1. Computing

What Is Instagram?

Using Instagram as a Mobile Photo App and as a Social Network

By

What Is Instagram?
Photo © Instagram.com

If you're involved on social networks like Facebook or Twitter, you may have come across a photo or two that looks like it had a very elegant vintage filter applied to it. In fact, you may have come across more than just one or two considering the fact that Instagram is one of the most popular mobile photo apps to download.

If you own an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, Instagram could be a great tool to help uncover your inner photography skills.

Instagram: A Vintage Photography Smartphone App

Put simply, Instagram is a photo app that is available for free from the iTunes App Store and from Google Play. If you own a Blackberry, a Windows Phone or anything other than a mobile Apple device or Android device, you won't be able to use Instagram. The app is currently only available for Apple and Android devices.

Creating an Account on Instagram

Before you can start using the app, Instagram will ask you to create a free account. All you need is a username and a password. The reason they require you to create an account is because Instagram is not just a photo app. It's also a popular social network.

Instagram as a Social Network

On Instagram, you can follow other users' photo streams as they post them and you can be followed back by those users (or other users) as well. Using the "Profile" icon located on the lower menu of the Instagram screen, you can search for friends by name or find friends that are already connected to you on other social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

When you decide to follow a user, that user's Instagram photos will appear in your feed, which can be found under the "Feed" icon on the lower menu. You can press "Like" on any photo to let someone know that you admire their photography, or you can leave a comment.

When you take photos using the Instagram app, they will always appear in the feeds of the users who are following you. You can browse through the "Explore" tab to find new users to follow and creative photos to look at.

Taking Photos and Applying Photo Filters

After downloading the app from the App Store and creating an account, you can open the app up and snap a picture through your camera, using either the back or front camera. There is a menu at the bottom of the screen, and you can snap a photo by pressing the camera icon in the middle of the menu, labeled "Share."

Once you select the green checkmark on your snapshot, you will be able to instantly transform the color, texture and overall look of your photo with just a touch of your finger. The available filters appear at the bottom of the screen.

Instagram currently has the following photo filters to choose from:

  • Amaro
  • Rise
  • Hudson
  • X-pro II
  • Sierra
  • Lo-fi
  • Earlybird
  • Sutro
  • Toaster
  • Brannan
  • Inkwell
  • Walden
  • Hefe
  • Valencia
  • Nashville
  • 1977
  • Kelvin

You can apply each filter as a preview to see how each filter looks. Pressing the green checkmark will the set the chosen filter for your photo. You will then be taken to a screen where you can set up sharing on other social networks and where you can add a caption to the photo.

Sharing Your Instagram Photos on the Web

You can configure your Instagram account to have photos posted on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr or sent by email. If these configurations are all set to "On," then all of your Instagram photos will automatically be posted to your social networks automatically after you press "Done."

Don't worry, Instagram will always take you to the social network configuration page after you snap each and every photo. If you don't want your photo shared on any particular social network, simply set the configuration to "Off."

Additionally, you can switch the "Add to your Photo Map" option to "On" if you want to tag the photo's location to your personal Instagram Photo Map. If you do, you can then select "Name this location" to attach a venue's name to the photo as well.

Keep in mind that Instagram users will still be able to view your photos in their feeds, if they follow you. You must delete your photos from Instagram if you don't want anybody to view them.

Instagram Updates

The developers are constantly working to improve Instagram. Your Apple device will notify you of any future updates. Instagram is currently available for free.

Read the Web Trends Guide Review for Instagram or visit the official Instagram website.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.