Foap Launches Android App, Unveils Motorola-Sponsored User Contest

Foap Launches Android App, Unveils Motorola-Sponsored User Contest

Mar 12, 2015

Foap is an interesting initiative that allows photographers of any and every ability potentially monetize their snaps with entities looking for authentic image captures. Now, Foap is launching a brand new app for Android users, sponsored by Motorola.

Turning your photos into real money. Simple as that. Just foap it! Upload your smartphone photos from apps like Instagram, Eyeem, Flickr and more.

*Sell your photos through Foap Market
*Sell photos through Foap Missions to brands like Mastercard, Hyatt, Volvo Group, Absolut Vodka
*Create your own web portfolio easily accessible for buyers
*Explore beautiful photos from all around the world
*Get feedback on your photos from other Foapers
*Photo upload right from your phone
*No upload limits
*PayPal integration for cashouts
*Amazing community of truly passionate photographers
*The best way to make money out of your passion
Foap is free. Each photo costs $10 and the photographer gets $5. A photo can be sold an unlimited amount of times! Foap Mission rewards start from $100.

Almost cooler is the fact that Motorola is launching a contest to celebrate the new app:

To celebrate the new app, Motorola is running a Foap Mission titled “For the Love of Android” seeking creative photos of users’ “Android moments,” whether it’s photos taken with Android devices or even pictures of the Android robot! The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize, second and third place will each be awarded a Moto X smartphone and fourth and fifth place winners will each receive a Moto 360 watch.

Folks can sign up for the contest via the app.

[Source: Foap Announcement]

VSCO Cam Review

VSCO Cam Review

Feb 27, 2014

When it comes to image capture on mobile devices, competition is fierce. Better hardware, more megapixels, yes, but almost more importantly, better image manipulation tools. This is the space VSCO Cam is looking to fill.

Starting the app starts a device optimization sequence; after this, the app menu appears, and it gives us a clue as to the app’s core functionality. The app menu is rated in greys and blacks, besides the Camera button, there are tabs for Library, Store, Settings, Journal and VSCO Grid, and these tabs are set in a slide-out panel that can be hidden on the left.

The camera function is probably the most important, and selecting it opens up the shooting utility. This specific vsco1environment is minimalist in nature, with menu and sizing buttons. There is also a toggle to important pictures for manipulation. Taking a picture is as simple as it is on any smartphone camera (obviously); VSCO Cam‘s assumed value is mostly in its ability to tweak images.

And, at first blush, that value is high indeed. The option set is superb, allowing for the user to actually create pre-sets that can be applied to pictures. Further, there is a slider that can be utilized to perfect tat particular look. Picture tweaking utilizes elements like temperature and exposure to create balance, and the comparison feature is phenomenal, as it allows for before/after checks by long-pressing the edited image. For folks looking to get a hand in selecting the perfect combination of tweaks, there are preset packs available via in-app purchase.

The app also covers the social angle, allowing sharing via social networks and via its own aforementioned VSCO Grid. The latter is an interesting concept that makes sense, allowing folks to discover and be discovered. This is social aspect adds to the attraction of the app.

It’s a third-party app that is fluid and actually fun to use, and is great for all ages.

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Enfojer on IndieGogo

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Enfojer on IndieGogo

Feb 26, 2014

This week’s Crowdfunding Spotlight focuses on a project that, honestly, blew my mind. I have always been interested in film photography, and I recently started collecting old cameras, and something that has always eluded me about digital is the lack of that hands on, tactile nature of film. A design group from Croatia has created a way to develop real, black and white analog photographs from the snapshots saved on smartphones. Seeing as mobile camera technology has advanced so rapidly in recent years it really has become a viable way to take above average photographs, and what could be better than being able to go into a darkroom and make prints of those high quality photographs. What Enfojer is, essentially, is a stand that, when combined with the free app, turns most smartphones into an automatic exposure machine. Also included are trays, tongs, film, and a red darkroom light; everything needed to develop homemade prints save for the chemicals which are easy enough to find. The phone sits in the top of the stand and at the literal snap of fingers the screen turns off allowing for safe placing of the film. With another snap the screen turns on displaying the photo which is magnified via a lens to fill the size of the film and a timer configures the perfect exposure amount. When the screen again goes dark it is time to begin the three washes which are automatically timed as well.

