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What Apps Are We Using This Month? with Rosie Karel

Welcome to TheAppWhisperer’s new section, “What apps are we using this month” series, where we discover which apps you are particularly enjoying. Kicking us off today is non-other than Award Winning Mobile Artist Rosie Karel.

First, I would like to thank Joanne Carter and TheAppWhisperer for this opportunity. My name is Rosie Karel @rosiekimages and I will be turning 70 next year. I am originally from Chicago but have lived for the last 37 years in North County San Diego in the beach towns of Cardiff by the Sea and Encinitas, where I receive much of my inspiration. I have a daughter and now a seven-month-old grandson who brings me endless joy.

I spent most of my life in the accounting field working with my then-husband in our printing and graphic design business. I have always been creative, although photography was not my main creative expression of choice before getting my first iPhone.

I shoot mainly in the native cam of my 14 Pro Max and edit mostly on my iPhone but sometimes on my iPad Pro. I will use Camera+ for macros shots and have been experimenting with Slow Shutter Cam recently.

For many years I took portrait and figure drawing classes using chalk pastels as my preferred medium. I think that is one reason why I always feel the need to have a human element in my images. As I became more interested in photography, I wanted to reflect this layering of colour and texture in my photography so I enrolled in several online mobile photography courses which exposed me to the different genres, techniques and ever-expanding apps available.

I am somewhat of an app junkie. I have dozens, but there are some favourites that I use on the majority of my images. One app that I use in almost all of my images is SnapSeed. Besides overall tuning, I use the Selective & Brush Tuning features quite often to enhance a particular part of the image. I sometimes use the Glamour Glow & Perspective features. I also love how you can view and edit your workflow.

My main go-to filter app is Hipstamatic. Since my goal is to evoke a sense of mood and mystery in my images, to go beyond the capture, I always add a filter of some kind and Hipstamatic offers an endless combination of lens, film and flash combos that you can fine-tune and many other adjustment features to personalize the effects.

iColorama is an amazingly powerful app that I will use for blending images, toning, adding textures, painterly effects and element overlays.

Distressed FX is also one of the main apps I use for textures and adding sky, bird and tree elements.

I have recently discovered the Humans App which I will use to add that human element or sky element when the real thing is not available.

Other apps I will use from time to time are Lens Distortions for adding fog & light elements, Carbon for B&W conversion and Reflect for adding a water/reflection feature.


‘One with the Rain and Sea’ ©Rosie Karel – In the middle of a very cold & gloomy winter this year, I shot this image basically for the interesting framing. I knew I could add more elements with a variety of apps. I started out adding the woman with the umbrella first in the Humans app. Next into Hipstamatic add a filter combo to warm up and help blend the human with the overall tone of the image. Then I went back into Humans and added the sun and bird features. Next, I created the rain in iColorama and also applied some additional colour toning/balancing and a paper texture.


‘Happy Dances’ ©Rosie Karel – I caught this group taking a playful selfie and I felt it needed a playful edit. This image was edited completely with Hipstamatic except for some cropping in Snapseed. The lens, film & flash combo in Hipstamatic added the colours, painterly effect and dot texture. After cropping, I went back into Hipstamatic to add the overall border.


‘Early Morning Calm at Station 10’ ©Rosie Karel – Being an overcast morning, this shot was flat and needed an edit that would bring texture and depth to the image. I started using Hipstamatic to convert to B&W, apply a distressed, aged look and add a border to the image. Then I took it into Distressed FX to apply more texture & a filter containing the cloud formation and also add some colour tone back to the image. Next into Snapseed where I overall tuned and used the selective tuning feature in certain areas to lighten and bring back some detail.

The main advice I would give when using any of these apps is to experiment and play with all the different features and adjustment sliders to fine-tune the filters and overlays until you have the right level applied. I am constantly being pleasantly surprised. The main advice I would give when using any of these apps is to experiment and play with all the different features and adjustment sliders to fine-tune the filters and overlays until you have the right level applied. I am constantly being pleasantly surprised.

To read our other interviews in this series, please go here.

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Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— 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 - 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]