For the past two years I've been recording my life with photographs. Every day, I've taken a photograph with my iPhone before sharing it via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For the most part it's fun to do, for a multitude of reasons.
It enables me to share my life with friends and family that I don't get to see as often as I'd like. It sparks conversations about whatever happened that day. More importantly, it means that at the end of the year I can look back at what I did and savour those memories. It's pretty much a photo diary in that case. Of course, some days it can be tricky. Not every day of the year can be fascinating, meaning that sometimes I have to get creative. And yes, sometimes I succumb to the ease in which I can snap a photo of my pets or my freshly cooked meal. It's a cliche, but it's surprising how many people enjoy looking at food even despite all the cynicism.
I use many different apps for such a purpose. While few (excluding Instagram) are used every day, they're a handy arsenal of tools just waiting for me to improve a photo in some way. I've made myself a rule that I only use iOS apps to adjust photos and it's working out for me well.
Instagram is the big essential, of course. To an extent, I have little need to use other apps given its filters are pretty handy all-rounders. I could share manually via Twitter and Facebook but it's handy to have a central place to store everything, plus I've gained some friends via the community. Interested in following me? I'm jenjea on there.
Snapseed is the next great source of filters and quick fixes. It'd be easy enough to spend quite a while gradually adjusting the snaps I take, but I try not to get too bogged down in such things. Quick fixes are great here, and Snapseed's single-tap Auto Correct option is extremely handy when I'm in a rush. The framing facilities and center focus blurring tools are also useful for adding a final flourish to an image. It can make all the difference to an otherwise unremarkable shot.
I can't resist a great collage. It's great for those days when I feel like I've taken multiple good photos, or I just want to share a number of memories but roll them all into one. Fuzel is the tool for such an occasion. It offers plenty of different preset layouts, both conventional and wacky, plus it works quickly.
Another tool that saves me time is Color Blast!. It's an app with only one goal in mind: to make it easy to highlight individual colors or areas of interest on a photo. I don't tend to use it for anything else and it's not always a tool I use particularly regularly, but that doesn't stop it from being a handy tool to have ready and waiting for the next time.
A more fully-rounded app, Mextures is for when I fancy turning a little arty. It gives users the means in which to apply film grain textures and light leaks, among other things. Its blending options are pretty comprehensive and quick to apply. Although I do find myself spending a while with it, gradually getting everything just right. When I want to take my time with an image, this is where I retreat to.
Another one that's only used for special occasions, Touch Blur is still very handy. I can tap on part of an image to blur it away; proving particularly useful when I want to hide something private such as an address or other personal detail. It's quick to do and the app doesn't offer anything more overwhelming than that.
Ok, so speed is clearly of the essence for me, so it makes sense that Diptic PDQ is in my toolbox. It's a photo collage app so my time is split between that and Fuzel, but it's handy to have an extra source of layouts to mess around with. It lives up to its name too, being really quick indeed. It offers some layouts that Fuzel doesn't too, giving me plenty of flexibility.
For a long time I was happy to just use the stock camera app, but I've found ProCamera 7 edging its way into regular usage. I could potentially use it to replace most of the other apps but I like having plenty of choice. ProCamera 7 comes with a plethora of different filters and some very convenient editing controls. Being able to lock focus and white exposure is handy too, for those times when I want to put some more effort into my photography. Rapid fire is also great for when dealing with moving images, such as when taking photos of young relatives.
Panoramic images don't lend themselves well to the square photo restrictions of Instagram, however that doesn't stop Cycloramic being very useful as a side line interest. Crucially, it enables me to take videos of an expanded scene before converting it to a format that Instagram likes. It's something I've only briefly touched upon this year, but I fully intend to expand the amount of videos I take for 2014. In the mean time, Cycloramic is so much better than the stock way of taking panoramic images.