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Loving Instagram

By Elizabeth  ·  August 5th, 2011

I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with everything Instagram.

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.

One of the rare times I got out the big camera.

(Dad’s been working on a photographic project related to our trip: he wrote about his first efforts on his blog a while back.)

5 Replies to Loving Instagram:

  1. Rick LePage

    August 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    On this same topic, one of our contributors and friends, Ben Long, has a great article over on Macworld, “Why we love Instagram, Hipstamatic, and the lo-fi photo trend.”


  2. Julie

    August 8, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I’m not so much addicted to Instagram as I am to some other iPhone apps but only because the community aspect isn’t something that appeals much to me. But, while I often love to use toy-camera type apps for the serendipity of the results, at times I miss having more creative control over the application of the effects. Bringing the Instagram effect home to PSE via your tutorial is just the thing to resolve that desire for flexibility. Thanks for that!

    As a side note, I’ve often wondered why talented photographers have embraced this trend as they have so I enjoyed reading Ben’s article. Thanks for the link, Rick!

    My recent vacation gave me a good opportunity to spend time experimenting with my iPhone camera and I’ve posted quite a few pics on my iPhone photo blog…….just in case you want to have a look. ;-)

  3. Liz

    August 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Oh my goodness — ME TOO! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Instagram (and your post, Elizabeth)! =)

  4. Steven

    August 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    My three favorite filters are Brannan, Walden, and Earlybird. If you can do tutorials on these it would be greatly appreciated.

    • Elizabeth

      August 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Steven, I’m actually working on Brannan and Earlybird techniques now, they’re also two of my favorites!

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