I was introduced to Jordan Foy by a mutual friend. I was told Jordan had something to do with a mobile photography and I needed to speak to him. We hooked up and from there I discovered more about his involvement with the app Steller, a new storytelling app that has become a firm favourite in my camera bag.
Jordan is based in the historic city of Chester, UK. Even though he is still at university Jordan has worked in the creative industry for others or by himself since the age of 15. In 2011 he was nominated for the Young UK Entrepreneur Awards due to the work he did with the hotels in his local seaside resort of Blackpool. Jordan saw a market on his doorstep where he could sell photography on a large scale. Following on from this he has held an exhibition in a small gallery in Chester and become involved with the team at Steller. This has been an awesome opportunity that has enabled him to meet so many talented creators in the community.
AB: How were you first introduced to iPhone photography?
JF: I first got my hands on iPhone photography when I got my first iPhone. I was obsessed with it, it blew my mind. I even had two cases! I went through the Instagram filters and frame phase and luckily looked back and learned from my mistakes. I love iPhone photography more than I ever thought, and I haven’t picked up an actual SLR since, I feel it doesn’t matter what you take the snap on.
AB: Photographically, what subjects fascinate you and how would you describe your style?
JF: I don’t have a style. This is something I used to constantly worry about. I was worried that I would get left behind and be a failed creative if I didn’t have a style, so I would try and fix this with a style/genre. I soon learnt this is really not the way to do it. I am consistently inconsistent with what I produce, I just like to document everything. I am fascinated with and inspired by others’ creativity. That is what drives me to be better to experiment with new approaches all the time.
AB: We were introduced by a mutual friend who told me about your involvement with the app, Steller. Tell us about Steller and how the idea behind the app came about?
JF: Steller is a new creative social media app where people can share their stories, experiences and interests, which elsewhere can be hard to share. Steller allows you to create your stories right on the phone through images, videos and text. It has a beautiful design aspect to it for creators and its simple to use. There’s a really vibrant and diverse community taking shape of photographers, food lovers, adventurers and creatives that are very inspiring and sharing in a whole new way.
AB: During its launch week, Steller was featured as Apple’s ‘Editors App of the Week’ which is quite an achievement. What makes Steller so special and how is it different from other photo apps or social networks?
JF: I think the thing that makes Steller so unique is people have a fresh way of sharing. This is something that today everybody is doing, everyone is sharing that latest snap in their camera roll, everyone is keeping people updated with what is happening in their lives and what makes them tick. Steller allows you to do all this in a bitesize interactive story where you can share everything from your latest holiday, to your latest creative photography project, to you’re freshly baked goods straight out the oven! Steller allows you to tell a story, which we all have the ability to do, in a way that’s very beautiful looking and personally designed. With Steller, you have a platform to tell stories grand and small to your hearts content and share them wherever you like.
AB: What are the key ingredients that make up a good photographic story?
JF: Great original photography. I am always very intrigued with how people see the world. I actually have an ongoing hashtag series called #seewhatisee on Steller. This allows people to see into other peoples lives and the way in which they document their last 7 days. This is always very interesting. The app is filled with incredible creatives who use photography and videography in all different ways.
AB: Who are your favourite Steller storytellers and why?
JF: I love all different types of stories and new users keep catching my eye with stories that really keep me interested and anticipating their next ones. Recently I have really enjoyed stories from:
@Devin Castro : Devin’s Memory Bank Series in ongoing series which contain fleeting moments in his life.
@Dariustwin : Darren’s dinosaur lightpainting is magic.
@srt4shawn : Shawn’s Convex Views is a real head spin, very creative.
@asenseofhuber : Turtle Tuesday is an awesome project!
@ChadCopeland : iPhone Only Alaska has mind blowing captured scenes.
@tifforelie : Tiffany’s recipe for autumn chili has her signature mastery beautiful natural light in mobile photography.
AB: Where do you get your inspiration for the stories you tell?
JF: I take a lot of inspiration from Devin Castro as I am fascinated with how he tells a story, and how he documents scenes. I also love taking inspiration from different genres. It expands my eyes to the way others produce photography in say food or interiors or architecture, and adopt it to my own practice.
AB: Where can people find out more about Steller?
