Paris by app

I was a little surprised to discover on board Eurostar that my mum and sister had only one photographic device with them – their iPhones – despite both of them owing fairly decent ‘actual’ cameras. (In fact, mother owns an SLR that I covet, but I could understand that it was too large for a trip where we were determined to travel light.) I suppose given the fact that my own camera is permanently about my person (except for right at this moment when I believe it’s lying in amongst a pile of clothes on my bedroom floor) it was presumed that I would be designated photographer for the trip – a role I was more than happy to fulfil.

A first trip to Paris is a memorable occasion and I wanted to ensure that I had good quality photos at the end of it, so my actual camera was an essential. However, that didn’t mean that I couldn’t have some fun with my iPhone too – especially once I’d spotted that Mim was making full use of the Retro Camera app on her phone. I’m a very big fan of iPhone photography apps, it’s like having an old-skool film camera but without any of the tricky focussing, developing, time-taken elements. So consider this post a photographic journey through Paris with the aid of a 21st century tool that turns everything into a mediocre photograph from the mid 20th century…

I’ve heard that there are a few decent photography apps that are free – but I don’t own any of them. However, Mim’s ‘Retro Camera’ is one and, from the limited pictures I can pull from her Twitter account [as she hasn’t put them on Facebook yet] it’s clear that you can have a lot of fun with it:

 The Eiffel Tower is fairly self-explanatory. That shot of me will be explained in a later photo. 
Needless to say, we spent an inordinate amount of time at the Arc de Triomphe messing around with apps. 

I believe it works in a similar way to Hipstamatic, in that you choose a lens and effect before you take the photo, yet its results are more similar to Instagram’s. Having been deeply confused by Hipstamatic initially, I’m now a massive fan of it. The limited view-finder you get on your screen means that you’re never quite sure what the photo will look like, which adds a frisson of excitement as you wait for it to develop (something that takes a couple of minutes, rather than days). It seemed to suit Paris very well, and I was very pleased with what I came home with:

That’s Mim responding to ‘look French’ and a rather good outcome to the tricky challenge of ‘doing a Liz’ via Hipstamatic. [Can’t use the front-facing camera.]
 More fun and games at the Arc de Triomphe. 
[All 3 of us had matching shoes – mum and I had the same style; Mim & mum the same colour – we’re a special family…] 


 Without question, the Moulin Rouge looks much more appealing this way & Montmartre cemetery manages to become a lot more brooding. 

Instagram is a canny app, which is why – until recently – it was my favourite. You can either take the photo from within the app, or take one on the normal camera and edit it later – I generally prefer the latter as it gives you more flexibility with what you do with it. There’s a wide range of filters and generally I like the results. (There’s a whole social network attached too, but I don’t really go into that.)

 Yes, I managed to ‘do a Liz’ and get the Eiffel Tower in shot – an advantage of the front-facing camera. Oh, and I realise that the Eiffel Tower’s leaning in that second photo – we were on a boat, it gets tricky! 

A little more niche is ColorSplash – a nifty app that allows you to highlight a particular aspect of a photo in colour, leaving the rest black and white. Morv introduced it to me soon after I got my phone when it was on special offer, but it’s been very handy now and again. In Paris, there seemed to be one logical use for it:

Yes, the classic Metropolitan sign – which then got even better with the use of Instagram:

Finally, my all-time favourite app – PocketBooth. Honestly, it’s genius and I never grow tired of it (though my friends might do, as I often subject them to it). This is what I was doing when Mim took the photo above:

Honestly, I may be practically 30, but it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever grow up. And that’s a good thing!

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