Mamatoga Favorites: Top Photo Apps

In case you guys haven't noticed, I like to take pictures with my iPhone. A lot. It may look like I'm always on my phone when I'm out doing stuff but the reality is that I'm actually taking pictures, of everything, pretty much all the time. It started out as a way to be in closer touch with my two brothers who live in California. I send them pictures of New York, the kids, the dogs, great meals I'm having (my one brother is a chef) and pretty much anything I find funny or picture worthy, which covers a lot. They send me pictures back too, I get to see pictures of my nieces and nephew on the beach in San Diego, giant redwoods up in Santa Cruz, funny dachshund pictures and little snippets of their lives out there. More than quick texts they transport me to where they are for just a moment and the distance doesn't seem quite so far.

Just like any pictures, these snapshots help me preserve my memories. Especially with small children, the moments you want to capture can spring up like that, all of a sudden someone is taking their first step or making their first goal or it's just something you want to capture. My phone is at hand and at the ready more so than my camera, which I have to unearth from my cavernous, overloaded bag, remove from it's case and get ready. Plus, I'm not exactly the most technologically advanced when it comes to using an actual camera. EVERY TIME I get a new camera I save the instruction booklet, determined to read it through and learn how to do all the neat tricks and use all the features, and every time the little booklet gets put in my menu drawer next to the Chinese food takeout menus, which is for some reason also my reserved spot for these types of things. Beyond point and shoot I can probably figure out how to turn the flash on and off, but usually all the bells and whistles are unfortunately wasted on me. That's why I love using my phone, and I love it even more now that I've found these amazing apps that make taking phone pictures about a thousand times better.


My BY FAR top phone app for taking pictures has to be Instagram. It had been months that I had been seeing these great pictures pop up on facebook and twitter from friends, the link would take you to the page that told you that "So and so is using Instagram" and I would flick through the pictures, amazed that such great looking pictures came from a phone. Instagram, in an homage to both the Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid cameras, confines photos into a square shape and allows users to apply a filter to change the look and feel of the photo. You can make it look more vintage, sharper, fuzzier, brighter or darker, there are a ton of different options and each seems to dramatically change the whole picture. Its super easy to use and the photos are easy to share, plus the best part? It's free.


Photosynth is another great app for users who aren't the most technologically advanced but want to take great shots. I love panorama shots, but am not really sure how to figure out how to actually take them. With Photosynth from Microsoft, all you have to do is take one photo with your iPhone and then aim your camera at the area surrounding that original photo to create a panorama. When you've lined up the camera lens correctly, the app actually takes the photo for you, and you're done! The app "stitches" the panorama together for you and creates the photo. It's super easy and fun to play with and makes great pictures. And it's also free!


GLMPS, another free app, is a fun app to play around with when taking casual shots and candid pics, when you take a picture, the app also captures a few seconds just before the photo is taken, so that you can relieve the moments that led up to the shot as well as the shot itself. I've used this when taking walks with the kids, so you get a few seconds of what you are doing before the moment is captured and it's such a fun way to look at pictures. It lets you capture the laugh that started the smile, or just a bit of the jump into the pool or a few moments of a merry go round ride before you save the image. In between taking a little video and taking just a picture it's fun and easy to use and a great way to look back and remember.


I LOVE photo booths, every time I see the Saratoga Photobooth Company at a benefit I start planning the pictures I'm going to take in my head and I have a fun collection from the past few years. PopBooth is a great free app that lets you create fun photo booth photos and then post to Facebook, send by email, or send REAL photo strips in the mail. It's always fun and easy to use and everyone seems to find it hard to resist taking photo booth pictures, they always wind up with at least one or two cute shots that are great to stick up on the fridge. PopBooth is one of Levy's favorite apps apparently, and I love finding the little shots she takes on her own, they always crack me up...




My newest photo obsession however isn't an app, it's a service that uses one of these awesome apps and it's called StickyGram. StickyGram uses your Instagram pictures to print little magnets and I LOVE THEM. Rather than just having the pictures on my phone or on facebook I now get to see my favorite shots on my fridge every day. These little snapshots of our lives make me smile every time I see them and brighten my day to say the least. Beyond regular photo magnets, they look great because of the great shots that Instagram creates, and you can put them in whatever collage order you want. Each StickyGram is 50mm x 50mm, which is approximately the same size as they appear on your iPhone. They come in packs of 9 and cost $14.99 per sheet, with free shipping. I warn you, they are ADDICTIVE and I'm worried it won't be long before my fridge is completely covered in StickyGrams, especially with a new baby coming soon...