Photo App Tip: Taming Hipstamatic

One of my favorite things about the iPhone is the quality of the camera, and it's about to get even better with the iPhone 4s. I love experimenting with the various photography apps available from the App store. As you can see in Figure 1, I have a number of them. 

One app that I have found to be a bit frustrating, is Hipstamatic (Figure 2). Don't get me wrong, it's plenty cool, with its many interchangeable lenses, film types, colored strobes and filters. But that's just it: There are so many options it's pretty much impossible to remember what settings to use to repeat your favorite results. Or, at least, so I thought. 

Turns out Hipstamatic has a built in feature that, when combined with the strategy I'm about to share, can help you reference and manage your favorite settings, so you can get predictable results, every time


First, The Strategy...

You need to create a set of Reference images. Pick a simple subject matter (a still life is ideal), and shoot multiple images usint the Hipstamatic app. Each image should have a unique combination of lens, film type, strobe and filter pack.

Don't worry about keeping track of the photo settings; Hipstamatic automatically records all these settings as metadata. As for the number of reference images, the more the merrier!

Once you have a set of reference images, it's time to put these images to work for you...

From the camera back screen, (Figure 3) locate the picture icon in the lower left corner of the screen. 

Clicking this icon (Figure 4), will open a gallery of "Recent Prints"; i.e., photos previously shot from within the Hipstamatic app.

Locate your series of reference images. You can see mine in Figure 5.

Clicking on any of your reference images will open an information screen for that image (Figure 6).

Scroll down towards the bottom of the list, until you see the menu item, "Match Settings" (Figure 7). Click "Match Settings" to instantly restore all the required settings to match the look of your chosen reference image.

Once I discovered this feature, Hipstamatic went from being a little used "novelty" photo app, to a serious tool in my image creation arsenal.

Let me know if you find this tip helpful.

Happy image making!



Steve Lomas is an interactive media veteran, designer, entrepreneur and idea mechanic. He is the founder of MojoMediaPros.

iPad - Not Perfect, But VERY Cool!

Traveling Light

As cool as it is, I couldn't justify an iPad, if it were only an entertainment device or media player. No, it has to hold its own as a productivity tool, in order to win my vote. I say that, but come to think of it, I did actually buy my first iPad (that's right, my "first" -- read on), sight unseen, hoping I could whip it into a useful productivity tool. I'm not looking for a a laptop replacement; just a good web and email machine with light duty authoring and editing capabilities.

I recently took my iPad to the CMS Expo in Chicago, and it was delightful to be able to leave my laptop and laptop bag back in the hotel room.

May The Best App Win...

So, with this goal in mind, my friends and I have probably spent way more money than any of us care to admit, purchasing, testing and replacing one app for another, trying to determine which apps rule; a Darwinian competition of sorts: Survival of the Fittest iPad Apps.

"Look, folks... No file system!"

As you may may or may not know, there is no file system on the iPad. So, the issue becomes how you get files onto the iPad, how to edit or author files on the iPad and then how to get them off the iPad to share them with the rest of the world. Support for cloud services, such as mobileMe, Dropbox and Google Apps, is key! Currently, most apps that can edit content don't support these and other cloud services, well or at all. And the apps that do, either can't edit or don't support your file formats, or if they do, they simply are not terribly robust. This will, of course, improve over time; but today, it's a reality.

One key app is GoodReader. This app seems to have the most robust email and cloud support and they provide their own pseudo file system. GoodReader recently opened their API to any app developer that wants to support it, so this could become a defacto standard -- why in the world didn't Apple make file sharing easier?

Another brilliant service is Dropbox. This app allows you to share a single desktop folder and it's contents with multiple PC's your iPhone and iPad. It works really well.

The combination of GoodReader and Dropbox is very powerful.

Projecting the Dots,,,

For you Microsoft office users, DocsToGo, can author and edit MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs, and they have just added support for cloud services.

Now, before you start thinking, "Great I will use my iPad to author and present projected PowerPoint presentations", you need to know that while Apple does offer a handy VGA adapter to connect your iPad to an external monitor or projector, only a select few apps are actually supported! I'm pretty sure the programmers at Apple had to go out of their way to create this unwelcome feature!

From my experience, Keynote and the built-in iPad Photo app are the only two apps that you can project. Oddly enough, Safari isn't even supported for VGA output. So, that means you cannot include any web content, (or for that matter, any Google apps content) projected from an iPad.

Keynote has its own shared desktop folder interface, for pushing files to the iPad, but keeping files synced, will likely pose challenges for some.

Another thing, that blows my mind is that you cannot organize photos, once they are on the iPad. You have to dock with your PC and re-sync.

