A Day In The Life Of Shea McJagger – A Truly Gifted Mobile Photographer Currently On An Incredible iPhone Photography World Tour

Welcome to our very exciting new column on theappwhisperer.com, this section is entitled ‘A day in the life of …’ and we’ll be taking a look some hugely influential and interesting people in the mobile app world. Ones that we think you will love to learn more about.

This is our eleventh installment to our new series, you can read the others here, if you have missed them so far. Kicking us off today is Shea McJagger. Shea has been many things in her life, she’s been a hairdresser, make-up artist and educator for 18 years in a variety of different capacities: behind the chair, on stage, backstage, in front of the camera and behind the camera. Shea has had her work published in magazine print, and in a motion picture. She has lived all over the United States and in Italy. She was self employed for many years which allowed her to travel quite often. Shea confides, ‘I have an incurable wanderlust and I don’t stay put very well’.

Shea took up yoga 6 years ago and became very passionate about the practice. she went on to get a certification as a teacher at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA. To this day she maintains a practice, but no longer teaches, although she plans to return to teaching someday.

In April of last year Shea made the decision to go on her own world tour, when plans fell through on touring the world with a band as their tour manager. ‘I’ve always been destined to make an around the world trip… and at that point all I knew was that I was going in 2012…’, said Shea.

Shea "accidentally" discovered the magic of iPhone photography one day while playing with an app she had downloaded, Camera+. "I was drying my hair with one hand, and fiddling with a photo on the other when all of a sudden my mind was completely blown away. I looked at the image and thought, did that just happen?’ From that moment onwards, Shea was hooked. ‘This was just last June. I’ve never been the same. It was a real "A-HA moment’, expressed Shea.

On her birthday night, 12 December 2011, Shea was on the couch with her dog looking at her usual iPhone photography websites and blogs when she saw an invitation to compete for a seat at Creative Live in Seattle to attend an iPhoneography workshop with Jack Hollingsworth. Shea jumped off the couch, scared her dog to death, and called a friend and said ‘We are making a video tonight!’. The rules stated that you needed to submit a video stating why you deserved to win a seat at the workshop… Shea couldn’t think of a really great reason except that she wanted it badly. Then it dawned on her. All of a sudden she knew what her around the world trip was going to be all about – iPhone photography. Shea and her friend made the video, and she won a seat, and she had a purpose for her journey. Meanwhile, while she was at the workshop, she was named artist of the day on iphoneart.com.

Shea has built up a huge community of friendships and artists all over the world through various social networks including, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and EyeEm. Shea feels that she has some real friends that are amazing people, as well as artists. The best part for Shea is everyone is keeping her company as she travels.

Check out the full interview below…

We have included exif data, in as much as the app or apps that were used to create the final image. As many of the images were cross processed we have listed the apps in the sequential order they were used in the editing process, we have also provided links for each app to the iTunes App Store, just incase you’re inspired enough to try them out for yourself as well as accessories used. You can find all the links at the end of this article.

(If you would like to be interviewed for our new ‘A day in the life of …’ section, just send an email to Joanne@theappwhisperer.com, and we’ll get it set up.

First Things First…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Pearl Jam’  –  Blender, Snapseed, KingCamera

 

JC – Let’s start at the beginning of the day, how does your day start?

SMJ - My days all begin differently now that I’m traveling. I don’t have a set routine anymore, and I love it this way! I’m hoping to fend off brain deterioration (ha!) by having to think, be present in the moment, and more conscious of how my day unfolds. Before I began this journey, my days were pretty set and predictable. Now my day usually begins without an alarm clock and an espresso… It’s wonderful and I’m so grateful.

Magic Hour…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Complex’ – Blender, Iris

 

JC – When is your favorite part of the day for taking photographs, do you hanker for the magic hour or shoot whenever the opportunity arises?

