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APP REVIEW: HIPSTAMATIC

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Do you have a closet full of Toms & Clarks tainted by the smell of never wearing them with a pair of socks? Have you shaved the hair off of one side of your head within the past six months? Do you use Halloween as an excuse to dress up as an obscure character from a Wes Anderson movie? Does Macklemore keep making his way to the top of all your Spotify playlists? Do you intentionally wear hats that are two sizes too small to compliment your greasy bangs? Are you so cool that you listen to bands that don't even exist yet? Have you ever tweeted about the evils of capitalism from your 4th generation iPad while using the free wifi at Starbucks?

If you answered yes to one of more of those questions, then you're a Hipster. Symptoms include owning an 8' x 8' Ikea Expedit shelf full of old records, cultivating a stylish yet carefully disheveled appearance to distance yourself from your rich parents, and having an extensive collection of old cameras that stopped working long before they were donated to the thrift shop you bought them at.

While we can't help with ALL of those problems, we can sure take a crack at the last one with Hipstamatic! An app so self-aware, it went from bad to good then back to bad again in a pretentious attempt at becoming ironic.

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Hipstamatic is a very unique app that captures the look and feel of vintage photography combining a clever plastic black gator-skin UI with all the bells and whistles found on the surface of older cameras. Although my support for hipster culture is only exclusive to drinking cheap beer on the weekends, I sincerely enjoyed all of these throwbacks to old school photography. While older technology might be less convenient, there's definitely an existing romance when you think of all the hard work, accuracy, and technique involved when taking pictures with a film camera. Not so much over all the trail error that came with the experience, but more because of the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment one experiences proofing the negatives after developing a good roll of film.

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Given the current state of the whole digital photography/iOS experience, if you want to enhance the look and feel of your photo, all you have to do is swipe through a thumbnail gallery of different image variations before deciding on what filter to use when photographing your pumpkin spice latte to post on Instagram. In the good ol days (before people assumed that everyone wants to look at pictures of their food over social media), you would have to cycle through different types of flash bulbs, rolls of film, and lenses, relying on trail and error to determine the best way to take pictures. Hipstamatic combines the best of both by offering several several different "films", "flashes", and 'lenses" to use when taking pictures. Even though these are just different filters in essence, the overall user experience is presented in a fun way that seems to encourage more involvement in the photo taking process.

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To better differentiate the separate effects each selection is capable of, Hipstamatic has a UI titled Pak Info that displays the icons of every feature included with the base version of the app. Clicking on each icon pulls up a screen that explains in simple detail how each filter works in terms of color and effect.

HIP5Once again, the presentation is practical and explanatory. I appreciate the use of different photos as examples, I feel like it's a better way to gauge which effect would work best with your photo as opposed to seeing the same stock photo thumbnail over and over again.

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Taking pictures is quick and easy once you settle on which features to combine for your photos. Once a lens is selected, you can adjust the barrel of the lens to increase the resolution of your photo. Now switch back to the viewfinder by clicking the U-Turn arrow at the bottom right, line up your shot within the viewfinder, and tap the yellow button... *KA-CHHH*, you're picture is taken. Hipstamatic also offers a neat feature that catalogs the film, flash, lens, date, and location of your photo.

Since we've covered the bulk of Hipstamatic's features, instead of my normal step by step overview, lets just jump right into the picture we're going to print on wood! This week's unluckly participant is none other than POW's Rock 'N' Roll Bad-Boy, Michael Rey!

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He's got tattoos, he looks great in skinny jeans, and he likes to pretend that he enjoys drinking tea. By hiding him behind a pair of horn-rimmed glasses and a poncho, we're going to see if we can appeal to our Hipster demographic and trick them into buying a bunch of black and white photo art wood prints! Speaking of wood prints, let's see how good this looks on wood!

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Perfecto! Move over Chapulin Colorado, there's a new mexican superhero on the loose! Riding around town on a fixie bike criticizing the musical tastes of evil doers everywhere, El Inconformista wants the world to know he only drinks IPA Microbrews!

So is Hipstamatic any good? Or did we think their old stuff is WAY better?

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I was leery at first since Hipstamatic seemed like a cheap ploy to bank on the fickle sensibilities of Hipster's everywhere. It even has the word "HIP" in it's name, and given the negative connotation that word has garnered over the years, I assumed that this was going to be another gimmicky photo app. To a certain extent, Hipstamatic WAS gimmicky, but I mean that in the best possible sense of the word. As I've discussed in previous blogposts, developers don't need to invent a brand new premise to create an enjoyable app if they make it fun and unique. For me, the only downside of Hisptamatic was given all the interchangeable features included with the app, you're only allowed to take 1:1 square pictures. Normally I wouldn't care, but given all the Instagram clones I wade through every week for these reviews, the option to take photographs in a more traditional photographic ratio would've been a nice cherry on top.

As for this week's model, Bad-Boy Mike, I'd like to put out a disclaimer that he is in fact NOT a hipster (despite how convincing he looks in that photo). I'd also like to point out that he's the front man for a totally bad-ass garage-rock band: Michael Rey and The Woebegones!

If any of you got the Rock 'N' Roll itch, then this video is the only thing that can scratch it!

For more information on Hipstamatic, please visit: http://hipstamatic.com/

For more info on Michael Rey and The Woebegones, please visit: www.facebook.com/MichaelReyandTheWoebegones

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