A Day In The Life Of ...

A Day In The Life Of Donna Donato – A Massively Talented ‘Nomadic’ Mobile Photographer


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

This is the twenty seventh installment of the series; you can read the others here, if you have missed any so far. Today we are featuring the wonderful Donna Donato. Donna sees herself as an image-maker because she was born a storyteller. Donna is an historian by training and a film/video editor by vocation. She seems to have an almost innate need to document the world around her either through photography, writing or oral recounting.

Although Donna has lived in a number of places, including Colorado, California, Oklahoma, Washington, DC, Paris, France and New York City, sometimes for long periods, she considers herself a nomad. Recently she and her partner sold everything and in February of 2012 moved to Paris. Donna previously spent one year in Paris, back in the 80’s. She has returned this time to help her partner fulfil her lifelong dream to live in France for at least one year and they look set to achieve that ambition. Read more about Donna and her exciting life below.

We have included the app or apps that were used to create the final image, and 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…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘2 doll babies’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Shornbecker Lens, Cano Cafenol Film, No Flash


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

DD – I’m kind of a late raiser. Usually get up around 8 or 8:30 am because I normally go to bed close to 1 or 2 in the morning. Promptly upon waking I write a page in my moleskin agenda after which I open either the living room or kitchen shutters. Generally take the day’s first photo then. Have breakfast with my partner and the day begins.

Magic Hour…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘2 flowers’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, NO Flash


JC – Do you like to head out and take photographs early on?

DD – No, I don’t head out early though I’ve been threatening to get up at 6 am or so and watch Paris wake-up. Have yet to make good on this threat.

Photographer vs Mobile Photographer…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘bed of roses’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Melodie Lens, Cano Cafenol Film, No Flash


JC – How did the transition from traditional photographer to mobile photographer develop?

DD – I hesitate to call myself a photographer and certainly was never trained traditionally. Though I’ve been taking pictures for a long time have always been a little lazy about getting proper photographic training. However, my partner of 14 years is a commercial photographer so I’ve learned a great deal from watching and sometimes assisting her.

In 2000 I bought a polaroid joycam and that’s when I began traveling with a camera at all times. I have thousands of joycam images. When Polaroid stopped making film I made the leap to digital photography by buying a Polaroid digital camera. In 2009 I was given an iPhone 3G and my world has never been the same.

New Apps…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘courson rose’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Helga Viking, Ina’s 1935


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

DD – I download on a fairly regular basis, usually after a recommendation from sites such as the app whisperer, Life in LoFi or recommendations from various iPhone photographer friends. Though I download pretty often I find if I don’t really like the app very much or only use it once or twice, it gets booted from my iPhone; space is precious.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘doll & ribbon’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic (Buckhorst H1 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, Jolly Rainbo 2X Flash), Snap Seed


JC – How often do you update your existing apps?

DD – Suspect I don’t upgrade as often as I should. If I read too many negative comments regarding a particular upgrade I will wait until the bugs have been worked out. I try to check all the available current upgrades but if nothing much is new I usually won’t upgrade.

Location, Location, Location…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘doll head’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic (Libatique 73 Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film, No Flash), Snap Seed


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

DD – I can find something to shoot wherever I am. Sometimes I have to forbid myself to pull out my camera, umm, iPhone. Right now I’m living in Paris and this is absolutely my favorite spot on earth so I’m taking pictures in my favorite place.

Tools Of The Trade…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘eastern sky_1’ – Apps used – 6×6


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

DD – Have to laugh, just googled Photographers Ephemeris… seems like a nifty app, but no I don’t use it.


Favorite Apps…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘eastern sky_2’ – Apps used – iPhone 3GS


JC – What are your favorite mobile photography apps currently?

DD – My current app favs are Hipstamatic, 6×6 (camera app) and Snapseed. After that, in no particular order I like AutoStitch, Tiny Planets, Pixlromatic, Iris, ScratchCam, Kaleidoscope, PhotoToaster, Blender, PhotoForge2, PicGrunger and Diptic. Realized as I checked the apps on my iPhone to see which were the favs de jour, have them organized in categories, that I have 50 photography apps. Think too often I get in a rut and use the same ones over and over, need to branch out.




Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘flea market toy’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Buckhorst H1 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, Jolly Rainbo 2X Flash


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

DD – I upload photos to my iPhone Art donnadonato account plus I have three personal blogs that I maintain on a daily basis. Also I belong to quite a few Facebook photography groups so I’m constantly posting images on Facebook.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘fleurs de monceau’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, No Flash


JC – Do you take photographs with your iPhone everyday?

DD – Yes, I take photos everyday and if I don’t take photos on a particular day it’s because I have designated it ‘a day without snapping’ Sometimes I need to just see without trying to capture.


Favorite Subjects…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘kitchen view_1’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Buckhorst H1lens, DC film, Pop Rox Flash


JC – What are your favorite subjects?

DD – My favorite subjects at the moment are the skies outside our apartment, flea market dolls and flowers.Our sixth floor apartment has a fairly unobstructed view from both a terrace and a balcony so find myself documenting the passing clouds. On the weekends I frequently visit flea markets and photograph many old dolls displayed for sale. Flower shops are plentiful in Paris and the flowers often line the streets; it is hard to pass their beauty without trying to capture it.


Top Five Tips…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘kitchen view_2’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Buckhorst H1 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, Jolly Rainbo 2X Flash


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

DD – Don’t really have any tips to offer except keep shooting and doing what feels authentic to you.




Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘kitchen view_3’ – Apps used – 6×6


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

DD – I edit all my images on my iPhone then upload to my laptop to see how the image looks enlarged.




Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘kitchen view_4’ – Apps used – 6×6, AutoStitch


JC – Do you enjoy videography with your iPhone?

DD – Though I have a couple of super 8 apps and the native video apps, I find I am not really using my iPhone to shoot video.


The Future Of Mobile Photography…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘light panels’ – Apps used – 6X6, Blender, Infinicam, PhotoForge2


JC – Where do you see the future of mobile photography heading?

DD – I see mainstream photographers and the public at large finally ‘accepting’ iPhone photography. (Not that we need their acceptance!)

I’ve joined a couple of groups that deal primarily with abstract iPhone photography and though I remain mostly an observer, it’s great to see what people are creating using mobile devices.




Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘Monet’s tulip’ – Apps used – 6X6


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

DD – I think all areas of iPhone photography are popular but it seems street photography really benefits because the camera is not obtrusive. People on the street aren’t as suspicious or paranoid because there’s no huge camera pointed at them.


Where In The World?…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘poppies’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Watts lens, BlacKeys B+W Film, No Flash


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

DD – Based on the FB friends I have, I would say iPhone photography is global!


iPhone 5…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘purples_1’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Adler 9009 Lens, Ina’s 1935 Film, Jolly Rainbo 2X Flash


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

DD – Have to laugh at this question. I’m still using the 3GS and am dreaming of a 32 gig iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 is the blip on my wish list screen.




Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘purples_2’ – Apps used – 6×6


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

DD – I’ve been reading theappwhisper.com for a while now and I ‘heart’ it and Joanne.

JC – Thank you Donna for this great interview we ‘heart’ you too.


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


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘pursed lips’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 Lens, Ina’s 1935 Film, No Flash

Image blender
Iris Photo Suite
Photoforge 2
The Photographer’s Ephemeris
Tiny Planet Photos


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘ranunculus’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Buckhorst H1 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, Jolly Rainbo 2X Flash

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website— TheAppWhisperer.com— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - TheAppWhispererPrintSales.com has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: joanne@theappwhisperer.com