Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Have you discovered the joys of Instagr.am?

© Adriana Glackin

Sometime over the last few days, I decided I would take a look at Instagr.am. I downloaded the app soon after I bought my iPhone, but just never had the chance to set up my profile or have a play with it.  Oh boy, didn't things change when I discovered just how easy - and how much fun - it is to use. There are some serious advantages to using Instagr.am:

  1. The main one for me being that it integrates with not just twitter, but also facebook and flickr! How good is that?! You can determine which platform you'd like to upload your images to.
  2. It comes with a set of pre-determined filters - the tricky part is actually deciding which cool filter to use. It also has an option for blurring, you can control the positioning and strength of the blur. Very arty!
  3. Square Format - is there anything more retro than the square format, complete with its off-white border!
  4. Discover other Instagr.am fans, and see what they're shooting. We're all sticky beaks aren't we, and we can't resist peaking at others' photos. It's a bit like a swap meet in your iPhone - you show me yours and I'll show you mine. Instagram will display the popular images, as well as giving you the opportunity to 'follow' others. (It even helps you find the people to follow by finding them for you in your list of contacts). Within minutes, I had uploaded four images and found a few Twitter friends.
  5. You can comment and 'like' other images you see, which is something else we all enjoy. I uploaded an image from country NSW, and one of my US twitter friends, Cathy Ross saw it and 'liked' it. I don't know what made me smile more -  the fact that I was happy the image was 'uploadable' considering that it was taken from a moving car (yes, I was the passenger, don't panic), the seconds it took to upload, or the fact that within minutes of uploading it, my friend from the other side of the globe had seen it. Have we ever lived in a more instant world?
  6.  I feel that it also helps you improve your compositional skills. You can't zoom in, you can't crop - so as a 'fixed' lens, you need to move around to get the composition just right. Surely if you take enough Instagram images, you start to get the feel what which compositions work and which don't. Hopefully then, you'll be able to transfer these skills over to shooting with your DSLR camera. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
  7. Something that I haven't really delved into, but you can also allow Instagr.am to pinpoint the location of your shot to share with others. This can be useful with sharing location details with others.
  8. It's free!

©  Adriana Glackin

There are a couple of downsides that I discovered. One false move with the buttons, and you've deleted your shot for good. We were away for the weekend and I'd just shot the bowl of pea and ham soup I'd had for lunch. Back in the car, again as passenger, I was deciding what filter to use and whether to blur or not when going over a bump on the road made me slip and accidently hit the delete button. No more pea and ham soup image to share with the world. There are those of you out here that would be grateful for that and I put that attitude down to not having Instagr.am and/or a fun and/or addictive personality. The other issue I guess is, just how many images is too many images to share in a 24 hour period? I felt really guilty that I was bombarding flickr, twitter and facebook with these images - but the urge to shoot images and share them was greater than the guilt, so maybe I didn't feel that guilty. At the moment, the other downside is that Instagram only works on iPhones, but I'm sure that will change in time.

So. Do you have an iPhone? Well - what are you waiting for? Head over and download the app and start having a little fun. :) Come on - you show me yours and I'll show you mine - lol!
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