This is the first in a new series of blog posts on a few of the things I think can do no wrong … for the most part.
Count me among the iPhone fanboys. The device has not only changed how I work, but changed how I interact with the world. And I know I’m not alone. A lot of it has to do with the ease of having such instant access to your email, the Web and social media, which I’ll admit makes up perhaps 50 percent of my iPhone usage.
But a lot of it has to do with photography. The native camera takes wonderful photos, especially using the HDR feature, and the video quality is stellar, especially for a device that you put in your pocket. However, I take most of my iPhone photos using an app that easily makes my Best Thing Ever list.
Hipstamatic is an app that emulates the bygone analog camera experience using a host of lens, flash and film setups to take vintage-style photos that, frankly, look good even if you have no photography skills whatsoever. The lenses vary from brooding dark filters to faded brown or yellow, and there are even a set of films in various black-and-white styles.
The app itself costs 99 cents, and it comes with several lens and film settings to get you started. But the real fun comes with the lens packs for sale in the app’s built-in marketplace, which offer even more variation. My favorites are the black-and-white films, though I go through phases. And if I’m not sure what style I want to shoot in, you can just shake the phone, which shuffles the lenses and films, to give you a random setting. I’ve posted many Hipstamatic galleries here, and there will be many more.
It’s the best thing ever.
BUT … I am a little worried about one thing. It makes all the sense in the world that as companies look to more creative types of marketing in the digital age, things like lens packs for apps such as Hipstamatic seem a smart place to attach your brand. Nike already released a great pack of black-and-white films, New York Fashion Week sponsored a warm, vintage lens and South by Southwest had its edition too. In all of these, the product you got in the form of these new camera settings were great. But there are a few missteps too.
I paid 99 cents for two lenses that were sponsored by the movie Cowboys vs. Aliens. And while one of the was great, the second lens just put a very weak cat-eye glare on the photos, and they just weren’t that nice to look at. Also, just last week a We Heart Boobies pack came out in honor of breast cancer month offering a pink case emulator and a lens that put a pink, faded glow on everything. The photos look terrible.
The truth is, the money supported charity, and I would have paid 99 cents for just the case to support the cause.
So please, Hipstamatic, be careful as more brands push to market their product on lenses for your app. Quality of the add-on has to come first, unless you want to risk falling off my Best Thing Ever list.