App of the Week: Graffiti Me!

Title: Graffiti Me!

Price: $.99

Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later.

The teens in my library are always looking for fun new ways to take pictures of themselves to share with friends on Facebook. They usually know about any new photography app that comes out right away, but this time I shared this one with them! Graffiti Me! is an innovative photography app that allows you to upload a photo or access the camera function to take a new photo and turn it into graffiti. Once you have your photo uploaded, you may stretch the photo with two fingers to place the photo exactly how you would like it to show. You may zoom in and out at this time, as well. Next, the app will display a bar filled with color swatches that will pop up at the bottom of the screen, where you can customize the background effect of your photo. The effects include a wide range of choices from paint splatter, American flag, checkerboard, and many more. After you have the background set, you can use the “effects” slide bar to minimize or maximize the degree of the effect. Continue reading

App of the Week: Layout

Title: Layout
Cost: $2.99
Platform: iPad 2 or later running iOS 5 or later

Layout app iconLayout is one of those apps that teens, and you, might not realize they need (or want) until after they’ve tried it. But, once it’s downloaded and installed it’s likely to be a favorite app for creating collages of photos on an iPad and then turning those into e-postcards, posters, and more.

The first step when using Layout is to decide the layout for a collage. It’s easy to swipe across or down the screen to add a column or area in which to place a photo. There is also a selection of layouts that the app comes with so you don’t have to create your own. Continue reading

More powerful than an AK-47

I’m in the middle of a three session workshop on teaching photography skills to inmates at a local jail. The library is partnering with Silent Images, a local humanitarian photography organization. One of the stories David Johnson with S.I. told was that in a country he visited, a camera was more powerful than a gun. Why? Because a bullet only travels so far. A photograph can be shared infinite ways. Continue reading

Photography: Capturing teens in a new light

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this photo as approximately 18X24 in the teen space at your library.The photo is framed and hanging on a wall. Okay, you can open your eyes now. It’s a bit hard to describe because the size influences the effect it can have and posting it on a blog doesn’t necessarily do it justice. If I had to describe it in one word, I might choose the word ‘radiant’. As librarians, we’re constantly existing in worlds that might not seem all that real to others, so I’m confident that you’re quite on board with this and we’ll keep moving on. Continue reading

App of the Week: Pic Collage

Title: Pic Collage
Platform: iPhone, iPod, iPad
Cost: Free

I was having trouble choosing an app to review this week. My iPhone 3 is not compatible with some of the things I was interested in trying.’  I think it’s time for an upgrade.’  To find some new apps to consider for the week, I looked at my Genius recommendations in the App Store.’ ‘  Like iTunes, Genius recommends apps based on what you already have in your library.’  You can find it under the “Featured” heading in the App store.’  Pic Collage was recommended for me because I have Instagram.

Pic Collage lets you arrange and share groups of images.’  The interface is simple, intuitive, and explained in this nice little graphic:

Continue reading

App of the Week: Pocketbooth HD

Title: Pocketbooth HD
Platform: Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch with OS 4.3 or later (requires use of a forward-facing camera)
Cost: $0.99

Project Box released Pocketbooth HD back in March of 2011 and already updated to a new version in April. Pocketbooth HD is the perfect app for teens who love to share silly pictures of themselves and friends.

Unless you’re one of the lucky few, long gone are the days of photo booths in your local mall. I remember fondly the days of going to the mall with friends and cramming as many of us as we could into the small 6 by 4 foot booth, only to make ridiculous faces and ungodly teenage gestures.Those were the days. Photo booths have become such a novelty now that they are actually turning up in unlikely places and even making appearances at wedding receptions. Needless to say, they are fun! Continue reading

App of the Week: Hipstamatic

Title: Hipstamatic

Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Requires iOS 3.1 or later

Cost: $1.99+ ‘ (several “hipstapaks” come with the initial cost, but additional ones cost extra & it can add up, so choose wisely.)

You know those cool pics you’ve been seeing on Flickr and Facebook lately? The square ones with the grainy edges or shiny middles? The ones that look like they may have been taken by rock star photographer with an old holga camera? Chances are those photos were taken with this app. Hipstamatic can turn even the most mundane images interesting.


For example, here are a few pictures I took of simple things: my glasses, an owl. Which, I think, makes them look even cooler than usual. ‘ No additional touch ups were done to the photos.

Great for taking photos at book clubs, library events, and other occasions, Hipstamatic spruces up the simple iPhone picture into something eye-catching, stylized, and mood creating. At a recent event, I took hipstapics of my students, and they LOVED ‘ how the photos matched the feel of the night.

Photos can sorted into stacks (max of 9 shots sadly) where they can then be sent to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, or email. Photos can also be printed onto real live non-digital versions. For more info on their features, check their launch press release and this demo video:’ Hipstamatic User Interface Demo from Synthetic on Vimeo.

Do you use this app? How? Why not ask your teen advisory to use Hipstamatic to represent a book in one photo, since as they say a picture is worth a thousand words…

App of the Week: Instagram

Title: Instagram
Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad
(Requires iOS ‘ 3.1.2 or later)
Cost: Free!

To best describe Instagram to librarians: It’s like Twitter with pictures.

To best describe Instagram to teens: It’s an app where you can share photos with your friends and it has all these cool filters.

Instagram is a photo sharing app, self-described as’  “fast, beautiful and fun”. ‘ It has feeds like many social media sites. ‘ You take pictures, add filters, update your feed, and then look at what other people are posting. You can choose to follow other users and see their updates whenever they post a new picture. You can also easily share your Instagram photos with other sites. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Posterous, Tumblr and Foursquare are the sharing options offered.

The interface is quite clean and self-explanatory. ‘ It looks like this:

Continue reading