Those of you who follow me in Twitter might have noticed me talking about an iPhone app called CameraBag and noticed some unique shots on Twitpic. I had heard of this app for a while and finally decided to drop the $2.99 and buy it. It is now one of the apps I use most.
CameraBag is a simple app that processes photos from the iPhone camera or photo roll with one of 9 different effecst. All of the effects are meant to mimic vintage camera or development process. Such as Helga(a Holga Look), Instant(- Polaroid style), or 1962(a high contrast black and white look). Check out these examples:
I never really used to take pictures with the iPhone camera because a.) it sucks and b.) I always have my Canon g9 with me. With CameraBag however, I have started to take a lot more pictures with the iPhone. I now find my self thinking things like "this shot would look great in a square crop like a holga" or "this would look great in black and white". Now I can take a shots with a CameraBag setting in mind.
I think the brilliance of CameraBag is that it is not trying to improve the images, but degrade them in a artistic way. CameraBag let's you shoot with your iPhone for the same reason you would shoot with a Holga or Polaroid - for that unique, lo-fi look.
One caveat with this app. In the settings you can choose what resolution the files are processed in. I have noticed that if you use the highest setting, the app can be buggy and crash. I have had no problem with the 800 pixel setting however.
List of CameraBag effects and my opinion of them.
Simulates the look of a Holga toy camera. Complete with vignette and square crop. Adds contrast and desaturates a bit. Its a good one.
This is a polaroid simulation. As you see in the examples about, it even adds the polaroid frame. This adds contrast and a brownish tint. I also like this one a lot.
A simple black and white conversion. Also adds a white border. This one can be nice when you want a smooth Black and White look.
Another B&W conversion. This one is much higher contrast. It can be nice in certain situations. The first image example used this effect.
This one is basically worthless to me. It would be better if they added some other kind of processing to it istead of just warping it and making a circle crop. There is not example of this on my post because it's too lame.
Simulates shooting on infrared B&W film. Camerabag does a great job at this. Daytime skies go pitch black, greens glow white. High contrast. The second shot in my examples is infrared.
I assume this is a play on Lomo. This is a square cropped, punchy saturated effect with a white border. I like this one a lot.
A bluish, contrasty, desaturated look in a 16:9 crop. I'm not a fan of this one.
Slightly sepia and desaturated with a border. Not my favorite.
In conclusion, if you find yourself not using the iPhone camera, give this app a try. It might just be what you are looking for.