June 22, 2013

Photo Apps

Yesterday on the 2Peas General Scrappin' forums, the question was raised as to why crafters like Instagram so much.  As I mentioned on the thread, I am by no means an IG elite user (Janna Werner is clearly light years ahead of me!) but I enjoy using IG for the cool filters and the square cropping, because let's face it, retro is still very chic these days.

I also mentioned having printed my IG photos and Janna was curious as to how I go about doing this, because if you've used IG, you've probably noticed that there doesn't appear to be a way to download, print or otherwise save your photos outside of IG.  This is something that really confounded me and being a scrapbooker with a stubborn streak, I wasn't content to simply enjoy my IG photos digitally - I wanted more; I wanted them in my hands and stuck to pretty paper and layered with embellishment yumminess.

So I went Google searching - and found Instaport.  Instaport is awesome.  You sign in with your IG username name and it accesses your IG gallery.  You can then download and backup your IG photos, which also means that you can print them once downloaded!  I also really liked their download search window, which allows you to define which parameters you want to use for selecting photos.  You get options such as 'all photos', 'last 10 photos', liked photos, specify a date period or based on hashtag keywords.  Like I said, awesome.  I print photos once a month at the end/start of a month so I use the specify date option.

Once I have my IG photos downloaded, I just upload them to the online photo printing company I use.  You should also make sure to check if your printing company automatically changes the photo size aspect ratio.  Mine does - their default setting is to stretch any photos to fit inside the standard 10x15cm photo size, which means that if you leave this default setting, you will get a warped IG photo.  I just select the "don't resize" option instead, which prints my photo as 4x4 inches on a roughly 4x6 inch photo paper, then I just cut off the excess white space.  I have noticed, however, that certain IG filters can cause pixelated edges on some of my printed IG photos.  I don't have a list of which filters these are to provide you with at the moment, since I've only just started printing IG photos.  I'm going to try resizing these pixelated ones into smaller squares and re-printing them to see if there is an improvement in the quality.  I'll let you know how that goes in a week or two.

Janna also asked if I only use IG filters so I'll share with you some of my favourite photo apps I've been playing with lately.  I should probably mention here that I use an Android phone (HTC One) so I'll be linking to the Google Play store.  I'm not sure if these apps are also available for iPhone (probably) but you can search the App Store easily enough.

Photo Frame





A nice photo collage app, Photo Frame has a very large variety of collage combinations available that use between 1 to 9 photos.  The single photo option simply adds a white border frame around your photo.  You choose which grid you want to use and then simply tap each grid section to pull up your phone's photo gallery and choose the photo you want to insert.  Once inserted, you can move and resize your photo to your liking.  All collages are cropped to squares but the photos used inside them may be either squares or rectangles.  I've found that these photos print very well, since the app is using the photo's original high quality settings and the white frames look very polished.  Note that the free app version is very ad heavy but it's a mere 7:SEK (approx. $1) to upgrade to the ad-free version, which I'll probably do after I've used the app a little longer for testing purposes.

I can see a lot of potential with this app.  Right now I've been using it to collage food shots from my weekly Thursday nights out with girl friends - Pretentious Dining is a good example.



 InstaPlace





The Insta series of apps are fun apps that use your phone's internal data info to apply an overlay to your photos; in the case of InstaPlace, it pulls your geo location info for a photo that you can either take within the app or that you choose from your phone's photo gallery.  And because you can choose a photo from your gallery, this means you can layer the InstaPlace overlay onto your IG photos - how cool is that?  There are a good variety of different skin categories and styles available, even in the free version and you can move them around your photo (top, bottom or one of the sides) so that you don't block important features in your photos.  And if the app is having trouble pulling your location info, you can manually write it in.  The pro version unlocks all of the available skins and costs approx. 15:SEK (approx. $2) to upgrade; I'm still testing this app out so I haven't upgraded yet but I think I probably will - just want to see how they print first.

Obviously this app is fab for anyone who travels regularly and I'm thinking I might go back through some of my travel photos that I have yet to print and apply the overlays.

InstaWeather





Another of the Insta series of apps, this one again uses your phone's data info to apply an overlay to your photos; as the name suggests, it gives a weather report based on your geo location and current time info for a photo and again, you can either take the photo inside the app or choose one from your photo gallery (and thus also apply to IG photos).  It works the same as the InstaPlace app in that you have a variety of skins and styles to choose from and can move the overlay around your photo so that you don't block out important bits.  The pro version is a similar cost to the one above and unlocks all available skins.

One thing I found with this app was that I couldn't get it to retrieve the weather info at first.  It just sat there saying it was constantly loading the info and never did.  I rebooted my phone and everything suddenly worked fine so if you install this app and have the same problem, try rebooting to fix it.

So those are my favourite toys at the moment.  I'm still looking for a really good photo booth app, though, so if you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!