Photography

Instagram

Take and Share Pictures with Instagram

There are literally thousands of photo Apps available in the App store. To be honest, I've probably tried most of them :) so it takes something different to catch my eye. I'd heard about Instagram before, but it wasn't until my buddy R.C. sung it's praises on The Grid that I tried it. Actually to be fair R.C. was saying that he was was seeing a ton of "Instagram" pics on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr; almost enough to consider it over-saturated. To me that translates into popular, so I wanted to check it out. I have to tell you that out of all of the photo Apps that add filters and effects, Instagram is the easiest to use for me. The way the UI (user interface) is setup allows the process from image capture, all of the way through the filter process, and finally uploading to be a very short time.

 

What's it All About

Instagram describes itself as an amazingly fun and simple life-sharing App for your iPhone. The entire App is designed with this statement in mind. It all starts with an Instagram account (which is free). This allows you to follow your friends who are also using the App. To that end, you can also setup Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, and Posterous to share your images as well.  Like any good photo social media community you can follow your friends, post and comment on images, and view popular images from around the world.  The sharing mechanism built into Instagram is what sets it apart.

 

A Great Photo App

Beyond the social aspect, Instagram is a great stand alone photo App as well. With over a dozen built in filters and a tilt shift option, there is something for everyone's taste. The camera is quick, and has easy control of the flash with on, off, and automatic settings. There is optional geotagging for every image as well as the ability to add a description when uploading. 

 

Conclusion

If you want a fun, easy to use camera App with some great filters, Instamatic is perfect for you. I'm seeing more and more people every day posting Instamatic images everywhere. I figure there's a reason it's popular, and why not try it out.

You can get Instamatic from the iTunes store for $Free here:iTunes

QuikCam

QuikCam is Faster!

If only I had a nickel for every camera App I've downloaded and installed on my iPhone. You might ask "why do you need a 3rd party camera App on the iPhone if there is one built-in?" Well technically you don't unless of course you want more features. The built-in iPhone 4 camera app lets you take still pictures and video. It can zoom, use the flash/video light and even do a little HDR. After you take the shot you can tap to review it. That's about it. You don't really get much control over anything else and while the above bult-in features are probably enough for the average user, I tend to want more. Therefore I have lots of camera Apps that are great (yes I know Camera+ is awesome as well as (insert your cool favorite camera app choice here) ____________. The one thing that led me to check out QuikCam was a simple feature. SPEED! The native camera App seems to take more than a few seconds to launch and open the view finder before it can capture a shot. Sometimes I've missed shots in the time it has taken the native Camera app to open and get ready to shoot. Therefore I moved the Camera app off my first homescreen page and put QuikCam in its place. Not only does QuikCam launch faster, but it offers a few more features for taking better pictures. If you've followed my blog posts in the past you know that I've complained about the iPhone 4's white balance being way to yellow! While I did finally get a working replacement iPhone 4 that was night and day better than my 1st two, I do notice sometimes that depends on where I aim the camera indoors it will still lean towards the yellow side. Simply changing my angle sometimes will cause it to lock on to proper white balance. QuikCam has a setting that you can not only Tap to Focus, but you can also Tap to LOCK in White Balance. This means I can get great white balance, tap to lock it in and then recompose the shot. That's worth the price of admission to me alone. You can also set tap to lock in Exposure. 

Rule of 3rds and more

The latest version has a rule of 3rds display up on screen to help you better compose your shot. You can also now review your pictures after you take them right in the app. Another cool feature is Shooting Speed! Not only does the App launch faster, but it has a rapid fire feature that allows you to take shots about as quickly as you can tap the onscreen button. You can even take still pics while shooting video. If you really want to shoot from the hip there is even a QuickPic mode that will Auto shoot when you launch the app. This way you can take a picture as fast as possible. 

 

The Bottom Line

While there are many great Camera Apps on the App Store, QuikCam has found it's niche in allowing you to simply capture the moment before it slips away. The only thing that I find lacking from it over the native App is the HDR feature and that may be something that Apple doesn't allow 3rd Parties to include in their Apps. Otherwise, QuikCam is my default camera app for those times when I just want to take a picture!

