The latest rage in toy camera apps for the iPhone is Instagram. Unlike the Hipstamatic which has you choose your film and lens before you take the shot, Instagram allows you to choose from one of 11 effects after you capture the image. (Actually, there’s 12 – you can choose to apply no effect if you like.)
I’ve selected two images to showcase the Instagram effects. One with skintones and the other more of a landscape shot. Some effects work better with different image types.
The effects vary from pretty cool to trite. Here they all are:
XPro II bumps up the contrast while tweaking the color to a yellow/orange. Burns in the corners too.
Lomo-fi is pretty much your classic, cross-processed high contrast look. (Back in the days of film, before everything was photoshopped, photographers would shoot slide film but process it in negative film chemistry to create a high-contrast look with vivid yellow highlights.)
Earlybird adds a fairly subtle desaturated look to the image while reducing contrast and burning in the edges. One of my favorites.
Lily gives you an idea of what it’s like to look at the world through a yellow-green urine jar. I’m gonna admit that I’m not much of a fan of this one.
Poprocket makes everything look pink and red with heavy vignetting.
Inkwell is one of the two black and white conversions. Less contrasty than its partner, it also opens up the skin tones. Notice how the highlight side of subject’s face is blown out here (almost like infrared). Sometimes the effect works, other times it’s not pretty.
Red/magenta objects in the image appear as nearly white due to the parameters of the conversion. Notice how the red arrow in the sign is almost blown out. Same with the green of the cactus. In looking at this conversion, I suspect the creators were trying to create an infrared effect.
Apollo applies a slight texture to the image, a cyan filter, burns in the edges and finishes off with a soft contrast curve. It’s not unlike the John S lens on the Hipstamatic.
Nashville is almost like a color neg film cross processed as slide film. (Back in the day, I’d do that when I wanted nearly infinite detail in both the highlights and shadow.) It’s low contrast with a cyan-yellow tint.
Gotham is the other one of the two black and white conversions. It is a little more contrasty than the other and seriously blocks up the shadows. If you have a flat light image with not a lot of shadows, this may be the better choice for you. Note how the blue sky almost turns black.
1977 creates a low contrast, warm feel sort of like old scratched print that’s been hanging on the wall since… 1977. Keeps the highlights from blowing out to white and softens the shadows a little. Notice how there’s plenty of shadow detail in this shot. Like a faded print, the skin tones are shifted to magenta.
Lord Kelvin does justice to its namesake since Kelvin is the scale used to measure color temperature. This effect adds a warm yellow/orange tint to the image. All highlights carry about a 20% density of the warm tint. No white highlights with this effect.