Richele Kuhlmann is a digital designer, photographer and travel blogger based in Seattle, USA. She began shooting with traditional SLR cameras but found a new passion in mobile photography which blends perfectly with her love of travel. Her photos have been featured by Mextures, the travel app, Trover and among many others. She recently started a line of handcrafted jewelry that features her original photography. You can visit her Instagram profile: @intrepidor_ig
When and how did you start shooting with your smartphone?
I have been shooting for ten years. My first camera was a Nikon D50 and I continued to shoot with SLR’s until around 2014 when I started to shoot more with my iPhone while traveling. Because iPhone cameras advanced so quickly in quality, and because I like to travel light, I was curious to see if I could capture my experiences with something as weightless and compact as my phone and still feel satisfied by the results. This past June, 2016, I took the step of leaving my traditional SLR at home altogether and traveled for 5 weeks in Spain with only my smartphone. I found the lightweight freedom of shooting with just my phone really enjoyable and I was very happy with how my photos turned out.
A pair of surfers I spotted through the slats of a beach bar on Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona, Spain.
What smartphone do you use?
I started to shoot with an iPhone 4 and currently shoot with an iPhone 6S. The 6S shoots surprisingly well in low light, does a nice job capturing motion, offers an impressive depth of field and takes great macro shots. I’m already eyeing the iPhone 7 for future photo adventures, however. 🙂
What are the apps that you use for postproduction?
I really only use two editing apps: Mextures and VSCO. Both are incredible in terms of what they can do, especially if you have a specific vision for your photo. I started using Mextures in 2014 and still feel it is the top app in its genre. It has a beautiful, intuitive interface and provides endless options for experimenting with light, color, texture and patina, etc. VSCO is excellent for minimalist photos, flats and product photography.
What does inspire you?
My top inspirations are travel and nature. I travel frequently and, for me, photography has become another way to absorb and appreciate the new things I encounter—almost like an extension of my senses. I also always enjoy capturing people. And food!
The Oregon coast (USA) at dusk. I used Mextures to intensify the colors and contrasts, apply a small bit of a fade and a subtle vignette.
A misty forest road on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula (USA). I used Mextures to create layers and intensify color gradients.
What is the “Perfect photo” for you?
Generally speaking, a “perfect photo” would be inventive or surprising in its composition, incorporate balance, space, harmony between light and shadow and an expressive, narrative quality. I love photos that tell a story.
A seagull over the harbor in Tokeland, Washington (USA). I used Mextures in post-production to give the bird more detail and add some light play.
The arroyo (desert) outside Cabo Pulmo, a village on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. I used Mextures in post production to draw out the layers of the mountains and intensify the clouds.
In your photo there is always a “dreamy atmosphere”, would you agree with that?
I like that description. I also think of them as a bit “ephemeral”, as if they have a fleeting, transitory quality, like a passing emotion. I often have a loose vision for my photos as I am shooting. In the editing process, I love the challenge of making a photo match that vision in my mind’s eye—bringing that “dreamy” quality to life through traditional tweaks and filter work. For me, the process is as much about conjuring a feeling as it is about producing an image.
My niece at the edge of Lake Michigan (USA). I used Mextures to apply an aged patina and textured vignette for a more romantic quality.
An epic cloud above the rugged terrain of Wyoming (USA). I used Mextures in post-production.
A sun burst in the forest near Mount Rainier in Washington (USA). I used Mextures to highlight the glow of the rays and enhance the outlines of the trees.
Would you say that photography is a big part of your life?
Photography is one of my greatest joys. I find it fulfilling on all fronts; a way to challenge my eye, exercise my intuition and enrich my own inner life. I shoot almost daily for design projects and constantly as I travel. I enjoy sharing my photography on my travel blog and via social media and recently began making handcrafted jewelry featuring my photos. I’d definitely like to participate in more photography competitions in the future.
A photo of the dense, mysterious trees along a forest trail on Cumberland Island—a protected isle off the coast of Georgia (USA). I used both Mextures and VSCO in post-production.
Dusk shot of a shipyard in Seattle, Washington (USA). I used Mextures to enhance the glow of the lamp light.
Thanks Rachele and keep creating!