Dynamic Light: Enhance Your View of the World!

by on June 8, 2011 · 34 comments

 

Are you a horrible photographer? A professional photographer? Somewhere in between? No matter what your level of skill is as a photographer, you should check out the app Dynamic Light from the iTunes App Store. Dynamic Light is an app that allows you to enhance your digital images by adjusting the light and adding special effects to them.

The app, which was recently updated, has 27 different enhancements enabling you to alter your images. You can either use an image that is already on your iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) or take an picture with your camera on your device.


I confess, I don’t know much about photography, though I truly enjoy the artistry of results. I recently discovered that I appreciate photographs that are digitally altered using HDR imaging. HDR imaging, also known as High Dynamic Range imaging, enhances images through altering the intensity of the light.

My interest in this type of photography was piqued when I attended a local art show and fell in love with a photograph by Robert Lott. In fact, I appreciated his work so much I bought the photo for my husband for our anniversary (and it wasn’t only because Mr. Lott was using an iPad to display some of his portfolio at the art show!).

My interest in this type of photography was furthered by my discovery of a fascinating blog on the subject by a Wonder of Tech reader, Mike. His blog, Mike10613′s Blog, covers a variety of topics including HDR imaging (he actually calls it NeoDigital photography, which may be a British term for HDR imaging). Mike’s blog not only has beautiful photographs, he helpfully explains what he does to improve the quality of the photos.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the app. When I realized I had a deep appreciation for this type of photography, I was excited to discover the Dynamic Light app for a mere $0.99 in the iTunes App Store that allows me to digitally enhance my photos. That’s right, this app promised to take my worse-than-amateur photos and let me turn them into something I might actually want to look at. What a concept! But would it work? For $0.99 I was willing to take a gamble.

I downloaded the app and began playing with it using some of my photos from my European travels. So many times I would take pictures of truly amazing sights, only to discover that somehow my camera didn’t capture the awesomeness of the vision. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the camera’s fault, but I never seemed preserve the magic I felt at seeing some of the sights.

Enter Dynamic Light.

Here are some examples of my pictures before and after using Dynamic Light:


I’m no Ansel Adams but this image seems much more powerful in black and white. The contrast of the mountains with the water is intensified, giving the mountains a sense of power and the water a mirror-like quality. The clouds stand out more as well, adding interest to the picture.

 

Mysterious Light was the setting I used to alter this image of a European canal. The alteration more accurately conveys the sense of history and character than the unaltered image. The bottom picture captures the imagination while the top picture, well, just looks like a tourist snapshot.


This rainbow appeared just as I got out of the car to take a picture of the threatening storm clouds. But the original picture seems washed out and the rainbow is barely visible. I used the Normal setting on Dynamic Light which brought out the rainbow and showed the storm clouds more threatening, as they appeared to me on the day that I took the picture.



Oops! I caught the balcony railing in my shot and the reflection of the sun on it really distracts from the beauty of the picture. I used the Normal setting for this photo in Dynamic Light and was able to soften the imperfection of the balcony railing, while making the clouds seem as intense as the day I witnessed this stunning sunrise.

What I particularly like about this app is that you can control the intensity of the effects by spinning a dial at the bottom of the picture. It’s both fun and useful to see how altering the intensity will affect the picture.

I also like how you can see the original and results side by side, to see if you really have improved the picture. The app is meant for scenery shots, but I’m certain people will use it to alter faces as well, probably with comical results!

I know there are quite a few professional photographers who read this blog and they may very well not need this app. Or they may find it to be a useful way to make their great images even better. But for anyone who need a little help or wants to have fun playing with images, Dynamic Light is a great way to spend $0.99.

Note: I have purposely not mentioned specifically where these pictures were taken. Do you recognize any of these scenes? Let us know in the Comment section below!

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

Bill Dorman June 8, 2011 at 8:36 am

What if the horrible is on the other side of the camera……. :-) ?

That was really cool; the difference in the photographs were dramatic and enhanced in certainly a better way.

Can I just buy the app as a stand-alone? Actually, and I might have told you this, our corporate phone contracts are about to renew so I hope we go to an iPhone. I guess we will wait and see.

