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Mobile Photography Interview – A Day in the Life of Jill Lian from New York, United States

Welcome to our very exciting interview column on theappwhisperer.com. This section entitled “A Day in the Life of…” is where we take a look at some hugely influential, interesting, newcomers as well as accomplished individuals in the mobile photography and art world… people that we think you will love to learn more about. This is our 133rd interview of the series. If you have missed our previous interviews, please go here.

Today we are featuring such a highly accomplished mobile macro artist and photographer, one whose work I really admire, Jill Lian from New York, US. You will love this!

If you would like to take part in our A Day in the Life interview series, please send an email to myself at [email protected] and I will get back to you.

Jill Lian

Contact Details:

Trueview Interview



Photo ©Jill Lian


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

My day starts with an old fashioned ritual. I go outside to get the newspaper. I start a pot of coffee, feed the dog and check my email for any new orders for my clay business.

Photo ©Jill Lian

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

Most definitely! That is my favorite time to take photos.  In the spring and summer there are gorgeous dew drops on everything. In the winter there’s either frost or snowflakes just waiting for me to capture.

Photo ©Jill Lian


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

It was a very easy one for me. I love the simplicity and the accessibility of always having my iPhone in my pocket. I also find that I can achieve better macro photos using my iPhone with all olloclip attachment, than I could with my Canon. I am usually trying to find the best angle for a photo and that requires me to be very close to a subject.

Photo ©Jill Lian

Do you like to download new mobile photography and/or art apps regularly?

When I first started, I downloaded many photo apps. I have become more selective in the ones that I use.

Photo ©Jill Lian

What is your preferred platform, Apple iOS, Android, Windows?

Apple iOS, without a doubt. I am most recently using an iPhone 7 plus. The camera is amazing.

Photo ©Jill Lian

Would you consider changing platforms and why?

I would not. I find iOS to be incredibly user-friendly.  

Photo ©Jill Lian

How often do you update your existing apps?

I generally update them as soon as an update is available. I think it’s important to keep the newest version on my phone.

Photo ©Jill Lian

What are your favorite photography/videography apps and why, what features do you look for in a new app?

Hipstamatic –my all time favorite. I love the variety and look of all the films and lenses. The Hipstamatic community is very supportive.

Mextures-I’m impressed with how it softens the look of my photos.

Snapseed -The interface is very friendly. I mostly use it for cropping and adding light where needed.

Painteresque -for the portrait mode.

Photo ©Jill Lian

Where is your favorite place in the world for a shoot and why?

I think I would have to say my favorite place to shoot photos is anywhere where it’s quiet and a bit desolate. I live in a beautiful part of the country, with ever changing seasons. I get lost in the discovery of new tiny things in nature.

Photo ©Jill Lian

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

I use Flickr, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

I’m relatively new on Twitter and Instagram. I have found that if you want to be found or ‘discovered’, you have to put yourself out there.

I generally upload to Facebook for friends.

Photo ©Jill Lian

Do you use your mobile phone every day to take images?

Yes I do! I usually take quite a few photos every day.

Photo ©Jill Lian

Do you like to use external hardware products with your mobile device for image and video capturing, such as lenses, tripods, external storage and battery packs?

I do use an olloclip macro lens attachment every day.

I use a battery pack in the winter if I’m outside for more than a couple of hours because the battery drains much quicker when the temperatures are below zero.

Photo ©Jill Lian

Do you edit images on your mobile devices or do you prefer to use a desktop or laptop computer?

Always on my iPhone.

Photo ©Jill Lian

Where do you envision your mobile photography passion will take you? Have you been involved with exhibitions etc?

That is a great question! I am enjoying the ride so far and I know there are more exciting opportunities waiting for me.

When I first started taking photos with my iPhone I was drawn to capturing snowflakes. A friend of mine let me borrow a book on snowflakes by Kenneth Libbrecht. Fast forward a few years and I was approached by him (on Flickr) to use one of my photos in his newest book, The Snowflake-Winter’s Frozen Artistry.

I was also part of Apple’s Shot on iPhone -Colors Campaign for the iPhone 6s. My snowflake photo with a blue background reached 26 countries!

Apple also used one of my flower photos in their shot on iPhone 6s Flowers Festival campaign, for the Medellin flower festival in Columbia.

I have been featured in TheAppWhisperer showcases, Hipstography and Mobiography.

Photo ©Jill Lian

Where do you see the future of mobile photography?

When I first started taking photos on my iPhone 4, people would say “oh that’s just an iPhone photo”. Now when I show people photos that I have taken on my iPhone 7 Plus, they say “oh wow! You took that  with an iPhone?!”

I believe mobile photography is much more accepted and even in the forefront now.

Photo ©Jill Lian

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

What I see the most of, is street photography. There’s an explosion of that on the Internet right now. Personally, I prefer macro photography. I search that out and find great pleasure in seeing other people’s vision.

Photo ©Jill Lian

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

I don’t see that it is country specific. I have a lot of photography friends all over the world, that post some incredibly beautiful photos.

Photo ©Jill Lian

If you could select a specification for a smartphone, what features would you select, photographically speaking?

I am intrigued by the 7+ camera and the possibility of getting even closer to my subject. The 2x zoom works great. I am also a fan of huge storage numbers. I tend to keep thousands and thousands of photos on my phone. I do keep them backed up on an external hard drive.

Photo ©Jill Lian

What do you think of Joanne and TheAppWhisperer.com?

I think of Joanne as the glue that holds together the whole mobile photography world! She gives me such encouragement and makes me believe that my photos are worth putting out there.

Photo ©Jill Lian

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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]