Hello! Long time no talk. Midterms and field trips…and more field trips are coming up! This week I’ll be going to the Ferragamo Museum with my Fashion Marketing and Retail class, and this weekend I’ll be heading to Siena for a day trip that was included in my program. Also, I’m not sick anymore. The stomach flu was probably one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced, sick wise, and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Stay healthy.
I want to start a series on my blog reviewing different things. Whether it’s a photography app or things in Florence, or anywhere else I’ve been, and more. I’m sure everyone who has been following up on my blog and just talking to me in general, are wondering what places I would recommend in Florence. I think that would be great for people who are traveling to Florence, and are looking for things to do (or eat…cause that’s all I do).
Anyways, on my photography Instagram, I follow a little over 160 accounts, and a majority of them are professional photography accounts, of course. I have experience with Photoshop, but not with Lightroom. Being abroad, I don’t have the extra money to spend $90 on a filter pack for Lightroom that I really liked nor do I have the extra money to buy a program on my laptop. So, last night, I searched on Google, “Apps like Lightroom for iPhone.” The first link that popped up was an article talking about an app called, “Darkroom.”
Reading the article, I learned that Darkroom was created by ex-employees of Apple and Facebook. From looking at Lightroom filters in the past, and even Photoshop filters, the Darkroom filters look pretty similar. I used to be a “VSCO-only” kind of person, but not so much anymore. I discovered an app just a couple of weeks ago called 1967 that I was using constantly, but then quickly realized I need something different. I will be inserting screenshots of comparisons between Darkroom (free, in-app purchases), 1967 (free, in-app purchases), and VSCO cam (free, in-app purchases). I will also be inserting screenshots of what filters I use with what type of picture, and so on.
Darkroom is probably my favorite editing app right now, even though I’ve only had it for a day. It was love at first download.
Darkroom can be similar to other editing apps where they have the filters, and the editing section of exposure, contrast, saturation, etc. Darkroom however, has specific filter packs for specific pictures that do cost about $1.99 each, but if you want all of them, then it costs about $5.99 total I believe. I would say that’s pretty cheap for lightroom-esque filters, compared to $90.
When you download the Darkroom app, it does already come with filters, and they are good starting out filters. You don’t have to buy the extra filter packs if you’re looking for some quick editing, but being a photographer, I personally want more control over my photos. I like to edit them in a way where I still use filters but the picture doesn’t look super filtered, and where it doesn’t look too noticeable compared to the original. Besides, why would you super filter nature? Or a person? Both are beautiful just how they are. But if certain filters and edits are your type of aesthetic, by all means, go for it.
Another thing about the Darkroom app that is different from the rest, is that you can create your own filter. To be honest, this is something I haven’t tried yet, because I just got the app and I’m am still figuring out how to do it, but I’m sure it’s a really nice feature. You can also use curves, cropping, straightening, you name it. Everything you’ve ever wanted in a free photo editing app, Darkroom has it.
I have screenshotted quite a bit of edits and features from the app so I could visually tell you what the app looks like when you open it, how I edited certain pictures with specific filters, etc.
In the darkroom store, you can purchase what ever packs you choose, or you can buy all 4.
- XPRO – ” 5 filters offer an homage to the age of cross processed film.”
- PORTRAITS – “5 filters tailor-made to add punch and emotion to skin tones.”
- LANDSCAPES – “For the blue sky, the green grass, and the yellow sand, 5 premium, custom-made filters.”
- B&W – “Rediscover the range that B&W photography is capable of with these 5.”
Another great thing (I’m telling you this app is amazing) is that in the Darkroom Store section, swipe down and they have what they call, Darkroom Sunday School. Love the name. The pack(s) that you purchase, offer one or more articles on the photography/filter style, how to pick one filter from the other in the pack, and also how to specifically edit them in the app. I am just falling in love all over this app. You can still look at the articles even before buying anything.