JF: People can get their hands on Steller for free on the App Store. You can also check out our featured stories on our Instagram page which is updated everyday with the top stories from all different types of creatives. You can also check out the Steller website for our Editors top picks and Most Viewed stories, as well as search for any subject or user on the app.
Connect with Jordan Foy
Steller // Instagram
The Abandoned Kingdom of Camelot by Andy Butler
I was inspired by the subject of abandoned photography by Anna Cox‘s interview with Mike Hill in Mobiography magazine back in August last year. Mike talked about the theme of the abandoned and showcased a selection of his amazing imagery from several locations including the famous Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia and the Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans. The stories behind these atmospheric locations got me thinking about searching for old and abandoned locations that I could explore for myself.
It is the history and stories that lay behind a building or location and the idea that nature reclaims them that fascinates me. Inspired by this idea, I set out to find my own abandoned project. My quest led me to ‘The Magical Kingdom of Camelot’.
The Towers of Camelot
Camelot, a local theme park, was once a bustling tourist attraction. It was based on the legend of King Arthur and opened its gates in 1983. It grew in size and popularity before finally closing in 2012, due to a downturn in visitor numbers. This downturn was blamed on a combination of the UK’s economic recession and several seasons of bad summer weather. Personally I feel the extortionate entrance fees played a major role in the parks demise.
During the summer of 1991 I worked at the park so in a small way I have a fond connection to the place or at least some fun memories of doing hand brake turns in milk floats as we stocked up the various food outlets at the end of the day.
My interest in Camelot as the subject of an abandoned photographic project was ignited following a story in the local press about local opposition to the land being developed into a large housing estate. My appetite was further fueled following the discovery of a series of photographs of Camelot on the Abandoned Playgrounds website.
I had to get inside the walls of Camelot and check it out for myself before it was gone forever.
My opportunity came one spring morning which saw the day breaking to clear, sunny blue skies. My dawn raid on King Arthur’s Camelot saw me enter the park through a large hole on the fence at the back of the complex. After a short walk across a field I entered the animal centre. This was the same farm I visited with my son only four years before. Once full of life with all sorts of inhabitants roaming free, I now found it to be a desolate and empty place. An eery ghost town.
King Arthur’s Animal Centre
Leaving the animal centre, ahead of me stood the towering framework of Knightmare. Once the jewel in the crown and centre piece attraction of Camelot, this landmark was visible for miles around but now it’s steel framework stood proud and rusting.
Photographically Knightmare presented thousands of photo opportunities everywhere you looked but there was an air of sadness to see it in such a state. Four years previously it had been full of screaming and had a buzzing atmosphere but now it was quiet and bleak with its only customers being the birds and rabbits.
Your Worst Knightmare
As I headed deeper into the kingdom of Camelot I came across the Dungeons of Doom. The dungeons was a small ghost ride of sheer terror which as I remember wasn’t actually a very scary experience. However, in its now abandoned and derelict state it presented a much more eery atmosphere with plenty of photographic opportunities to be had.
Dungeon of Doom
Onwards my quest led me to the jousting arena which in its day played host to daily displays of jousting and swordsmanship before a baying crowd of onlookers. King Arthur would sit on his thrown, observing the battles between the red and black knights. Again, four years previously I was part of that crowd. I have fond memories sat with my son as the court jester entertained the crowds.
King Arthur’s Jousting Arena
As the sun broke over the trees I began to make my way back through a small village once ladened with souvenir shops but again an air of sadness engulfed the place as the memories of a vibrant atmosphere long faded into the distance of time.
The thing that struck me about shooting an abandoned location is the unique atmosphere it presents. It has memories embedded into the fabric its being. There is a contrast between something that was once proud and majestic against something that is now decaying and neglected as the passage of time and nature takes over.
This was my first experience of shooting an abandoned project and the first of many I hope. I have since returned to Camelot on several occasions and intend to a few more times before it is gone forever.
The path to the Arena
Brendan O Se: Travels with my Camera by Andy B.
