Even the most casual readers of this blog will have guessed that I’m a teeny bit obsessed with iPhone photography, or to use the correct terminology, iPhoneography. Having a phone with a decent camera has allowed me to document my life in a way that I’d never have considered before. I’m now more convinced than ever that good photography is much more about capturing an interesting image than about using high-tech equipment and getting everything just so.
I started out taking pictures with the basic iPhone camera, but was quickly seduced by the charms of Hipstamatic. This iPhone app looks like an old plastic camera, and takes photos with a beautiful retro feel.
The basic app price includes (I think) three lenses, with the option to buy more to achieve different effects. Be warned, this can get addictive – I have just about every lens going and get excited when I new one becomes available to purchase. I loved Hipstamatic dearly, and used it faithfully up until Christmas, capturing some lovely images.
That is, until I discovered Instagram. Ok, so it doesn’t have the fancy interface of Hipstamatic. It doesn’t have the flexibility to be as creative: in Hipstamatic you can combine any lens with any film, plus one of several flashes, whereas Instagram has a fixed set of filters. But Instagram has two big plusses.
1. You can ‘Instagram-ise’ existing images. So you can take a photo with your iPhone’s regular camera
then play around with it afterwards, zooming in and choosing the right filter.
You don’t even have to take the original image with your iPhone camera; you can use any image stored on your phone.
2. Instagram is social. At first I didn’t get it. I was a bit sceptical about the idea of signing up to another social network. I wasn’t sure if I wanted people to see my photos, or what the point was. But I started seeing more and more people posting photos on Twitter, with these instagr.am links, and I decided to give it a go.
I linked Instagram up with my Twitter account straight away, which meant that I could see which of the people I follow were using the app. Following them on Instagram means that I see their photos in my feed. I absolutely love it – I see little works of art each day. Because the app is on your phone, people are taking photos all the time, of their day-to-day lives. My feed is full of witty, beautiful snippets of motherhood, of hectic, fascinating lives and of the world around us.
I follow a lot of brilliant people on Instagram, and I’m taking this opportunity to recommend a couple of my favourites. @tiddlyompompom takes consistently excellent images, sometimes funny and sometimes beautiful. @cosmicgirlie, as you’d expect from the talented photographer who started Silent Sunday, is always entertaining and impressive. @youngmummyuk takes some classic images of motherhood, as well as the rest of life, and @softthistle always makes me smile.
The only downside of Instagram is that once you’re public, you can’t Instagram an image without sharing it with your followers. So if I want to take something and not share it, perhaps if I’m shooting something particular for my blog, or if I want to take a lot of pictures of the same place or thing, I go back to Hipstamatic.
I’m sure there’ll be another big thing along eventually to grab my photography attention, but my love of retro iPhone photography will endure for a while yet. Oh, and I forgot to mention, a big plus for stingy iPhone-users like myself – Instagram is free. (And nobody is sponsoring me for this post, I’m just wittering about apps that I love).