Thanks for making me smarter today.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 8, 2011 at 8:56 am

Hi Bill, Welcome back to The Wonder of Tech! I agree, this app is amazing, I absolutely love what I can do with my photos.

This app is only for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). It’s not stand alone and there is no Android app yet. I hope you are able to get an iPhone to experience this app and many others! Who knows? Maybe Dynamic Light is your Killer App?

Thanks for your visit, comment and tweet!

Mike Maynard June 8, 2011 at 9:25 am

It looks good and a very similar effect to what I do! I have just been out taking photographs and altered a few when I came back. I’m pleased to say the Iphone doesn’t have my zoom or could have serious competition! I also have history going back 1,000 years and so no worries… I walked along a canal today high above the field where it goes through an aqueduct; I am getting brave walking near water! I got some magical pictures from up there I hope; we had blue skies and so I think so.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Hi Mike, Welcome back to The Wonder of Tech! I’m glad you like the effects of this app (note to readers: This is the Mike whom I wrote about in this post). You can use this app with pictures you take from any camera, so long as the pictures are digital. So you can use images from your professional camera and alter them using the app on the iPhone.

I’m looking forward to seeing the magical pictures on your blog. Thanks for your visit, your comment and teaching me about this means of altering pictures on your blog!

Reggie June 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Is it easy to save the revised/altered picture so it doesn’t affect your original picture? Can you print the pictures?

Thank you.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Hi Reggie, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Great questions! Any changes you make to a picture are saved to a separate file. Your original image is not affected at all by this app.

I have to admit, this wasn’t apparent to me in using the app. When you are done with enhancing your image, you have an option to a) Save Result Image, b) Save Original and Result and c) Save Original Image. To me, it appears that if you don’t save the original image you will lose it, but that’s not the case. If you just Save Result Image, your original image won’t be erased. Using Save Original and Result is handy if you want to keep the image files together for easy reference later.

As for printing the pictures, yes, you can print the altered images just as you would print any pictures on your iOS device. When you save the Result Image, it stores on your device in your Photos app. You can transfer the file to your computer when you sync to iTunes and print from your computer. Or you can print directly from your device if you have the proper printer/app.

Thanks for your visit and your great questions!

iRewardChart
Twitter:
June 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Some of the examples you have given here look great. However, most people do make a mess of HDR, that ends up looking a photo experiment gone awry. Personally, I have grown a disliking for Dynamic light effect for the same reason.

Technology has made the real pro devices of yesteryear so affordable that everyone is going around with a big camera bag with a SLR camera and multiple lenses. But at the core, photography remains an art, and just carrying an extremely capable camera isn’t enough.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Hi iRewardChart, Welcome back to The Wonder of Tech! I guess I’ve been fortunate to have only seen amazing examples from Mr. Lott and Mike’s blog. I’m glad you liked my examples though. I think the app really enhances the pictures. I guess to see examples of HDR gone wrong, I can just play with the app. Sometimes I see effects and say, “Ew,” but not everyone does?

I greatly admire those whose talents include photography. I know not everyone possesses those talents but nearly everyone takes pictures. I like that this app can make ordinary pictures seem extraordinary.

Thanks for your visit, comment and tweet!

Nanette Levin June 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Hi Carolyn – I’m really enjoying your blog since being introduced it not too long ago. You have a skill of presenting technology issues and discoveries in simple terms anyone can understand (go figure coming from an attorney in the technology field to boot :-) ).

This was a great post. I’m sold with your before and after illustrations, but am unclear (even after reading all the comments) if this is something that can be used on a regular cell phone with still and video capabilities (I just turned in my ancient phone for an upgrade – still haven’t figured out how to use the image capture features yet).

Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Hi Nanette, Welcome back to The Wonder of Tech! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and my writing. I love sharing my excitement about tech with the world and I don’t want Geek Speak to get in the way of anyone understanding how useful and fun tech can be.

The only phone this app works on is the iPhone. You can take pictures with any camera (including pictures taken on other cell phones) and transfer the pictures to your iPhone. Then you open the app and select the picture you wish to enhance. You didn’t mention in your comment whether your upgrade was an iPhone. If you have an iPhone, then you can grab Dynamic Light from the iTunes App Store for $0.99. If you don’t have an iPhone (or an iPad or iPod Touch), then this app won’t be available to you.

