Ellie Pritts (@elliepritts) is a photographer whose feed is equally funky and diverse. As a freelance photographer, she is able to capture heaps of interesting angles and subjects in some pretty interesting locations all around the country. She can often be found using an incredible palette of colors on her pictures to add both flair and fun to her edits. We were able to catch her in-between gigs and chat about her journey in to photography and about the many ways she uses Mextures to enhance her edits. Read along for more! My name is Ellie Pritts. I’m a photographer. I'm 26. I'm not a girl, not yet a woman. I'm from Chicago - born and raised. I grew up in the Humboldt Park area. I currently live in Austin, Texas. I moved here almost exactly a year ago!
I took a design job at Apple here in Austin pretty much as soon as I moved. I just finished a one-year contract with them so I’m excited to get back to freelancing full-time.
I love editing photographs. I enjoy editing even more than I enjoy shooting, which some people think is nuts. When I'm bored with my photos (a regular occurrence) I ask to edit other people's photos just for fun. Fun! When I'm not editing or thinking about editing, I'm usually working on personal projects which involve programming things. I'm not a professional developer but I've been tinkering for the past few years. Last year I made a web-based music puzzle game called Synaesthetic. This year I made an iOS screenshot tool to use at work. I have this crazy idea about launching another app this year as well!
How did you first get in to shooting and editing?
I took a summer class in traditional black and white photography when I was 14 and that's when the love affair started. I spent every day in the darkroom. I enjoyed shooting, but the darkroom was my second home. I took as many classes as I could after that, eventually moving on to color-processing which is a lot more intense.
What got you in to Instagram?
I downloaded the app when it first got big and initially hated it. Specifically, I was not a fan of the square thing. But eventually I came around and looked at it as more of a challenge - to create things specifically for Instagram's format. Once I saw it that way I really ran with it. I used Instagram as a creative outlet to experiment with and that's where I am now!
Your photography is incredibly diverse. What is it that inspires you to create what you create?
Honestly I don't often feel "inspired", at least not in any traditional sense. I'd describe it much more as a compulsion than anything else. I don't feel like I have a lot of control over it. It feels like an idea just appears in my head all at once, already formed, and I *must* make it exist in reality. That's probably why my photography is particularly diverse. I hardly ever sit down and think, "I'm going to do a series inspired by _____.” It just happens!
What does your editing process generally look like?
It varies depending on if I'm editing things for work on a desktop or for fun on my iPad. So I'll tell you about both ways!
If it's something I'm being paid to do, I start by scoping out my shots in Adobe Bridge. I take the photos I'm most excited about and start there - RAW processing first and then processing the photo in Photoshop or Lightroom.
Usually I put photos I really like in a Dropbox folder that I can access from my devices. Then, whenever I feel like it, I'll take a photo from there and edit it on my iPad or phone. Most of the time I start with Mextures, then maybe VSCO, Fragment, Matter, etc. Whatever gets me the look I'm going for! It's almost always a combination of apps, though.
The very last gig I had (shooting Further Future) I tried something entirely different. I edited every photo on my iPad from start to finish. I was shooting RAW so I had to change file formats and do some minor lens correcting on desktop, but all of the edits were done with Mextures and a few other apps. I did this as an experiment and I really loved it!
What has it been like using Mextures on iPad?
Using Mextures on my iPad has been a-m-a-z-i-n-g. A total game changer for me. The larger format is perfect for what I do. I really feel like that I could start using an iPad to edit much more often, even for my professional work. Apps like Mextures allow me to be creative and experiment in a much easier and more intuitive way than any software I've used - and I've been using Photoshop for editing since I was in high school!
What is your favorite way to use Mextures?
My favorite way to use Mextures on my photos is by modifying formulas. I try a few formulas and when I find one that I like the general feel of I use that as a starting point. Then I add, modify or take away different layers until it's just right.
What features do you find yourself utilizing most often?
I'm a big fan of light leaks so I use Light Leaks 3 and the new Anomaly pack pretty frequently. I love the colors I can pull out when I use Vintage Gradients, Landscape Enhance and Radiance. Those are basically my go-to packs when editing with Mextures!
Do you feel like Mextures offers anything unique to your editing process?
While I use a variety of apps to edit my photos, Mextures is different because it's more addictive and creative than most. It's not just a series of filters and it is endlessly customizable. I don't know of another app on the market right now that is quite like that.
Do you have any formulas you’d be willing to share with the Mextures community?
Crestview - KCMLKFW - Grungy, edgy and somewhat muted. I use this for urban exploring, abandoned buildings, etc.
Staycation - NDCYZES - Sunny and Polaroid inspired. It makes me think of summer.
loiter - SVFNIYJ - Good for street art and graffiti. It’s really colorful and highly stylized.
Mars - LRUWBCR - I used this for a lot of my desert photos in Nevada. It’s made to enhance the blue skies and red earth.
Is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish with your Instagram work?
In general I strive to constantly experiment and push my own creative boundaries when using Instagram. As long as I'm doing that I feel like I've accomplished what I set out to do!
You’ve photographed quite a few music festivals. How did you get in to that?
I got into shooting music festivals after attending Pitchfork Music Festival in 2009. I loved the atmosphere at that particular fest and decided I just had to work for them. I started the next year, shooting it for Time Out Chicago, and then reached out to a bunch of other festivals I wanted to work for. I was aiming to build up a solid portfolio to woo Pitchfork into hiring me as a staff photographer for their festival. My plan worked and I've been freelancing for them for the past two years!
What are five bands that you would recommend to the Mextures crowd?
Five Mextures band recommendations:
Who are some of the people that have inspired your Instagram work?
See more of Ellie’s phenomenal work here!