Hello friends. Before I get into explaining some photo techniques, I want to check in and ask, “How are you doing”? Good chance you’re like me and having good days and not so good days. As I write this post we are beginning to hear a glimmer of hope. It seems that our staying at home is working to flatten the curve. Yay for us!

Regardless, this is a confusing time for design bloggers like myself. I am very aware that many are suffering with job loss, loved ones are sick or we fear that they will get sick. People are dying and hospitals are on overload. I do not want to be insensitive and blog about decorating and interior design when that might be the last thing on your mind.

Having said that though, I have also had several people reach out saying now is the time they want to be reading design blogs because once this is over they want to fix up their home. Nothing makes you appreciate good design more than being stuck at home for weeks on end in a poorly decorated space.

Blogging going forward

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below, but this is what I have decided to do for now. For the next couple of months, I will continue to blog by writing a mix of both design and cellphone photo topics. Today is photo techniques.

I have mentioned my new FaceBook group before but it is honestly one of the things keeping me entertained while I’m stuck at home.If you have any interest in photography at all I encourage you to join the group. To join, simply click on the link below

Self Isolating at Home Cellphone Photo Challenge

One of the recent challenges was to post a self portrait. I wanted to see how everyone was feeling and coping with being stuck at home. There were so many amazing and powerful photos submitted. The judges had a nearly impossible time of narrowing it down. Ultimately, they agreed on the top three. As soon as the winning images were posted, questions arose about photo techniques. Members wanted to know, “How’d they do that”?

In the hope of upping everyone’s photography skills, the photographers agreed to share their “secrets”

Christine Morrison Kohut
Black and White portrait

Christine Morrison Kohut

Christine’s own words, “Here’s what I did. I was sitting with my phone in my hands looking at the group’s pics. Then I bent over with my head between my knees so my hair was hanging down all crazy and snapped it. I changed it to black and white, cranked up the sharpness and definition, and adjusted the contrast a little. That’s it! Took me about 5 minutes.”

I think many over look some of the most basic editing tools when using the cellphone. Contrast, sharpness and even flipping to black and white completely changed her photo. All these tools are found by clicking on the Edit button found at the top of your photo album. So creative yet so easy.

Beau Stinnette

self isolating self portrait

Beau Stinnette

In Beau’s own words, “I used a timer. My kitchen table has a pendant light suspended over it that has a gold interior, so it casts a warm glow onto the marble table top and whoever is sitting there. The painting behind me is by a local artist friend of mine Brett Philpot”.

Two things I want to point out here. First of all, interior lights all cast a color. In Beau’s case it worked to his advantage because it cast a golden glow. Remember though if you are shooting something and you don’t want a color shift on your subject then you MUST turn off the lights.

Second, do you know how to use your cell phone timer? If you are using an iphone, the timer can be activated by clicking on the circle at the top of the camera. You will be able to choose either a three or ten second count down timer.

Self timer icon on iphone

Shelly Smith Hobson


self portrait looking out window

Shelley Smith Hobson

Shelley used her husband as a model for the photo to see what worked best.

Shelley’s words “I set up the shot using Ed. Then showed it to him, got into position and he took it. I thought it was too busy, initially but when I worked with exposure and made it black and white, the window frames popped”.

This last image is fairly straightforward. It was a good idea though to use a “stand in” to be sure the shot was exactly as wanted. Again, switching it to black and white portrayed more emotion had it been a colorful one.

Next week I will be posting a design inspired blog. My wish is that you all stay healthy and hang in there. It’s tough all around but we are all in this together.




Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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