I would also like to point out that I took all of these photos on my camera–Sony Alpha a58. I got a few great shots with my iPhone 5s, but I prefer my camera. I am pretty sure I had my ISO at 100 and 400 for the pictures, and I was on “P” (Program). Having a lower ISO creates smoother-looking pictures, and higher ISO settings can create more grainy, soft (not in a good way), not-so sharp images–at least that’s something I just recently experienced, and I looked up tips on it on Pinterest.
Here I have examples of some pictures that I just took recently at Piazza Michelangelo in Florence–highly recommend, just be prepared to walk up some hills. It’s worth it though, because you’ll not only have great pictures, but you’ll also have calves of steel.
When you first open the app, it brings you to,”All Photos,” which is also your camera roll, and app library all in one. What’s nice is that the photos you have edited will have a little pencil with circle around it telling you that you’ve already edited that picture. Amazing. Using other editing apps, I sometimes couldn’t tell what pictures I edited and which ones I didn’t. Good thinking Darkroom.
You also have other categories like, “Favorite,” and “Edited.” “Favorite” holds the pictures you that you really like after you edit them, and you don’t have to scroll through hundreds of pictures to find that one. All you have to do is tap the heart at the top when editing a photo. “Edited” has the pictures that you have already edited. You can find those edited pictures also in the “All Photos.”
Here is one of the many sunset pictures I took last night, using one of the “Landscapes” filters called, “L110.” L110 is a filter that I discovered that I like to use for sunsets. I will get into another filter I discovered that I also like to use for sunsets that isn’t in the Landscapes pack.
Clicking on the filter, you can adjust how much or how little of the filter you want on your picture. I usually drag the circle down to this spot on almost all of my pictures, sometimes I’ll make it halfway, but it depends on the original’s colors and the fiter I choose.
I went into the editing section, and pretty much for every photo, I will bring up the contrast, saturation, and temperature up at the slightest. Sometimes I will bring the brightness either up or down on the picture as well.
Here is another sunset picture with more color, and I decided to bring the filter down to just below the middle, otherwise it would’ve looked super filtered. Still using L110.
I also used the same editing section steps as the first example.
This next picture was of the sunset, but in a brighter area, so the sunset wasn’t as noticeable. Still very pretty and pastel though. (original)
I experimented with the Landscape filters, but I didn’t like the look of them on this picture, so I went into “Portraits,” and I found P400, that made it look even more beautiful (in my opinion).
With this one, I turned down the brightness, and then continued with my normal steps on the others edits.
For city-scapes and non-sunset pictures, I use the filter L220, and once again, brought up the brightness as well as contrast, saturation, and temperature. (First: original, Second: filtered and edited)
Here are two pictures of the comparison between L110 and P400:
As you can see, L110 is more blue-toned and brighter, while P400 is more pink-toned and pastel.
After editing a picture, to save it, swipe down on the screen, which will bring your picture forward so you can see the finished product, and on the top right-hand corner will be a “Share” button, and click that. When you click share, you can do, “Save as copy,” which is what I click, and it saves to your “All Photos” folder as well as your camera roll on your phone. You can also save as a square photo, and it has different percentages of how much of a white border you want on the sides or not at all. If swipe down again, you have more options to share to other social medias.
Now I will insert screenshots of what I would do if I was editing a picture in the VSCO cam app.
If I am editing a photo in VSCO, I usually use either HB1 or HB2, but those are pre-made filters, and they didn’t really do much for this picture. So I used K2 which is a filter that I use sometimes, more in the summer though.
Now we have the 1967 app. When I was obsessed with this app for 2 weeks, I was telling a good handful of people about it. My go-to filter was Wild Thing, and I will show what other filters that I have used that could go with this picture. Now having Darkroom, it’s not my go-to app anymore, but it is still a good filter app.
On the occasion, I will use Facetune to bring out details, whiten areas, and blur backgrounds, but that is more for YouTube thumbnails.
That is my review on the Darkroom app that you can download through the app store. Just like every editing app that you are excited to download, there may be better ones that will come out, but as for right now, Darkroom is my holy grail photo editing app.
Let me know in the comments section what your favorite photo editing app is and why you like it so much!