A Day In The Life Of ...,  Interviews,  INTERVIEWS,  News

A Day In The Life of Cecily M. Caceu — A Fabulously Talented Mobile Photographer

Welcome to our very exciting column on theappwhisperer.com. This section entitled “A Day in the Life of…” is where we take 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 our eighty ninth installment of the series. If you have missed our previous interviews, please go here.

Today we are featuring Cecily M. Caceu, who was born in Oakland, California and attended Oakland and Berkeley Public Schools and is also a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate.

Cecily lived in Aix-en-Provence & Toulon for a year of college and has lived in Brooklyn & NYC, she currently resides in Portland, OR.

Cecily has been taking photos from a young age. Her father was a big influence and she remembers his makeshift darkroom in their basement in the 70’s. Cecily has always loved film and still prefer how film looks. She is addicted to her iPhone and she finds the infinite possibilities it presents towards photographs is amazing and at the same time overwhelming.

Cecily also loves polaroid cameras, diana, holga, lensbaby lenses and altering photos with sandpaper & paint.

You can find all the links to the apps used or mentioned 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 [email protected], and we’ll get it set up.)


First Things First


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Beach Run” – Apps: Camera+, Decim8 and Snapseed


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

Cecily – I really like to wake up early, but often it is more around 7:00 a.m. Immediately I make myself a big cup of coffee with milk & sugar. I absolutely love that first sip! After that I fed my pets and then get my middle school aged daughter up and out of the house for school.

After that, I like to quickly check in with one of the photography social networks I post to and check out what images have been posted while I was sleeping!! Being on the West Coast of the U.S. means that most people have started their day quite a bit before I have.

Golden Hour


© Cecily M. Caceu – “The Intruder” – Apps Used: Pro HDR, Snapseed


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

Cecily – In an ideal world I would get up really early and head out to take photographs with my big cup of coffee. Unfortunately that is not my reality right now. I do love to take photos in the morning and early evening.

Photographer vs. Mobile Photographer


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Lost Boot” – Apps Used: Hipstamatic, Snapseed


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

Cecily – I kept using my film cameras until 2009. I absolutely loved film and how the light was interpreted. I switched over to a digital Nikon camera but just never really enjoyed it and started taking less and less photographs.

In 2010 I got an iPhone 3 and since then my Nikon has been severely neglected. I never really loved digital photography but now I am a convert, especially when using an iPhone!!

New Apps


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Window Showing (always on the outside)” – Apps Used: Hipstamatic, Snapseed


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

Cecily – Yes!!! I love to find out what new apps are out there and what new apps are about to be released! My rate of purchasing has completely slowed down from the early days, but it is still one of my favorite things to research. I no longer immediately buy a new app that looks good to me -; now I check out the reviews to see if it is really an app I need. I am quite happy with the state of my camera bag; right now!



© Cecily M. Caceu – “The Tulip Named ‘Mistress'” – Apps Used: Hipstamatic


Joanne – How often do you update your existing apps?

Cecily – I update my apps as the notifications come in. I also regularly delete apps to free up storage space on my iPhone. It is easy to reinstall them if I decide I need to use a certain app that I have relegated to app heaven.

Location, Location, Location


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Sunday” – Apps Used: Slow Shutter, Photocopier Snapseed


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

Cecily – I am a complete Francophile and I am also some-what obsessed with Paris. So I would have to say Paris!! I just find the architecture to be completely stunning! I also love the gardens, the open air markets, flea markets, the art, the food, the wine and the language!

My second favorite place to shoot is the beach!

Tools Of The Trade


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Taupe Time” – Apps Used: Camera+


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

Cecily – I had to Google The Photographer’s Ephemeris and it looks really interesting. I don’t use anything like that right now.

Favorite Apps


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Life As A Teen” – Apps Used: Hipstamatic, Aquarelle, Blender, Repix, Snapseed, Scratch Cam


Joanne – What are your favorite, at the moment, mobile photography apps?

Cecily – I love so many of them but on a regular basis I use:

Hipstamatic, Camera+, Pro 645, Pro HDR, Kit Cam, Slow Shutter and my native camera for the initial capture.

For processing I absolutely love: Snapseed, Blender, PicFx, Photocopier, Decim8, Glaze, Satur8, DistressedFx, Noir, Scratch Cam, Photo Toaster, Filterstorm, Artista Oil, Aquarella, Pixlr, Touch Retouch, Iris, Laminar, Big Lens. I just bought Repix but have not had a lot of time to play with it.



© Cecily M. Caceu – “Wheat Road” – Apps Used: Hipstamatic, Snapseed


Joanne – Where do you upload your photographs to?

Cecily – That has become quite a problem for me recently! I am trying to figure it all out now what with all the new places to post!!

