If you don’t know what Instagram is, it’s a free photography app that works with just about any smartphone. It lets you take a photo, then crops it down to a square and lets you add a cool filter on top; and then, the app publishes the photo into the Instagram community. Basically, you take the photo and Instagram does all the heavy lifting. It’s fantastic.
My father and I recently took a week-long road trip from Boston to Portland. Both of us are serious photographers, and each of us brought along enough equipment to start our own traveling camera store. However, once the road-trip exhaustion set in (a.k.a. after the first 5 hours of driving), we were both too tired to rummage through the back, find our monster cameras and set up a shot. Instagram, in all its camera-phone glory, was the perfect solution for us. While he was shooting on his iPhone, I was shooting on my iPod Touch and iPad. We could quickly pull out our respective devices, shoot easily while driving and then upload them immediately. Because the Instagram community allows friends and loved ones to “follow” you, everyone who was waiting to welcome us home (and the friends I’d left back in Boston) were able to keep up with our journey as it was happening.
I’m a reluctant Facebook user these days–despite my generational stereotype–because I’m rarely interested in the 160-character happenings of people I barely know. However Instagram is the photography counterpart to what I wish Facebook really was: a feed of luscious visuals that show me (instead of tell me) what people are up to. If you had a delicious ice cream sundae at the new, neighborhood ice cream parlor, don’t just tell me about, show me how scrumptious it really was!
So if you’re into Instagram as much as I am, I have a few things to keep you satiated for a while:
- My new Instagram-inspired video tutorial, The Instagram Effect is live on the P.E.T. site, along with a handy cheatsheet.
- If you don’t have a smart phone, iPod Touch or iPad, you can still keep up with the Instagram happenings around the world with Web.stagram. (Here’s my stream on Web.stagram.)
- Instaview, a $5 program that can be found in the Apple App Store, is a great way to keep track of your photos and your friend’s photos on your computer. (Dad likes Instagallery on his iPad, and it’s only $2.)
- Keepsy allows you to take Instagram photos straight from your account to create your own book!
If this isn’t enough Instagram for you, keep an eye out for a few more Instagram-inspired video tutorials in the coming weeks. If you have a favorite filter (mine is Toaster, which inspired my first video tutorial!), feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you’re interested in reproducing in Photoshop Elements.
(Dad’s been working on a photographic project related to our trip: he wrote about his first efforts on his 135f2.com blog a while back.)