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To Apple’s delight, I’m an iTunes App Store troll.  There’s always something new that looks interesting, meets a need (or tries to create one I didn’t know that I needed), and has enough favorable reviews to warrant trying it out.  Most have free versions to try them out, so there’s no real harm.  And to be fair, I remove the majority.

Within the photography category, I keep trying Apps to help out the limited camera abilities built into the iPhone.  To be fair, the upgrade to the iPhone 4 from the 3G upgraded the camera significantly above “because it’s the only camera I have with me” usage.  Most of the photography Apps feature a photographic editing package that lets you tweak each picture to make something better out of it than it was originally.  These are intended to be quick fixes, as a phone doesn’t quite lend itself to Photoshop (Adobe has its own post processing iPhone app – it’s okay). 

My favorite photographic App, however, is Hipstamatic ($1.99, plus expansions at $0.99).  Rather than editing photos afterwards, Hipsta pretends to operate like a vintage camera.  Several “toy” cameras are provided, with lenses that affect the photo image.  These can then be matched with various retro-films and flashes which further alter the look of the photo.  The App automatically converts the photo to a square picture and adds a border just like all those old photos in what my generation remembers as picture albums. 

Hipsta requires some practice.  Shortly, you start to think you know what effect your combination of options will generate, but you never quite know.  This results in possible frustrations if:

  1. You’re in a hurry.  You may not get the picture you wanted.  Hipsta is better suited to when you have time to play with a subject or are otherwise confident in your selection.  Completed photos can be viewed in a scroll within the App, which is helpful to see what camera/film/flash generated each look.
  2. You demand an instant result. I don’t know why, but Hipsta takes a solid 20 seconds to process each “print” – an eternity in the digital age.

For me, though, these negatives become part of the fun of the App.  It’s not perfect every time.  It takes a little thought, practice and repetition.  Is that such a bad thing?  Examples?  Well, here’s one.


Compare this to a photo taken directly with the iPhone camera (not a true comparison as the sunlight suggests.  It was taken about 30 minutes later when I thought it might be useful for a comparison – good ideas don’t always come as quickly as you need them):

Back Camera

Below is an assortment of photos I’ve taken over the last several months, none of which have been retouched in Photoshop:

 hipsta collage

1 comment :

  1. Gotta remember to read your blog more often! Helps put things like the Hipstamatic postings. Sounds like a nice program to have once I upgrade to a 4. Although to be honest, I may wait a month to get the program. I have to wait long enough on my 3G with 4.0 iOS that I may want to bask in the quickness of the 4 before getting something that takes 20s to develop! ;)