Today’s guest blogger is Jackie Farrell (@jackieisfree). Not only did I ask her to be a guest blogger but she was actually requested by a few IGers on @combo_apps. Her feed is full of fantastic images that I highly recommend you check out. She will be talking about her style of editing, family and her friends in Instagram…so let’s get the ball rolling !!!
OMG !!! I’m writing a guest blog for Tina Rice (@shcroft54) !!! And that thought took up the first four days of the assignment! So now that that’s out of the way, my name is Jackie Farrell and most of you would know me as @jackieisfree on my social networks! I recall once on IG answering the question “how did you come up with your nickname?” My answer to that was pretty straight forward “I finally left the bastard!” Being a mother of four children that statement was the hardest part of my life!
I was not raised to be a fighter, rather turn the other cheek and don’t rock the boat! I had to reach deep within myself and find that little bit of strength and build upon it! And I’ve never looked back! Now I can confidently make the claim of being ‘One hell of a strong woman!’. I have recently created a hash tag celebrating this #strength_of_a_woman and please feel free to post to this tag with your photos which you feel apply to the title!
This is a bio so I’m supposed to talk about me, and “Me” includes my four children! My son is 24 years old, owns his own home, runs his own landscaping company Brick ‘N Block Interlock and blows my mind with each new creation he comes up with! Brink-N-Block Interlock to see some of his beautiful creations!! Oh and he’s in love!
My daughter Rachelle is 23 years old and she has completed college and is an administrative assistant and enjoying her life as a young woman of 23 should be! She has the most uncanny skill for organization, and can take any drab room and turn it into a warm, cozy retreat! She is also my very best friend!
My third child, my daughter Dana, is 19 and has just gone off to Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS., studying performance arts for the next four years. She is a nightingale with the voice of an angel! Please do go check out her YouTube videos under the name “weepingangelofmusic” and show her some love! She recorded and edited and mixed the videos herself with her iPhone!! She also plays 17 instruments and teaches Irish Dancing!
Which brings me to my youngest daughter Colleen, who is 18! My little snuggle bug forever! She just graduated high school with honors, and continuing on for another semester to get her prerequisites for college to become a paramedic! She also sings beautifully and teaches Irish Dancing! Oh and did I mention she is on a sailing crew which sails the tall ships on the Great Lakes of Canada!
Wow! I created all of them! Which brings me to my love of photography! With so many children you can imagine the rolls of film we went thru! Until I got this cute little digital camera! Very few functions, black and white, and sepia filters, and no editing ability at all. Good enough! Then when I became @jackieisfree I bought myself an iPhone! Not only did it take awesome shots on the go but then I started to discover the world of apps!
One day searching for game apps and also a photo album app I stumbled upon a newly released app Instagram! Hmph, looks interesting? Downloaded, registered, and been addicted ever since! I come from an interior design background and I’m self employed. I have always looked for combinations of colors, subjects, and textures in my daily life so that I could edit any room presented to me. Hence the natural progression into digital editing. Now I’m able to offer custom photography and art work to my clients!
1. What’s the top 10 apps you use the most?
Ok so this changes when a new app is introduced because I usually play around with an app for a few days or even weeks before posting my first photo edited by it!