I first came across the work of Brendan O Se last year thanks to Mark T Simmons. Brendan is an award winning photographer from Cork in Ireland. He is a master in the use of motion and blur with his photographic portfolio incorporating a unique blend of abstract art and street photography, shot either with his trusty iPhone or his DSLR
Looking at his iPhone work it is not surprising his portfolio has caught the attention of so many people especially when you look at such images like ‘Sitting on a train’ or ‘A diet of Blur’.
I caught up with Brendan during a trip he is currently taking across East Asia which he is documenting through a series of street photography images. I wanted to dig a bit deeper to find out more about his work, approach and his travels through Asia.
AB: Andy Butler
BOS: Brendan O Se
AB: Firstly, tell us bit about yourself and your introduction to mobile photography
BOS: Firstly, thanks for this opportunity Andy. To give you some background, I am a university teacher from Cork, Ireland. I am married with two small children. My main hobby is photography. A trip to Asia in 2012 was the first time I realized the potential of the iPhone as a camera. It was a liberating experience being able to get up close to capture street moments and also being able to process and share with friends and family immediately was incredible. I took hundreds of images on that trip and began to post regularly on Instagram. When I returned to Ireland and back to posting on Flickr I discovered there were many mobile photography groups and the quality and diversity of the images inspired me to experiment and explore more
I am believer in the old saying that the best camera you have is the one you have with you, and the iPhone is always with me; always ready. In the past two years, I have taken many more photos with the iPhone than my DSLR. I believe that while the genre at the moment is still called mobile photography, the mobile part will, in time, be dropped. After all, when has a camera not been mobile?
AB: Your portfolio is a mixture of abstract art and street photography. How would you describe this style and approach to mobile photography
BOS: Street photography is what interests me most. The photographers whose work excite me most all do street work. The story that evolves from a street image can be powerful. It can cast us back or project us forward in time. It is about connection and the personal impact an image can have on us. Street photography has the wonderful ability to allow us to step into an image and at the same time allow a distance for us to begin to understand its impact
Then there are things which do not need to be understood or examined, things which just have a beauty. Things like lines, shapes, colours and movement. Blur, for me, is the most beautiful and enchanting of photography. It can transform the mundane and dull. I am intrigued by contradictions and blur can reveal and conceal.
Last note heard
This coincidence continues
AB: What apps do you use for the production of your abstract work?
BOS: I have downloaded many apps over the past two years but the one I have stuck with is Snapseed. It is simple to use and gets great results. The one thing I wish it had was the ability to paste from previous settings so that a series of images could all be processed in the same way.
The warmth of the womb
AB: Where do you get your inspiration? Are there any particular subjects or photographers that have influenced your work?
BOS: Subjects would be movement and form for blur images. For street work it is people; people with character and attitude. There are many photographers who inspire and influence me; mainly contacts I have made on Flickr. Of course, I admire well-known and world-famous photographers, but the ones who impact on me are those whose work I engage with on a personal level. People like Michael Kistler, Shel Sherkin, Mark T. Simmons, Mimo Khair, Albion Harrison-Naish. These photographers have a signature style and the ability to compose stories with their street work. I have made many friends on Flickr and learned so much from them that I wish I could name them all here.
AB: You shoot with a DSLR camera as well as your iPhone. How do the two compare and do you have a preference?
BOS: With the DSLR I know I can produce a technically better shot because of the different ways it can be managed and with the iPhone it allows me get in close and to get in discreetly. The DSLR is bulky. Carrying it around my neck is like carrying a bucket of water around. It weighs too much and on a hot day it is not comfortable. The two cameras are great. I love both and would struggle to choose, but as I said earlier the best camera you have is the one you have with you, and more often than not it is the iPhone.
AB: You are currently travelling through east Asia and documenting your travels in a series of street images. How did this trip come about?
BOS: My wife is Korean, so we came out on a trip to visit family. We are lucky to have some really great friends in Hong Kong and we stayed with them for a few days en route. Part of the trip was business for me and this took me to Seoul and Japan. I also took a short break to Taipei to experience a new city in Asia.
AB: Looking at the street portraits from this series. There seems to be a different feel and approach to the images you’re capturing. Have you found your new surroundings have changed the way you approach your subjects?
