I love this little app! I know, I’m rather late to the party. Just last week I discovered Instagram, a photo sharing app you use with your iPhone to snap pics, apply built-in filters and then post to Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr or via email for friends and family. I must’ve been living under a rock to let this little app slip past me.
As some of you may know, I love photography with a great passion and often day dream that I would do it for a living one day. Until that day comes, I just shoot away at anything that grabs my attention. I primarily use my Nikon D90 or my back up camera, Canon’s G12.
Now, I don’t carry these cameras around with me all the time so the next best thing is my iPhone (3GS). Unfortunately, I never liked the iPhone’s camera or any other cell phone camera. The only one that I actually was highly impressed with was my friend’s Nokia smartphone camera. I don’t remember the exact model but it had a high megapixel count (was it 7?) and a decent lens. Taking pictures with my iPhone wasn’t appealing at all. I’ve heard that there were a few individuals out there doing some pretty nifty things with their phone cameras. I’d rather stick with my DSLR.
In comes Instagram, changing the photography landscape and making it a social media experience (photography in nature is social but you know what I mean here). What a great idea: take a picture of your life and upload it to Facebook or any other social media website (with a few more getting on board). Millions of users have been doing this and the photographs are good (some really good) while others are just plain boring and uninspired.
The photographs that I find exceptional, I surmise that users have been editing these pictures on their computers and laptops and then importing them back to their phones and then uploading to Instagram. I could be wrong but how else can you take a picture of a model with heels swimming underwater with your cell phone? If I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me. I like the fact that you use your phone, however limiting, to take pictures and apply filters from the Instagram app or another photo app to make something really creative. To me, that’s the whole appeal of this app. Taking crappy pictures with crappy phones and making them works of art.
My own work-flow is as follows: As I compose the shot, I am cognizant of the fact that the final image will be a square one. After taking the shot, I then use the Adobe Photoshop Express app and immediately adjust the exposure and saturation as I find that these are horrible on the iPhone.
Still using Photoshop Express, I sharpen the image considerably and then save it. Usually I stop here and I’m happy with the photo. If I’m going to use the picture as an Instagram photo, however I then open up PicFX (as recommended by Instagram user, mattchinaski – who takes awesome pictures by the way) and if appropriate, apply a filter or two. After saving, I finally switch over to Instagram and try out their filters. Some pictures lend themselves well to certain filters while others do not.
One effect that’s really cool in the app is the tilt-shift filter. It allows you to select a narrow field (by pinching the screen) of sharp clarity either horizontally, vertically or even diagonally and then select the degree of depth of field. I’ve only used this effect twice but to great effect.
Here are a few more of my Instagram photos.