simple. Frame your photo, setting your focus and exposure as always you always do in ProCamera, and take your photo. (Instructions for using ProCamera are here, if you need them.) ProCamera quickly takes two photos, a light and dark exposure, and combines them. You are shown the preview, and you can toggle back and forth between the original and HDR versions. If you like the HDR version, you save, otherwise you can cancel.
You have the option to select the HDR processing effect in the menu, choosing between Natural, Vivid, Dramatic, Black n White, and Faded. I like Natural the best.
Having a quick HDR option within my favorite camera app is nice for those times when lighting conditions are especially challenging, like in the kitchen.
The main challenge with any HDR app is stability between the two exposures. Slight shifts of the camera will cause blur when the two images are combined. If you click on the image above to look at it larger, you can see the focus is soft, most obviously on the right side of the stove, the clock and decorations above the cabinets. For perfect HDR, a tripod is really needed, whether you are using an iPhone or a dSLR.
Since I didn’t want to pull out my tripod for a perfect HDR photo, I decide to go with my usual solution for high contrast, expose for the highlights and then edit.
I started with an image captured in the standard ProCamera, exposing for the highlights in the window which leaves the kitchen underexposed.
I started with a basic edit in Snapseed, adjusting brightness, ambiance and contrast and cropping to remove the distracting lights.
The image was still a bit flat, so I pulled it into the app Perfectly Clear. This app makes automatic adjustments to improve exposure, tint, noise and sharpness. You can then fine tune individual adjustments, using the Tweak menu on the right. Perfectly Clear allows you to see the before and after at the same time, a nice feature.
The final image is definitely clearer. Perfectly Clear has a tendency to over sharpen, which adds noise, so keep an eye on that. Starting with an underexposed image, which has more noise, doesn’t help. This version ends up with more noise than I would like, but the overall exposure works. (Click on the image to see it larger.)
This is a nice app to bring some clarity and finely tuned adjustments to iPhone photographs. I don’t see using it much for my artistic work, because I’m more often going for a soft, ethereal effect rather than the “perfectly clear” look, but it’s a useful app to have in the processing arsenal for those times when I want my image crisp and clean.
So there’s my new kitchen, along with a couple of apps to help you get better photographs with your iPhone. I hope you enjoy the apps as much as I’m enjoying this new kitchen! If you’re in the neighborhood, you can see the kitchen in person during the Philomath Open Studios tour the next two weekends, when my studio will be open for visitors.