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Have you been‘Instagram’ed?

PRIYA SHETH
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The latest verb for the photo filters is now Instagram, a wildly popular, free photo-sharing application. Instagram allows users to take a photo, apply a photo-filter and share it on a social networking site. There was a time when every person on your friend-list on Facebook had an ‘Instragram’ed profile picture. This application can be downloaded on the iPhone and on all android phones.

Snap away

Celebrated a friend’s birthday? The pictures are uploaded on Facebook in a matter of a few minutes. Saw a neighbourhood fire? Here comes the photo, Twitteratti. Photographs which used to take days to develop can now be shared in a few seconds. The social-media revolution has speeded up the process of sharing of digital photographs.

Of course, now photographs are incomplete without the perfect brightness-contrast balance, a few photo filters and funny-frames. Digitalization of photographs and pocket-sized inbuilt phone cameras has made the process simpler. Even regular phones come loaded with a choice of ‘mosaic’ or ‘charcoal’ filters and funny clip-art.

There was a time when these kinds of photographs were only possible at ‘photo booths.’ Although booths have become obsolete now, there was a time when your visit to an amusement park was incomplete without visiting the fun ‘photo booth.’

It was a colourfully spray-painted booth, perched in the middle of the street, covered on all sides with curtains on all sides to give it a studio-like appearance.

Want a vintage look? Just click on the ‘fun-filter’. Want the mad-hatter look? Select the ‘fun-frame’ Want the black-and-white look? Snap. You walked out perfectly happy, with a printed copy of the photo strip.

Although Instagram was developed in 2010, it gained popularity after Facebook acquired it in April 2012.

Effects

There are a number of effects that users of the application can apply to photographs such as Toaster, Inkwell, Earlybird, Sutro etc. Toaster, for instance, adds a high exposure effect to photographs, while Sutro gives a sepia effect with emphasis on purple and yellow. According to the Instagram blog, the photo “community has grown to over 80 million registered users who have shared nearly 4 billion photos.”

Riding on the popularity of Instagram, a number of start-ups like Pinstagram, Statigram and Webstagram were launched. These start-ups allow users to maximise their experience of Instagram online.

Pinstagram allows Instagram users to access their Instagram accounts online, while Statigram gives users their Instagram account statistics. It contains tools to help users manage their Instagram accounts. For instance: average lifespan of a photograph, number of ‘likes’, comments etc.

A number of photo-sharing websites such as Flickr and Tumblr have photographs of various objects like watches, flowers, ladders and even bath-tubs Instagramed. It has become an editing delight for photographers!

Concept camera

Now, camera developers in the United States are working on a special Instagram camera. This camera will be called ‘Instagram Socialmatic.’ This camera will come with an inbuilt printer, which will allow photographs to be printed on the spot. The device will also come with a Wifi and Bluetooth to allow pictures to be transferred to another device or posted directly on a social networking website.

There are a number of Instagram communities on Facebook and followers on Twitter. The photo revolution has just begun. There are a number of applications such as PicsArt – Photo Studio, BeFunky Photo Editor, Photo Art, Photo Warp available at online application stores.

priya.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 13, 2012)
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