If you’re a smartphone user and you don’t already have Instagram, read on to see why this camera app is taking over the world of mobile-phone photography.
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If you have an iPhone, chances are you have the Instagram app. And if you're an Android user, odds are you're just tuning into the celebratory news that the popular camera app has come to your OS. Instagram is a photography app, a social photo-sharing platform and an insanely popular tool to publicize your candids of choice. President Barack Obama himself joined the photography-app service. But before we continue to stroke this app’s ego (although warranted—even the mobile app’s website was getting 300 million page views per month as of January), let’s dive into the mobile app’s function, bells and whistles.
First off, Instagram isn’t just a cool tool for taking photos; it’s also a social platform. When users download the app, they’re prompted to create a username and password for the service. Here, you can follow your Instgram-happy friends and see who’s snapping what, plus like, comment on or share others’ photos from the app’s main feed. You can even see what people your friends follow, what your friends like, and all those other TMI details that are now the norm thanks to services like Facebook. Though you can follow certain friends, everyone on the Instagram platform can see what you and your account posts. You can, however, set your profile to private (followers only) if you wish.
So what are users sharing, liking and commenting on? The photos, of course. And not just any photos—these are advanced smartphone photos, sometimes 8-megapixel camera shots (if you're an iPhone user) and definitely comparable to your run-of-the-mill digital camera. After users take their photos, they then choose from an array of photo filters.
This is Instagram’s bread and butter. Everyone loves the feeling of applying photo effects to their pics, making them look, well, not like mobile photographs. From the sepia-like Toaster filter to the shadow-enhancing X-Pro II filter, a simple picture of a toothpick can transform into a Warhol-inspired piece of art with the tap of an Instagram filter. And don’t forget Instagram’s well-known photo border—a feature so simple yet so desired that it rivals the outrageous business concept of Silly Bands.
Some things are so hipster, so popular and so cool, that even if you’re an against-the-grain kind of person, you can’t even question them. Indulge in Instagram if you haven’t already. It’s free.
Reviewed: Jan 11, 2012 | Mary GeorgerAlso featured on: 10 Best Android Apps of 2012…So Far, Also featured on: Mobile App Standouts at SXSW 2012