How to make your own graphics with your iPhone
Have you noticed how the web is becoming more and more image based? I wrote the iPhone Photography Guide because the best way to get noticed online is to provide amazingly useful content and have a strong visual strategy. Today I'm giving you all the best new tips and apps that will let you create amazing graphics with your iPhone.
The internet is visually driven...eye-catching photographs and robust graphics specifically. All the better when you can combine the two into a power house visual that knocks the socks off of your readers.
Strong visuals are not only good for grabbing attention...ideally they also HOLD attention by telling a story, explaining a concept, and perhaps even amusing the reader.
They also serve as reminders for future reference (and hopefully returning or new visits) when downloadable or pinnable.
“But Alli, I’m not a graphic designer and I can’t afford to hire one.” the bootstrappers often say to me.
There, there. I’m here to help. I love creating visuals, and I do most of them while I wait in line or sit on the sidelines of football practice. I rarely use expensive illustration software; I do it all with my trusty iPhone.
Yup. My iPhone. In fact, all the graphics in the article were created with iPhone apps.
Creating stunning graphics are a breeze if you know a few secrets. That’s where my help comes in.
With these tips and apps, I promise you’ll be well on your way to creating visuals that make people take notice.
Step One: Build Your Photo Library
As you go about your day, take photos.
Take lots of images. Even photos of things that seem silly or not particularly noteworthy. You just may need that picture of a wood floor for a background one day!
If you knew how many times people looked at me funny because I was taking a photograph of a crack in the sidewalk or had my iPhone really close to a flower, you'd...well, you'd laugh. I'm the gal who takes 10 close-ups of things because I just know that flower is meant to have some lovely quote or call to action overlaid on it!
- One thing strong visuals often need is textured backgrounds...so go ahead and shoot a plain brick wall. Or a close-up of that hay bale as you’re shopping for pumpkins. Or just fluffy white clouds on a bright blue sky.
- Visuals often need simple backdrops, so you might consider shooting a winter shrub bare of leaves lightly dusted with snow, or a stack of plump pillows at a design store, or a clothesline with flapping sheets.
- Landscapes are often ideal for graphics, so go ahead and snap that sunset, that paved road heading into the distance, that expanse of green grass.
- Give room for text as you take the picture, you need negative space in many of your images so you can add text later. Think of this when you line up your shot.
My strategy is to use both my own images and to purchase some stock images that can be cropped and used as backgrounds in my graphics. I save cropped backgrounds to a special folder in Dropbox and always have lots of options ready to make graphics on the go. (The top graphic with the wheat field picture and the picture with the bike rider below are both stock images I purchased and use all the time. With different cropping, the images go really far and no one notices the same background is used repeatedly.)
Step Two: Get these amazing editing apps
There are tons of great camera and editing apps out there for your iPhone. I have a few favorites upon which I rely...and perhaps more importantly, a few combinations that I love.
This wide graphic is from Daniel C. White. Wordswag does not force you to crop images into a square. (Thank you, Wordswag team!) That's especially good for creating graphics for Facebook. Wordswag is awesome because it comes loaded with background images you can use, but you can also upload your own photos.
The app is genius because it makes simple text look beautiful.
*Props to Daniel for his negative space in this picture for text!*
2. Typic Pro
This is an example graphic that I made for illustration with Typic.
Typic has dozens of fonts, fabulous design elements, frames galore, filters, palettes...but it can be hard to actually find them when you first try to use the app. (Hint- keep clicking the down arrow to see more options.)
Before I added the text in Typic, I cropped the image in Photogene2.
I used LetterGlow to create the graphic on the left. This app knows what a photographer and graphic creator wants; it allows full resolution exports AND you can upload your own fonts.
Plus you can create and save custom overlays (great for keeping your logo handy) and export directly to a Wordpress media library.
It's a mystery to me that more people don't use this app.
(I do know a little something about marketing and branding, so I *think* I do know what it is..but that's for another article. Back to editing...)
There are tons of well designed quotes, add-on graphics and features that make Rhonna the best app for making beautiful pictures quickly.
This app is my 'lazy' app. Any beautiful outdoor shot with a quote overlay from Rhonna is an instant Instagram win. See why I call it my lazy app?
This app lets me crop images at specific pixel sizes, save image metadata, IPTC information, and can upload my images to Dropbox (and a gazillion other sites).
I use Dropbox to save all my blank image pieces for future graphic creation and I store all the images for my articles,too.
Photogene2 is an all around must-have fantastic app because it is the only one I use to crop images at specific sizes. Instead of the normal aspect ratio options, I can crop a vertical image to exactly 220 x 400 for my site. Awesome, right?
For this graphic I took a screenshot of my final step in Photogene2 and then overlayed a graphic element and text in Typic Pro.
Now you are ready to make graphics from your iPhone. Enjoy!