Flickr: I have been a Flickr user since my film days and I really love the people I have met over there.
iphoneart.com: I also love this site because this is the first place I met and learned from such an amazing group of iPhone artists.
IG: I have been posting here for just over a year and have seen the mass exodus. I stay because I love the community here and absolutely love the various weekly challenges such as Hipstaroll, Decim8nday (on hiatus), Sunday Blues Edit and Salvador Sunday. I have learned so much from the artists that post here that I can’t leave despite the on and off again spam problems!!
Eye’Em: I just started posting here and am still trying to figure it all out. It seems like a brilliant group of people and I love not having to post only square images!! Looking forward to getting more familiar with this website.
Backspaces: I love the idea of photographs with stories! Unfortunately I have not created anything yet but hope to in the very near future!!
Facebook: I upload to here once in awhile. I like to keep in touch with friends that I just don’t get to see at all except through FB!



© Cecily M. Caceu – “Infant Jesus” – Apps Used: Hipstamatic


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

Cecily – Yes!! Rarely does a day go by that I have not taken an iPhone photograph! I am always excited to figure out and try the weekly combination posted under the Hipstaroll tag on IG. Each week a different film and lens combo is posted and I have learned a ton from it!!! I would like to thank all the people that work on that tag! It is just amazing!!

Favorite Subjects


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Just Love” – Apps Used: Hipstamatic, Snapseed


Joanne – What are your favorite subjects?

Cecily – Well, besides Paris and the beach, I love to photograph my daughter, old cars and church marquees that have funny/interesting sayings. I am also drawn to cast off furniture and mattresses that people put out on the street. I also love to photograph urban street scenes but don’t get that many chances to do that.



© Cecily M. Caceu – “Faith Book” – Apps Used: Pro HDR, Photo Toaster, Snapseed, Lo-Mob


Joanne – How did the teaching side come along?

Cecily – I am not teaching right now but do enjoy working with people one on one to share and learn more about this fascinating art forum!

Top Five Tips


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Hearts Will Be Broken” – Apps Used: Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Phonto


Joanne -What are your top 5 tips for mobile photography?

Cecily –

1. I think that remembering the basic rules of composition are very important to keep in mind. I try not be ruled by them all of the time and I really like to wing it and see what happens!

2. I am also a huge fan of natural light and try to always use it to my advantage. Know where your light source is! I think some of the most amazing photographs can be taken when you break the rules about not shooting into the sun! The beauty of digital is that you can see instantly what is working and what is not!!

3. Making sure your iPhone is being held steady is extremely important! I try to always use my little miniature tripod by the istabilizer people.

4. Pushing your comfort zone is crucial. I like to widen my horizons and shoot different subject matters. I feel stuck in a rut if I am only shooting certain subject matters all of the time!

5. Keep up with your camera roll by both downloading the images off your iPhone regularly and by regularly deleting images you don’t want.



© Cecily M. Caceu – “Bandon, Oregon” – Apps Used: Camera+, Distressed FX, Snapseed


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

Cecily – When I started uploading my iPhone images to the web I followed the guidelines on iphoneart.com that require edits to be made only on an iPhone/iPad/iPod. I never learned photoshop and don’t own it. Just recently I have been learning to use the photoshop app for the iPad.



© Cecily M. Caceu – “Walking On The Moon” – Apps Used: Camera+, Snapseed


Joanne – Do you enjoy videography with your iPhone?

Cecily – I really have experimented very little in this area and would love to delve deeper into it very soon!!

The Future of Mobile Photography


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Percie” – Apps Used: Camera+, Snapseed


Joanne – Where do you see the future of mobile photography?

Cecily – I am so excited about the future of this medium!! The cameras on the iPhones keep improving, the apps keep improving and the acceptance of iphoneography just keeps growing as well.

I find it an amazing time to be involved with photography right now. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many like-minded souls from all over the world. I always wanted to have been a part of the wonderful Artist Salons Gertrude Stein and others held in the early 1900s in Paris!!! Since that is not possible now (!!) I feel that being involved in the iPhoneography world right now is the next best thing!!

I recently became involved with the New Era Museum, an international group or Iphoneographers, via Eye’Em, and I am very excited about the potential of this group.

Lastly, I am most excited about getting my daughter interested in taking and editing photographs with her iPhone. I really think her generation (she was born in 2000) will have a big impact on iPhoneography. This generation of kids will have grown up using their iPhones for cameras –they won’t have any knowledge of film cameras and only a slight exposure to traditional digital cameras.



© Cecily M. Caceu – “Sun Break” – Apps Used: Camera+, Glaze, Blender, Snapseed


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

Cecily – It seems like street photography is really about half of what I see on the various sites. I adore street photography and would love to have owned an iPhone when I lived in New York City in the 1990s!!! I probably would have been fired from my job!

