I have long appreciated the work by the Juxters at We Are Juxt. When I was asked to provide an interview and mobile photography workflow by one of their members I was delighted to do so.

This texture blended iPhone photograph is the workflow I shared with them together with a discussion about me and my approach to mobile photography. I am republishing the workflow here together with a few snippets from the interview. The full piece at We Are Juxt can be viewed via the link at the foot of the article.

Thank you to Andy at We Are Juxt for the opportunity.

iPhone photography apps used:

iphone photography - superimpose (lighten)

{ cow parsley }

By

Process and apps used

ProCamera (I have since upgraded to ProCamera7) ~ 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 possible. The subject itself is too small to set exposure accurately.:

iphone photography - ProCamera

Filterstorm (I have not yet upgraded to Filterstorm Neu) ~ Crop and resize if necessary. This iPhoneography image was captured with an iPhone4. Maximum resolution on the shortest side is below the 2,000px minimum 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 minimum resolution is within my target:

iphone photography - Filterstorm

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:

This is { image one }:

Snapseed - drama (bright)

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:

snapseed - grunge

These first stages 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:

Snapseed ~ Retrolux Filter applied to further enhance the texture:

snapseed - retrolux

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:

This is { image two }:

mextures - own formula

Superimpose ~ The detail of the image is reintroduced by importing image two as the background and image one 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:

superimpose - multiply

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:

This is { image three }:

modern grunge

Superimpose ~ The paint splash effect can be controlled and detail reintroduced by blending version two with image three. Image two is imported as the background and image three 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:

iphone photography - superimpose (lighten)

 


The discussion

The feature starts…

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…

Andy Butler

It would be unfair of me to replicate the chat here but we discussed:

      Juxt (Andy): Describe your introduction to iPhone photography.

      …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…

      Juxt (Andy): 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?

      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…

      Juxt (Andy): Where do you draw your inspiration from?

      …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…

      Juxt (Andy): 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?

      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…

      Juxt (Andy): 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?

      …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…

      Juxt (Andy): You are well-known for your workflow tutorial guides. Could you talk us through the process you follow to create one of your images?

      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 [shared] an image that many would probably recognise as my style …

      Juxt (Andy): Finally, where can people connect with you online?

      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

To read the rest of the article and view a selection of other images featured, please visit We Are Juxt… (contd.)


 

About We are Juxt

We Are Juxt represents the idea that mobile art forms are quickly advancing along with mobile device technology. Mobile art is defined simply as Art created and developed on a mobile platform (for example iPhone, Android, Windows Phone). The advancement and populatiry of this art form has created a culture where community is highly valued and art is constantly pushing the limits. We Are Juxt believes that the BEST is YET to COME. The art form is young and already so advanced. We cannot wait to see what the future brings. Through community presentations, artist participation, and artist engagement, Juxt believes that mobile arts will continue to advance along with technology, and more importantly through COMMUNITY.


 

About Andy Butler

Andy Butler is a self confessed web geek, internet marketer and professional day dream believer. Since an early age he always had an interest in photography although his ability to pursue it as a hobby on a regular basis to the standard that he desired was always hampered by the need to carry around a cumbersome DSLR together with his commitments to family life and work.

In 2012 Andy discovered Instagram and very quickly recognised that it would offer him a way of using his smartphone to take photos, quickly apply filters to them, enhance the images then share these on the social channels he used.

As people started to commented on his published images he soon realised that was something worth pursuing and exploring further, discovering a whole community of iphoneographers and others passionate about the subject. He now runs his own blog at http://www.mobiography.net/


 

This week I’ve been working on a major site upgrade. Now that I have a significant library of mobile photography workflows and other news I decided another layer of organisation was required. I have therefore categorized my articles by genre.

If you have the time it would be wonderful if you could visit my mobile photography genre index, select your preferred genre and share your favourite article with your friends.

Skip

 

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p31VpY-16v


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3 Comments

  1. […] I have long appreciated the work by the Juxters at We Are Juxt and was delighted to contribute an interview and mobile photography workflow.  […]

  2. Jane Dolan says:

    Hi Paul,

    Another massively helpful post! I don’t see a Shop on your site, but maybe I am missing something. I must say your work is one of the first I would consider purchasing.

    This might be a bonehead question, but how do you do a screenshot on your iPhone? When I start working with filters, I just start going to town without a notebook, which has it’s benefits, but major drawback of not being able to re-create.

    Cheers!

    Jane in SF

    • Skip says:

      Hi Jane, thank you. I don’t have a shop right now but if there’s a specific image that interests you just let me know. Re remembering workflows that’s exactly what I do take screen grabs – you just press the home button and then the power button whilst still holding the home button. You should see the screen flash.

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