I ♥ Hipstamatic

By now, you’ve probably noticed that all my images are square. There are several reasons why I like shooting in this platform. First and foremost it’s by default…my favorite iPhone camera app is the Hipstamatic and it only shoots square images. After shooting for several years in this format, I’ve come to love its look and ease of composition. A balanced image seems to naturally fall into place using asymmetry design principles, a subject can be dead centered without looking awkward, and it instantly crops out distracting ‘noise’ or too much dull information.

So, the question you may now be asking is, ‘why is she so obsessed with the Hipstamatic camera app?’. If you don’t already have it, use it, love it–this is the photography app you will want to download today.

Photos by Kyra Ames

Photos by Kyra Ames

The Hipstamatic creates an instant film look that I can’t find with any other app, and it saves me considerable time. This is by far the #1 reason(s) I love this camera!! Many iPhone cameras and apps are filters that you apply after you take a picture. This is great if you have lots of time and dedication to photography post-processing. I find it time consuming and overwhelming because there are so many creative choices. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t post-process, I just do less of it. With the Hipstamatic, a baseline filter is already applied at the point-of-capture. The images are consistent with what different types of film and antique cameras would have achieved, therefore minimizing post-processing time. I have my favorite 2-3 ‘lenses’ and a handful of ‘films’ that I select according to what I am photographing and the look I want to create. I haven’t actually counted how many different camera ‘lenses’ and ‘films’ (with different boarders) are available, but lets just say there’s enough combinations to play around with for quite some time.


The Hipstamatic has a point & shoot fixed lens. Some people may love it or hate it. I love it because it requires me to think on my toes with creative cropping and think out of the ‘zoom’ box. What I hate is the iPhone zoom–pinching the small glass surface is cumbersome, takes too much time and the image pixilation created with digital zoom is dreadful. So, try physically moving in close to or step back from your subject to get the right crop or shot. If you must crop an image, crop it in post processing.

Another reason why I don’t typically use the native iPhone 5s camera is that the lens is about 29mm. So, without zooming in, there is very noticeable wide angel image distortion as you get closer to the outer edges of the 5:7 image. By shooting in square format, it instantly crops out the wide-angle distortion considerably.


The Hipstamatic makes fine art photography FUN! As Hipstamatic becomes more and more popular, photography purists argue that it’s not fine art because it’s just a digital filter and everyone is doing it. This is a hot debate within the photo world and I won’t get into it…yet. Yes, it’s predictable, recurring filters…but it still takes a creative eye, knowledge of light, and a decisive moment when the shutter is pressed to create an imaginative and compelling image. Play around with all the film and lens combinations; but remember, just like film, what filters you shoot in–is what you get. You can’t remove a lens or film look after capture…you can add others, but you can’t take it away.

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