Another blog post for the Australia and New Zealand librarians’ 23 mobile things. This is the second thing. The next post will feature knitting, promise.
I have a very old phone with what I’m sure is a fairly ordinary camera, but it really does take surprisingly good photos. Even better, it’s always in my pocket so I can take a picture almost anytime. There really is nothing worse than wishing you had your camera with you when you see something that catches your eye. I’ve definitely taken a lot more photos since I got my phone and I’ve also signed up for some photo challenges which have helped me to keep my eyes open for photo opportunities.
I’ve been on Flickr for years and last year joined a Flickr weekly photo challenge and added a Photo a Day one this year — although I’m now way behind on the weekly one so I might have stretched myself a bit. It is good discipline though and keeping your eyes open for photo opportunities allows you to see wonderful new things you might not have otherwise noticed. I’ve also met some lovely new people, Flickr is a very friendly place to hangout.
When the Android Instagram app came out I signed up for that too and usually post a couple of photos a week. It’s a different kind of interaction on Instagram compared with Flickr. On Instagram you get some immediate interaction and then it’s gone. On Flickr you sometimes have quite in depth interactions that can stretch over a long time. I probably wouldn’t put an ephemeral photo like what I made for lunch on Flickr but I would put it on Instagram. They’re very different but I like them both and I don’t really understand why some people feel the need to choose.
Unfortunately the Android Flickr app is yet to catch up with the new iOS one and doesn’t allow you to upload to groups. I use it for checking comments but I mostly use another app Upstream for uploading photos to Flickr. I have location services turned off on my phone, but I usually edit my Flickr map manually and I have a geofence around my home location so only trusted people can see the details. I wish more people would put their Flickr photos on a map. I once found a photo of some fantastic street art in Fitzroy and the Flickr map allowed me to find out where it was located so I could take a photo myself!
I rarely use the standard camera on my phone since I installed the Camera360 app. It has some excellent effects and features and seems to produce better quality photos. If I use an effect in Camera360 I can set it so it saves one photo with the effect and one original, so then I can also play around with the original in another editing app if I want to. I must say that I’m not much impressed with the Instagram filters so I usually take my Instagram photos using the Camera360 camera and apply any effects there, or I make the edits in another app before uploading to Instagram from the Gallery.
I’ve tried a few photo apps over the past year. The ones I keep on my photo home screen are the ones I use most often, the ones I use less often but don’t want to delete I’ve shuffled into a folder, and I’ve discarded some others completely.
I’ve got a couple of other photo editing apps in my folder but I mostly use BeFunky. It has all the basic edits you’d expect such as brightness, contrast, cropping, and straightening plus it has a range of really nice filters. TouchRetouch is excellent if you’re prone to getting your thumb or foot in the corner of an otherwise good photo, but you can also airbrush out anything else that’s spoiling your picture, and PicFrame is handy for making collages.
The best thing about all of this is, of course, the social aspect. What’s the point of taking great photos if nobody gets to see them?