Category Archives: App Reviews

Time Traveling the Hipstamatic Way

Hipstamatic’s new Tintype SnapPak has me feeling like I’ve taken a trip back to the early days of photography. It’s Tinto lens gives a selective focus that can be haunting and beautiful, especially when combined with either the D-Type or C-Type film filters.


This newest pack gives your pictures the look of an old tin-type photo. It’s fun to see modern subjects juxtaposed with the antique format.


James M lens, C-Type Plate film

I used my favorite new combo one foggy day in Annapolis, MD and got some beautiful, moody shots around City Dock and the Naval Academy.






Today we took a cold walk on the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park. Here are some of those images.

IMG_1440 IMG_1443 IMG_1432 IMG_1447 IMG_1428 IMG_1434

Currently, I’m in the middle of editing some Revolog film pictures I took in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m going to post them very soon. My spring semester starts in a few days and I’ll soon be back to studying and writing.


Collage Your Face Off With Frametastic

Since I became an Instagram addict, I’ve been trying many, many new apps, filters and techniques. One of the things I’ve been having fun with is making collages with Frametastic, a free, straightforward, super user-friendly program.

Select from one of the 44 frames available (you get access to most frames, but if you want all access must pay a small fee) and tap on one of the frame sections. To restore the last project you were working on, click on the wheel at the top right.

Selecting a theme will place your work on a background based on six categories: wood, sports, wedding, beach vacation, museum or roses. Here’s an example of the sports theme.

To begin, tap on a section of the frame, then choose from one of the options. Once you’ve chosen your picture, tap on it again and you can choose to magnify it or apply effects. Frametastic’s magnification feature is extremely useful for fine tuning and doesn’t sacrifice clarity. I’ve found it to be one of the best aspects of this program. Here’s a shot of my original photo before and after magnification.

If you want to apply effects, you can choose from an array of filters, including black and white, retro and cinematic. To rotate your picture, click on the circular arrow.

To use the same photo in another frame, tap and hold the picture and choose copy. Go to the square that you want to add the picture, tap and hold, then choose paste.

Lets look at the icons at the bottom of the screen from left to right. The arrows inside the rectangle allow you to choose the format of your collage.

Clicking on the envelope allows you to share your photo. You can save to your phone, some popular social media sites, email or even snail mail, plus you can change the resolution from low to high.

The question mark in the middle will guide you through some of the basics of using Frametastic.

To adjust the borders between photos, choose the frame icon and use the slider to widen or narrow plus, change the color of the border as well.

Finally, click on the square within the circle icon on the bottom right of the screen and you can adjust the corners of your collage.

I really love this program. There are plenty of options to customize your collage without sacrificing quality. A customized frame option would be the only thing I can think of that would improve upon Frametastic but, like I said, there are 44 options to choose from. At the low price of free, Frametastic is a worthy addition to your iPhoneography tool box.

Expanding Horizons with Filtermania 2

With over 300 filters and endless ways to combine them, Filtermania 2 is a great way to expand your creative boundaries.

Agave plant macro photo edited in Filtermania 2

Dropico Media’s latest update of its Filtermania app includes 20 categories of filters, from Classic, Frames, Nature, Destruction and Famous Places, just to name a few. One of the best things about this update is the ability to change the opacity and luminosity of each filter. Other highlights include

– Over 300 Photo Filters + New Filters Added
– Layer Filter-on-Filter for Unique Creations
– Rotate, Move, and Scale Photos
– History Feature: Move Back and Forth Through Your Work
– Share to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Flickr, or Save to Your
Camera Roll

 When I first started messing around with Filtermania 2, I only used one filter at a time to create vintage looking photos. Here are a couple that I took with Hipstamatic then edited in Filtermania 2.

Sailboats in Hipstamatic, edited in Filtermania 2

Dog Paw in Hipstamatic, edited in Filtermania 2

Then, I decided to just use the native camera and goof around. I took some macro shots of flowers and gave them a Filtermania 2 treatment

After getting lost on Instagram and seeing all of the wildly creative things others are doing, I got inspired. My son’s toy soldiers were sitting on the kitchen countertop. By layering a couple of filters, they were transported to otherworldly war zones.

I’m having a blast with Filtermania 2 and since it’s free (and so are all the filters), it’s a great time to download it and try it out.

Instagram is Photographic Crack

I have a problem and its name is Instagram. It’s fun, inspiring and addictive, kind of like crack (or so I’m told). I am an analogue girl at heart, but the instant feedback of this little app is very satisfying. Before I go into a full-blown ode to my newest favorite app, I should probably start the story at the beginning, when I downloaded it.