I just bought the camera interface for the iPad ($29.00). It includes a USB dongle and SD card reader dongle. I'm hoping this hardware will mysteriously unlock some phantom functionality for organizing photo albums on the iPad. Probably not, but I can dream, right?

Other Accessories I Recommend:

An additional 10W power adapter($29.00). It comes with an AC power cord, which the power adapter that ships with the iPad does not include. This is the only way to get a 6' power cord, for the iPad. Believe it or not, the iPhone/iPad data cable that ships with the iPad is actually feels shorter than my iPhone data cable. Net/net: without the 6ft AC power cord, you havevto station your iPad within 30" of the AC outlet.

Speaking of power adapters, you may already know that you cannot charge an iPad from a computer USB port or from an iPhone power adapter.

You can however, safely charge an iPhone from an iPad power adapter, faster than it would otherwise charge from an iPhone power adapter.

Griffen has some of the best iPad accessories. I like their leather PadFolio ($49.95); much better IMHO than Apple's flocked cardboard version. I use this in combination with the Belkin clear rubberized plastic clam-shell back cover ($49.99).

When I'm at home I take off the leather PadFolio<, and just go with the clamshell, which gives the iPad a great "no-slip" feel, as you carry it around the house.

Griffen also offers an anti-glare screen film, ($29.99) which greatly reduces fingerprints. The combination of the Belkin shell and the Griffen screen film completely encloses and protects the iPad from scratches and dust; important for resale value.

The Griffen industrial aluminum desk stand for iPad ($49.99) is another great accessory; ultra rugged and versatile.

Of course, I have already mentioned the VGA adaptor($29.00); a must have.

One interesting point about any of the 3rd party protective covers, it that they are generally not compatible with the generic Apple accessories; i.e. any of the docking solutions. All you iPhone users, are already familiar with this issue. Personally, I don't recommend the Apple dock. It's not a great stand, and as I just stated, you can only dock a naked iPad. Some folks may not care about this, but something to be aware of, before you shell out the cash for these peripherals.

Another thing, I learned, is that most ear bud/headphone mini-adapters are not long enough to extend through a clamshell enclosure and still make proper contact in the headphone receptacle. The solution I found is an adapter made by Monster Labs, which I had previously purchased for my original iPhone, which had a similar problem.

I'll stop here, for now.Look for more about my favorite iPad apps in a future blog.


Regarding that second iPad, I mentioned... I've come to the conclusion that for the iPad to be truly useful, it has to be reliable, and given the importance of cloud services, described above, that means reliable access to the Internet. So, I ordered my second iPad with 3GS and additional memory.

Turns out, this also solved a couple of other problems: I no longer have to wrestle my iPad away from my business major, college-graduating son... I gave him my original iPad as a college graduation gift ;-)

Please let me know if any of this was interesting or helpful. SL

It's an iPhone Life...


On a recent business trip, I found myself reflecting on the impact of recent technologies,to my everyday life; specifically the iPhone and Cloud computing. A few short years ago, a phone was just that: a phone. Now it is an indispensable personal productivity, entertainment and communication device. When I was a kid, Captain Kirk's communicator seemed pretty far-fetched. Not so much, any more. In fact, in many ways, Kirk's Starfleet communicator pales compared to my iPhone -- no worries Captain, you still have an edge, with that phaser! :-)

Let me list the ways...

So, cooling my heels between connecting flights, I decided to list all the ways I rely on my iPhone.

Lets's start with the obvious:

Email, Contacts and Calendars

I have five email addresses, and 4 calendars (including an exchange server and Gmail) mapped to my iPhone. Whenever I look at my calendar it is up to date, and any changes that happen are pushed to me, and I am alerted. I have instant access to approximately 2000 contacts! I can speak a name and my iPhone accurately retrieves that individual's contact info and ask me to clarifying questions to be sure it dials the right number. I know, someone is saying, my phone can do that... I'm just getting started.

The App Store

At last count the iPhone has over 180,000 apps in the App Store. Unless your phone is an iPhone, your phone can't beat that -- not even close.

Tripcase App

When I book a trip, all I need to do is enter the record-locator into my Tripcase app, and my entire itinerary is downloaded to my phone, in seconds. A couple of clicks and my itinerary is forwarded to my family and business colleagues. Should my flight plans change, everyone is updated automatically!

MMS Text

While waiting at the gate, I swap texts with my wife, to let her know I arrive safely at the airport. I include a cute picture to make her smile. This goes on throughout my trip, allowing me to keep in touch with family and friends, from anywhere.

