Categories
Photography

Instagram: A use for missed shots and crappy photos

There are many times in a photoshoot that you miss the shot. The image is out of focus, you get under or over exposed images, etc. Well, don’t throw them away, you can still use those shots.

Long leg jeans

I went to one of the Intermoda Trends runway and found out there was a new rule: No DSLR photography allowed. Why do this at a fashion show? I have no idea, but if you didn’t have a press pass, you could not use a DSLR. I was raging because I could see several people using mirrorless cameras with the same sensors as a DSLR shooting away, and just because my camera was “professional-looking” I could not use it and they could use theirs.

So I tried shooting “from the hip”, very discretely just aiming and trying to get a shot of the runway. I didn’t focus manually, since I had no chance to even check the viewfinder once. I relied on the autofocus for the first shots, then locked the focus and continued shooting. When I downloaded all my images for review, I found out, unsurprisingly, that I had 200 shots of unfocused models at the runway. The autofocus got locked focusing the front row, not the runway.

Long black dress

I thought of deleting them all, but for some reason just kept them as JPEGs. Then I remembered how Instagram has a very crappy quality, and immediately thought that it was the perfect place to put missed shots. I tested my theory and I got a lot of likes from those missed shots.

So if you have some out of focus images or crappy quality shots, don’t throw them away, try posting them on Instagram, as quality and sharpness is not one of its attributes.

Categories
News Photography

Snapseed for Android vs Instagram

Snapseed

After Google bought Nik Software, makers of the then iOS-only app Snapseed, today they have released it for Android and for free! Snapseed is a very easy to use photo app to edit and enhance your shots.

Editing photos with Snapseed is very easy and the results are good. But let me compare it with the most popular photo sharing app right now: Instagram.

Filters

They both apply filters to photos. On Instagram you select the desired filter and see the preview instantly. You can’t select more than one filter on a photo. On Snapseed, not only you can apply several filters to a photo, but you can also tweak the settings of each filter.

instagram filters
snapseed filters

You have complete control over each effect you apply and that opens the posiblities to produce very interesting things. Snapseed not only applies filters to a photo, it can also straighten it, sharpen it and apply color correction on it.

snapspeed tweaking options
snapseed easy to use

Cropping

On Instagram all photos need to be square, and thus, you have to crop your images if you’re using the standard camera app on your device. Unless you use the Instagram camera app that takes only squared pictures, you will need to leave out something on your image when you crop it. Snapseed works with the full image, no matter the size. This includes panoramic and even the new photo sphere in Android 4.2.

instagram cropping
snapseed with panoramic photo

Social

The community is what is lacking in Snapseed, since it’s only a photo editing application, not a social network. But that is why Google has integrated it with Google+ and the photography community there is amazing. On Instagram you have a nice huge community but most of the pictures are not high quality material and since you can’t tweak the filters, you get the same feeling across multiple images and users. But even then, I love browsing the photos from my Twitter contacts that have accounts there, and double tapping to love their posts and explore new users to follow from what my peers have “loved” too.

With Snapseed you can stamp your own unique style to your shots and share them with the huge Google+ photography community. Over there, there’s more than just mobile photos of mirror self shots or coffee and food pictures. It’s a community with great professional and amateur photographers and good quality images. Also, it’s hard to browse and explore the Instagram social network from the browser. There’s been some improvements lately but still, it was not designed to be a web experience but a mobile one. Google+ is a very nice web and mobile experience and lets you post more than just your mobile photos.

instagram post
Google plus post via snapseed

Quality

One of my biggest rants about using Instagram is the quality of the images it produces. Since it was designed specifically for mobile devices and mobile sharing, the files are very compressed and with a very low quality. Here’s a sample of the same image before and after Instagram. You can see the difference in quality from miles away. For me, Instagram destroys your images and the only place they look good is on a mobile device (try printing your pictures!). Snapseed doesn’t compress the final image that much, so the result is a lot more enjoyable in any media.

instagram quality

Instagram quality

snapseed quality

Snapseed quality

Conclusion

I only use Instagram for it’s sharing capabilities. I can multi-post from one app to several social networks with one click. That part I do like. For the rest, I think that Snapseed covers most of my photo editing needs and it’s very good at that. Snapseed will give you all your photo editing needs on a full size image without completely destroying your image quality. They made it easy to share on Google+, naturally, but you can also send it to any other app with the standard “Share” button functionality, but it won’t be one click.

instagram sharing options
google plus post via snapseed

With all these competition for mobile photography, I wonder when will Flickr wake up and what will they do if they ever update and improve their poor and slow app.

Categories
Photography

I’ve joined Instagram

Instagram logo

After long time avioding the hype, I decided last week to finally join Instagram. I’ve been trying to get more involved with photography and reading several good photographer’s blogs and some recommended to get into that. Also that after reading that it is powered by Django, I had lots of curiosity.

Among the things I like about Instagram are the many preconfigured filters. There’s a lot of them and fast to try out. It would be great if you could fade a bit some of those effects or tune them, just like you can do with Picnic when editing photos on Google Plus. Also the basic color & saturation corrections would be nice to have too. The blur effect is very cool and easy to use, I always used to do that by hand (or tried to) on Gimp or other photo editing software. The Ice Cream Sandwich image editor doesn’t have a way to do it, so having it on Instagram is nice. Sharing on multiple social networks is very comfortable too. I wish one could configure what albums on the phone get synchronized with google plus auto-upload feature. Right now it only syncs the main camera album, and all Instagram edits get saved at the “Instagram” album, so they don’t get synced, but that’s an Android ICS feature waiting to happen, not Instagram’s app fault.

So far I’ve seen, there is no web interface to browse all your and others pictures on Instagram. There’s another web app called Statigr.am and you can use that as your web access to the images. I wonder why that decision was made, a good web interface is always handy, plus you use your larger screen of your desktop or laptop. I’m a bit worried about the license on my uploaded images, but I don’t plan to upload anything important anyway. And if I did, I would republish on Flickr with a Creative Commons license, the way I like it.

As an online photo sharing app, I still prefer Flickr over all the services I’ve tried: Picasa/Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and recently 500px. Even though many criticize it for being outdated or “left behind”, just because it doesn’t have a decent mobile application doesn’t mean they’ve staggered. Recent minor changes have been great usability commodities and it lets me share and blog my pictures easier (when on my computer, not phone/tablet) letting me choose from different sizes to, for example, share them on my blog. Community wise I’m still not sure, since I don’t have lots of followers on Instagram, the activity on my photos is not that big.

Here are some of the pictures I’ve uploaded:

chamaleon

Llama

Chinchilla

Don’t forget to follow me as gabrielsaldana (don’t know if there’s a way to make a link to follow or something, since there’s no web interface to my profile). I still have lots to learn about Instagram. Mind to share with me some tips in the comments?