So…number one app would have to be Instagram! I am what I call a Poster, someone who posts a high volume of photos! Some IGers are Viewers, they look at a ton of pics and rarely post photos and then there are the wonderful relationship builders and mentors of IG like yourself Tina! I call you DIG..ers, the DOers of IG! I have had a number of challenge and photo highlights, first place in several photo challenges, and now I can add an invite to be a guest blogger! I belong to @abstracters_anonymous, a wonderful group of abstracting igers, plus a nice place for app sharing and discovery! I then discovered the art of HDR! I now belong to the elite group of @dark_revolution (members only page), and a supporter of @supreme_fx @the_femme_elite @insta_magical. These groups are very challenging and push the envelope of HDR style editing with fantasy art blended in from time to time! If you haven’t checked these tags out yet then you are truly missing out on some strong digital art! So my second FAV is Snapseed for fine tuning adjustments such as sharpness, white balance and overall drama! Filterstorm is one app that any iPhoneographer should have in his app bank! I use it for all my HDR editing for its image blending capabilities and highlighting functions! Next comes c27.Filters, that one is my ‘go-to’ app for creating image blends which I use in my abstract edits. It’s a quirky little app with its own mind at times but it is one of my all time FAVS! Number five would have to be Lens Light…when there is no sun on a cloudy day I can add one wherever I like! I can light up lampposts and turn a bright sky into a dark starry moonlite night! Thumbs up in this one! Number six is Pixlr-o-matic for overall photo color balancing! When adding in elements to my fantasy edits this app is necessary to correct color differences and balances out the overall photo to appear seamless! Seventh all time favorite is Photoforge2, without it I think I’d be lost! It is the easiest app for exposure tweaking and for adding some very cool effects such as light leaks, colored flash, and textures! The PopCam extension is well worth the “in app” purchase (Photo Forge 2)! Number eight would have to Decim8. With a simple click on any number of effects your photo is instantly transformed into an abstracted piece of art! Nine on my list is Juxtaposer. This is the app I use to cut out images and add them to other photos in sometimes unexpected ways to create surreal images or to just add some “WOW” factors to everyday pics! And last but not least is iCamera HDR, this app combines an original image and an overer exposed image to give you a photo that’s more realistic and brightens up the shadows so you can actually see what’s lurking in them, just as your natural eye would see them! Though there are many more I regularly use, these are my 10 must haves!!!
2. Do you listen to music when you shoot your photos & when you edit them!
Usually while editing I’m sitting on my couch with a glass of Shiraz and the TV on in the background being watched by my wonderful man @69roots and our roommate @davelalonde!!! When they are not around then the tunes go on! While I photograph it depends on the shoot and if it is an enhancer or distracter!
3. Who are your influences?
I have always preferred to be inspired rather then be influenced by other’s creations! It’s impossible for me to list all those from whom I’ve drawn inspiration from but off the top of my head as of lately would have to be @bahnblogger, @sirreal, @wstairs, @jasor, @memoe_dr and of course @combo_apps! My best friend @shamzeee is always an inspiration to me, in friendship, in life, and in her fantastical abstract edits!
4. Where do you photograph? What do you photograph? Why do you like to photograph?
I do most of my photography on the go in the car or pulled over on the side of road. I also take many photos on the river from my pontoon or my kayak. I never leave home without my iPhone!
I love to take shots of the sunset or sunrise due to the fact that there’s a new one everyday. The colors are usually intense and with a tweak of the exposure button can make it very dramatic or very soft and light. I like using sky shots as backdrops for many of my edits. Both my iPad and my iPhone have over 10000 photos each to choose from while I’m creating my edits. I am blind a as a bat and wear glasses for distance which I need while snapping pics of landscapes but while I have my glasses on my iphone becomes pretty blurry! So I snap off like ten of the same shot hoping one of them will be sharp and clear! I guess it’s time for bi-focals!
I haven’t always been such a shutter bug! My love of photography has truly emerged since finding IG. My mother’s father was a highly sought after professional photographer in the Ottawa area in the 1950s. My father used to collect cameras and was in a photography club, and his dad has boxes and boxes of slides of pics he’s taken of the family over the years! Genetics?
When I started in IG nearly two years ago I was mostly playing games on my iPhone, poker being my favorite as well as mystery/clue games. While playing these games you would have to collect points, unlock achievements, and win battles to move up levels. Well I see Instagram as just that, with the bonus of meeting many talented and genuine people, instead of battling monsters! So my love of creating art has found its way into my gaming interests. Now all my game apps have been replaced by editing apps! Well all but one…I could not and would not ever delete my Angry Birds!