Photography On Demand

Visit a great restaurant, or witness a glorious sunset? That's worth a picture. The iPhone has a great little camera. Snap a picture and moments later it can be uploaded to my blog, Twitter, Facebook -- or all of the above -- directly from my iPhone!

Graphic Apps

Before uploading that image, I may want to color correct it, or straighten it, or crop and frame it; perhaps add a special effect. There's an app for that. In fact there are dozens. Some of the best include Photogene, PSmobile, PhotoFX, Brushes, ToonPaint, OldCamera, NightCamera, HDRCamera... I have to give a shout out, here, to Chipp Walters, for keeping me tight in this department!

Need video? No problem!

The iPhone has a built in video camera, and you can trim video clips right on your phone. That's come in handy more than once. You can even post the video directly to YouTube or simply text or email it to a friend...

Starbucks App Story

Still waiting at the airport, I decide to get a coffee. I check my Starbucks app to see that I have credit on my Starbuck card. I'm a little light so elect to transfer credit from my bank account to my bucks card, while I'm standing in line. Why? Rewards! I'm only a few point shy of a free drink. ;-) As I'm paying for my drink, I'm asked if I need my balance. "No thanks it's on my iPhone." I check the balance, and the debit has already posted before I could leave the counter. The barista and I take a moment to marvel at how quickly it updated. She's an iPhone user, too!

TripCase Saves the Day!

Heading back to my gate, I glance at TripCase again, and realize I have an update... My gate has been changed; it's now on the other side of the terminal; in the opposite direction. That saved me more than a few steps! If you have you ever made a connection at DFW, you know what I'm saying!!

AwesomeNotes App

I make it to the new gate with time to spare. So, I pull out my iPhone and open my Awesome Notes app to make some notes for this blog post, and I review some notes for my upcoming meeting. Insight App If you use BaseCamp, this is a great way to check-up on your projects while you are away from the office... And I do so.

NIV Bible App

I suddenly realize, in all my haste to get to the airport, and catch my flight, I hadn't had a chance to get into the Word, today. So, I open my NIV Bible app. Reading a particularly meaninful scripture, I copy it and email it to my wife. I also set it as a daily alert; a spiritual interuption in my day, to help me to stay focused on the big picture.

In-Flight Diversions - Dropbox in the Sky?

I've been known to watch movies, and TV shows, in flight on my iPhone, but on this trip, I put some business documents into the Dropbox folder on my desktop computer, so I could easily access them from the Dropbox app on my iPhone. I made each document a favorite, which notifies Dropbox to download a local copy to my iPhone. That way I can access them in-flight...

iPod App

How easy it is to take this app for granted, but let's not forget that it was the iPod and iTunes that turned Apple around... Listening to my iPod, also an app on my iPhone, I spent some mid-air quality time catching up on my business reading.

Alarm Clock and NPR News Apps

At night, I launch my Alarm Clock app; and set the alarm to wake me in the morning with my song of choice: Jimi Hendrix, All Along The Watchtower... In the morning, after listening to a few bars of Jimi, I roll out, and reach fo my Phone; launching the NPR News App: Morning Edition; feels like home. :-)

Dragon Dictation App

Throughout the day I continue to make notes, for this blog, by speaking them into my Dragon Dictation app which converts my words to text. It does a pretty good job.

TimeMaster App

I consult with several clients each day, so need to keep strict notes about my hours and expenses... Yup! There's an app for that; many, actually. The best one I've found, is TimeMaster. It's a little spendier than most iPhone Apps($9.99), but it's well worth it -- and it's fully iPad* aware as well. The cool thing about TimeMaster, is how easily can generate reports, and with the optional module upgrade (also $9.99) you can generate beautiful PDF invoices and email them to yourself or your client, all from the iPhone.

TurboScan App

We did some white board session on this trip, which we captured on our iPhones using the TurboScan app. What a gem! It allows you to correct any key-stoning (making the image rectilinear) and adjust the contrast. You can save the image or email it as a JPEG or PDF. The images are pretty high-rez, and they print reasonably well. My Favorite Apps, begin with "G" Everything I have mentioned thus far is pretty cool, but I have saved my favorite two apps for last: Google Search (voice activated, of course) Google maps and Google Earth. Whenever I'm planning s trip, or even if I just need to call ahead for information, I've gotten into the habit of search in the Google Maps app, first. Once the business destination is found, I immediately add it to my contacts AND I bookmark it, which makes getting directions to or from this location later, very easy. And Google Earth? It's just plain FuN!

Wrap up...

So, admittedly this post may have degraded into an iPhone commercial. I'm not trying to convince anyone to switch; I'm just going on record that I am a very satisfied customer, who is thankful for these technologies.

*The answer is, "yes" -- early adopter. More about the iPad in another post ;-)