SMJ – I’m not much of a morning person now that I don’t have to be! This is also subject to change, and I can see myself doing this in the near future. I will be going to some incredible places in the world and I will probably only have one chance to capture early morning light in most locations. I don’t want to ruin my chances for that. As I move from place to place I plan to take into consideration all times of day when it comes to shooting. For instance, I don’t want to leave Peru thinking I wish I had gotten up earlier to capture the sunrise at Machu Pitcchu! I suppose in some cases I will still be awake at sunrise… I sure hope so!

Photographer vs iPhone Photographer

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Ancient Secret’ – Noir, Crop Suey, LensFlare

 

JC – How did the transition from traditional photographer to iPhone photographer develop? (pardon the pun).

SMJ – I have never been a "real" photographer! I say this because it’s true. There are millions of people who have studied the art and science behind what it takes to be a great photographer. I haven’t done the real work. Now that I’ve become so inspired and in love with iPhoneography I have sort of worked backwards. Now I try to study the technical side of photography. I say "try" because for me the more I study something, the less interested I can become. It’s odd, but it’s true. When I began reading as much as I could, (mostly technical manuals) on the subject I became super overwhelmed and insecure in my abilities so I stopped. For now I’ll just stick to shooting and editing and putting it out there… That is what I really love to do. I may get back to the technical side later.

New Apps…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Elvis in the Window’ – King Camera, ColorSplash, Iris

 

JC – Do you like to download new iPhone photography apps regularly?

SMJ – I know I’m not alone when I say I’m an app addict. I call myself an "appdict"! I’ve slowed down lately downloading every single one I read about. I have a total of 96 between my iPhone and iPad. I love to see images with the apps used listed. If I don’t have one on the list and it’s an image that has blown me away I will look into it.. and yes, probably get it!

Updates…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘One’ – King Camera

 

JC – How often do you update your existing apps?

SMJ – I update them as soon as it becomes available. I usually read what’s new, and it’s almost always an improvement, so why not?

Location, Location, Location…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Baby Heads’ – Noir, Crop Suey

 

JC – Where’s your favorite place in the world for a shoot?

SMJ – I doubt I’ve been there as an iPhoneographer yet… I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life, but I was never one to take pictures anywhere- or if I did, I just shot the normal "Here I am at Graceland" shots. Boring! I had no eye for what goes into an interesting image until I discovered this medium, and I’m still learning. To answer the question in the form of a "now question", I’d say so far it’s been small Texas towns in the middle of nowhere! I know that’s not a very sexy answer, but I was blown away by my recent road trip to New York cutting through Texas off of the interstates. WOW what character!! Of course shooting New York is fun, but in a way it’s also kind of an obvious choice. I could spend the rest of my life in that city alone and never run out of amazing shots.

Tools Of The Trade

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Satisfied – Blender, MonoPhix HD, Iris’ – Noir, Crop Suey

 

JC – Do you also use iPhone photography tool apps, such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris?

SMJ – No, that seems like a lot of plotting and planning and that’s just not my personal style. (Before answering this question I had to use google to find out what a photographer’s ephemeris is! I have never even heard of it… see? Not a real photographer!). It seems like an amazing tool, and it’s possible I wouldn’t dismiss it in the future as a great way to predict lighting.

Favorite Apps…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Capital’ – Hipstamatic, Pixlromatic, Blender

 

JC – What are your favorite, at the moment, iPhone photography apps?

SMJ – Oh boy… this is a hard one. I use so many for different reasons, but I do have some go-to apps that I seem to consistently use. My favorite cameras to use are ProCamera, ProHDR, and Vint B&W. The editing apps I use the most are Camera+, (so many reasons to love this one- filters are superb!), Iris, (I almost never complete an image without using this for at least part of the process), King Camera, (has one of my favorite grunge effects), Snapseed, (has too many amazing powers to mention, but I love the "drama" filter), and PhotoForge2, (which has some editing qualities I can’t duplicate in any other application) and Blender, (I LOVE to blend images, even if I’m just taking 2 versions of the exact same image and stacking them). I’ve recently been playing with ArtRage, which isn’t technically (?) a photo app, but you can use your photos behind a drawing you have created and turn your images into something truly spectacular. I’ve only felt confident enough in one of my creations to show it to the public. It takes more creativity than I sometimes have to work with that one! A few of the apps I have are pretty advanced- (Hello Filterstorm!) and I just need to take the time to get to know them better.

