An Introduction to Instragr.am
Plus how to view Instagram photos online

My boyfriend is an instant gratification kindda guy.  Um … that’s not what I mean.

He likes to get things done quickly.  Again … not what I mean.

O.K.  Let me try to explain this better.  My boyfriend is the kind of guy who when he’s eating dinner, eats his favourite thing first.   I on the other hand, am the kind of person who eats my favourite thing last.  We’re different that way.

So when it came to mastering Photoshop, I’m the one who’s most likely to spend hours and hours trying to figure it out.  I’m the one most likely to refuse to eat, pee or rest until I figure it out.  I’m the one who is most likely to suffer a nervous breakdown and end up on medication in a looney bin, licking the walls … from trying to figure out Photoshop.

He on the other hand – discovered Instagr.am.

It’s an iPhone app that takes a boring old picture and allows you to apply a variety of filters to make it look like you’ve been Photoshopping for years.  Only the app does it in about 2 seconds.  And you don’t need to take a class.  If you’re the type who eats your favourite thing first … Instagr.am is for you!

If you haven’t discovered it yet, I have to tell you it’s insanely fun.   If you don’t have an iPhone, no problem.  It’s just as fun to look at the pictures, which you don’t need an iPhone to do.  More on that later.

IMG 7230

You just take a picture, or choose one from your library and apply one of the several filters Instagram offers.  For free, might I add.

 

Your photos can go from this:

IMG 7225

To this:

Baby 2

Or this:

IMG 7229

To this:

Brownie

 

Or this:

IMG 7227

To this:

Fella 2

 

You get the picture.  AHAHHAHAHAHAH!

Earlier this year, Instagram also added a tilt/shift feature.  Tilt/shift is an action that allows you to keep one (usually linear) feature in sharp focus, while blurring the rest of the photograph.  The end result is a photo that almost looks fake – like a miniature set.  This isn’t the best example, but it’ll give you an idea …

tilt shift

Notice Instagram turns your normal, rectangular sized photo into a square one. It always does this, so when  you’re composing a shot keep it in mind.  The top and or bottom of your photo will need to be cropped.

The only problem with Instagram is the fact that they don’t have a website.   Seriously.  They have a webpage that tells you they exist, but that’s where it ends.  There is no way to look at yours or anyone else’s photos online through Instagram unless they happen to share it with you through an email or Twitter.   Luckily a few fine folks have realized this is a problem, and they’ve third partied their way to a solution.

I personaly use Gramfeed to view the Instagram photos online.   Just go to the page, sign in and away you go.  It’s very intuitive.

This for instance is my boyfriend’s Instagram photo library from Gramfeed.  From there you can follow him, like his photos or comment on them.  (I’m just using the fella’s feed as an example … obviously you can do this with anyone’s photos)  If you’d like to find all the Instagram photos from Grace Bonney of Design Sponge for instance, just go to the home page and search for Design Sponge.  Sometimes you have to fiddle around when searching.  For instance, Design Sponge is spelled out as one word.  If you search it as two words, you won’t find it.  The same is true for my site, The Art of Doing Stuff. To find it, you must search for it as one word, with no spaces (theartofdoingstuff).  I have all of about 6 photos by the way.

Another useful Instagram viewing took is Instafeed.  It isn’t quite as user friendly or have as many options in terms of following users as Gramfeed, but it does have one advantage.  With Instafeed you can see what filter someone used on their photo.    So if you want to recreate a certain look you see, you know right away what filter to use.

The one thing you need to keep in mind when using Instagram is the fact that people can and WILL look at your pictures.  Do not think of it as your own personal, fun camera.  It is not.  Once you take a picture with Instagram and save it, it will be in the Instagram library for all to see.  So if one drunk night you think it would be hilarious to apply the “1977” filter to a certain naked body part … DON’T.

Because there’s more than one way to end up in the looney bin.

Follow the Fella on Instagram.

Follow me on Instagram.


34 Comments

  1. KEL says:

    I’m definitely in the “eat the good stuff first” category. Great app! Thanks for the tip – I love it already 🙂

  2. neato. I don’t have an iphone but I use Picnik. It’s free but you can pay for a premium account for more features. They have lots of cool filters and stuff on Picnik.

