Ever wonder why mobile phone photography is exploding?
A discussion I had last night crystalized why this is indeed the case. Mobile phone photography, in particular iPhoneography, has distilled down the simple and core attraction of taking photos… simply put it facilitates taking photos for the sake of taking photos and exploring visually. There is no preconceived notion of what is right, acceptable or marketable. You see something interesting, you shoot it and there is no major post-processing effort required.
There are catalysts to this craze including the BestCamera, Hipstamatic and Instagram apps that are bridging phone photography to social media and making a big dent in how most people think of photography. In the near future when someone says in conversation they took a photo, the interpretation by default will be that the photo was taken with a mobile phone and not an SLR. You want proof? Just last week the New York Times pointed out that the iPhone 4 is just quickly rising to become the most popular camera used on photos submitted to Flickr.
Of the three community based photography mobile apps previously noted, I’m most heavily using Instagram. Why?
- It’s free
- It has a similar posting vocabulary to Twitter (hashtags, @ replies, etc.)
- Vibrant community of users (2 million who joined in 5 months!)
- Easy to share via Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Tumblr, and Posterous
- The app keeps improving with new features
- Like Flickr there is an API facilitating new services and sites to view & share photos (ex. Postagram, Webstagram, Instagallery etc.)
- The user interface is refined and simple from registration to sharing & reviewing photos
I won’t sugar coat it. Instagram has had their rough spots (ex. their version 1.6 release having cache issues for some), but overall the functionality, and track record of regular incremental improvements has been impressive. It is the Flickr of the Mobile world and my most frequently accessed app on my iPhone and iPad. Instagram is by no means a finished product and ever expanding and improving. Instagram clearly has a larger plan expanding beyond the basic app, the release of their API and burgeoning sister apps like Postagram are a sign of the future. The mobile market is huge so it’s likely that there will be multiple players in this field and I’ll be keeping close tabs on BestCamera and Hipstamatic. For now I’m having the most fun with Instagram because its so simple, makes it easy to share output from other photo editing apps and most importantly has made it easy to take photos for the pure and simple joy of taking a photograph.
If you made it this far and you’re on an Android phone fear not, Instagram is rumored to be coming to Android.
Bonus: My Recommended Instagram User List (for the time being):
- JimGoldstein (my account)
- JKost (Julianne Kost)
- IGersSF (Instagram’ers San Francisco)
Other Names You Might Recognize:
- Darren Rowse (AKA Problogger)
- treyratcliff (AKA Stuck In Customs)
- Zarias (Zack Arias)
- TheTrudz (Trudy Hamilton)
- TigerBeat (Steve Rhodes)
[tags]photography, iphoneography, app, review, iphone, ipad[/tags]