Instagram has undoubtedly changed the way many smartphone users take pictures on their phones. By giving each photo a quick and easy makeover prior to posting on its photo sharing service, Instagram enables users to take stunning photographs that look like they’ve been carefully doctored by a Photoshop expert in seconds. Over time, other apps have come out that take the basic functionality of Instagram and expand on it, adding new looks and abilities such as blur and flash control.
Enter the latest version of Instagram, a new take on an old concept, adding instant live filters and a tilt shift along with four new filters, photo rotation, high-resolution saving, and a quick button that enables users to turn on and off decorative borders. A few additional changes that don’t appear in the change log include a new interface for switching between styles and several improvements in the built-in comment system.
If you’re still unfamiliar with Instagram, it’s a photo sharing app that enables users to connect with their friends for the purpose of sharing single snapshots. Each shot you take becomes part of a feed available through the API, targeted at mobile and social platforms. Instagram utilizes posting APIs for multiple social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and even Foursquare. You can add location tags to your photo, letting friends see a map of the location where you shot the image.
Of all the new features, the dynamic placeable blur has to be one of the most notable. You can pinch and pull the focus point to a small or larger area, and select between a round or rectangular focus point. This makes it incredibly fast and easy to take a photo that focuses on a specific subject, giving a great blurring effect to surrounding objects in the frame. Photos are still restricted to a squarish aspect ratio, making wider shots difficult. Some would argue this as a plus to the program, given how well the native aspect ratio works with various social networks.
The recent update is not without its faults. During a brief testing period, the app crashed twice while mastering a photo after it had been taken. At this point, those photos are still not being saved directly to the drive if you take them through the app itself — an important feature if you plan to promote the app as the primary shooting software.
Over all, these changes to Instagram are sleek and enjoyable. While I may have had a few glitches during testing, it’s nothing a minor update (which Instagram has thus far been good about) couldn’t fix.