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Smartphone Cameras Sure your Leica M9 takes better picts, but is is smart enough to make a phone call ?

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Instagram-ish idea I've been tinkering with this weekend.
Old 11-23-2012   #1
Darkhorse
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Instagram-ish idea I've been tinkering with this weekend.

Instagram-ish idea I've been tinkering with this weekend.

Someone's already probably thought of it, too. But it doesn't matter, I'm just having some fun with photos and photoshop this weekend.

I was watching Ken Burns' documentary on the National Parks, and in one segment a photo album was shown of one couple's journeys across the United States. The album was neatly laid out, and had nicely written descriptions (as in penmanship). My grandmother also had albums such as these, and they were stunning. The photos were not super high quality by any means; relatively small prints made with your basic Kodak pocket folder. But the memories were well documented and the albums had a nice human touch to it.

I lack physical albums like this. And the only thing similar to it that I have is my wedding album, which took me several days to make. I didn't even attempt writing anything in it because my modern handwriting scrawl is so unpresentable.

We are, however, documenting our photos more often, even though it's mostly done automatically. People upload their photos to Instagram and fill in captions all the time. The problem is that they predominately reside online, and one photo can look so different from the other that it would be a challenge to produce an album that's visually consistent.

The camera for an iPhone is fairly decent. It's actually vastly superior to digital cameras I used a decade ago. But with that in mind I have tons of photos from old digital cameras, tons of photos from old film cameras. I want to share those too, and make them jive with each other, and I want to put them in albums without the hassle of making a photo book (I find it a hassle because you're given a lot of options and you have to sort of design it all, to say nothing of what the end product's quality may be).

So, what I'm thinking of an app that will take pics from your phone or desktop, makes them all look consistent in a charming vintage style, renders descriptions as neatly handwritten, and builds you an album (or multiple albums) as you share on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc. When you're done you can order the pages (white text on black stock, outlines of where to stick the photo corners) and prints (high quality black and white print). Not a whole lot of options, but I think the result could be very striking and affordable keepsakes.

Here are some examples. First from my iPhone. I took the border from an actual old photo print from the 1930s. Some simple photoshop adjustments for the photo (channel mixer then multiply the layer) on the template, very slight sepia layer. I picked the most natural-looking hand-written font I had. I'm sure there must be better ones out there like a nice cursive that doesn't look too "fonty".



More photos are being shot in portrait orientation due to the nature of phone cameras. Old folders were frequently shot in this orientation as well.



I think this is more about memories rather than photographic art. It's not really about 'the shot' more than it's about little happy vignettes.









The color of the above photo wasn't good at all. The highlights in my face were pretty yellow, and the fringing around it oddly colored as well. The black and white is mostly a means to equalize everything regardless of quality.





It works pretty well with other sources as well. Above is a photo from an old Canon a70 3.2 megapixel camera. Converting it to black and white and making a small print sort of eliminates or hides some of the obvious limitations of older digicams; the noise, the purple fringing etc.



From another small Canon point and shoot - an Elph 850SI I think. All of these look pretty nice while scrolling through them on my iPhone.



From a Stylus Epic (mjuii) color print.



From a Canon DSLR



From a Leica (film) and tri-x.



Shots from an s90. Part of the point is that photos are added to an album layout as you upload and/or share. An automatic process you don't have to think about that much - which is what I want.

Just a goofy idea.
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Old 11-23-2012   #2
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Great idea! I love those old albums. My parents have a few.
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Old 11-23-2012   #3
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Not goofy at all. My parents and grandparents had loads of albums I leafed through as a child. Shot on old folders, box cameras, polaroids, and later on 135 and 126. Often with notes in the margin. I made a few myself some 30 years ago. Happy memories.

I think more then you and I miss these storybooks of the past.
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Old 11-23-2012   #4
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This is certainly not a goofy idea. What you have here is another way for family history to be preserved..that ain`t goofy. So much family pictorial history is lost forever due to the immediacy of digital photographs [ the operators fault - not the technology] Funny that digital saves so much time yet people do not have the time to preserve correctly and safely.
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Old 11-23-2012   #5
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Instagram effects can easily be added to normal photos from your desktop, just share local folder with your iDevice, using iTunes, and copy them over. Example.
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Old 11-24-2012   #6
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Neat idea, and it is certainly "do-able" in terms of writing a script to treat a batch of images.
I don't understand if the pictures and text are now on a web page (HTML) or a PDF document ? (or is my age showing here?)
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Old 11-24-2012   #7
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That's a cool idea. I'd go for an ap like that.
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Old 11-24-2012   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarski View Post
Instagram effects can easily be added to normal photos from your desktop, just share local folder with your iDevice, using iTunes, and copy them over. Example.
Yes, I know. I do this as well. But my focus here is on the building of something, rather than just sharing an assortment of photos.

It's funny, I have this stupid Jurassic Park Builder game on my iPhone. I've spent an embarrassing amount of time organizing, building, and growing a fictional digital dinosaur park that no one will ever see. If only I put as much casual effort into organizing and building these photos & memories.
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Old 11-24-2012   #9
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I love the idea... I've been trying to find a way to organise my photos into sets that make chronological sense...

I wonder what the people who disagreed with instagram in that last thread think of this one... one of the main arguments of that article posted was that slapping a filter and a border onto a photograph doesn't make it a good photograph... and almost depreciates it...
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Old 11-24-2012   #10
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Thanks. You know I just thought adding the one olde-timey-retro-filter would just homogenize the heaps and heaps of stuff that I have.

I think the more important thing is the writing. There's more to a story than just pictures. It would be great to gather other people's thoughts and memories as you share photos and add them to the albums. There are some things you can't capture on a camera, and these things can be forgotten so easily.
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