Sharing…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Dive’ – Blender, Iris, Snapseed, KingCamera

 

JC – Where do you like to upload your photographs? Flickr, Instagram?

SMJ – As soon as I finish an image and feel it’s worthy of public viewing, I immediately upload it to iphoneart.com, Flicker, Instagram, and more recently EyeEm. I put almost everything on Flicker- edited or not, but only what I feel is my best work goes on the other sites. Of course I also put most of my work on Facebook as well!

Favorite Subjects…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Version Mary’ – Vint B&W, Snapseed, Iris

 

JC – What are your favorite subjects?

SMJ – People, candid street shots, stunning architecture, and "accidental art"- like finding a roomful of bare mannequins all stacked on top of each other- (of which I’ve found!). Remember I’m still just an average photographer. I feel like I’m much better at editing average shots and making them interesting and artistic.. I’m constantly working to improve my skills as a photographer first, and then a good editor. It all starts with a great image that can stand on its own. My biggest weakness would have to be in the "Candid street" department. It’s probably my favorite subject, and I’m working hard to improve in this area. There is this debate I’ve seen go on when it comes to taking street shots- "Do you ask?" or do you just play "Ninja"? ("Ninja" is my favorite way of describing sneaking shots). I prefer the Ninja method, but it seems like I get busted every single time, then I totally chicken out! I’ve been lucky a couple of times lately, so that helps me with my confidence.

Frequency…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Shades’ – Blender, Snapseed, Segmentix

 

JC – Do you take photographs with your iPhone every day?

SMJ – Yes!! My biggest regret is not buying the 64GB iPhone model! I had no idea my life would take this direction when I purchased the phone, and I have run out of room in the past seeing the big "OUT OF MEMORY" warning on my screen. I have deleted almost my entire iTunes library to open up space and a few photo apps that I share with my iPad. My iPhone has become part of my hand most of the time. I like to be ready at any moment.

Top Five Tips…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Junk Butler’ – Snapseed

JC – What are you top five tips for iPhone photography?

SMJ – 1) Shoot now, edit later… don’t even look. Dedicate a time to shooting photos and when you get home it’s like you have a big box of presents to play with! 2) Be fearless and PLAY! I sometimes reach the end of an image edit with no idea how I got there and no way to ever recreate the process- but I love it! (You will remember how you got there the longer you do this, or not- does it matter?). 3) Get to know your apps. I’m guilty of not knowing all of mine, but I know the majority of them really well. Don’t go on an app downloading spree or you will overwhelm yourself. Start with a few really good ones and move on from there. 4) Experimentation is the key to finding your personal style. Run your images through multiple apps and then run them again! If your goal is to simply enhance a great shot don’t over-app. Let it stand alone with one or two tweaks. If your goal is to completely distort, go to town with the apps- it’s so much fun!5) Watch as many iPhoneography videos as you can, look for websites that have step by step procedures and copy all of them! You will find it impossible to duplicate them exactly, but you will come close and this is a great way to expand your skills– theappwhisperer.com is a perfect example of this! Scour Flicker and iPhone dedicated photo websites that showcase other artists. You will be amazed by the artistic talent you find and the capabilities of your iPhone. I always look for inspiration on those sites if I can’t seem to find it within.

Editing…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Serenity’ – Snapseed

 

JC – Do you edit images on your iPhone or do you prefer to do that on a desktop/laptop?

SMJ – I do almost all of my editing on my iPad. I need the bigger screen! This isn’t absolutely necessary though- I did it all on my phone for months! I always check the look on my computer before I share an image though. I never edit on the computer if I’m labeling an image as iPhoneography. I’m a total purist. Can I call myself a purist if I bring my iPad into the conversation? I think so! I also use a stylus so my hand can get out of the way, I feel I have greater control with it- I am a better detailer with the pen.

