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Lately I’ve been using the Instagr.am App on my iPhone and it has been a lot of fun.
In this post I’m going to briefly share some reasons why I’m enjoying using it and talk a little about my Instagr.am workflow.
But before I get into that:
OK – with that said….
I first got onto Instagram just a couple of weeks ago. I think I’d originally seen it starting to appear in some of the facebook and Twitter streams of friends who were using it to share photos.
At first I didn’t think much of it and threw it in the ‘just another social media photo sharing app’ basket – but after seeing more than a few people I respected using it I decided to check it out for myself. The fact that it’s a free iPhone app made checking it out just that little bit more attractive!
So at it’s core Instagram is very simple. In fact it’s been critiqued by some as being too simple and there are some features I’d love to see them add (although it only launched in October so I guess their still really in the early stages of refining it).
Here’s how the team at Instagram describe what they’ve developed:
Instagram is a fun & quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your iPhone, then choose a filter to transform the look and feel of the shot into a memory to keep around forever. We’re building the platform to allow you to experience moments in your friends’ lives through pictures as they happen. We imagine a world more connected through images of what happens around them – whether through friends or people across the world.
At present the interface lets you either take pictures from within it or pull images in from your iPhone camera roll. The only way you can add photos is via your phone (to bring them in from another camera means importing them into your iPhone and then uploading them – which some people do).
The filters Instagram offers currently number 11. They’re mainly fair ‘retro’ kinds of filters that add borders, textures and change colors. There is no real way to control how much a filter is added to your image – it’s all or nothing. However you can always do post production work in other apps and then save them to your camera roll to upload them (I’ll touch on this later).
Once you’ve got an image ready to share you can simply add it to your feed or have the opportunity to also share it in other social media tools. Currently you can share it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Foursquare.
There’s also the ability for others to view your images from within the app on their iPhone. You can invite and find friends and anyone who accepts your friendship will see your images in their feed. Images can be ‘liked’ and commented upon by others giving you feedback on how your images are being received.
Popular images are also featured in a ‘popular’ tab in the app so you can see what everyone else is liking.
One aspect that I don’t like about Instagram (and this has been a common complaint that I see others making) is that there’s no real web interface for it.
When you share a link you are sharing a link to an actual page on Instagram (here’s an example of one of my recent images) – however when others visit that page they can’t do anything there. There’s no ability for anyone to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on an image from the web page. You also can’t use their website to view all of the other images of the photographer or add them to your network. To do all of that you need to have the iPhone app which doesn’t make it very interactive for non iPhone users).
Being able to point people at your own Instagram account where all your photos are kept would not only help you share your photography better but would also help Instagram to grow as people would be linking to it like crazy from their blogs and social networking profiles.
While there are some definite limitations with this app that I hope will be developed moving forward (either by Instagram or by others as they release their API) I’ve actually found it to be an application I’ve used numerous times per day. There are a number of reasons I find myself drawn to it:
One of the other things that I’ve been enjoying about Instagram is exploring some of the other iPhone photography apps that I’d not really been into before. As Instagram only really gives you 11 options for post production filters I have started to explore what other applications offer.
As mentioned above the workflow for doing this is to:
Apps that I’ve been finding myself using to do this include:
I’m sure there are plenty of other iPhone apps that people will also recommend (feel free to add them in comments below).
Another workflow that others use is to import images that have already had their post production work or images taken with other cameras from a computer into an iphone. It might seem a little bizarre that people would go to this effort (and I haven’t) but looking at some of the images that make it into the ‘popular’ tab it is clear that not all images being shared are taken on an iPhone.
Instagram has had a lot of press in the last months from around the Social Media blogosphere and deservedly so. It’s simplicity is great, it’s social/community feel is very positive and it does help people with the most common type of camera going around (that in the most popular type of phone going around) express themselves and share their images in a fun way.
The fact that a month ago they already had over a million users says something in itself!
It’s something I’m going to continue to play with and I look forward to connecting with you on Instagram if you do too – don’t forget to add me as a friend at ‘darrenrowse’.
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