First there was film, then it became digital, and now photography has become mobile. Photography is an evolving medium that has become more and more accessible over the years. Everyone has a smartphone nowadays and with these smartphones comes high resolution digital photography at the press of a button. Thousands of photography apps fill the iTunes App Store and Android Market that allow you to make ordinary photos look like they have had the best photo editors money can buy.Currently, I’m obsessed with Instagram. Though it is only available for iPhone users right now, it is rumored to be arriving in the Android Market very soon.
What’s makes Instagram better than any other smartphone photography app, for one thing, it’s free! Users can download the app for free from the iTunes App Store on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch that has iOS 3.1.2 or better. The application allows the user to take photos constrained to a square shape (in homage to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid), choose from an array of vintage filters and frames, and share their creation on a assortment of social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, and Posterous.
Within the application you can follow other users and browse through their posted photos, including the options to “like” or comment. If a photo is liked enough, it will appear on the “Popular” page. Users can also browse the news page, seeing who liked, commented, began following your photos, or the users you are following.
But the Instagram filters aren’t enough for me. I like to get more creative with my photos by editing them in multiple apps available through the iTunes App Store.
These are my top applications to improve your iPhoneography:
FX Photo Studio ($0.99): this app is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Mac. It literally has it all. Simple editing functions like cropping, rotation, and gamma, brightness/contrast, and hue/saturation adjustments; color splash which lets you focus on one or more colors; over 190 filters; text options; and the ability to save your favorite filter settings into presets to use over and over again. You can even share your photos directing to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Tumblr. This is my favorite editing program for the iPhone and its only a dollar!
Diptic ($0.99): This a basically a collage app that renders the photos into the square shape used in Instagram. You can choose from over 50 layouts, position your photos and customize the frame dimensions using a frame slider. There are basic editing funtions built in that allow you to adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation. You can ever adjust the border color, width and curvature. I like to use this app to create mirror images because Diptic allows you to transform each image individually with mirror and rotation options. Once your Diptic is ready you can save it or share it with your friends via email or by posting directly to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr or Posterous. You can also export your Diptic to Instagram or any app that supports jpegs.
Pixlromatic (Free): Pixlr.com is a great photo editing service that allows users to edit photos online for free. They have Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Express, Pixlr-o-matic, and Pixlr Grabber. The makers of this website have developed the Pixlr-o-matic service into a portable app for iPhones and Androids that allows users to add filters, overlays and borders to their photos. I love this app because it has way more options than the basic Instagram filters and borders which you can customize. The overlays add a cool final touch to your photos; an option Instagram does not offer. Though the online version offers the complete array of filters, overlays, and borders for free, you can unlock all the options in the app for $2.99. A little pricey but a great option if you don’t have access to a computer.
Phonto (Free): Phonto is an iPhone add that lets you place text and shapes on an image. There are more than 100 fonts, adjustable text size, text color and background color. I like this app better than using the FX Photo Studio text option better because it allows you to use a transparent background or shapes such as a stamp or a voice balloon.
Photosynth (Free): Surprisingly, this app is made by Microsoft, but I’ve come to realize this is the best panoramic photo app available on the iTunes App Store. Photosynth is a powerful set of tools for capturing and viewing the world in 3D. You can share these views with your friends on Facebook, publish them to Bing Maps, or embed them in your own Web site. You can either take a photo synth or a panorama. Choose a panorama when you can capture everything from a single location with a single zoom level. This is great for giving a sense of what it feels like to be in a one particular place. It can be 360° in both directions, but it doesn’t have to be. Simple to navigate – all you do is go left/right, up/down and zoom in/out. Photo synth is good for capturing different sides or details of an object. This is more complex to navigate than panoramas because you are moving from photo to photo.
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