Morning Play: Or Another Use For Photographs

By Susan E L Lake 


For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you will have seen me often posting “morning play” photographs. These are images that I have modified using a variety of apps on my iPad. This is not the same as editing for contrast or sharpening to make my images look just a bit better. Instead, I take a photograph that I think is fun or interesting and modify it in myriad ways. I may distort it, add interesting borders, or even turn it into a whole ‘nother look. It’s play, pure and simple. I’m not trying to create exquisite artwork although if I truly like the outcome, I may upload it to my Meural (my magical frame that I talk about here.) I’m just exploring. I try first one look and then another. I’m just having fun.

My image of succulents floats nicely in this glass taking on a new life.

Do you see that word “fun” that keeps showing up? I think “morning play” is an important activity because too often we take photography seriously aiming for THE shot. Some  of us spend hours tweaking, cropping, and adjusting to get the perfect shot. I am as guilty as others. By letting my self to “play” with images, I release the goal of perfection and just get to enjoy the image which still triggers those wonderful memories I’m aiming for. 

This Is an example of one image (Red Rocket Crape Myrtle) that I modified three ways. Each has its own “personality.”

So what apps do I play with. There are countless ones: some free, some expensive, and those in-between. The one I spend most of my time with is Photoleap by Lightricks. I bought it using a Christmas iTunes gift card making a purchase I would NEVER have done on my own. It’s one of those that falls into the expensive category, but I “bit the bullet” and purchased a lifetime subscription so I’d always have it (or until the company quits supporting it). As a result, I use it often trying to assuage my guilt figuring “if I paid that much for it . . .” I have to say I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

Lots of pieces of interest gathered into a single image.

There are others that I have acquired over time when they were “free for a short time.” These Apple apps (although there are likely Android versions) include Trigraphy, Moku, Glaze, Brushstrokes, and Deep Art Effects. 

This poppy was “shattered” using one of the app tools that I love.

What I like about all of these is that while I have Photoshop experience that would allow me to create similar changes, I can use these apps to create modifications instantly without having to use a complicated Adobe process. I’d have more options if I did use dedicated software, but I’m willing to make the trade off. 

I took a single image of a souvenir cup and turned it into a bit of whimsy.

So what kinds of things do these apps let me do. I can create frames, I can erase parts of the image, I can merge multiple images, I can adjust the colors in unexpected ways, I can jazz things up or tone them down. In short, I can play with my pictures exploring new looks. I can mask parts of an image or change its impact. I don’t start out with the intention of creating a particular “look,” but instead I just explore and experiment. Most of the outcomes are not particularly worthwhile, but that’s okay. I’m just playing so there are no expectations. Some days I love what I do, but most of the time I delete my efforts. Give it a try. You might be surprised how much “fun” you have.

This vacation pic gave me lots to play with when I deleted the background.
A bit of frame and conversion to black and white turns this garden decoration into something else.


  1. Your impressionistic version of the famous golf champion is a winner. Memories of New Orleans has me yearning to go back. And the poppy: superb.


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