How to: use Instagram - handy tips and tricks Part 2
The second part of Crafty Crafty's guide to how to squeeze the most out of Instagram and enhance your crafty photo kung fu. You can read Part 1 here if you missed it.
Apps, glorious apps
Photo apps can turn an amazing photo into a jaw-dropping one. There are too many photo apps to mention them all but here are some favourites for the iPhone:
Snapseed (£2.99) - It might seem a bit pricey but what Snapseed can do to your images is worth it a few times over.
The 'drama' option is particularly wondrous for making a picture look fantabulous. Amongst other fab features you can adjust the brightness, colour saturation and contrast of selected areas, and tilt-shift your focus with more accuracy than the Instagram app.
Above: I add a floating Death Star to a picture for @bmibaby's edit challenge, using Filterstorm and Snapseed.
TouchReTouch (£0.69) - This little app allows you to remove objects from your pictures. It works pretty much like magic. Take out that pesky pedestrian for a proper apocalypse look.
Filterstorm (£2.49) - Filterstorm lets you add layers and masks on pictures. It's like a little Photoshop on your phone. Amazing.
Big Lens - (£0.69) - Want that blurry background, crystal clear foreground look for crafty close ups? Big Lens is your app.
Pixlr-o-matic (free) - More filters! MORE I SAY! There are some pretty funky little filters in this app. And you can buy more if you get bored of those.
Foto Frame (£6.69) - Chop your pics into bite-sized chunks to tell a tale or get more of your fabulous shots in. Or, as I did, just to make your cats look like they're in the Dallas credits (pictured above - guess which cat is JR Ewing).
Lenslight (£0.69) - Want to add a laserbeam to that picture of your grandma? Hell yeah you do.
Squaready (free) - Don't want to crop your pic to fit in a square? This neat little app lets you put a border around your photo so you can keep the whole thing. It's a little bit noisy though so best turn the sound off if you're being stealthy.
Color Splash (£0.69) - My but I love this app. It lets you literally colour in parts of your photo while leaving the rest black and white. Letting you chose which parts you want to pop out.
Instagram happens in real life as well as online. There are over 1000 meet up groups over on the Instagram Meet Up page. So there's really no excuse not to find one near you.
There are groups that meet up in most cities too, and, as ever, Instagram has some handy tips on organising an Instameet of your own if you can't find one nearby.
Photowalks involve a bunch of IGers going out into the wilderness and snapping away. There's often a hashtag you can use to keep all the pics taken in one place.
Right: @igerslondon organise some amazing meets in our fine city.
There are sites that can help turn your Instapics into all kinds of things too. Teeny Tile and Stickygram offer tiny tiles and stickers, while Instatees and IGTees mean you can wear your pics with pride. There's also Hatchcraft and Keepsy which offer scrapbooks and framed pics.
Or you can make your own Instagram tiles.
Possibly the best crafty thing about Instagram is following crafty people to see what they make and, sometimes, how they make it. They're easy enough to find if you search hashtags like #knitting #handmade #craft #yarn etc, but a few of my faves are:
Left: @thezenofmaking shows off her owl scissors causing me unending craft envy
Instagram can be used for all kinds of things.
One of the most inspiring Instagrammers I follow is @cachafaz, who uses his Instagram account to highlight the lives of the homeless people he meets.
From this his One Dollar Dreams site has grown, helping change the lives of those he features. Utterly inspiring stuff.
Left: @cachafaz's picture of James, a homeless man posing for one of his eye-opening street portraits
Recently I also used Instagram to highlight the marvellous hounds I met on a trip to Battersea Dogs Home. It helped promote the charity, convinced a few folks to adopt a dog and made people more aware of their local animal shelters.
On the creative side if you've ever wondered what it's like to do a certain job, Instagram can help there too. The splendid @stupidmonster uses Instagram to show off sneak peeks of his work creating illustrations and writing kids comics (as well as stalking local wildlife). It's a fascinating glimpse into how a cartoonist and illustrator works, and it's a nice way to promote events (such as charity auctions) without being too in your face about it.
There's also the iphonography side of things. This is basically telling the tale of your day to day life through your Instragram pictures.
And as our passion for reality TV illustrates, every story can be fascinating.
Iphoneography is something @jabberworks does very well indeed, as her Instagram pics rush from book launches to workshops to publishing events galore, and you get to go along with her from the comfort of your own screen.
Left: @jabberworks captures several steampunk book-writing heroes being ensnared by Plarchie the giant knitted squid at a Kitschies Steampunk event.
There's even an iPhoneography: Photography with your iPhone course taught at Chelsea and Kensington College by @rugfoot.
Fancy courses aside, Instagram is simple and rather lovely way to record your day to day happenings. It's like keeping a mini blog without all that pesky writing.
Other useful places for Instainfo
There are plenty of other sites that can help you peruse Instapics.
Here are a few of my faves:
Ink 361 - Sign up with your username and get pages of pics, along with likes, hashtags and comments on each individual one. Fabulous for finding pics, commenting with ease and seeing your images on the big screen.
Instagre.at - Allows you to scroll through large versions of your pictures and those you're following.
Instagallery - A nifty iPad app for browsing, sharing and commenting more easily.
Above: One of my #furryfelinefourfotos which proudly bears the #catstagram tag too.
Hop on over tomorrow for Part 3 in Crafty Crafty's Instagram - Handy Tips and Tricks series. I'll be sharing the collective wisdom of the Instagram community, and probably more cat pics. You can never have enough cat pics.