Thanks for your visit and your comment!

Nanette Levin June 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Thanks Carolyn. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to invest in an iPhone here as there’s no cell reception at home or office and it’s iffy in much of the surrounding area. Sorry to hear I can’t play with this, but really do appreciate you quick and clear response. I’ll keep looking for more tips from you in the future. Again, I really appreciate all you’re doing here (and will feature you site in a future blog post).
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 9, 2011 at 5:23 am

Hi Nanette, That must be frustrating having no cell phone reception at your home or office, I can understand why you wouldn’t want to invest in an iPhone if you can’t use it as a phone. If you decide to get an iPad or an iPod Touch, the Dynamic Light app will work on those also. The app is also available in the Mac App Store for $7.99, which is handy if you have a Mac.

Thank you for your kind words about my blog. I haven’t been over to your wonderful blog in a while, but I will head over there today! Your comments are greatly appreciated.

Nanette Levin June 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Well, I’ve been thinking about switching my laptop over to a Mac. This might be just the excuse I need. Thanks!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Cool, Nanette. That would make Dynamic Light your Killer App! You may not be the only one who is convinced to switch to an Apple product because of this great app. :-)

Sire June 9, 2011 at 12:37 am

That is a great find Carolyn. I actually have two photo blogs and I do most of the touchups on my PC using photoshop. With this app, and for only 99c, I can now do it on my MacBook Air. Thanks so much, another +1 coming your way. :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 9, 2011 at 5:09 am

Hi Sire, Welcome back to The Wonder of Tech! I am so glad you will find the app useful for your photo blogs. I think you will get a lot out of the app by being able to alter your images. Could you please post the links to your photo blogs so Wonder of Tech readers can enjoy them?

Thank you very much for the support. I greatly appreciate your visit, comment, tweet and +1!

Sire June 9, 2011 at 6:21 am

Sure, one is Photos2Blog and the other is Scenic Adelaide :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

I checked out both blogs and was fascinated by your variety of subjects. Spiders, churches and UFO’s. I like the excitement of discovery as well as the instructions you give. Thanks for sharing the links with us!

Sire June 9, 2011 at 12:40 am

Hi Carolyn, I just went to the app store and it’s actually $9.99, but even that is a great price. Just thought you should know ;-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 9, 2011 at 5:02 am

Hi Sire, I just double checked in the iTunes App Store and Dynamic Light is $0.99. In your previous post you said that you would be using it on a Mac. Are you looking at the Dynamic Light app in the Mac App Store? If so, the Dynamic Light app is on sale there for $7.99 now. Sorry for the confusion, but this review only covered the app for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). There is also an app for the iPad called DynaLight HD by the same developer (also for $0.99) but this review doesn’t cover that app either, just the Dynamic Light app from the iTunes App Store. Sorry for the confusion.

Sire June 9, 2011 at 6:18 am

Hi Carolyn, I used the app thingy on my MacBook Air and it definitely says $9.99. Could be because I’m an Aussie, but then with the Aussie dollar being the way it is it should be cheaper?

My fault, you know how us guys are always getting confused. :D
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 9, 2011 at 6:26 am

Hi Sire, the Dynamic Light app is on sale for $7.99 in the US Mac Store now. Perhaps the sale isn’t at the Australian Mac App Store? I will check with the developer and let you know if I hear from him. I hope you’re enjoying the app anyway. If it makes you feel any better, the developer has software available for the PC at $54. Dynamic Photo-HDR. The software looks very similar to the iOS Dynamic Light app, but with more features, including the ability to use the effects on video.

Thanks for all of your comments!

dan June 9, 2011 at 4:02 am

I love the picture of the houses and canal after the adjustments… It’s really amazing how much more vivid and real it looks! I really would have expected it to look more digitised and less real after enhancing like this, but that app looks like it does the job!

Wonder if you can get it for android…?

Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 9, 2011 at 5:19 am

Hi Dan, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I agree, I like the effects when they look realistic. There are some effects on the app that don’t look realistic, such as Comic and Manga. Those could be fun too, but I ended up having favorites, Normal and Mysterious Light, that were more realistic.

