QuickLook: Hip a Hippie with Hipstamatic

There’s a big chance that you heard about this great iPhone app build to get “like analogue” effect from your iPhone (lets be honest) shitty quality shots into something that supposed to be looking bad anyway. (I know, right? Doesn’t make sense, but it’s digital era…) So let’s start from a shot and we’ll know what is it.

Let’s star from the beginning – Hipstamatic is designed to add old-school photo effect to you digital iphone shots and make them cool. The idea comes from old plastic cameras made in the 60-80s (mainly by Kodak since the 60s and called Instamatic hence the name) these cameras were well known due the faulty (as they were extremely cheap) behaviours that produced some of the most iconic photo effects. The popularity of the effect spawned number of imitators – so there’s a chance that your cheap point-and-shoot camera did this and you haven’t noticed it as many of these were given to the kinds for different occasions. (like first communions – that’s how I got mine). So after the years the world changed (really it haven’t) we got our mobiles, compacts and finally iPhones.

Well then some nice lad thought – hey, it would be great to imitate this effect with the phone since you have it on you all the time (more as a shitty necessity than real need) and voil – Hipstamatic was born. Now I’m not gonna go into much detail as I’m not really that much into photography, but if you love design and own the iPhone (or some ipod touch) listen to me when I say: you should give it a try as even the worst idea for a photo with Hipstamatic can end up with very artistic result (almost like this guy from Manhunt that was using plastic bag and for some sick reason you kept playing).

The app comes with few sets of “old-school” presets (plus seven more in-app purchases) that include: a camera film, a flash, lens (and new case, but this one doesn’t add much). Now from my experience I don’t think the film type adds that much apart from the funny looking edges – let me know if I’m wrong. Now two things that add a lot are: lenses and flashes.

These two setting (in my opinion) have the biggest impact on the cross-process like effect of your photos and it’s great to experiment with both as the same lens can look very different with flash effect applied. Why do I say flash effect and not just “flash” – because iPhone doesn’t (till 4) have one (don’t even get me started) so the software tries to apply some-like-flash-thing to give you the impression that you do.

While this normally is a bad idea it makes sense in the app that’s all about distorting the reality. You can pick select your film/lens/flash from any set and use it with different elements from another set – this virtually gives you insane amount of possibilities (plus add in-app purchases) to experiment with. Another great feature I found very useful is “Shake to Randomize” function which does exactly what it says: every time you shake your device Hipstamatic will pick random elements of film/lens/flash and create set for you – sometimes with great results (often with horrible too).

Found myself most comfortable with Robert Glitter (blue tints) / Kaimal Mark II (red tints) lenses and Dreampop flash as these too (most of the shots below were made with this set) just work for my eye as it gives this bluish tone with some nice worm violet-yellows and these colours I love. There’s more options and setting you can try but i’ll leave it for you.

Gonna live you guys to it – go ahead and try for yourself (as nothing can ruin the horrible iphone photo quality anyway) – also make sure to check out the Hipstamatic webpage and Flickr group for some awesome shots. Make sure to mail me with your hip-photos or post it in the comments. Cheers and few more shots for you – all the images included in this post were done my me – some in London, some in Spain.

Adam Spizak

Adam is an illustrator and designer with almost 13 years of experience in both online and print design. His main inspiration comes from music and books. You can find more information at www.spizak.com and by following his @adamspizak.

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1 Response

  1. Hey, I haven’t checked in here for a while, but I will put you on my bloglist so I don’t forget to check back

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