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Smile! - The coolest photography-based apps

As the resident photographer here at the House Party blog, it's a natural fit for me to write about my favorite iPhone photography apps. They make it easy for anyone to look like a pro.

Hipstamatic is by far my favorite iPhone app of any kind. It's based off those old fashioned square photos that are very popular these day; you know, the ones with the slightly frayed edges. The app feels like I'm actually holding an old time camera. It lets you choose the type of film to use, which then controls the border and coloring of the image. There are also a lot of fun lenses to use that control the contrast and texture. Unlike other apps, I have to pick the effects before I take the photo. This recreates the lost fun of real photography because I end up with happy accidents and unexpected results. My favorite feature is that Hipstamatic also offers high quality prints of any of your photos. In fact, framed square photos adorn the walls of my already eclectic apartment.

Instagram is the most popular iPhone photography app. Like Hipstamatic, Instagram is about retro photography. But the main difference between the two apps is the social aspect of Instagram. I can see all the photos my friends take in the photo steam and I can toggle on which social platforms I want my photos to appear. Another great feature of Instagram is the ability to control the blur of the edges; this recreates the tilt-shift effect that makes everything look like a miniature.

Apps like Hipstamatic and Instagram make the claim that the future of iPhone photography is the retro look. But Picle brings an entirely new idea to the table. Picle uses the same photo application that's standard with the iPhone, but the secret sauce is that every photo I take comes with a two-second sound recording. For example, when I take a photo of my cat Say-say, I can record a few seconds of his squeaky meow. This was a lot of fun to use at a Flyers hockey game over the weekend. I was able to capture the sounds of all the shots during the opening warm up.

Slow Shutter is a very fun photography app, but not the most practical. Slow Shutter is just what it sounds like; it gives me the ability to slow down the shutter to take photos of light trails and blurry cat photos. Slow Shutter works really well when you can anchor the iPhone (with a tripod, for example) so it won't move at all during the photo.


IncrediBooth is a beautiful app made by the same company as Hipstamatic. IncrediBooth turns my iPhone into a photo booth. The app takes four timed photos and stacks them up on top of each other. It uses the same vintage editing as Hipstamatic and features four different lens options. This app is especially useful to help kill time on long subway rides with a friend.

What are some of your favorite photography apps?

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