Kristi Montgomery (@orbabgirl) has a thing for beauty. From her detailed and lively macros to her rustic, foggy landscapes, Kristi's talent is easy to recognize and even easier to embrace. Her consistent use of Mextures to extract every ounce of emotion from her photographs is stunning and a testament to her abilities as an artist. We learned a lot about her and her inspirations recently and now we're sharing it with you. Enjoy!
Hi! My name is Kristi Montgomery and I am from a tiny little island on the west coast of BC, Canada. I am married and a mother to a bunch of cats and one very awesome little 6-year-old boy. I went to university with the intention of going on to become a teacher but decided to pursue other endeavors instead after graduating with a BA in English. I found myself briefly in a nursing career before having my son and I now currently work in the local pharmacy on the island.
I love nature and photography. Living on an island surrounded by the ocean, with mountains in the distance and tall majestic trees all around, all I have to do is look outside my window and I am inspired by the beauty I see. I also love to garden, and in #kristisgarden is where the vast majority of my photos are taken.
How did you first become interested in photography?
I can't remember not being interested in photography. Even when I was a kid I always had some kind of camera. What I was shooting with and my subjects have changed a little over the years (thankfully!) but I've been into it for quite a long time. I still remember my first little Canon I got back in high school. I took that with me everywhere I went and took photos of everyone. From there I had quite a few little digital cameras over the years but it wasn't until I got my iPhone and found Instagram that my passion was truly ignited. I joined initially to keep in touch with a friend who had moved over seas but I soon found that there was so much more to Instagram. I was introduced to the JJ forums and interacting with other people from all over the world. It was so cool to find a place where I could connect with other people who were as passionate about photography, nature, and art as I was. It’s truly an amazing app! Now one might say I'm slightly obsessed.
A lot of your photos are pristine macro shots. I’m assuming many are shot in the garden you mentioned previously. What attracted you to shooting from that perspective?
Yes. Many of my macro shots are taken right here around my home. I have always been drawn to those little details but I wasn't able to capture them the way I wanted to until I got my olloclip. That was a photography game changer for me. I just love that little lens! With the olloclip though, you have to get right up close - like millimeters away from your subject. This aspect definitely accounts for a lot of my angles and perspectives with my photos, just trying to find the best focus. That's pretty much what it boils down to - focus and light.
So after you’ve captured your shot, what does your editing process generally look like?
My editing process isn't always the same but it usually starts with some kind of emotion, as I'm generally an 'emotional poster'. I won't post a particular photo for days, weeks, or months until I'm in a certain mood or mind frame for it. But once I've decided on a photo and that I need to edit it, I start with Mextures first. I love how versatile it is and how you can create so many different edits with just one app.
So once I have my photo, I like to try a few formulas that I've already created in Mextures on it first. Seems kind of weird maybe, but this gives me an idea of how the finished product will look and what kind of direction I want to take with it. I like to see how the different layers will look and what I need to do to enhance the focal point of my image. Sometimes I end up reusing my formulas as baselines and then go from there adding new layers or taking away old ones, playing with the adjustments, until I've achieved the right look and mood.
What has been your favorite way to utilize Mextures?
Well I have used and love all aspects of Mextures. That's what makes it such an amazing editing app - so many different ways to create and enhance your images. When I first started using it, I explored the guest formulas quite a bit. Mainly because I was still navigating my way around the app but also because they were just so amazing. It was so inspiring to see all of the formulas other people created. I'm still constantly inspired on a daily basis by all of the formulas I see when scrolling through Instagram. Recently I dabbled around with a guest formula and tweaked it to suit my image. I love how you can pick and choose which layers to keep and which ones to ditch. So cool! But at the end of the day, I would have to say my favorite part of Mextures is the Atmospheric bundle. Oh how I love it and all of those stunning overlays. I use them ALL of the time. I am also quite smitten with the Vintage Gradients, Landscape Enhancements, and Grunge bundles as well.
Speaking of formulas, would you like to share some?
I am all about mood and evoking some kind of emotion when it comes to editing. I find it very cathartic for myself, especially when I'm in one of my 'dark' moods or feeling overly emotional about something. The emotions aren't always bad or unhappy, but rather just in need of being expressed. Mextures is the perfect outlet for that.
I have close to 150 formulas that I've created or re-created in Mextures but here are a few of my favorites. I can tell you what they did for me and how I think they could work for someone else but I have found that every formula works quite differently with each photo.
DAISY - EYEACWR - this formula works well for giving color and providing a little moodiness for what might be considered a bland photo. Works great when used on white.
BNW - YQXHHDC - I created this formula to completely hide and cover up the imperfections of the background and bring the focus to the center of the image.
TEARDROP - WCSXQIT - this formula provided contrast and clarity to the subject and really made their details pop.
CHILDHOOD - QEQFYWC - I needed more colour and vibrancy in my autumn scene and this provided just the look I was after. It brought the focus to the center of the image, creating almost a vignette.
FOGGY FENCE - NKXXTFN - I created this formula to make an otherwise 'boring' foggy shot more dramatic and moody. I love how you can bring different aspects of the image into focus with each layer.
What has been your favorite photograph that you’ve taken and edited so far and what makes it your favorite?
Oh man, that is a tough one. It is really hard to pick just one because there are quite a few that I like. But if I had to pick just one, I think that I would have to go with my PATH shot. It is a photo I took on a foggy day of a path through the trees. I didn't like how dark the path was so I had actually deleted it from my phone. But recently I went through my photos and found some old images that I thought might be perfect for a Mextures facelift. This shot was one of them. Because the path was too dark initially, I wanted to really highlight and emphasize the path. So I created a formula that shifted the light around and enhanced the mood of the photo as well. I am really happy with how this one turned out. (PATH - JILYEFK)
What have you found inspires you to take pictures more than anything else?
I would have to say my biggest inspiration comes from nature. I am constantly inspired by the beauty around me - the ocean, the beautiful colors of fall, tall majestic trees caught in the fog, the intricate details of a dandelion, or droplets suspended from a spiders web - I am in awe and love it all.
I find a lot inspiration from Instagram as well. Every time I open that app I am so amazed by the talent and creativity of so many photographers and artists. Their brilliance motivates me and inspires me to try new things, to try to step outside the box and go further with my photography.
Who are some of the people that have most inspired your photography and Instagram work?
Oh that is a tough one because I am inspired on a daily basis by so many people on Instagram. All I have to do is scroll through my feed and I am blown away by so many brilliant images - a beautiful nature shot, stunning droplets, a shimmery web, a gorgeous landscape, an amazing creative edit, a gorgeous Mextures formula - it's all there and I am drawn to it all.
So many that I am inspired by incorporate it all, like @a_have, @terri_calico, and @hihorosie, who take not only gorgeous macros but also stunning landscapes as well, both with and without brilliant Mextures formulas. @bodneyboo and @blue.ridinghood are masters when it comes to their incredible Mextures formulas. Oh how I love their work - @miacocoone too. All of them have been quite inspirational/influential of my more recent work, especially when it comes to using Mextures.
I am also quite smitten with the macro and creative brilliance of @pickledgoose and @ranasabw as well and I would love to be able to capture an image like @littlecoal. I honestly don't know how he does it. It's pure magic.
Like I said, I am inspired by so many and many more that I haven't mentioned above.
See much more of Kristi’s incredible work here!