BOS: In Taipei, I was surprised at how camera-friendly the people were. Sometimes, understandably, people do not like the camera being pointed in their faces and often you can be met with a scowl when you raise the camera or they may cross their hands to signify they do not want their photograph to be taken, but in Taipei most often they smiled when they realized I had been shooting them. Sometimes, they wanted me to take more photographs and began to pose for me!
Asia has a different dynamic to Europe. It is frenetic. There is a pace and sensation to it so different to where I come from. Wanting to shoot street can be frustrating when you come from a place where there are not enough streets or people. Here in Asia, that is not a problem. Find an interesting location and you know you will not have to wait long for an interesting character to pass. I once waited in the cold and rain for over an hour in Cork to get a shot in a cool location.
On this trip, I promised myself to be brave to get that shot. It has worked, I suppose. I got this shot of a Seoul policeman. He was not too pleased it seems.
Soured Faced Cop
AB: Are there any interesting stories or incredible encounters that lie behind any of the photographs captured on your travels?
BOS: My bravery did get me into one or two tricky situations, like when I was trying to get a shot of a woman who was sitting with her legs crossed and dangling her shoe on her outstretched toes down a side alley. Her shoe was in a perfect pool of sunlight. I was on my knees with the DSLR setting the shot up when I suddenly heard shouting. I ignored it at first, but then it dawned on me that the shouting was directed at me. I had not realized that this alley was where prostitutes hung out and this guy, probably a pimp, was shouting at me and the woman with the dangling shoe had stopped dangling it and was now also shouting at me. I got up off my knees and with the camera swinging around my neck I scarpered.
Prostitute Alley shot with a DSLR
Heading back to the hotel one night in Taipei I walked past this open door to an apartment block and noticed the doorman was asleep. I turned back, got the iPhone out and as I passed again I took a shot. It was blurred. Now, I had promised myself that on this trip I would be brave. I would not pass up opportunities to get that shot. So, I went back and crept in to get as close as I could to get it. The following night I passed again and noticed he was awake. I popped my head in and he growled at me. I can only imagine what might have happened had I woke him when I was getting the image.
The things I did not reveal in the job interview
AB: Finally, how can people connect with you?
My Blog // Instagram // Twitter // Flickr – iPhone // Flickr DSLR
The Art of Erika C Brothers by Andy B
Erika C Brothers is a Mexican artist who has truly embraced the power of mobile technology and incorporated it into the images she creates. There is a something wonderful about her abstract art which mixes portraiture with a blend of effects and other imagery taken from her surroundings. The results embody a magical look, style and feel which creates some amazing pieces of artwork.
Images like ‘Orange’, ‘Arlequin’ or ‘The Liquid Dreams Series’ are perfect examples of this portraiture work, while others such as ‘Yellow Waves’ or ‘Cotton Candy Sunset’ focus more on capturing the landscape that surrounds her.
I managed to catch up with Erika and wanted to find out more about her life, work and influences as well as the process she follows to get from the original capture to a finished piece of artwork.
AB: Andy EB: Erika
AB: Tell us about yourself and how your interest in art and mobile photography began.
EB: I’m originally from Monterrey, Mexico where our culture is rich in a variety of different genres and parents whose passion involved weekend painting using different methods and visions of blending colors and techniques. Inspired as a child I pursued my own discovery of projecting my thoughts and images, I started through basic art, career in communications, painting amateur for 10 years using acrylics and oils, exploring even cloth and printed image designs until I found what I believe is my true calling with App advancement in SmartPhone technology. However I continue my activities of art creation as part of my vocation to the whole genre of art for personal desire and mental exercise.
I’m a mother of three and moving a few times due to my husband’s work, I was able to expand my optic vision and projection of picture stories from the different locations we lived. Once hooked I started investigating the different options on how to transform the pics to reflect my mental thoughts to each art piece, and set myself to no particular form or function – just what comes to me or how I feel as I create each piece. Now interestingly enough, my husband interprets my pieces for the naming; he is my inspiration and genius behind the naming of each.
AB: There is a beautiful artistic and painterly feel to your work. Tell us about your style and approach?
EB: My style is a combination of modern and abstract, with a touch of everything in between. I love to combine colors and textures blending the image to hence my creative feelings that an image projects in my mind. Most come to light based on daily experiences, travels, situations, and knowledge of the people whom form part of my life.