Where In The World?


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Spring Forward” – Apps Used: Camera+, Distressed FX, Snapseed


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

Cecily – think it is a global phenomenon and have really not noticed a specific country missing from the spectrum!

iPhone 5


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Quiet Is Nice” – Apps Used: Camera+, Glaze, Blender, Snapseed


Joanne – What are your first impressions of the iPhone 5?

Cecily – Well I just graduated up to the iPhone 4s and really love it. I really have not had any exposure to the 5 yet!!

The App Whisperer


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Hwy 126, Oregon” – Apps Used: 645 Pro, Snapseed


Joanne – What do you think of Joanne and the appwhisperer.com?

Cecily – I absolutely love Joanne and find the website to be an invaluable resource for keeping up with the rapidly changing iPhone world!!! I can’t wait to meet Joanne in person some day! I am so glad she is so passionate about this medium and is encouraging so many of us to keep pursuing our passions!

Joanne – Thank you so much Cecily, the feeling is entirely mutual and I can’t wait to meet you too.

Links To All Apps Used Or Mentioned In This Interview


© Cecily M. Caceu – “Bridal Shower” – Apps Used: Hipstamatic, Snapseed


645 Pro
Slow Shutter
Image Blender
ScratchCam FX
Distressed FX

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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: [email protected]


  • JQ Gaines

    I am a HUGE fan of Cecily and her work!!! Thank you so much for sharing this interview… it’s nice to get a more personal glimpse into her work process and thoughts. 🙂

    • Cecily

      Thanks so much JQ!!!!!!!!! I am so glad you enjoyed this!! I had fun pulling it all together!!! I really appreciate your kindness fgoing all the way back to my first days on IPA!!!!! xoxo Cecily!!!!!!

  • Tracy Mitchell Griggs

    A truly lovely gallery. I enjoyed the range of subjects and stylistic differences, from photo to photo. Keep shooting!

  • Gérard B.

    hi Cecily, congratulation/félicitations! what you do, what you say, is so right, Bravo et merci d’aimer, Paris, la France et notre culture. I am moved and impressed! carry on your good creative artist’s work.
    Je t’embrasse affectueusement. G.

    • Cecily

      Merci beaucoup Gérard!!!!!!
      Gros câlins et des bisous à toi et Raphaëlle!!!
      Je t’enverrai un e-mail bientôt!

  • Maryjane Sarvis

    It’s so great to get to know a little bit more about you! I always get a big smile when I see one of your images. From the cars to the landscapes to Paris I’ve always felt you a kindred spirit. I think if I had to say something quickly about your amazing sensibility it would be the absence of angst, just pure joy in every image. Loving life and color comes out in every gorgeous shot and that is so vitally important. Thanks Cecily and Joanne for bringing even more of you to us!

    • Cecily

      Thanks so much Maryjane!!! I really appreciate your comments, support and friendship over the years!!! I too have felt that you are a kindred spirit! I love your Vermont pictures very much! I often feel like packing up my car and heading East so I can finally see Vermont!!!!!! I really hope to meet you in person some day soon!!!! xoxo Cecily

  • Susan Limoncelli

    Gone are the days when iPhone photography was considered the realm of the hobbyist. I think Ms. Caceu’s images are unique and thought provoking. As creative director for a major university, I would definitely consider working with a photographer who composes images on the iPhone – something I would have been reluctant to do just 6 months ago.

    Compliments to Ms. Caceu – amazing collection of work!

    • Cecily

      Thank you Susan! Your support means a lot to me!!! I hope you do start using iphone photography! You could be a pioneer in that arena!!!
      Much appreciated!! Cecily

  • Gilles Dezeustre

    Congratulations on a great article Cecily, from the makers of the app Glaze which you put to great use in your compositions. Did you know that the one half of our two men team (yours truly) is a southern french guy now living in your hometown Oakland, California?

    • Cecily

      Merci beaucoup Gilles!! I did not know that you were in Oakland but I did have a feeling you might be French! You definitely come from a beautiful part of the world and are lucky to be living in a beautiful spot in California!!

      Thank you very much for the compliment on my work! Glaze is definitely one of my top favorite apps out there for editing! I rank it right up there with Snapseed!!! I look forward to more apps from your team!!! Thanks again, Cecily

  • Teri Lou

    I finally took a moment to read this article more thoroughly. I could see you easily talking to Joanne as you sipped your morning coffee. Ok I know you we’re a little nervous about the whole thing, par for the course, you did terrific. It is wonderful to see a great diversity in your images. So proud of you! You’ve came a long way girlfriend, keep appy!

  • Janine Graf

    Oh Cecily, I’m so sorry I missed this when it first came out! You know I’m a huge fan of yours so I really loved reading this . . . [sips coffee]. xoxo