Tuesday, September 20, 2011

AB's guide to iPhoneography

Who doesn't have at least one photography app on their smartphone right now?  Everyone I know seems to have some sort of faux-vintage app, at the very least.  Even my mom has Instagram.  And why not?  They're cheap (most even free) and fun, and while it's still nothing compared to the quality of my 7D, my iPhone's quality sure beats that of the first digital camera I owned ten years ago, so it's good enough for daily snapshots that I like to take.

Vintage/lo-fi photography is a ubiquitous trend nowadays, so Instagram is hardly alone in its class.  And it's not the only class of app out there either; there are hundreds of photography related iphone apps that allow you to shoot panoramics, send yourself postcards from the road, and yes, even Photoshop has its own app.

Below I've got a few examples of my most-used photography apps:

As I already mentioned above, the app that receives the most attention lately is Instagram (free).  Take a photo within the app (or upload one from your camera roll), crop it to square, and select a filter to apply to the photo.  Instagram also doubles as a social networking/photo sharing app, though you can turn that option off and simply save to your camera roll.
Photosynth (free) is an easy-to-use panoramic app.  Just tap the screen and start moving, and Photosynth snaps photos for you.  It takes a few seconds to stitch the photos together and when you're done, you can view the photo within Photosynth (as a moveable panoramic) or share through email and Facebook.

Camera Bag ($1.99) is another in a long list of lo-fi, vintage inspired apps.  Take any photo from your camera roll, upload it and simply begin scrolling through the filter options.  Options include poloroid, holga film, and cinema style.

If you can't get enough of shooting with toy cameras, you'll want to try Hipstamatic ($1.99).  It essentially turns your iphone into a Diana or Holga camera, even allowing you to choose from different film types.

Got a few related pictures you want to show together?  Get Diptic ($1.99).  Choose from multiple 2,3,4 or 5 photo layouts, and upload pictures for each spot in the layout.  Export to camera roll or share on Facebook.  (date label on left picture via labelbox)

Just like the real thing, actioncam (free) snaps a series of pictures which can be viewed in several layout styles (above, 4x1).  The app can be set to take photos manually (like I just did above) or timed, which works best when your subject is moving.
{picture via itunes store/popbooth}
Popbooth (free + price of print) brings the convenience of your iPhone and the fun of a photobooth into one app.  Use your phone to snap a series of photobooth pictures, apply a filter, then share via email or facebook.  Want a real photobooth strip?  Simply buy a print to mail to yourself!  Buy credits in bulk and use "party mode" for fun wedding favors.
{picture via itunes and postagram}
Ever go on vacation and snap a postcard-worthy photo that you want to share with a friend?  Sure, you could upload it to Facebook, but why not give them something to hang on their refrigerator?  Postagram (free + 99 cents for print) is the app for that: take a photo and upload to the app, decide who you want to send a postagram to, and for just 99 cents, your friend will have a postcard of your photo in 2-5 days.  Feel free to send one to yourself so you can relive your vacation once you return home!

I hope this helped make sense of the hundreds of photo apps out there.  The best thing you can do is download as many as possible (there are tons of free ones if you aren't interested in spending money), try them out, and just delete the ones you don't like.  Have fun!

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