AB: You mentioned that the Mexican culture is rich in a variety of different genres. In what way have these genres influenced both you and your work and where do you draw your inspiration from?
EB: The Mexican culture has great variety, ranging from Aztec folklore to the popular art of the streets. In particular artists such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera to modern art such as Sergio Bustamante, all have given me the basis to my creations. All combine one way or other Aztec fundamentals with expressionism and modernism. Hence my inspiration is drawn by the multiple combinations only limited by my mental capacity to transform each art piece.
AB: How have modern day apps helped you to transform your art and how do you integrate them into the creative process?
EB: Modern day apps have been an absolute revolution to modern day technology and photography. Opening the possibilities to all to experiment art transformation directly from today’s current way of computing – tablets.
In general my photos do not follow a particular format or function; I use whatever app comes to mind for that particular moment and experimentation. In total I use about 140 different apps, however mostly concentrate on using 10 for most of my pieces.
AB: Could you give us a step by step walkthrough of the process involved in creating one of your images?
Stage 1: The initial capture
For the initial capture I used Slow Shutter Cam with self-timer on 1. I chose this app since I wanted to wanted to create an initial image in motion with a base blur effect.
Stage 2: MonoVu
To start initial transformation I used MonoVu using option mono22 to give the base effect on monochrome and scratches with a touch of antique.
Stage 3: Procreate
Next I used Procreate to add effects to the models hair extending the flow of motion to the person.
Stage 4: IColorama S
In IColorama S I used the effects of tiles 4/5 to add visual differentiation to the whole piece.
Stage 5: Mextures
Mextures added the next level of texture and roughness for enhancement, using Grit & Grain and Emulsion.
Stage 6: Pic Grunger
For the final effects to truly reflect and wrap up the whole image of a “Life in Motion” I used Pic Grunger Effect – Scratched, Style – Backstage, and Texture – Newsprint.
AB: Do you have any future plans for projects or the direction of your work?
EB: My future plans are to continue my work as part of a life process, as a walk thru life, basically moments in time; start showcasing more my artwork in Galleries and participate together with the rest of my colleagues worldwide on the push, promotion and inspiration of the SmartPhone Art world.
Instagram // Facebook // Flickr // Eyeem // IPA
The Step by Step Workflow of Skip by Andy B
I first came across the work of Paul Brown earlier this year. For me, Paul (also known as Skip from skipology.com) stood out from the crowd thanks to his artistic signature style combined with his choice of still life and street photography subject matter. This was also re-enforced by the detailed tutorial guides he often publishes on his blog which take readers through the creative step by step process he follows to produce his work.
Paul is a UK mobile photographer with quite a few credits to his name. As well as being an active member of the iPhoneography community, he is also a founding member of groups such as the ‘New Era Museum’ and the UK Lincolnshire based group ‘Instachimps’ and has had his work exhibited several times at ‘mObilepixatiOn’, ‘Pixel This’ and ‘My World Shared’.
I find Paul’s work fascinating as his approach not only showcases a finished piece of work but also tells the story behind its production. For me, this adds a third dimension to what could otherwise be viewed as a 2D image. My aim here is to find out more about Paul, his work, how he goes about creating such eye catching pieces and the inspirations that drive him.
AB: Andy Butler PB: Paul Brown
AB: Describe your introduction to iPhone photography
PB: iPhone photography was something I’d never really heard of 2 ½ years ago. I know now that there is a thriving community but when my wife bought me an iPhone all I really knew was it came with a camera. I’d never had a phone with a camera and my old analogue Olympus OM10 had been gathering dust somewhere in my man cave for years. Terms like iPhoneography and communities like JUXT, AMPt, etc and all the specialist Facebook and Google groups were waiting for me to discover.
As soon as I took my iPhone out it became an iCamera. My joy and passion for photography was reignited in the blink of an eye because I had this small gadget in my pocket. Every single day I’d take photographs. On the back of it I bought myself a DSLR but all that did was emphasise why I enjoy iPhoneography so much and indeed why my old Olympus had been gathering dust. Portability – both in terms of the capture and the edit. It revolutionised my coffee shop experience, tapping away editing images! I sold my DSLR and bought a Fujifilm X-E1 a wise decision for me but still my iPhone is my main camera.