I’d really appreciate it if you’d help me by clicking on the link here 🙂

I’m already a member of some very cool mobile phone photography sites, namely Eye’em and iPhone Art. They’re wonderful sites that feature groups, critiques, event listings and all other kinds of fun things. They both have apps for the iPhone, but to use the features fully you need to be on the web. Much like Flickr , these sites are much better when viewed and surfed on a computer.

Enter Instagram.

I resisted for a while, but finally downloaded it in early 2011. For the longest time, these were the only two photos that graced my Instagallery.

The second photo is truly underwhelming, but I uploaded it anyways. Then, something happened around March. I uploaded pictures from some St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, then, I uploaded pictures of my Mud Run in April. By the time I went to Florida in May, I was in full-blown Instagram-uploading mode. I couldn’t tell you what the catalyst for all of this activity was (maybe other photog’s uploads, the ability easily post to FB?) but my Instagram portfolio took off.

Enter the e-book “Instagram Uncovered” by Guy Yang and Audrey Taylor of The Beginner’s Lens. Yang and Taylor break Instagram down in this guide. From the absolute basics, like how to upload and ‘like’ photos, to tips on tagging your photos and getting enough ‘likes’ to make it to the popular gallery, this guide is a must-read for any Instagram user. For example, I had zero likes on my pictures until I started tagging my photos. As soon as I started tagging, I started getting noticed. I’m not on the popular page or anything, but it is cool to know that other photographers are seeing my work.

For me, the truly addictive part of Instagram is the immediacy with which I get feedback, along with the fact that it was specifically designed for use on the mobile phone. As soon as someone likes or comments on one of my photos, I receive a silent notification. Now THAT’S instant gratification. Even more fun, and possibly more addictive, is how easy it is to search for and view works by other artists. I liken it to looking up a word in the dictionary. If you’re a nerd, like me, you’d flip through the book looking for your word but, inevitably, get distracted by some other crazy, exotic sounding word that you just HAD to find out the meaning of. Ten minutes later, you’d forgotten the word you were looking up, but had learned the definition of at least seven new words along the way. That’s Instagram. It’s even inspired me to want to try some crazy stuff that I’d never consider before, like layering lots of filters and effects to make a photo that looks like some crazy sci-fi fantasy.

The shots in this post are all macro shots of flowers and an agave plant, taken with my magnifying loupe and processed through Filtermania 2 (which I’ll review next week).  If you want to catch more of my iPhoneography, in real-time, hit me up on Instagram under the user name ipdegirl and while you’re at it, help me get an Instacanvas shop by clicking here. An Instacanvas gallery allows you to purchase any of my Instagram photos on a canvas for a very reasonable price. While you’re at it, let me know if you are on Instagram in the comment section below.


Most Underrated iPhone App

Fusioncam, in my opinion, is one of the more underrated iPhone photography apps. I really love the ability to create double, triple or quadruple exposures and the fact that it has three different filters: black and white, saturated and washed-out color.

Here are some shots I took this week.

These are saws hanging on a hook at my local hardware store

Gears on a giant WWII era antique gun

Rust and bolts on the same gun

Railroad tracks

Rivets on a giant tire


Metal rivets


Metal and rust on the base of the giant gun

Rust and stenciled numbers on the gun

Puffy sea grass

I’m still waiting for some film to return from the developer, so hopefully next week I’ll have some fun new film shots to share.

Fabulosity with Fusioncam by Stepcase

Who can pass up a freebie? Not me, and as a result I’ve got some apps on my iPhone that I’ve barely had a chance to play with, like so many rough diamonds hiding in the rough. A recent trip to the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base gave me a chance to goof around with one such app called Fusioncam which allows you to create double exposure photos. I downloaded it for free during its first week but it’s currently only $1.99 USD in the app store.

Since it’s inside and free, the AMC is a place we visit pretty regularly. It’s a great place to explore with children or anyone who is interested in history or aircraft. Housed in an old hangar, the museum is filled with vintage WWII and Vietnam era planes, historic uniforms and other memorabilia that tells the story of aviation in the 20th century and more specifically the story of Dover Air Force Base. Outside on the tarmac you’ll find a whole fleet of retired aircraft ranging from a small helicopter to large transport planes, some of which you can climb inside.

I’ve taken many pictures at the museum, especially with my iPhone. Inside the museum it’s dark, making a good film camera shot hard to obtain while trying to follow my family around. During last week’s visit I decided to do some serious experimentation with Fusioncam along with some of my newer Hipstamatic lenses. I’ve gotten some interesting results so far with Fusioncam but nothing I’d consider spectacular. Here’s a couple of shots I took earlier this month.