5. While editing what goes through your mind? Do you think about things going on with your life or just edit?
When I’m editing mindlessly I’m well aware of my surroundings. I can be spoken to and answer, I can follow a tv show or talk on the phone, but when I’m “working” on a photo then my mind is at one with my iPhone! They should make a mini “Do not disturb” sign to hang off the back of iPhones for these moments! My mind does not quiet tho, often thought after thought will pop into my head like cartoon bubbles everywhere! This can sometimes lead my edits off on strange and wonderful adventures! iPhone editing is my passion and my saviour, tho now I have sore thumbs, stiff wrists, and tennis elbows…I call it “IPHONE-ITIS” and there is no cure!! 😘🌹
6. On a professional level, where would you like to see yourself go with photography?
As I have experience in the decorating and designing fields, I would love to get more involved in digital editing professionally for advertisements! I’d also love to land a personal photographer contract. We all are entitled to our dreams!
As I has mentioned earlier, I shoot many sunsets. Often I leave my sunsets raw and untouched or barely tweaked! Otherwise when I go for the more dramatic effect I follow these few steps!
Start with a great photo first. First step is to launch Camera+ Pro and hit the scenes button and choose sunset option. Sometimes I’ll try out the clarity button but I find it can create unwanted noise as well, but you can de-noise in other apps later! I then choose the effects button and click on redscale or vibrancy depending on the tones in the photo. Some Sunsets look great with the HDR option but often you need to lower the intensity! I then crop, frame if desired, save and post!
My second most used style is the HDR edits. You need to start with a good sharp steady photo in order to be most successful with this style!!
I start off in Snapseed to add drama, tweak saturation and sharpness, save. Head on over to PhotoForge2 for some overexposure treatment of +2 and apply and save. I then open up iCamera HDR to combine the original and overexposed pics and make adjustments and save! My next move is to either run it thru pixlrmatic or open Photofx depending on desired results for overall color balance and uniformity! Back over to Snapsneed to run thru drama and tweak details that might have been lost in the previous processes! Then I’m jogging over to Camera+ for a bath in vibrancy, save! And breath!
Opening next in Filterstorm for a little magic, tweaking the saturation and sharpness first. The next process is to choose vignette and lower the radius level to 0 and brightness to 60 and press the brush this time! Set opacity to 100% but to around 30% opacity in the brush options. Now choose the eraser and begin erasing where you need to lighten and brighten and highlight your image. Once satisfied with the new look export to your camera roll! The next stop being Lensflare, Lenslight, or Aliensky to add in sun, moon, stars, or other awesome light effects. A new one I’ve been trying out is WOWFX and it’s pretty awesome! So then once it’s lit the way I want I head on over to Photofx and choose the fx button and click threestrip option and apply. Next under adjustments for sharpness at -30 and blur at -30, apply and save! This is only my guideline for my HDR editing, but it usually runs off in other directions depending on the photo and my mood!
My third most favorite editing technique is Image Blending! I will either use double-exposure or super-imposing! I mostly use C27filters for my double-exposures but as I said it has a mind of its own and very little to no adjusting capabilities! It’s always a surprise when using this fun little app! You simply load up two photos and start looking at the different blended images offered to you. Once you choose which one you like then press the back button for yet another set of blends and you can keep going back and forth and add more images into your blend until you’re satisfied with the final result! Try this app out, it just might surprise you!!
As I had mentioned I’ve recently tried the new WOWFX app and it works with its preconfigured fx such as light streaks, smoke, fire, sun, clouds, all different kinds of light fx. In this edit I took a black and white sketched face off the net and using WOWFX and the new Spacepaint app I was able to create a colorful and vibrant edit which was highlighted at @the_femme_elite on Instagram as edit of the day!
Blending Demo 2
The Femme Elite
I hope you all enjoyed Jackie’s blog post as much as I did…check out her Instagram feed @jackieisfree and all the other groups she has mentioned in her post. See you all next week…
Combo Apps: iPhoneography Extreme Editing, a group on Flickr.