Photography & Art Journaling, part 3

Accidental Self-portrait

Part 3 of  this series on Photography & Art Journaling, is about photo apps. Photo apps are really the only way that I digitally alter photographs. I just don’t have the patience on the computer, but I do have fun playing with different photo apps on my iPod Touch.

I have a lot of different apps–some are free, and some cost a little money. Most of the ones I have range from $.99-$1.99.  Since they are inexpensive, it makes it easy to go a little crazy sometimes buying them. I have found out about them either from friends, from searching on iTunes, or from following the Life in LoFi: iPhoneography Blog, written by Marty Yawnick. He frequently has helpful photo app reviews, and I’ve found out about some great apps from his blog.

Most of the apps can either alter a photo that was already taken and is in your photo library (on your iPod Touch or iPhone), or a photo can be taken directly from the app.

The app I use the most, and the one that is probably the best known, is Hipstamatic. With it, you can only take photos–you can’t alter them in the app afterwards. But, there are many different effects you can get with the different “lenses” and “films,” so the possibilities are endless. Sometimes Hipstamatic has free film and lens packs, but more frequently they have different packs for sale for a limited amount of time, usually for $.99. A fun feature with Hipstamatic is that you can shake the iPod to get a random film & lens. You don’t know what you have until you’ve taken the picture. Don’t like it? Shake and take another photo.


taken with the hipstamatic app


Even though you can’t alter photos in Hipstamatic after they are taken, you can alter them in other apps. For example, Here’s a photo I took with Hipstamatic.



Then I imported it into the PictureShow App, and played around with it.



Not only can you select different filters, you can also make other adjustments to each filter.


editing the photo in PictureShow app


One of my current favorites, which I did a tutorial on, is the Magic Hour Photo app. I love it! Aside from the filters available, you can create your own filters and share them with other people. That means you can also use other people’s filters. It’s really easy to make your own filter by making adjustments to existing filters.


taken with TtV Photo Studio app


My favorite app for taking photos that look like TtV pictures is TtV Photo Studio. Here is an explanation from Wikipedia of  TtV photography. Through the Viewfinder photography (TtV) is a photographic technique in which a photograph is shot with one camera through the viewfinder of a second camera.” A digital camera shoots the picture through the viewfinder of an old Twin-lens reflex camera–that’s the kind of camera where you hold it about waist-high and look down into the viewfinder that is on top of the camera. Whether you understand this concept doesn’t really matter–you can get some interesting, vintage looking photos. With the app, the filter choices give the effect of a different vintage twin-lens reflex camera. You can make a few other adjustments to the images also.



Since I love grungy things, I love the Pic Grunger app, which does exactly what you think. It grunges up a photo. It’s easy to use even though you can select different effects, textures, styles and borders. Like most apps, you can preview everything before saving or sharing it.


PicGrunger effects


altered in PicGrunger


Another fun app that makes it easy to grunge up your photos or give them different textures is the ScratchCam app. It has free download effects packs, giving you a lot of different options. You can select different scratches, textures & borders, and colors. With this app, tapping again on an effect will change it. I’ve noticed some other apps have this feature as well.


ScratchCam Effects Packs


choosing a border in ScratchCam


photo altered in ScratchCam


Please check out Leslie Herger’s blog and Jazmin’s blog to see how they digitally alter their photos. Part 4 will be about incorporating photos in your journal.

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  1. I love this series — I’ve found so many cool photo apps and tips from your blog. This is probably something you’ve already covered, but do you purchase your prints or do you print them yourself? If so, what kind of photo printer do you use? Thanks!

  2. I’m loving this series on photography! Like you, I bought a new iPod Touch for the camera and am having a blast playing with the apps. The effects are so amazing – and so easy! I’m downloading several of the apps you mentioned (the free ones!) and can’t wait to go play with them). And now, I’m off to read Leslie and Jazmin’s blogs.

  3. Love this article – we use a lot of the same photo apps. 🙂 I haven’t used ScratchCam yet, so I’m definitely going to check it out. I think you are the second person I’ve heard recommend it in a week.

  4. While I like your work overall, I don’t apreciate some of your uses of religious objects in some of your art, as I am catholic. I find some of it a bit offensive actually. But overall, I think you’re very talented.

    • Peggy, I am very sorry you find some of my work offensive because I use religious icons in it. Could you elaborate on what exactly offends you to help me understand?

      Offending people definitely isn’t my intention, and I don’t feel I use the imagery in a pejorative way or in a way that belittles religions or religious beliefs. In this post, I’ve simply used a photograph I’ve taken of a statue I see every day because I live across from a Catholic cemetery. I love this statue of Mary and find her beautiful. I am very drawn to religious iconography and symbols–no matter what the religion is–which is why I use them in my work. I find them beautiful and powerful and I feel connected to them and comforted by them–I’m a spiritual person. My father and his side of my family are all catholic, so I have been around catholic icons and imagery since I was born. Luckily, I’m pretty sure my Dad wouldn’t be offended by my work, but unfortunately he passed away about 10 years ago, so I can’t ask him. But, I am sorry you find some of it offensive.

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