The app is not available for Android, sorry! I have contacted the developer to see if an Android app is in the works.

Thanks for your visit and your comment!

Oscar June 9, 2011 at 9:29 am

Hi, I am the developer of the app and had been asked by Carolyn to give some answers as there is a bit number of different apps that may create confusion (I fully understand that as this was sort of developed in organic way on windows over few years but the IOS/MAC versions are just few months old )

The Dynamic Light uses Pseudo HDR process – simply it will try to create a HDR look from image that is not HDR. The process come from a Dynamic Photo HDR for windows which is a full HDR application with all the bells and whistles and the Pseudo HDR takes a small part in it.
This Pseudo HDR process is also ported for mac in two small low cost apps: one as a Dynamic Light for MAC which is basically same version as on iPhone and iPad (but of course works much faster) and another is app called Revitalize for MAC which is oriented more for advanced tweaking.
The Dynamic Photo HDR is also for MAC, but it is a “virtualised” version 4, basically a windows version bundled with WINE. The plan is to have also full native MAC version but I am not there yet: a.) Ity is indeed a lot of work and b.) the MAC market is growing, but still small
The site is http://www.mediachance.com

Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 9, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Hello Oscar, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Thank you very much for visiting the blog and answering the readers’ questions. You have a great app in Dynamic Light which has generated a lot of reader interest. Best of luck with your future development of this family of image enhancing products!

Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
June 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

Hey Carolyn,

I suck at photography, but I still use my iPhone as a camera every now and then. Dynamic Light sounds like a very interesting app. It looks like it can turn close to every image into a magic one. If that’s true, then it’s definitively an app I should buy :-)

Thanks a lot for sharing.

Jens

Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 10, 2011 at 6:43 am

Hi Jens, Yes, Dynamic Light is certainly an app you should buy. Since you have an iPhone, you will be able to use the app on all of your images, not just ones you take with your iPhone. Maybe you can share some Dynamic Light altered images on your great blog!

Thanks for the visit and the comment. Did you happen to recognize where the first two pictures were taken? Hint, hint. ;-)

Bryan S June 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Really cool. What a great gadget. Because of that they’re going to change the beauty of a picture into another. Extremely amazing.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Hi Bryan, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I agree, Dynamic Light is a great app. I’m tempted to go through all of my digital pictures and see what a difference this app can make in the quality of the images.

Thanks for your visit and your comment!

KathyF June 11, 2011 at 3:06 am

Hey, I just went to the app store and realized it’s only for iPhone. How does it work on an iPad? Or should I get the full Mac version for $7.99? Since I have the vast majority of my photos in iPhoto rather than on the iPad, wouldn’t this be a better option?
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 11, 2011 at 8:41 am

Hi Kathy, Welcome back to The Wonder of Tech! Great question. Dynamic Light works perfectly on the iPad and is compatible on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. In fact, I prefer using the app on the iPad over the iPhone to get a bigger view of the images, effects and comparisons between before and after. There is an iPad app, Dyna Light HD, but I didn’t review that app. I am still enjoying Dynamic Light but will probably invest another $0.99 in Dyna Light HD later.

As far as having the app on your Mac versus your iPad, yes, I think you would find the app more useful on your Mac. But for $0.99 you might enjoy having Dynamic Light on your iPad as well.

Thanks for your visit and your comment.

Mike Maynard June 11, 2011 at 11:09 am

Hi Carolyn,

I have read through the comments and looked at the pictures. the app seems very like the Windows Live photo gallery that I use on a PC so people who have a PC and not an Iphone can get that for free. It’s a strange coincidence that you did a canal and got a similar effect to me. I have done lots of canals and photographed another location a few evenings ago. They make a good subject because of all the reflections on the water.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr June 11, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Hi Mike, I find the Windows Live PhotoGallery software to be more complex than the Dynamic Light app. For a professional like you, it is great to have a lot of control over each part of the process. For amateurs like me, the Dynamic Light app offers easier altering of images and other effects not found in Windows Live Photo Gallery. But if someone doesn’t have any Apple devices, Windows Live Photo Gallery is a very useful option.

Perhaps you could do a blog instructing us amateurs on tips for using WLPG? Just a thought. :-) Thanks so much for your helpful comment!

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