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.