You may not know this about me, but I am an iPhone Camera junkie.
I absolutely LOVE Instagram. At one point, I labeled it as my favorite iPhone App for photos, and in most ways, it still is. It is certainly my favorite photo sharing app…but, with the most recent update, it has fallen a bit short for me in the editing aspects.
Let me back up and tell you what Instagram actually IS, in case you aren’t aware.
Obviously, it’s a photo app, available currently only on iPhones/iPad/iPods. It is much like Twitter, in that you create your account, you follow people, people follow you, and there is a running stream of photos instead of 140 character tidbits. You can say a thing or two about the photo you upload, and folks will “Like” or comment on your picture, or, they’ll just admire it and move on.
Why I like it so much is that it is integrated with Twitter and Facebook. Meaning, when I upload an Instagram, if I click a couple of buttons, that photo will also show up in my Twitter and Facebook stream, along with what I chose to say about it. if I want to tag someone’s Twitter account, I simply @ them in my photo description. It’s a great way to share with friends who are both on Twitter or not.
So what’s the big deal? Why not just upload your pics from your phone straight to Facebook or Twitter? Well, Instagram is a built in photo editing app. There are several different filters and frames, which will take your original photo to black and white, or retro, over exposed, vibrant…you name it. There are about 10 different filters and frames. It’s fun to use and extremely user-friendly.
What my current beef is? The update is a bit flawed. There is a feature in Instagram called “Tilt-Shift” where you can focus in on certain parts of the picture and fade the rest. It’s a great feature, and takes some pictures from so-so to whoa. I love it. However, the update has caused this feature to malfunction about half the time, and you don’t know it until the tweet/Instagram has uploaded a giant black blank of nothing. Supposedly they are working on addressing this issue as we speak, but until then, I am reluctant to use the tilt-shift feature.
Another downfall with the most recent update is that your Instagram is no longer saved in your photo album. This is something I really miss. I used to be able to email myself some of my favorites, but no longer can because they aren’t saved in my album. I’m not sure why they would have changed this in the update, but I hope the next update will bring this feature back.
Moving on to my favorite EDITING APP.
Why do I want an editing app, you ask? Well, Instagram doesn’t do a LOT. I like to play with photos and make them my own. There are so many choices out there, but Camera+ has to be my hands down favorite.
Standard with the original Camera+ App download you are given 27 different filters (27!!) as well as being able to change the amount of light on several levels. For an additional 99 cents, you can buy 9 more filters, which I like. You can crop, zoom, etc. It’s a very user friendly app, and I really, really like it. I WISH it had a tilt-shift feature, because if it did, I would do ALL of my editing there, and then upload into Instagram to share it. You can share to FB and Twitter directly from the app, which is great, but for me, Instagram is where I want to share my photos because of the community aspect. Its only slightly more involved than Instagram, and for editing and uploading on the fly, this is a great app.
MORE FUN APPS
Color Splash is pretty cool! With this app, you are able to isolate portions of your photo, making it black and white. I thought it would be difficult to use, or take a long time, but it’s very simple. And dramatic! Take a look at the results!
This is one whacky app. I can’t even count how many crazy filters there are! You can add bokeh (that’s those glistening light baubles), or put your face in Times Square, on Vogue, or, you can have Brad Pitt sign your picture. Why not? Be warned, you can spend hours here playing and not get every filter looked at.
iDarkroom is similar to Camera+, but I rarely use it. I’m not huge into light flares and major scratches. But there are lots of options, and you can get some pretty cool edits from it. It also has a “Roll the Dice” feature, where the app decides what edits you get. Sometimes it comes up with something unique you’d have not considered…which is nice. If I had to buy one app or the other, though, hands down, it would be Camera+.
This is a GREAT app, but isn’t quite as user friendly, especially for those not familiar with photo editing. It offers Tilt-Shift, HDR, contrast, brightness, multiple (MULTIPLE!) color filters, and many other filters like scratching, rubbing, spills, etc. It takes longer to use, so it’s not one I use a lot, merely because I like to be able to share on the fly, quickly. This is an app I play with when I have more time and want a quality result. Definitely worth the price of the download.
(On the left, the original with only tilt-shift applied, on the right, the light and filter have been adjusted)
This is a fun app that arranges multiple photos into a series of frames, making it easy to share tidbits of an event in one image. Honestly, I don’t use it a lot, but it’s fun and I like the idea of it. Again, it just takes a little longer, due to multiple photos and resizing issues, so I don’t feel it’s an “on the fly” app. It’s a good one though!
All of these apps (aside from Instagram) will save your picture to your photo album, as well as share them via email, Twitter, etc. Typically I just save mine to the album and then share with Instagram.
On a similar note, there is a new company called StickyGram that will turn your Instagram photos into magnets. How cool is that? For $14.99 you get 9 of your Instagram photos to hang right there on the fridge. I’ll be ordering mine next week (after I get home from Nashville) so I’ll let you know how they turn out!
I hope this post has enlightened you a bit, and maybe inspired you a little. I also hope you’ll find me on Instagram! I’m there as @doughmesstic, same as on Twitter!