It was a steep learning curve. Apps I take for granted today like Instagram, EyeEm, Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Camera+ (and a whole host of camera replacement apps), Filterstorm, etc (basically all the ‘original’ apps that were around back then and are still popular today) were all just names to me and each one needed to be learned and understood. It’s the same for everyone just starting out who gets bitten by the bug.
AB: Your work has a distinctive artistic style to it. How did this style evolve from one of taking straight photographic images to developing them into something more painterly that would be at home in an art gallery?
PB: Thank you, those are very kind words. Like most people I suspect I regard myself as a work in progress. Therefore, when my work gets described as a certain style, whilst that is true it is also only the case at this point in time. As I have said before I personally would describe my style as eclectic and inconsistent. One thing that is very consistent though is that in general I like to try to capture or create an atmosphere rather than a scene. I’m not saying I always succeed!
In terms of style evolution, I guess there are a whole host of influences. iPhoneography led me to social media and it’s amazing how much of a gravitational pull the iPhoneography community has. You find people and people find you and gradually learning and influences from within the community creep in. Some styles appeal at a point in time and you head off down that path.
On a more practical level though I looked at some of the expensive faux ‘canvas’ still life images in some chain stores and started thinking why would I want to buy that when hundreds or thousands of other people also have it. I loved the style and some of it was beautiful but I hated the consumer aspects associated with it so I played away trying to create and adopt that style for my own taste. That is why if you read through any of my workflows you will always see my first stage is to sort out the resolution in case at some point I decide to get it printed (or someone else does).
AB: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
PB: As I say I get my inspiration from a whole host of different places but I would add that I’m unashamedly introverted. I spend a lot of time thinking and really living in my own world. My mind is always ticking away. I don’t doubt that my thoughts are heavily influenced by the world around me but in the end a lot of inspiration comes from within.
The fuel for that though comes in the main from the amazing iPhoneography and wider mobile photography community. With a few exceptions it is such an open community and I firmly believe we all knowingly or otherwise draw inspiration from each other. You never know where or who it’s going to come from.
AB: Your work is a mixture of street photography and painterly still life portraits. Do you find your mood dictates your subject choice or that you gravitate more naturally towards one subject more than the other?
PB: I can feel the psychologist coming out in you now Andy! I think this gets to the core of me as a person and my motivations as an iPhoneographer.
First and foremost I love the results of street photography but I don’t always enjoy the process of capturing. The risk of conflict and confrontation however unrealistic is always in my mind. There are also many elements you can only partially control and others that are completely out of my hands. Not great for a control freak like me! However, the rush I get when I capture a shot that I love is always rewarding. It’s like scoring a goal in football, an adrenalin rush that you only get from combining what skill you’ve developed over the years with the luck of being in the right place at the right time and everything clicking into place.
I guess my still lifes are the opposite, very safe, controlled and predictable. I think of them as my fall back. I love the process of creation and converting the initial capture in to something different. I am very much in my comfort zone. There’s no buzz that comes with street photography but it’s a style I enjoy and the process is less stressful and more in keeping with my introverted personality.
Why choose one over the other? You are exactly right Andy. Street photography doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to work at it or really be in a confident frame of mind. If I can’t get there then I’ll tend to switch to still life work. It’s great to have found such opposite styles that between them give me a whole range of emotional responses. There are few days that I’m not inclined to work with one or the other.
AB: You are an active member of several iPhone photography groups including being a founding member of the New Era Museum and the Facebook group ‘Instachimps’. How has being a part of such communities helped you in your development as a mobile photographer?
PB: Combined with social media they’ve influenced me massively. It was these communities along with the work and teachings of their members that convinced me that painterly or textured work was entirely possible with an iPhone and its apps. They are a constant source of inspiration. There is absolutely no doubt that they have helped me mould my style. They’ve also influenced my app purchases and clearly having the right tools is a big part of translating the vision in your mind to the screen. Most of all they give me support and confidence.
AB: You are well-known for your workflow tutorial guides. Could you talk us through the process you follow to create one of your images?
