Enjoy Moments Now and Edit Photos Later | Robyns.World

Yesterday I took my twin granddaughters to the St. Louis Zoo. Yes, I wanted some fun photos of our visit but I also did not want to spend the entire time worrying about getting just the right photographs and miss out on enjoying our time together. Our zoo is amazing and beautiful and there are tons of things to take photos of from the animals, landscaping, statues, architecture and art installations. However, today was not about getting great photos and just the right shots – it was about family togetherness and fun. I can go back to the zoo without the babies, at any time, and spend more time on those other types of photographs.

I took these photos with my Moto Z Force Droid smartphone, provided to me by Verizon as one of their ambassadors. While I did have the Hasselblad True Zoom camera Moto Mod, I did not use that today because it does use up my battery a lot faster and I wanted to make sure the phone stayed charged all day at the zoo. The Moto Mod does take great pictures though and I highly recommended. On our #MobileLiving chats (Friday’s 3pm ET on Twitter) I often share tips and resources for smartphone photography so I wanted to do a more detailed post about some of those tips.

Some of the photos turned out better than others. I’m showing you the original (I only reduced – not cropped – the size for the blog) and then one that I edited, just a bit, using PicMonkey. You can use any photo editing service, program or app that you like and you can spend as much time as you like editing. Just remember that the editing I did after our visit when I was at home and the twins were back at their home with their mom and dad. This means I still enjoyed the day at the St. Louis Zoo tremendously and did not worry about the photographs while we were at the zoo.

My favorite photo today is this one of the girls on the zoo train. The first unedited and is perfectly fine I think. The second photo though I did a little cropping, brightened it up a bit, and touched up a few spots on their cheeks.

Twins on the zoo train - unedited | Robyns.World

Twins on zoo train - edited | Robyns.World

I attempted a selfie with Valerie in the next photo. Would I have loved a selfie with both of us with our heads tilted the same angle and just a better photo altogether? Sure, but the girls were seeing and hearing all sorts of things and they do not quite comprehend selfies. Although, their mom is better at getting selfies with them. I still like the photo though. The first is only resized. The second photo I did not crop, but I did soften up my face, not because I am vain, but because Valerie’s face was much softer in the original from regular camera focus and I wanted the photo more fluid in appearance.

Valerie and Robyn Selfie - unedited | Robyns.World

Valerie and Robyn Selfie - edited | Robyns.World

Violet was sitting with Pa-paw in the seat behind me so I took a “selfie” of them. The first is unedited and you can see my hair sticking out on the right side. So the second image is edited by cropping to get rid of my hair photo bomb. I also adjust the color and brightness a bit in the editing.

Violet and Pa-paw - unedited | Robyns.World

Violet and Pa-paw - Edited | Robyns.World

This next example has three photos. I wanted to get a photo with the girls and some of the animals. The really like the giraffes and there are also some ostriches, which are a favorite of Caitlan (mommy). I noted right away when I took the pic that Violet was looking down so I took another quick photo. Still not perfect, but I could see both of the girls’ faces better along with Pa-paw and the animals in the background. So I edited the third photo to get in a bit closer and adjusted the brightness and color just a bit. Sure, I could have taken more time to get a better angle of the girls and the animals but the girls wanted to get back down and explore and the animals could care less that I wanted their photo. Remember, enjoy moments first, worry about photos later.

Zoo Animals and People 1 - unedited | Robyns.World

Zoo Animals and People 2 - unedited | Robyns.World

Zoo Animals and People 2 - Edited | Robyns.World

Now just for some animal pics. This first photo was one we came up on this enclosure. I just snapped a few photos as we were walking up. This one is the full distance. The second photo I cropped and adjusted a bit just to see the animals a bit better. The animals were moving the entire time though so I just kept moving around as well.

We walked a bit further down where the animals were closer to the fence next. The shadow on the giraffe in the first photo is pretty noticeable but when looking at the pics I noticed the ostriches in the back. So this second photo I cropped quite a bit and while it is a bit grainy, it still shows more detail on the ostriches which is what I wanted to show Caitlan.

The nearby giraffe cooperated a bit more, and I moved a bit more, and I got a better photo of him. I love seeing the detail of the pattern on the giraffe so the second photo is cropped a bit and the color and brightness adjusted again.

I put my Moto Z Force Droid in my pocket then and just spent more time enjoying the girls as they delighted in seeing the animals.

