Five Questions with Raina Regan on Instagram + Preservation

For years now, I’ve had preservation friends from social media; but, it was only about two years ago that I started to meet my “social media” friends in “real life”. I love making the world smaller and meeting friends who are doing inspiring work. Enter a new series to Preservation in Pink: Five Questions With. In this series, I’ll be talking with colleagues, social media friends, and others I admire to learn some tricks of the trade, hear their stories, and introduce you to more preservationists.

First up, Raina Regan!

Raina is one of my dear preservation pals and we finally met at the Society for Industrial Archeology Conference in Minneapolis/St. Paul in June 2013 after talking for years through our blogs and twitter. We both love our cats, Taylor Swift, photography, preservation, and conferences!

You might know Raina Regan from her work with Indiana LandmarksSteller storiesTwitter, or more likely, her incredible Instagram account. Beautifully composed photographs filled with architectural layers and a mission to show viewers the world through her preservationist eyes,

Raina’s Instagram feed is always one of my favorites. Thinking we could all learn a few tips from Raina, I asked if she’d answer a few questions for Preservation in Pink readers. Read the interview below!

1. How long have you been on Instagram? Why did you start, and what do you love about it? 

I joined instagram in January 2012. I joined Instagram almost immediately after purchasing my first iPhone. I had seen a few friends on the app and really loved the way it was being used to call attention to historic homes, details, and little known places.

Interesting story, my first Instagram photo is a Modern home which is now on our Indiana Landmarks 10 Most Endangered list. I feel like that speaks to what my account has been and continues to be about: historic places (with some other fun stuff sprinkled in).

There are so many things I love about Instagram today, from the friendships I’ve made both in Indianapolis and around the globe. Instagram has opened my eyes and made me more observant of my surroundings.

2. You’re quite well known on Instagram (especially for a preservationist)! Taylor Swift has you beat at 50 million, but you have 23K. That is impressive! And, I’m so proud of you. How did you rise to instagram fame? 

At the end of March, I was surprised by a message from instagram informing me I had been selected as a suggested user.  Every two weeks, Instagram selects a handful (around 200) of users around the globe to highlight. How they select these users is relatively unknown. I like to think it is because I am actively involved with in my local Instagram community (@igersindy) and I provide a unique point of view that highlights architecture. Being selected a suggested user, instagram encourages you to be a “model instagrammer.” I try to stay active by posting daily, commenting and liking photos, attending instameets, participating in the weekend hashtag project, and trying new things with my photography.

3. Your photos are beautiful. Can you share your top tips for insta-worthy photos? 

The grid is your friend! I always have the grid on my camera app turned on and I use it as a guide when taking my shots. There’s a photography trick called the “rule of thirds” (google it for tutorials) which I try to follow when composing my photos and is particularly helpful for instagram. Both of these tips have really helped me increase the quality of my photos.

I primarily use the native iPhone camera for the majority of my Instagram photos. But, I do edit them in a few iPhone apps. My favorites are Snapseed for original editing (such as brightness), VSCO to add a touch of filter, and SKRWT to straighten or fix any skew. I also really enjoy GeotagMyPic which allows you to add the geotag information back into a photo.

4. How do you see instagram playing a role in historic preservation? 

Imagery and storytelling is such an important part of saving historic places. Connecting people to places, increasing awareness, or even reawakening someone’s memories of a place all can be done through instagram. I love getting comments from someone with a favorite memory of a historic place I’ve posted, or comments such as “I hope they preserve that place.” I find that most people I interact with on Instagram are preservationists at heart — even if they aren’t one professionally. We need to do a better job mobilizing these people to get them engaged in the preservation movement more directly.

5. What is your favorite instagram photo?

That’s a hard one, but I would say this photo of the Indiana War Memorial (see below). The War Memorial is one of my favorite historic places in Indianapolis and I love the composition of this photo and the play of textures.

Thank you, Raina! Keep up the great work!

p.s. Raina and I are collaborating for a fun (soon-to-be-announced) event during this year’s #pastforward conference. Stay tuned! 

p.p.s. You can follow Raina’s cat Quincy on Instagram, too. You know you want to.

https://instagram.com/p/0EN0szNSbR/

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Useful iPhone Apps for the Preservationist

This post was written prior to the news of Steve Jobs’ death on October 5, 2011; it seems eerily timely. The world will miss the man who played a role in changing the world. It seems only fitting to tie this statement from Apple to this post. Click the box below to head over to Apple.

For the longest time I was opposed to smart phones. Sure, they’re cool; but I already had an unhealthy obsession with email. Did I need to fuel that addiction? No. Smart phones quickly advanced and then the iPhone came on the scene, with improvements to follow. I knew a bunch of people with Blackberries, but they never seemed to work properly. I always figured that if you were going to get a smart phone, the iPhone was the way to go.

Back in April, Vinny and I cracked and we entered into the world of iPhones. Awesome. Sure, it reinforces my email addiction, but I decided that I would do my best to use the full potential of my iPhone. The wonders that it could do for blogging, photos-on-the-go, directions on the go, and much more. I’ll admit it – I love it. But I maintain that it is a luxury item, it is something I could live without. I like to remember that distinction. If you are wondering, my iPhone has a pink and black case; must include some PiP reference in all digital objects I own.

I’ve been working on compiling a list of iPhone apps that are useful for the historic preservationist. i don’t know of too many, so I’ll share my short list and hopefully you can add to it. Now that the unbelievably advanced iPhone 4S is out, my iPhone 3GS probably seems lame to iPhone addicts, but I’m still happy with it. Let’s start with my favorite app:

1. Field Notes LT (free version): I found this one by searching for notes and GPS. I needed to be able to photograph a structure, take the coordinates and add notes to create one single file. Field Notes LT will do just that, and then you can email your note as a .kmz or zip file. The .kmz files can be opened in Google Earth, for example. It has been incredibly useful (more on that another time).

2. Compass: The compass comes on the iPhone utilities already, so I didn’t find it. Regardless, it is incredibly easy to use. While I was a Girl Scout, cardinal directions on the fly aren’t my forte. This compass is easy to use and helpful for site descriptions.

3. Sherwin Williams Color Snap: Take a picture (or choose one on your phone already), zoom in to the color that you want and it will match that color to a Sherwin Williams paint color, providing the name and product number. Fun! Other paint companies should get on this. I haven’t used it for anything other than just playing around. Has anyone used it professionally?

4. WordPress: Of course this one is useful to me! I have written many posts from my iPhone. It is a bit more tedious, and until recently you couldn’t add in links or special fonts, but the most recent update is amazing. The app allows me to approve comments on the go, check stats, add photos and write posts. And publishing from the iPhone still alerts Twitter and Facebook that a new post is up. I love how they can all be integrated.

5. iHandy Level: That’s right, your phone can be a level. I’m not sure what carpenters think of it, but it’s good enough for hanging pictures and other minor household tasks.

6. Miscellaneous city guides, museum and road trip iPhone apps, though I haven’t tried any yet. I have only used free apps so far. If you’re taking a trip, you should check out available apps before heading out.  Google iPhone app and road trip or New York City or trip planner – there are many.

7. NCPTT app for assessments. I am anxiously awaiting the release of this one.

If you know of helpful smartphone or iPhone app for historic preservationists on the go, let me know. I’ll add it to the list! Or if you have advice for general iPhone usefulness, I’m happy to hear it.