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Five-Star Apps: Photography

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You are a camera. Carrying an iPhone or newest iPod touch means there’s never a time you aren’t ready to take a picture. But is the picture ready for you? In this chapter, learn how to make an ordinary photo extraordinary, get playful, and view the results.
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$1.99 • Synthetic Infatuation •

Use classic camera treatments and effects to punch up standard iPhone pictures

Photographers of any vintage will tell you that the film is part of what makes the picture. So are the lens and the camera body. You may frame the shot, set the exposure, and choose the right time, but photos have always been a result of unpredictable outcomes from all the factors that go into them.

Hipstamatic tries to put some of those combinations under glass by aptly mimicking the lens effects of particular camera models, the color and development peculiarities of particular films, and the filter and cast of flashes.

All pictures are taken with the Hipstamatic 150 camera body (a tip of the hat to a 30-year-old model), which offers three lenses, three films, and two flash choices. More sets of camera, flashes, and films can be purchased in-app for 99¢ each.

When setting up a shot, the app lets you choose among the camera options you own. Tap the turn-around arrow at lower right to make selections. The icons along the bottom correspond to film, flash, and lenses. Tap any of them, and you can swipe back and forth among what’s available. (It’s also a sales pitch for items you don’t own, with access to the in-app store from the same view.) Tap any specialty item, like a flash, and the screen fills with detailed information about what kind of results to expect. Tap the turn-around arrow again to return to the main camera view and take photos.

You frame pictures in a sort of cleverly awkward way: the viewfinder only shows you part of the image area, which means you’re working more roughly, but can produce happy accidents. You can turn this off and see the entire framed area, but you may like it better with the viewfinder cropping; I thought it added randomness. (Launch the Settings app and swipe to the Hipstamatic icon.)

From the camera side, swipe the flash bottom to “power it up,” and tap the big yellow button to take a picture. A Developing label appears for a moment, and then you need to wait for the green Print Ready light to wink on at the lower left. (The verisimilitude may wear thin after a few of those.)

Tap the photo square to view pictures, which are always framed as squares. From the photo view, you can create collections of images (called stacks), which can be emailed, or shared on Facebook, Flickr, or a Tumblr site. You can also order prints in sets of 9 or 27, with any quantity for each image.

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