We moved on throughout the zoo and got to an area with chimpanzees. This enclosures is outside, but it had this little shaded area for the chimps to hang out and it a glass divider so visitors could see them up close. Valerie and Violet both loved being able to see them so close and were saying hello to them and waving. There were more chimps in this area at times, but again, I was enjoying the moment and just took a few. Even though this photos are not great of the girls, I loved that they show them interacting and enjoying the zoo. The first three are unedited, the final I just brightened up a bit, no cropping.

Twins enjoying being close up to chimpanzee | Robyns.World

Twins enjoying being close up to chimpanzee | Robyns.World

Twins enjoying being close up to chimpanzee | Robyns.World

Twins enjoying being close up to chimpanzee - EDITED | Robyns.World

Penguins! I love these little guys. We happened upon them at a good time with very few people watching so the girls got to get up close. The first picture I took the little penguin was busy cleaning himself. I snapped a couple of more and the second one I got two of them standing up and one swimming in the background. I cropped that photo and adjusted the brightness and coloring just a bit.

Penguin at zoo - unedited | Robyns.World

Penguins at zoo - unedited | Robyns.World

Penguins at St. Louis Zoo - Edited | Robyns.World

Right after the penguins there was an area that we could see both above and below water where a giant polar bear was swimming. He just kept going around and around and was right up against the glass a lot. This drew quite the crowd so we waited for some folks to move and then moved the stroller up for the girls to see. I tried taking a couple of photos but with all the people I was limited on space and the glass had water spots and such on it. We also were being mindful that there were a lot of other people who wanted to get up close so we did not want to spend too much time standing there just to take photos. I am showing you the original and edited versions of these photos not because they are good, but because sometimes you just do not get good pictures and even editing them they still are not good. I only edited for the purpose of this post, normally I would have done nothing with those images. The first image I added a white arrow pointing to the polar bear’s head so you could see it.

Polar bear swimming - unedited | Robyns.World

Polar bear swimming - Edited | Robyns.World

Polar bear swimming - unedited | Robyns.World

Polar bear swimming - Edited | Robyns.World

One of the first places we visited was the Primate House. They only had a few displays with animals that were big enough for the girls to notice and that were active. I just happened to snap this photo of them still in the stroller and liked it a lot for some reason. First photo is unedited, the second I cropped a bit and adjust the highlights and shadows. Then I added a filter to darken the edges. This is one of the few photos that the girls look really similar also, they are fraternal twins, not identical twins.

Twins in double stroller | Robyns.World

Twins in double stroller | Robyns.World

Valerie was very excited when we got to the zoo to see this large elephant statue outside the entrance. I doubt she understood it was even a statue, although she was not afraid at all to be next to an “animal” so large. The second image I cropped a bit to remove the light poles and such on the left. I also did a little cloning to cover up some other small man-made items around the elephant – can you spot the difference?

Elephant sculpture at St. Louis Zoo South entrance - unedited | Robyns.World

Elephant sculpture at St. Louis Zoo South entrance - Edited | Robyns.World

Valerie also squealed with delight over the fountain of the sea lions playing in the water just inside the zoo entrance, Violet was still waking up and taking in things in her very serious way. Once again, just a little cropping and adjusting made the photo better I think.

Sea Lion Fountain at St. Louis Zoo South entrance - unedited | Robyns.World

Sea Lion Fountain at St. Louis Zoo South entrance - Edited | Robyns.World

These final four photos are all of the same thing, just a pretty little area of bright flowers. I have not edited any of them. Showing you the importance of moving around while taking photos of the same thing though gives you very different results and that is why I am sharing these.

Flowers at the Zoo 1 - Unedited | Robyns.World

Flowers at the Zoo 2 - Unedited | Robyns.World

Flowers at the Zoo 3 - Unedited | Robyns.World

Flowers at the Zoo 4 - Unedited | Robyns.World

I actually took several other smartphone photos at the visit to the zoo, but these were just some examples of before and after editing I thought you would find useful. I am, obviously, not a professional photographer, just a regular person who takes pictures.

Editing photos may seem daunting at first but I promise you that there are simple ways to do it. Find a photo editing app, photo editing serving, or photo editing program that fits you. Try picking one that has just a tad higher skill level than you think you can handle because the more you use it the more you will be able to use those features that seem a bit more complex to use.

Remember that enjoying the moment as it happens builds memories in your mind that are always with you. It is nice to have photographs to look back on but you don’t want the memory in your brain to be about the task of taking those photos.

Do you take many photos? What editing options do you use? If you do not edit photos, why not?

Robyn