Trends in Technology: Instagram and Photo Sharing AppsWednesday, May 18, 2011 20:17
What’s that fifth limb you’ve been sprouting for the past year or three? Oh, that’s just your Smartphone, a small communication device with an importance so all-encompassing it might as well double as a heart monitor. Recently, the boom in photo sharing apps provides another reason to be obsessed, both for their ability to turn anyone into Irving Penn and their business bolstering implications. The most discussed photo-centric software of the moment is arguably Instagram — an app that melds social media with photography and Photoshop. It’s addictive, easy to use, and changing the way people connect, share creative content, and market in both the large and small business industries.
Chances are you’ve long been familiar with Instagram. The free application is so popular that it reached 1 million users only two and a half months after it’s launch. According to TechCrunch, it’s now adding 130,000 new registered users per week for a current total of over 2.2 million. At first only for iPhones, an Instagram API was recently developed to enable compatibility with multiple platforms and other apps. “…the Instagram community is building a rich visual history of the world. It’s only natural to find ways of encouraging talented developers to build interesting ways to explore the data,” says a release on Instagram.com
Needless to say, it’s ability to capture images that can then be altered by applying toned “filters” is an incredibly fun way to document life and instantly share photography online. Users can follow each other’s Instagram photo stream the same way that people “follow” one another on Twitter. Images can also be marked with #hashtags so like-minded Instagramers can find and track shots of interest. Blog platforms have developed plug-ins that allow instant streaming and uploading from the Instagram app to websites. In light of these features and the high quality of Instagram photos, bloggers and independent business owners are opting to leave their heavy and complicated DSLRs at home.
When it comes to creating graphics for promos, snapping images for their blogs, or even capturing product shots for their online stores, Instagram can provide everything an independent business owner needs to get ‘er done. For example, jeweler I Live to Create is an Instagram user and independent designer who creates promos for her Facebook page using Instagram images of her wares. She also uses the app to take funky product shots for her Etsy store.
Another innovative development on the Instagram forefront is Postagram, a new capability that enables users to print their Instagram images as postcards for $1. A write up over on Wired.com explains, “Postagram takes your Instagram photos, lets you add a message (up to 140 characters) and then mails a printed copy to anyone, anywhere in the world. The picture is printed at 300 dpi on heavy photo paper and comes surrounded by a postcard, from which the print can be popped out. Each picture costs $1 to print and send, and you have to do nothing but choose the picture and pay.”
Printsgram is a similarly exciting printing program that sends a user PDF files of their Instagram images for printing. A user can select different poster sizes, foldable paper cubes and even stickers for free.
Looking to maximize your Instagram use? In addition to the software innovations existing inside the plastic shell of your phone, gadgets and accessories are aiding the Smartphone’s metamorphosis into full-fledged professional camera.
- The Glif is a tripod and kickstand in one that props and stabilizes an iPhone 4 so it’s camera ready.
- And to round everything out, this article from PC World offers general tips on How to Improve Shooting with a Camera Phone.
While nothing may come close to the crisp quality and tonal range of a $1,500 + DSLR, innovations in media and technology, such as the Instagram app, usually mean that concurrent evolutions in marketing and business are not far behind. Could this impact the way we create business cards or memorabilia for craft shows? Have any advice or insight on camera phone apps or other related developments? Please keep us all in the know by commenting below!