The app gives full control over exposure settings while still offering assistance when needed. As someone who has spent time in a development lab, the addition of timing the ensuing steps is an much appreciated step that easily could have been overlooked. The entire package, including 100 pieces of Ilford quality photographic paper, was given for a $200 donation, and I can see that price rising, but not by much, and even then it would still be a tremendous deal considering all that is included.

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The bad news here is that this project was not successfully funded on IndieGoGo, but money has come into the project and they have stormed ahead nevertheless. Parts have been injection molded and final designs have been going out after initial delays due to some structure reinforcing due to a lens change. Their website is up and running, and with an email address one can leave an email to be notified when the final product will be ready for pre-ordering.

I hope that everyone who reads this goes and shows their support for this incredibly ambitious product, because this is the kind of project that is made possible only through crowdfunding. This is a product that will inspire creativity, and for those with younger children, introduce a whole new generation to the fading art of film photography.

KickStarter Spotlight: Lumu

KickStarter Spotlight: Lumu

Jul 10, 2013

As an amateur film photographer I am astonished when my camera-savvy grandfather tells me that he used to just know the correct aperture and shutter speed for any situation. Light meters are the obvious solution to this, but they are really a pain to drag around and, for a quality item, can be well over $100. For the past few months I have been using various light metering mobile apps, but these obviously have their shortcomings and are not incredibly versatile. Also, they work using reflected light instead of the preferable incident lighting. Honestly, I was smitten immediately by Lumu, today’s KickStarter Spotlight, which solves all of these problems and delivers a tiny, powerful, and accurate mobile light meter.

So what makes a good light meter? Accuracy? Well Lumu is accurate up to +/- 0.1EV and can measure light from -4 to 20 EV or .15 – 250,000 lux. Okay, well how about usability? Lumu hits this ball out of the park, even including a custom made font to add a touch of class to their powerful Android and iOS app. Said app boasts an impressive bevy of features that are not limited to just photography. These include the standard exposure, aperture, and ISO, but add the ability to find the average value and contrast differences between multiple images as well as shutter angle and FPS time value for filmmakers. As I mentioned earlier, the app looks great and I have no doubts that it will be a total pleasure to use. But what about portability? Lumu is so small and understated that it borders absurdity. Coming with the appropriately titled Lumuneck, the quarter-sized Lumu and its headphone jack plug into a small necklace and the whole thing becomes a fashionable way to transport a full fledged light meter.

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In short, I think I have shown my unrestrained love for this product. My only reservation is the price; with early-bird spots discounted to $79 and retail price probably at $99, the Lumu light meter is not as inexpensive as its size would suggest. This is partially due to the incredibly sensitive light sensor, but I still see this as turning off some of its core audience; namely those on a budget who want a quick and easy way to get exposure reading. But, all that aside, the project is great, and its funding has exceeded expectations literally tenfold. So, maybe this one doesn’t need the collective help from the internet, but it is still worth a look nonetheless.

Snapseed Review

Snapseed Review

Dec 28, 2012

There was a time, not all that long ago, when cameras on phones were not too hot. The hardware was rudimentary, and the accompanying software bordered on the silly. Pictures were not that great.

Since then, it has gotten better… much better. So much so, that for many people, their smartphone cameras are the cameras for everyday use.

Snapseed (from Nik Software) is an app that looks to perfect the picture-taking experience. It is a photo-editing title that incorporates a lot of the features people have come to expect with apps of this type. Being chock-full of fan favorite filters definitely makes it an interesting offering.

I found the app to have a clean, simple interface which belied its bubbly functionality. It opened up with a quick diagram fitted with a test picture and an accompanying tutorial, which was simple but effective; it let me understand the basics of photo manipulation and enhancement. There was an automatic tab, as well as tuners for color, cropping, and more interestingly labeled filters like grunge, vintage and the interestingly titled “Drama” option. “Selective Adjust” allowed me to manipulate specific areas of my image on the fly.

Additionally, there were borders that could be added to give my images a somewhat formal finish.

I found the program intuitive enough to go in and play with right after the install; I especially liked the multitude of import options. The import tool pulled photos from Dropbox, my file manager of choice, or my device Gallery. For Google+ users, the one-touch share button will be welcome; I was also able to share to other apps on my device by using the built-in share option.

The unspoken comparison will be to Instagram; this app does not have the integrated social network that the Big Guy on the Block does, but in the enhancement department, I thought Snapseed more than held its own. The share functionality and cross-platform nature of the app definitely makes it a great creator of nostalgia though.

