I wrote about Instagram 5 years ago. I liked how it encouraged bite-sized daily creativity. I’ve continued to slowly learn about photography in bits and pieces. What started with an app 5 years ago lead to me buying a nicer camera (Sony RX100) and now a full-fledge amateur photographer camera (Nikon D3200 with 300mm lens – used on ebay). Yesterday, I walked around the park adjusting shutter speed and aperture while manually focusing – OMG photo poser! At least I’m not developing prints, yet.
I still love Instagram. Many people don’t like it. Obsessing over “Likes” rubs some the wrong way. I’ll admit likes are pretty meaningless – easy to give. But in terms of a feedback loop, they’re priceless. Similarly, some would say that with the apps and filters available these days it is all-to-easy to make something out of nothing – to be an artist with no “skill.” This is an issue with photography generally – it’s easy to get started. How much credit should the photographer get if they happen on a beautiful scene? How can we make feedback as easily available for playing piano or guitar?
I still use Instagram as a test bed for a tiny slice of daily creativity. Other people use Instagram to document their life. They share day-today experiences framed for their personal significance (“I had sushi for lunch,” or “arrived in Hawaii”) – not micro-works of art – except in the context of someone’s life.
It seems like almost everyone goes through a photography phase in their life. That’s not a bad thing. Every slice of creating instead of consuming should be praised. We should be rewarded for cultivating our creativity. The next goal for me is to work on telling stories, creating interesting compositions, not just recognizing them or capturing them by luck.
Here are some updates to the favorite photo apps I’ve written about previously. What are your favorite cameras and apps? Please leave a comment below.
- Instagram – still a winner. Hashtags are the secret to exposing your photos to a wider audience. I love that I have a different followers there than on Facebook. I still only post my best photos (one or two a week). It’s not just for phone photos, I publish photos taken with my other cameras too.
- Aurora HDR – easy to use. Now HDR is built in to the iPhone’s camera, but Aurora is great to use on your computer. The RX100 does automatic exposure bracketing, so you can combine the best of two images into one.
- TiltShift: it was a fad (now built into Instagram). However, I recently discovered linear gradient filters in Adobe Lightroom. It gives you great control over tweaking your photos. It seems to be what most serious amateurs are using these days. Please leave a comment and let me know what you’re using.
- Same for re-touching (Lightroom on the desktop).
- 360 degree photos haven’t quite caught on yet, but I be they will as VR takes hold. I just use the panorama function on my phone and camera
- For selfies, the Facetune and Microsoft Selfie apps are the current champions.
- Prisma has won the simulated drawing and painting wars – for now.