The Latest in Photo App Hacks — An App That Teaches Your Cat Photography & More!


Late at night, we slide on our headphones and furiously type a succession of zeros and ones.

It’s by the end of the first Prodigy track that we realize we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.

That’s why we leave the hacking to the hackers. Just a couple days ago, Photo Hack Day 2013 brought the best of them to a 24-hour hackathon in Berlin.

Last time, we told you all about Helmut, the fastest film scanner in the world, before it was even released.

In this edition, you’ll find out about all the raddest new photo apps thought up by clever young developers.

We’re talking apps that’ll teach your cat to shoot selfies and apps that turn your photos into spectacular light shows. Hackers were cool in 1995, but we think they’re even cooler in 2013!

The Best from Photo Hack Day 2013

p.s. Our pals at Inkling (they make rad photography how-to eBooks) are dropping knowledge with a free chapter on any topic you dig. Check ‘em out here.

Snapcat: Teach Your Cat to Take Selfies

Pluck the “h” out of Snapchat, and you’ve got Snapcat, “the very first social photo sharing app just for cats.”

Place your cat before your phone, and he/she will follow the icon on your screen. When they “catch” the icon with their (adorable little) paw, it’ll snap a photo!

This app doesn’t just teach your cat to shoot photos. It’ll teach them to shoot self-portraits.

Snapcat’s already out on Android, and you can try it in your browser, too. (Heads up, you’ll need an EyeEm account to log in).

TIP: Humans can play this game, too. We tested how cat-like our skills were. Turns out they weren’t all that cat-like, but we still had fun.

ALSO SEE: Cat scans.

DIGITALANALOG: GIFs Shot onto Polaroids

What’s the analog version of a GIF?

Flipbooks are cool, but DIGITALANALOG figured another way to hack a GIF into a tangible object.

They used the Impossible Project’s Instant Lab, a device that lets you expose phone photos onto instant film (aka a polaroid). They let the GIF play from their phone screen exposing each image from the GIF onto the film.

The instant print ends up looking like a sweet multiple exposure! With the right kinds of GIFs, you can come up with all kinds of clever photo overlays. Check out all the photos.

(Also check out the bottle cap iPhone camera filter they made from a bottle cap!)

TIP: Try another version of the same idea by photographing a long exposure of your computer screen as a GIF or video plays.

Ambeer: A nightlight from your photos

This hack is about as close to an indoor rainbow as a photo slideshow can get.

Ambeer analyzes your photos and extracts the most prominent colors to turn them into a beautiful light show via a lighting attachment that connects via USB.

It’s kind of like viewing the mood behind your photo — no image, just lovely colors.

Keep an eye out for this app as it’s in the process of getting ready for both Android and iOS (and your desktop, too!).

TIP: Turn your photos into light by crafting a DIY photo light sphere.

Photoration: Finding the Best Photo Spots

before Do you ever just stare at your phone and think whatdoitakeofaphotonow?! Us, too.

Even if that isn’t a problem you run into, you’ll dig Photoration for the same reason we do. It helps you find the best shooting spots for a specific location you’re visiting.

The way it works is by showing you photos that have been shot at that place. When you find a favorite view, click on the photo, and it’ll show you on a map where to stand to get that same view.

You can play with it here.

TIP: Read about how these guys came up with the idea and built the app all in 24 hours.

Sightstep: Postcard Recognition

beforeThis app beholds Wachowski-level hacker magic.

Say you’re visiting a city, and you see postcards of different sites — but you have no idea where they are or how to get to them! Shoot a photo of a postcard, and Sightstep will use image recognition (think Google Reverse Image Search) to figure out *where* the photo was shot.

It then shows you directions on how to get to it in Google Maps, so you can hop over and get a photo of it yourself.

Try it out here.

TIP: If you’re a postcard fiend, check out our tutorial for making the world’s smallest postcard.

Pickle: Let Photos Do the Translating

beforePickle inspires us to pen poetic lines. Something like Photography is the true universal language.

Why? This fun little Chrome browser extension translates foreign words for you by showing you photos of that word.

All you have to do is highlight the word, and images representing that word pop up at the bottom of your window. Visual learners will appreciate this one!

Check it out here.

TIP: Meet the (almost) opposite of Pickle. Unphotographable! Written accounts of the photos that got away.

Posted in Phoneography, Reviews