ComicBook! Wants to Make Photos More Exciting. And Full of Panels.

ComicBook! Wants to Make Photos More Exciting. And Full of Panels.

Oct 22, 2012

3DTOPO has announced the availability of its app for turning real-life photos into a virtual comic book. Appropriately titled ComicBook!, this app lets users add their photos in to make their photos exciting, because a picture may say a thousand words, but the word “AWESOME!” in block letters says awesome like little else can.

There are specific artistic filters designed to make photos look like more like they were hand-drawn. Want a manga-style look? That’s a filter choice. There’s also one that resembles the Frank Miller classic Sin City. And of course, “Vibrant” will make things look more colorful. Text captions can be added in stereotypical comic book font to add some liveliness and playfulness to the photos. There’s a variety of panel layouts that photos can be laid out in as well. Once finished, the photos can be shared via Twitter or Facebook. After all, comics are best shared with other people. ComicBook! is available from Google Play.

Theme Thursday: Awesome Nature Wallpaper

Theme Thursday: Awesome Nature Wallpaper

Oct 4, 2012

Being a small-time photographer I will always take time out to recognize those who enjoy the art as much as I do. A while ago I heard about an app that featured nothing but landscape photography by an amazing travel photographer, Yegor Korzh, and I decided to check it out. The app is simply a collection of his photographs that can be set as a rotating wallpaper. All the settings are here to put the user in full control and there is even options to include apps from other sites such as Facebook, Flickr, and (shudder) Instagram.

The photos are grouped in a handful of sections based on their attributes and each photo can be placed into a favorites folder. All of Yegor’s photos can be displayed on a constant cycle, and I wholeheartedly recommend this because every photo is just stunning. Upon unlocking, the user is greeted with a brand new, unbelievably epic, landscape shot that is guaranteed to leave anyone speechless for a while. I was amazed, not just with the incredible quality of the photographs, all of which are presented in the highest-resolution, but with the caliber of the app which is top-knotch. To be honest, I was not expecting much from the menus of this app but the large amount of customization options as well as photo sources make sure that everything is at just the right balance.

The app automatically updates itself with new images and, while the rotating slideshow is only available on the premium version, it is just over a buck. For one dollar anyone can effortlessly have a nearly unlimited resource of top quality and absolutely stunning landscape photography on their phone. There are some good deals on the Play Store but I cannot think of many that are better than this. So come out and support a truly talented artist and get some incredible eye candy in the process.

500px Launches Android Version of Their Tablet App

500px Launches Android Version of Their Tablet App

Apr 25, 2012

500px has launched a version of their app for Android devices. The app is essentially a port of their iPad app, just now on Android. This is a viewer of the 500px service, which serves as a photo sharing repository for high-quality photography. Photos can be viewed by popular images, editor’s choice, those upcoming in popularity, newest uploads, via searching for keywords, and viewing one’s own 500px images by logging in to the app. Photos can be shared directly to Twitter or Facebook from directly in the app. While the app doesn’t let users save photographs directly in the app, opening up the photo in a web browser is available – make sure to respect artists’ copyrights. The app does come with nude photography, which is filtered out by default, but can be re-enabled in the settings of the app.

Unlike the iOS version of the app, this is actually installable on phones, though the interface is clearly optimized for higher-resolution screens. The app is available now for free from Google Play.

Instagram for Android Now Available

Instagram for Android Now Available

Apr 3, 2012

Instagram is now available for Android, having been released to Google Play (before they could get the news out to the people on their mailing list!)

At last!

Sharing photos is easy after logging in or creating an account – just tap that big photo button in the center, snap a photo, then apply the filter of choice, then add captions and choose to share to social networks, and that photo’s out there to the world. All the photos from the iOS version appear to be here, with the ability to switch between front and rear cameras (this feature still shows up on devices without a front camera, which tapping it doesn’t cause the app to crash but it does slow things down), enhance contrast, and add/remove frames.

Of course, one of the biggest features of Instagram is that it’s also a social network, and following people on the service and seeing their photos has been fully implemented. It’s also possible to share one’s own photos via Android built-in sharing once it has been posted to Instagram. Double-tapping a photo likes it, though there’s no way to blow a photo up to view it full-screen. Other buttons on the home screen make it easy to find popular photos, track activity from friends, and finding more friends.

When it comes to finding friends, the app makes it easy to log in to Twitter and Facebook, and find accounts to follow on Instagram from those services. The Twitter friends discovery gets credit for being extremely thorough, finding what appeared to be every single Twitter user I followed who was also on Instagram. Many apps only find a small number of users, but this app finds them all.

