This life in pictures.

In Which I Am Asked For Simple Advice and Wind Up With A Blog Post

Dad, with hat, shot with Retro Camera

Dad, with hat, shot with Retro Camera

Not to brag even a little bit, but I’ve become rather known in my own little corner of the world over the past couple of years for what I can do with a camera phone. A lot of people have trouble masking their utter contempt when I tell them the image they’re fawning over was shot and edited entirely with my 3 year old Droidx (not that I’ve had it that long, bought it refurbed for next to nothing). What can I say, I do the best I can with the tools I have.

I try to post (near) daily photos to my Facebook profile (sorry, the “good” photos of my kid are only viewable by friends), 98% of which are phone shots. I posted one a couple of days ago and got a message asking what software I use to edit, because they really liked the shots. I said I just used apps on the phone, but they wanted to know which ones. I started a quick reply, but realized by the fifth paragraph that I was responding with a blog post, so here we go…

I’m an Android user. As such, I can’t attest to the entire broad spectrum of phonography. From what I’ve seen, however, the stuff on the iphone makes what i use look like a fisher price toy. Like I said, I do the best I can with the tools I have, and these are a few of the standards.

Before I get into this completely, however, a brief disclaimer: I have not personally tried every available app out there, and more are developed every day. The following insights are based solely on my own experiences with the products I personally have tried or used regularly. i fully realize I may have missed the point of this or that and your own experience may turn out differently. Grain of salt, mileage may vary and all that.

On The Go, shot with Action Snap

On The Go, shot with Action Snap

I keep Quicksnap right in the tray at the bottom of the screen (you know, the ones that are always there even when you swipe through screens). It’s a pretty basic, but has enough features to put it on par with a basic point and shoot camera, plus it’s the fastest loading camera app I’ve found for Android. I edit all of the images that come out of this, but I’ll get into that in a bit. It comes bundled with the editing/sharing software Lightbox, which is pretty fun to get into, but I don’t use it as a front end editor.

My favorite creative camera app is Retro Camera. This app is like having half a dozen “toy” cameras on you at all times. The idea is that you’re shooting with a 20 year old toy film camera. What you shoot is what you get with no ability to manipulate or go back to an unaltered clean image. I really like it, so much so I paid for the plus version.

The pics I’ve posted of my kid in action lately (the 4 panel in one shots) were taken with Action Snap. I got it because it claimed to take the fastest photo on Android, and to my experience, it does. As soon as you press the shutter button, the image is being saved. No lag is a very cool feature when chasing a toddler. Because of how long it can sometimes take to save an image, however, I end up not using it that often. I do still like it for the sequential action shots from time to time, though.

Tutu Hat, edited with Magic Hour

Tutu Hat, edited with Magic Hour

On the editing side, I’ve used Magic Hour for quite awhile. It’s so easy, just load in a photo and pick your filter, or dive a little deeper and create your own. There’s a whole community of people uploading new filters all the time, which is nice, but I recommend restraint. I had to curb my use of this app in recent months, though, as I found myself becoming too complacent with the process. I had the same sort of problem with other personal favorites like Snaptastic, Pixlr-o-matic, Little Photo and Vignette. They all worked very well for me, but there’s a rut I tend to fall into with all of these apps, so I’m constantly looking for new options. I would certainly recommend trying them out for yourselves, though.

I hope this helps anyone who was looking for a touch of direction. There’s certainly many more options out there (there’s more options installed on my phone, in fact), but his sampling will give anyone trying to figure out how I do what I do a bit of a leg up.

One final note: I believe all of the links I’ve provided are for the free versions of the apps. There are certainly intrusive ad issues, limited functionality and, in many cases, reduced resolution. Give them a shot, though, and if you like them, drop the couple of bucks to upgrade. Come on, you probably paid hundreds of dollars on the phone, plus hundreds more in the monthly fees… what’s the deal with refusing to shove a couple bucks at a developer for an app you use and really like. Skip a latte if money is that tight, you cheap bastards.

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: And Then There Was Aviary « jedwardferguson

  2. Pingback: Instagram for Android?!? I’d Rather Not « jedwardferguson

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