You can get QuikCam for $0.99 here from the iTunes

Hipstamatic

Hypstimatic Adds Toy Camera to iPhone

Hipstamatic

I love the look and feel of analog “plastic” cameras. The unpredictability and quirkiness have always drawn me in and allowed for really fun photographs. When I saw the Hipstamatic App for the iPhone/iPod Touch I was really intrigued. With “swappable” lenses, film, and flashes I can have that fun plastic camera, analog feel that I always loved, on my iPhone.
 

That analog feel

Analog is what this App is all about. Back when I started in photography I would use plastic cameras that would leak light, had unpredictable exposures, and generally surprised you every time you developed a roll of film. Now with Hipstamatic I can have that same unpredictability, and fun with my iPhone.

Hipstamatic comes preloaded with multiple lens, film, and flash combinations, and offers many more of each via in App purchases. I have bought extra lenses, as well as the BlacKeys B+W film to try out. I really enjoy the monotone grainy feel of this film and recommend it to anyone. If you’re looking for a really cool color film, I prefer the Kodot ZGrizzled. It makes some really funky colors along with a really cool torn looking border.
 

Settings

There really aren’t a whole lot of settings to adjust inside of the App. You can change your lenses, your flash type, and film type like previously noted. You can also choose the image quality from standard, medium, and fine. Beyond that, there isn’t much else to change. The object of this App is fun. You never know exactly what you’re going to get out of it, and that’s why I love it so much.
 

Flash

From what I’ve found, this App works best without flash. It seems like any time I use the flash (no matter which virtual flash I have chosen) the center of the image becomes washed out and has a weird flare. This effect may work great for you, but personally I prefer the natural light look best.

Conclusion

This is an App for anyone that loves the analog look. With the multiple choices of lenses, film, and flashes the image combinations are seemingly endless. Even if you don’t have a specific love with analog, this App is just fun to use.

You can get Hipstamatic for $1.99 here from the  iTunes

Adobe Photoshop Express for iOS

Photoshop Express 2.0 is here for iOS

One of my favorite iOS image editing Apps, Photoshop Express has just been updated to version 2.0 

Photoshop Express 2.0 remains a free App that now has more support for iPhone 4's retina display as well as multitasking.

New Adobe Camera Pack

If you want to go further Photoshop Express 2.0 now offers an in-app purchase of the Adobe Camera Pack. This in-app purchase gives you additional features like an instant Review feature that is similar to what you find on traditional point and shoot and DSLR cameras. For example, when I take a photo on any of my other cameras, I see the photo for a few seconds on the LCD to make sure I got the shot. However, after you take a photo with the built-in iDevice cameras the photo goes directly to the camera roll without showing you what it looks like first. Granted you can tap to see the photo that you've just taken, but then you're missing out on taking more photos while the action is still going on. With Photoshop Express you can now set a 2 second or 5 second review that will show you the photo AND allow you to delete it, right after you take the shot to make sure it's what you want. You can just keep right on shooting without any additional navigation. You also get a timer for taking shots that you want to get into or have the iDevice be totally steady on a tripod. You can also take advantage of Adobe legendary Noise Reduction features:

You can download Photoshop Express 2.0 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch for free here from the iTunes

camera+

Camera+ is Back in the Store with Updates!

Camera+ 2.0Back in August I had a review of Camera+ up, just a day after it got pulled from the AppStore for a secret feature that you could enable, assigning the volume control buttons on the iPhone as the shutter control button. This was a bit sad to see as the app is brilliant. This is why I am now very pleased to be able to review an update to the app, Camera+ 2.0, which is now available again in the App Store!

This review is very much going to focus on what is new in Camera+ 2.0 and if the changes are for the better or not.

Camera+​ - tap tap tap

Touch Exposure & Focus

Why leave the best until last? The most brilliant new feature in the update, which makes Camera+ my favorite photo application currently out there. Sure, the built-in camera application lets you touch to focus and in a way do touch exposure as well, however it will measure the light at the point of focus. Of course this means that you either get a perfectly exposed photo, or one that is in focus.

The beauty here is that you can control both exposure and focus separately and the way it works isn’t all that bad. Focus is, like in the built-in camera app, done by tapping anywhere in the scene. To set the exposure, you touch with a second finger at the same time as you are focusing. Being able to set these independently is just amazing to me and will make iPhone photos much better. The only downside is that the control is slightly clunky while trying to hold the iPhone still and then take a photo at the same time.

Note: This feature is only available on the iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 4 running iOS4.

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