It was so much fun, snapping away with Instagram, having fun choosing a fancy filter and sharing it right away with your social network. That was almost a year ago and many has change since then.
It started with the photo app getting slower with every update. Somehow they managed to make the app more complicated with the same features. Just so many steps have to be completed and decisions to be made before being able to shoot the next photo.
Then Facebook bought Instagram for an astronomic amount of money and the updates felt more and more like Facebook strategy of tightening up the service for total control and merger with the social network. Now the next step was taken with the new user terms and conditions with as a result a huge outcry of the Instagram users from photo journalists to National Geographic and everyday snappers. Instagram can sell your images without telling you for advertising, and you won’t see any payment, you won’t even know.
It is a very confusing and disturbing matter. National Geographic as paused their Instagram account and might erase it, if the terms are indeed of that meaning. People went onto the streets to protest against it and a whole wave of blog posts is trying to explain what’s going on.
Most worrying is also the mention that the Instagram terms are pretty much the same now as the Facebook terms, which would mean that Facebook can sell you photos without telling you and mostly using them as they wish.
Where is this going? It is like anything people like, enjoy and love is kidnapped, held hostage and abused by greedy powers or going more the psychological path, narcissistic powers?
Read more about it in the listed blog posts below:
How many photo apps do you have on your iPhone and how do you use them? Lets look at Instagram, Hipstamatic, 645 Pro and Polamatic. From the technical-practical point of view I must say that the process of finalizing an image in Instagram takes to long for my taste and in Hipstamatic the preparation process of choosing a film, lens and flash is rather complicated. Both technical aspects are somehow disturbing for the intuitional and creative workflow. Yet the filters are a highly intuitive tool, expressing how the photographer experiences the moment.
By observing myself in using the different photo apps I realized that the choice of the app depends on the subject and how I see and experience it. Already the choice of the app is intuitive, connected to the feel and look of the photographic subject. Imagine you are walking through a big garden with different sections. One part is forest like with huge trees, another one is with ponds and water features and again another one is a rose garden. For the forest like and open sections I tend to use 645 Pro with the different ratio options. Only occasionally when some objects in the garden asked for attention I changed to Instagram. The rose garden became an entirely Hipsatmatic experience, giving it the old English rose garden feeling. I did not use the Polamatic app, although it is a great tool to create images with descriptions in the old Polaroid style. Probably it’s the right tool when one needs additional words to say something. Anyway, when using Instagram and Hipstamatic I preferred to choose one setting for all shots, because otherwise I couldn’t just shoot away and let the seeing of subjects flow. At least Hipstamatic lets you shoot away once you choose your settings. Instagram asks processing decision once you took the image and I find this disturbing, which makes it not an easy to shoot away tool.
So, how to use the apps the intuitive way and how to make the right choices? First of all know your apps and what they can do for you. Be familiar with their workflows and know what which setting means for your photographs. Then tune it to the place where you are and understand how you feel about it. Then choose the app that can translate your feeling the best way. And now shoot away.