    • Karen says:

      Adrienne – Instagram is a little different than Picnik, in that, you literally only choose one button. They have a selection of 10 filters and that’s it. No cropping, no adjusting exposure, no nothin’. You pick a filter and you’re done. Hence the term “Insta”gram. 🙂 ~ karen!

      • Emma says:

        It is 2016…Hee hee
        Cool to see Instagram in its infancy.
        And I am an infant learning Instagram in 2016. Yep that is me…constantly in catch-up mode!!! Aghhhhh.

  3. Arlene says:

    My cousin uses that and she also lives in Canada. ??? Anyway, I use Picasa from google to edit photos and you can do the same thing, its free and less complicated than Photoshop. I have elements and still don’t know how to use it as Picasa has been so easy. I don’t have an i-phone either. Check it out. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Arlene – I recently bought Photoshop Elements. I’ve used Picasa, but I actually wanted the more complicated, more involved features of Photoshop. It is difficult to learn, but if you’re serious about this sort of thing, eventually there’s really no choice but to get Photoshop. So, I bit the bullet and got it. I actually don’t find it quite as hard to learn as everyone has said. For one thing there are thousands of great Photoshop tutorials online that’ll show you how to do anything in an instant. Not quite as instant as Instagram, but pretty quick! 🙂 ~ karen

  4. Catherine says:

    If you like Instagram … you will LOVE http://www.befunky.com!! It’s way more fun than eating jello with chopsticks!

  5. allison says:

    hahah i got instagram awhile back and i only use it every now and then. Im more of a photoshop and camera kinda gal lol but now its funny how popular its become!!

  6. Marti says:

    As if those Jackie-Oh! sunglasses aren’t enough to make the picture of your fella (a handsome man!) look retro?

    (Seriously, are those yours?)

    • Karen says:

      Marti – No m’am. They’re his. They’re called the “Baretta” and they’re more Robert Blake than Jackie O’ in real life. ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        Apparently, Fella’s got the Hollywood Fantasy version of the little wife-killer, then.

        In real life, Robert Blake is about 5’5″ (sorry, no metrics) and not nearly the ab-master your guy is.

  7. Nathalie says:

    Hi karen,

    Here is another site where you can check out your or other people’s Instagram photos.

    http://web.stagram.com/

    Will be staking you on instagram 😛

  8. Allison says:

    is there a way to share pics with someone who does not have a fancy phone (and therefore does not have an instagram account)?

  9. Matthew says:

    Hi Karen. I just found out about Instagr.am last week and have spent the last few days trying to figure out how to achieve the same type of effects without the use of a smart-phone based app. I’ve found that there are many Photoshop “actions” out there that you can download for free that will replicate the Instagr.am color and edge effects on photos that are saved to your computer. You might have to crop the photo yourself, but to me that’s a plus since it gives you control instead of an app doing it automatically.

    I couldn’t use the actions because I don’t have Photoshop, but I did find a couple of tutorials that walked you through the steps needed to produce a vintage looking photograph. There are options out there for those who don’t have (or want!) iPhones and Photoshop.

    Matt

    • Karen says:

      Matthew – Clearly if you’ve spent a few days trying to figure out ways to duplicate Instagram, then you’re a “eat your favourite thing last” kind of person, and Instagram probably isn’t for you! LOL. 🙂 ~ karen

  10. Mary says:

    Delaying gratification is way overrated!
    I too love to mess with photos.
    here is a post with some free photo editing sites
    http://sweetwaterstyle.blogspot.com/2011/07/free-websites-for-photo-effects.html
    and there is an inexpensive iPad app called PhotoForge2 that works if like me your husband thinks that you should tag on to his work phone plan instead of getting an iPhone!

  11. Michelleas says:

    Hi Karen,
    Learning Photoshop has been on my ‘must do this’ list for a while. You mentioned that there are great Photoshop tutorial online – care to share your favourites?
    Thanks!

  12. Ali says:

    I use Picplz since I don’t have iPhone, I think it’s the most similar app to instagram. http://picplz.com/

  13. Denise Leavens says:

    Right.