Curiously, Instagram doesn’t seem to support tablets – or at least not the Motorola Xoom, which does have a full-fledged camera in it. This is most likely an interface issue with tablets, as the app doesn’t have native iPad support on iOS. Still, not having them run at all seems somewhat silly.

For those looking to get in on all the Instagram fun, the app is now available from Google Play.

KickStarter Spotlight: Trigger Happy Camera Remote

KickStarter Spotlight: Trigger Happy Camera Remote

Mar 9, 2012

A photographer at heart, any app that enhances the use of a camera is worth investigating in my book. This week our KickStarter Spotlight looks into an app that would potentially be a huge benefit to those who frequently stare down the lens. The app is called Trigger Happy Camera Remote, and it is a great idea that allows photographers to remotely control their dSLR cameras remotely, giving greater flexibility and relieving headaches with group photos. THCR comes with a cable that connects the phone and camera, with current support being fairly expansive including most modern Cannon and Nikons as well as a few others. This cable connects to the the standard headphone jack, making it universal and compatible with any Android or iOS phone.

The simplicity of this app is its biggest asset; the main functionality is to act as a basic remote. Touch the button and the camera takes the shot. For those who want more, and to help justify the hefty $70 price tag, THCR allows the user to adjust most of the functionality of the flash bulb, i.e. setting up time lapse photos and long exposures. Features in development include using the camera on the phone to take light readings and face detection.

For those who continued reading after seeing the price, it is steep, and Trigger Happy Camera Remote needs to deliver high end features that perform. The light readings need to be accurate enough that serious photographers will actually look to replace their light meters with their phones. Also, be sure to remember that the cost of the cable is included into the price, and I am sure that getting the hookups for specific cameras was not expressly cheap.

After all this, I encourage everyone to look into donating to this ambitious app. Those who are serious photographers and want to be on the edge of technology should keep an eye on Trigger Happy Camera Remote because this is where the future is headed.

Pick Pic Review

Pick Pic Review

Feb 29, 2012

Sony Digital Network Applications is back with another photography application for Android, and this one is designed to help users get that perfect shot. What Pick Pic is designed to do is to help alleviate the difficulties that come from shutter lag, by taking 11 photos in rapid-fire order, saving the median photo to the phone, then allowing users to save any and all of the other frames manually. The uses include taking shots of moving objects, to help improve the chances of getting a clear shot, taking a photo of someone’s face without them blinking, and just for any photo, where a subtle difference in frames may lead to a better photo. This is the kind of trick that high-end photographers use to get good shots, and it is available in a form for Android users.

This is a unique solution to the problem of taking motion photographs. This can help compensate for slow shutter speeds on many phone cameras, helping to improve the quality of shot taken. It’s great for high-motion shots, or for situations where trying to catch that one perfect moment would be best. The “Say Cheese!” button is just endearing, if not this app’s vestigial organ, because getting people ready for a photo isn’t really necessary with an app like this.

The app does not perform particularly well on the Samsung Captivate, with long delays after hitting the shutter button, making it unclear as to just when the photos are being taken. On the more capable Motorola Xoom, the app flickers when using the rear camera, and the camera view is distorted in both views, although photos are taken much more quickly. These may be Ice Cream Sandwich-specific issues.

Pick Pic is a creative solution to a problem with smartphone platforms, and despite some problems, it’s an interesting solution to try out.

Sony’s Picture Rater Enhances Picture Manager Functionality

Sony’s Picture Rater Enhances Picture Manager Functionality

Jan 25, 2012

Sony Digital Network Applications has released today a supplemental application to their Picture Manager app, called Picture Rater. This is designed to help users rate the photos in their libraries. Two photos are displayed, and users tap the photo they prefer, which rates one photo higher and lowers the ranking on one photo. A photo can be rapidly tapped on to increase its rating to 5 stars instantaneously. The photo ratings then sync up with Picture Manager‘s ratings filters, so clicking the 4-star rating in Picture Manager will show pictures rated that score from the Picture Rater process.

Picture Rater does require Picture Manager to run, which is disappointing because this is an interesting way to see pictures on one’s Android phone; I discovered a bunch of photos I didn’t even realize that I still had. Also, I was reminded how annoying apps that install data to the SD card can be when their media shows up in other apps. Picture Rater is available for free on the Android Market.