We all want to capture that perfect straight out of camera (SOOC) shot. Street photography especially is often regarded as a documentary style. We’ve seen stories recently that journalistic / documentary images are not immune to a bit of ‘Photoshopping’ so if the professionals aren’t constrained why should the rest of us be?

The answer in my opinion is that we shouldn’t. I’ve consistently said that I regard a capture as my raw material and apps as my tools. My style whatever genre I’m working in at the time tends towards artistic rather than documentary. This is my choice and each of us are free to decide for ourselves.

The over-arching principle that I believe we must all adhere to, whatever rules we decide to work within is honesty. We’ve seen high profile award winning images disgraced. That saddens me. Why people feel the need to claim that an image is something it is not is beyond my comprehension.

This street iPhoneography image is one example of an edited image that could almost appear to be SOOC. It has been run through a couple of iPhone apps to correct some perspective issues and clone out an unnecessary distraction. It’s final filter is through Oggl which gives the appearance of a Hipstamatic image. (Before Oggl, Hipstamatic images could only be captured within the app). That didn’t make Hipstamatic images immune to post processing but then and now there are many who believe Hipstamatic images should remain untouched.


‘Shifting’ in mobile photography

The phrase ’tilt-shift’ in photography is well known. It is often associated with giving a real life environment a ‘toy town’ appearance. In actual fact, tilt and shift are both different processes.

Tilt the focal plane

I looked in more detail at the other aspect of tilt-shift photography ’tilting’ in my tutorials on simulating the effect of freelensing in iPhone photography.

In its purest form, ’tilt-shift’ is controlled at the point of capture using specialist lenses. Typically in iPhone photography we would look to simulate their effect using apps. Part of this article looks in more detail at the ‘shift’ element.

The purpose of ‘shift’ is to correct perspective distortion – for example make the vertical lines of buildings run parallel rather than converge as they do when photographed from ground level. This article actually corrects both vertical and horizontal perspectives and so it is more about distorting and pulling the image back into shape – possibly going beyond the definition of ‘shift’ a little.


‘Cloning’ in mobile photography

Cloning in an image is simply the process of copying one area of the image across to another area.

Most typically (as in this case) cloning is used to paint over distracting elements in an image that the photographer would like removed. It can however be a valuable artistic tool to copy elements – for example create a twin of a person in an image. Possibilities are really limited only by imagination.


iPhone photography apps used:

british railways - lincoln st marks

{ british railways – lincoln st marks }



Process and apps used

ProCamera7 ~ initial capture:

Note that this was a less than ideal capture because of the environment I was working in. I did however purposely capture it in portrait mode to enable me to consider the accurate placement of the horizontal bands running through the image when I cropped it in post processing (keeping in mind the rule of thirds):

Snapseed ~ crop to change the ratio to 1:1:

Note that the Snapseed crop grid provides the rule of thirds lines and the all important intersection points. When cropping with Snapseed you know whether you are abiding by or breaking this basic composition rule. It’s often said that rules are there to be broken but at least Snapseed reminds you to ask why you may be breaking them and forces you to question whether it is appropriate to do so:

FrontView ~ this is the app that does the shifting – one of two apps I have that do the job:

In this case I am correcting both horizontal and vertical perspective distortions as I could not get fully square on to the scene I was capturing. The video demonstrates this process in more detail:

Filterstorm ~ the figure walking out of the frame to the left was a distraction and the simplest thing for me to do was clone him out. The video demonstrates this process in more detail:

Oggl ~ final effect and convert to black and white:

The John S Lens and Rock BW-11 Film combination was applied:


Narrated video


Alternative shift app

The other iPhone photography shifting app that I use is Perspective Correct. I guess it comes down to choice. I like the ability of FrontView to ‘distort’ the horizontal and vertical alignments in an image in almost limitless ways. I believe it offers more option for image manipulation. I would however say that Perspective Correct more easily gives more accurate real life results and is simpler and much more fun to use:


Get the iPhoneography shift apps mentioned in this article

Other iPhoneography apps mentioned in this article


All of the apps used in this workflow are included in my ‘iPhone photography – 10 must have iPhoneography apps‘ article. Other iPhone photography workflows featuring only these apps can be viewed at my ‘essential iPhoneography apps archive‘.


I hope you enjoyed my iPhone photography workflow. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you again.



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  1. street iPhone photography with cloning and pers... says:

    […] iPhone photography tutorial correcting a less than perfect street image. Involves some powerful automated perspective correction and manual cloning apps.  […]

  2. slp says:

    Totally a worthwhile read!

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