    I actually dreamed that I woke up this Monday all excited to finally see the chicken abode. Dreaming. Of. It.

    Then I get to this post and see the only connection to the hen house reveal to MAYBE be that you save the best for last. Now, I am with you. I like my desert last and to savor it. However, all things have their limit. I cannot wait too much longer for the big TA DA.

    Chicken Coop. We want to see the COOP! How about you give us a peek? Just so I can sleep more restfully. Hey! You could even photoshop it a bit. Or at least post a picture of the girls???

    Okay. I’ll cease and desist now.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Denise! I only finished the coop and got the backyard cleaned up last weekend. Therefore I only got the pictures taken yesterday and the day before yesterday … therefore no coop post yet. I’m not trying to hold out on you … these things just take a lot longer than most people expect. I have to wait for a day with good lighting, I need to clean up the coop from weeks of use by the chickens (remove poop from the walls to make pictures look a bit better), sweet the yard around the coop, remove a huge air conditioner from a house window directly opposite the coop so I can get a better shot etc. etc. Swear to you … I’m going as quickly as I can with this! I will state, here and now that there will be a chicken coop post up next week. Hand to heart. ~ karen!

      • Denise Leavens says:

        Karen,

        I so ashamed to have actually harassed you about the coop! I know it hasn’t been the smoothest operation to come together. I am truly disgusted with myself and the impatience I’ve let escape into your world. And I KNOW good things come to those who wait. I am blaming the lack of self control on hormonal fluctuations. Yeah, that’s right, it was out of my control.

        So sorry. Sheepish grin.

        • Karen says:

          Denise – Don’t worry about it. You’re a jerk, plain and simple. LOL – just jokin’. Trust me, I’m impatient to get the post up as well! 🙂 ~ karen

  14. Julie shinnick says:

    If you don’t want to share your photos with the world and have an iphone, there is an app called ‘hipsatmatic’ where you actually TAKE the photo with this app. Get the same sort of result, and then choose if you want to share it with the world! snort!
    And, yes, I too thought this would be the coop post, but the girls have to get themselves all prissied up so it may take a bit longer!

    • Karen says:

      Julie – I also have hipstamatic. I think it was one of the first photo apps I got. I have … well … probably too many photo apps. Probably. The thing that’s so great about Instagram is how it’s built such a community. So many people are using it now and photo sharing that it’s become interesting. ~ karen!

  15. Cynthia says:

    I love love love instagram. Having so much fun playing with all the different filters.

    @PhotogCynthia (on instagram)
    http://www.theapptutor.com

  16. barbara says:

    instagram.am. YAY!!! I’m @wyllie_foto.
    XO. Barbara

  17. Candice says:

    Love Instagram! It’s a great app to use for when you’re on the road and don’t have photoshop or any other program handy =)

  18. Roque says:

    Hi Karen!

    I LOVE instagra.m. However, if you use instagram I highly recommend getting the “camera+” app. It’s amazing. You have much wider set of editing options. I use it in conjunction with instagra.m and find it to be an essential tool in my arsenal.

    Additionally I would recommend checking out http://www.photojojo.com. They have tons of wicked photography toys. My personal fav item(s) are the Fisheye, Macro, and Wide Angle Camera Phone Lenses. You can stick them on any camera phone. Dope.

    Anyway, love your pics and postings. Keep em’ coming!

  19. Kate says:

    THANK YOU!

    I’m totally an eat your favourite things last sort of person (and I don’t have an iPhone) so I figured Instagram was likely not for me .. BUT ..

    I’m the sort of person who ends up licking the walls when everyone’s doing something that I don’t necessarily want to be a part of but don’t really understand either.

    so THANKS now I know enough about Instagram that I won’t be going “wtf is this Instagram thing” every time it pops up in one of my feeds 🙂

  20. I’m definitely addicted to the Instagram (I say this like “The Internets”).

    I’m glad we’re all in this together….snap on!

  21. sue says:

    is there a way to view peoples pictures on instagram without having an account?

  22. Kristin says:

    Hey, Karen! (and friends)
    Instagram is available on Android now! I love it 😀

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