Videography…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Mannequin Love’ – Noir, TiltShiftGen

 

JC – Do you enjoy videography with your iPhone?

SMJ – No, videos take up too much memory! I have shot a few short videos of my dog, but other than that- I’m no videographer.

The Future Of iPhone Photography…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Painted’ – ArtRage, Blender, KingCamera, Snapseed, Iris

 

JC – Where do you see the future of iPhone photography?

SMJ – It’s not going away, that’s for sure! There are veteran photographers, such as Jack Hollingsworth, (http://jackhollingsworth.com) promoting iPhoneography and he’s admitted to favoring it over using his DSLR lately. I believe that says a lot and gives further credibility to the craft. People still look at me funny when I say the word iPhoneography, but I’ll explain it to anyone willing to listen! The future looks great- there are new gadgets popping up everyday to support us and help make it even more fun and creative.

Popularity…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Frieda’ – Blender, Iris, BlurFX, Snapseed

 

JC – What do you think is the most popular area of iPhone photography?

SMJ – That’s really hard to say. It depends on what you are looking for. I see a lot of different styles, but feel like it’s a good balance of many. I don’t see one overshadowing another.

Where In The World…?

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Big Texas Smile’ – Snapseed

 

JC – Do you think it’s country specific, are some nations more clued up?

SMJ – There are people who might fight me on this, but I think it’s more popular in countries outside of the States. It’s catching on in the US like wildfire, but I believe it became popular elsewhere else first. I’m basing this opinion on the amount of iPhoneography dedicated shows I’ve seen being promoted in other countries over the last year. When I went to 2 different Apple stores to purchase my MacBook, I had to explain iPhoneography to several employees who had never heard of it. I was pretty stunned. I thought of all places, an Apple store would have people in the know.

iPhone 5…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Hungry Bird’ – Snapseed

 

JC – What do you hope for in the iPhone 5?

SMJ – That I can buy one!!! It will probably come out while I’m still traveling, but I don’t know if I will be eligible because of contracts. I could always buy an unlocked one with no contract, but they are around $900!! I suppose I can wait if I have to. I’m currently using an iPhone 4 because I couldn’t sign another contract to get the 4s before I left for my trip. The 4s has a FAR superior camera. Funny story– I wrote a hand written 5 page letter to Apple begging them to give me an unlocked iPhone 4s for my trip… alas, no reply, but no harm in asking, right? I’m also traveling with my first iPhone- the 3s, so I can use it as a backup for more pictures if I have to- it has a lesser quality camera, but it’s good for grainy shots. I’m sure the iPhone 5 will be spectacular.

TheAppWhisperer.com…

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘Charles Bridge’ – Snapseed

 

JC – What do you think of Joanne and theappwhisperer.com?

SMJ – Joanne and her website are invaluable to the iphoneography world! Anyone interested in this medium can learn so much right here, and her dedication is inspiring! I’m so happy to have discovered her and would love to meet one day!

JC – Thank you so much Shea, we’d love to meet you too and hope that won’t be in the too distant future.

Complete Links To All The Apps Used And Mentioned In This Article

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Copyright Image, Shea McJagger – ‘San Miguel’ – ColorSplash, Snapseed, Pixlromatic

Apps Used

Image Blender
Snapseed
King Camera
Iris Photo Suite
Noir
Crop Suey
LensFlare
ColorSplash
MonoPhix HD
Hipstamatic
Pixlromatic
Vint B&W
Segmentix
TiltShiftGen
BlurFX

 

Shea’s Favorite Apps – as well as the above, also include:

ProCamera
ProHDR
Camera+
PhotoForge2
ArtRage
Filterstorm

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About Joanne Carter

Joanne Carter is the Founder and Editorial Director of TheAppWhisperer.com. A Professional Photographer and Associate of the British Industry of Professional Photographers, BIPP, as well as a Professional Journalist, specializing in Photography. Joanne is also a Columnist for Vogue Magazine and is Contributing Editor to LensCulture.