PB: I will admit to be being a little uncertain on the type of image to share, especially as I tend to think of JUXT as very pure photographical images and my eclectic style contains a bit of everything. In the end I will share an image that many would probably recognise as my style even though possibly not a traditional JUXT style. I think perhaps that is what this question is really all about.
Stage 1: The initial capture
My aim in general is to try to get good light and a clean background. I don’t have any specialist equipment to play with so depending on the subject and light I will either use a plain wall or a translucent window as background. In this case, the delicate nature of the subject meant that the diffused light from the translucent window was ideal. This is especially effective with any subject with a translucent quality such as leaves and petals as the backlight really enhances the colours. The problem of course is silhouetting because the backlight is much stronger than the lighting of the subject. ProCamera (along with many other camera replacement apps) provides for independent and lockable focus and exposure points. I therefore lock exposure in an area away from the subject to over-expose the background as much as possible and expose the subject as accurately as I can. The subject itself is too small to set exposure accurately.
Stage 2: Filterstorm
Crop and resize if necessary. This iPhoneography image was captured with an iPhone4. The maximum resolution on the shortest side is below the minimum 2,000px that I always aim for. Although the only crop is to change to an aspect ratio of 1:1, I also increase the image size to 2,000px square. I always do this as the first stage of the edit process so that future edits are applied at the final resolution. This is beneficial because filters and textures will be applied to each individual pixel and as such any possible quality issues caused by the resize will be rubbed away to some degree by future edits. I aim for a minimum of 2,000px on the shortest side to allow for printing at a reasonable size. I now have an iPhone5 and resizing is not really an issue as I only tend to crop for aspect changes and the minimum resolution is within my target.
Stage 3: Snapseed – Drama Filter (Bright preset and adjust saturation back to normal levels – Drama filters reduce saturation).
My target now is to create my base image. This is the cleanest version of the image and will be used as the basis for all future edits. Very often I will introduce selective adjustment spots to adjust brightness, contrast and saturation at various points to completely clean the background area. In this case the Drama filter alone was used. It will initially be used to create a texture which may well result in almost total destruction. It will also be used where necessary to reintroduce detail using layers and blending and masking techniques.
Stage 4: Snapseed – Grunge Filter (The initial stage in the texturing process)
Normally I will randomly flick through Grunge settings until something approaching what I’m looking for appears. Then if necessary I will fine-tune the effect by manually adjusting individual settings and textures.
Stages 1 – 4 are a very standard part of my still life texture blending work flow. From this point it becomes a bit more of a bespoke process depending on the image and the look I want to achieve. For this image I opted for the following processes:
Stage 5: Snapseed – Retrolux Filter (applied to further enhance the texture)
Stage 6: Mextures
I have created a small number of predefined textures made up of a number of layers of textures and light effects available within the app. It can be seen that this texture was applied with minimal transparency and resulted in almost total destruction of the image.
Stage 7: Superimpose
The detail of the image is reintroduced by importing version 6 as the background and version 3 as the foreground. The two layers are combined using ‘Multiply’. This reintroduces the detail of the image and at the same time allows the underlying texture to show through. Playing around with blending methods at varying transparency levels is useful at this stage.
Stage 8: Modern Grunge
The image is almost totally destroyed again with the introduction of a strong Modern Grunge preset with some manual adjustment of specific elements. The idea here was to make the image look like it has been splattered with paint.
Stage 9: Superimpose
The paint splash effect can be controlled and detail reintroduced by blending version 6 with 8. Version 6 is imported as the background and version 8 is imported as the foreground. The two layers are combined using lighten with zero transparency (standard setting). Although not required in this case, the blend can be manually adjusted by applying a mask if any of the Modern Grunge texture needs removing from important areas (think of this as partially restoring a painting). I find that a brush set to maximum size and smoothness with the ‘soft’ box selected gives excellent results.
AB: Finally, where can people connect with you online?
PB: I am Skipology – My blog links to most of my networks at http://skipology.com I can also be looked up via my about me page at http://skipology.me. If anyone wants to connect as a result of reading this feature please drop me a note with a tag on whichever network. I don’t want to miss connecting with fellow mobile photographers but sometimes I do miss things. I won’t miss a direct communication / tag though.