I'm learning that there are large communities of people who shoot and process using only an iDevice. No post iPhone or iPad edits allowed. And as I am one of these, I was very happy to discover Life In LoFi, an oasis of information on the web for iPhoneographers.
For both shooting and processing, there are so many photography apps. Some really good, some awful. Camera Awesome, Snapseed, and Afterglow are three of my personal favorites. Great performers with a stunning array of filter choices and processing tools. But so much choice can be confusing. How do you choose when there's so much to pick from?
Personally, I let subject and setting make the decision for me. For me, the fundamental question is, "What are the mood and feeling that the story behind this photo needs to convey?" Once I've answered that question, processing is easy. I look to enhance the mood or story, and I stay away from anything, no matter how eye-catching, that strays from the essential feeling I want to convey.
Take some time to look at the photo above. Stare at it for a minute or two. It was taken at the onset of a recent freak snow in the desert. Due to prior overnights of hard freezes, many plants and bushes turned to brambles. But because the daytime sun peeks through, not everything suffers the freeze, and there's a mixture of dead branches with patches of green grass on the ground below, already dusted with a fine layer of white snow. There's a foggy haze, but not enough to extinguish the sunlight, as the first flakes begin to fall. All that sets the mood, and makes it easy to zip past all of the bright, colorful, artistic filters in processing.
The mood of the photo above is quite different. As you take a minute to look at it, you'll see that essentially, it is hard and fixed. Stone, metal, slate, and tile, combine with harsh indoor lighting. Nothing moves. Even the people at the counter seem to be stationary fixtures. The first photo was soft and fluid, and this is it's exact opposite.
The minute I framed this shot, I thought of Edward Hopper. And even though it was shot from inside rather than through a window, there is a sense that the people at the coffee bar are being observed. That the subjects are on the inside and the observer is clearly on the outside looking in, lends a surreal effect to the mood of the photo. This makes processing decisions easy. All that's soft and fuzzy is eliminated. In mood, this photo is the extreme opposite of the one at the top. It has hard edges, and the story requires that they be extremely defined.
There are so many photographic styles and temperaments, but for me, identifying my pictures by mood and story, bringing forth the essential emotions and displaying them to advantage is what comes naturally. It's essentially what I do with my other artwork, and it's what defines it. I never thought of myself as a romanticist, but by centering on story, mood, and emotion, that's exactly what is central to my art. It makes things easy to define. One romantic style, two distinctly different moods.