The pictures that stood out for me in these first few sessions were the first, third and fifth. Results were much nicer to my eye when double exposing using the same subject with the camera turned or flipped. I have yet to get really good results overlapping two completely different subjects. Maybe if I use the flash in the future? Fusioncam does come with a flash on/off switch.

Here are some of the best shots from inside the museum

I like how the double exposure creates a sense of motion

When I snapped the final shot I realized I had something. There were lots of lines and shapes to play with on the airplanes and exploiting them by tilting the camera gave me some very cool abstract shots. Another nice future of Fusioncam is the ability to compose your double shot before snapping the photo. First, you take a picture within the app then move a slider on the screen from 1 to 2. This will make your first exposure appear faintly in the viewfinder so that you can tilt the camera until you finally get the look you want. Press the shutter then move another slider from ‘camera’ to ‘gallery’ mode and view your finished photo. You can then choose to save it by pressing the ‘develop’ button.

Outside on the tarmac I went crazy…

These two are my favorites of the day

At the end of the day I stumbled upon one of the coolest things about Fusioncam….it’s ability to make triple and quadruple exposures! Just pick your double exposed shot as your background and go to town like I did in these photos….

Double shot

TRIPLE shot!



Now that I’ve unlocked some of the power of Fusioncam, you can bet I’ll be using it more and more. The only criticism I have is that it is often difficult to toggle the tiny sliders, especially at the bottom of the screen when moving from ‘camera’ mode to ‘gallery’ mode. There were a few times when it took me a full minute to get it to switch, and I have small fingers. God help you if you have banana fingers. Hopefully this can be tweaked in future versions but it’s not going to stop me from doubling and tripling everything in sight!

Hipstamatic Action and Swanky Swanko Lab

So, we got a puppy from our local shelter about a week and a half ago and boy am I tired. She’s great but it’s like having a newborn in the house (minus all the physical aftereffects of actually giving birth). Fortunately our new four-legged friend, dubbed ‘Dingo” by the friendly folks at the SPCA, is very food-motivated. She’s catching on quickly to house-training and obedience but the bruises on my legs will prove that we still have a ways to go.

It’s tough to balance a camera in one hand and an active puppy on a leash in the other, so I haven’t been shooting much film lately. What I have been using is my iPhone (since it’s always with me) and a fantastic app called Hipstamatic. It’s a very cool program that lets you choose between retro lenses, films and flashes and gives your pictures the toy camera treatment.  The Hipstamatic comes with the John S Lens, the Jimmy Lens, the Kaimal Mark II Lens, the Standard Flash, the Dreampop Flash, Ina’s 1969 Film, and Kodot Verichrome Film. By mixing and matching lenses, films and flashes you can achieve a wide array of toy camera-like results. By purchasing other packages you can get other lenses, films and flashes to play around with as well. My personal favorite package is the Shibuza which  comes with the Roboto Glitter Lens,  Berry Pop Flash and Float film. This combination gives your pictures some crazy colors and beautiful warm tones with nice vintage-looking dirty margins around your prints.

Yes, it does cost $1.99 for the program and each Hipstamatic pack is also $1.99 but I am ever-so-glad I finally pried open my wallet and spent the money. It’s tremendously fun to use and I really love the effects I’m getting. I also use Camera Bag and Shake It pretty regularly but Hipstamatic blows them out of the water. The ability to mix and match elements plus the high-quality effects make this an app that I will continue experimenting with for a long time.

Of course, there’s always a downside to things. You do have to pay for it but really, it’s cheaper than a fancy coffee drink. The one BIG drawback is that you have to take pictures within the app. There’s no ability to apply effects to photos you’ve already taken. A bummer for sure but those Hipstamatic folks are so clever, they’ve designed a darkroom program as well called Swanko Lab.

If you’re a fan of  Hipstamatic you’ll dig Swanko lab too. By mixing and matching chemicals you can turn ordinary photos into cross-processed, instant or black and white goodness. The combinations are really endless in this program as the order in which you mix the chemicals is just as important as the quantity of chemicals. Again, this program costs $1.99 and for a one-time fee of $1.99 you get access to Uncle Stu’s Photo Emporium, a collection of chemicals not available in the base program. The best part about the Emporium is that all future updates to the catalogue are free for current subscriber. Endless chemicals for everyone!!

Check out these two worth-while apps and the amazing things people are producing with them. Flickr is full of some great Hipstamatic art. Personally, I haven’t been this excited about a digital camera product in a long, long time.

%d bloggers like this: