When I was kid, I’d stare at the back page of the Sunday NY Times Arts & Leisure section, because there would be a full page ad for a camera retailer and it would display all the amazing equipment one could buy to pursue their hobby or profession. Lenses. Camera bodies. Light meters. Flash Equipment. Eventually, it even included video cameras! For some reason, although I’d never owned more than an instamatic, I was enthralled with this wonderland of choices. Of course, you needed to spend thousands of dollars, money i certainly didn’t have.
Now, all I have to do is go to the app store of my smart phone and I can get an amazing array of photographic software applications that will let me mimic many of the photo-journalistic fantasies I had when I was a boy. Many are free. And while I own several actual cameras, including a Canon Digital SLR with several lenses, i find myself taking 90% of the pictures I take with my trusty iPhone. So, what apps have I been using, and what do I think is pretty cool?
The application I use the most is Instagram. It is s simple little program that lets you take photos, add filters to them to make them look a certain way (aged, tilt shifted, b/w, colorized, etc), and then send them to your social networks if you want, and to the instagram social feed. Like Facebook and Twitter, people can follow your particular stream, comment on and like your photos, and share your pics with other if they want to. One of the pics I’ve taken with this tool are seen here.
So what other tools do I have and use?
There is ColorSpash that lets you manipulate your photo so that certain parts are in color and the rest is in b/w. Very cool.
There is Microsoft’s PhotoSynth that lets you take and stitch together multiple photos into a 3D environment.
There is Hipstamatic, like Instagram in that it let’s you take pictures with different effects, but in a much more sophisicated environment, where you can pay to get certain specialty “lens” effects.
There is QuickPix which lets you shoot pictures much more quickly than the iphone native camera app will allow.
There is Everyday which has you take a picture of yourself once a day and then stitches them together into a movie that shows your face, hair and mood evolve over time (only for the very vain!).
The list goes on, I’m sure that there are at least a dozen or more different apps for the iPhone alone that deserve my time and attention. And this doesn’t even begin to tap into the apps available in the android market that I haven’t yet explored.
Bottom line, if you like taking pictures, explore your smartphone’s app store and take your pictures to a whole new level.