Fast Company just published a 3 -part series on the Hipstamatic App:
From rooftop bashes and acquisition talks to staff clashes and layoffs, Hipstamatic’s founders and ex-employees describe the startup’s losing struggle to keep pace with Instagram, Facebook, and others in the white-hot photo-sharing space. In the first of three installments, Twitter comes calling, but Hipstamatic decides to go social on its own.
Its a great read on the pitfalls of an internet company searching for growth in these crazy days of social media. I just wish it wasn’t about an iOS app I enjoy so much! If you’re reading this chances are you’re an Instagram user. I’ve talked about why I like Instagram before, primarily the quick and easy sharing to several social networks. I know its hard to imagine but Hipstamatic was the cool iPhone camera app before Instagram was the must have camera app.
But as much as I love the social aspects of Instagram, I kinda gravitate to Hipstamatic when I want to make photos rather than just share the moment with my phone. With this app, you pick the “film“, the “lens” and create a combination of processes to produce a unique looking image. This table is a just a smattering of the combos. The developers have managed to figure out how to add several new films and lens creating new looks. It also means I’ve probably spent about $5-10 of in-app purchases. If you want a digital Lomo, on your phone the Hipstamatic is the closest you can get.
The other thing I like about it, you can’t cheat. I don’t know if I could use the word “purist” when it comes to iphoneography, but I kinda like that the app can only take new pics, not grab pics from your camera roll. I see that a lot on instagram. Anyone can upload shots done with DSLR’s and post them on Instagram. Yeah I’ve done it and it feels like cheating.
There are two things about the app that bugs me. Both kind of play into the whole basis of the app. The camera UI adhere to the “toy camera” metaphor a bit too stringently. The crappy viewfinder, the lack of controls, sometimes frustrate. When that’s the case I’ll basically switch apps. The other thing that bothers me? The time it takes for the images to “develop”. I can’t really complain, I mean it’s suppose to simulate film processing, and it really only takes 10-20 seconds, but on a smartphone it feels like an eternity. Not to mention the battery drain!
I hope Hipstamatic figures out what works for them. Perhaps rather than becoming yeat another social network, they can just relax and become comfortable with what they are, a cool camera app and nothing more. I hope as the app matures they realize a little less authenticity would made the app more appealing to more people. I continue to use it simply because I can create some very cool images with the app.
If you’re relatively new to this whole iphoneography thing, I heavily suggest you take a look at Hipstamatic as a legimate creative tool.
DpReview has started a mobile photogrpahy focused site call Connect. One of the first article is a great explanation of the film and lens paks and some of the cooler combos. They do a way better job of explaining than I do!