Must Own Iphone App: Hipstamatic and Swankolab!

My Iphone is automatic, HIPSTAMATIC and swaaaaaankomatic! Yep, I have written about Hipstamatic in the past and how I loved it for what it is, and now on the Iphone 4 I love it even more! I also downloaded the new Swankolab, which is from the same people who brought us Hipstamatic. It’s like a virtual wet darkroom where you can alter your photos with chemicals, toners and other good stuff. Only thing missing is the smell, and for $1.99 its a very cool app to have for anyone who loves all of this retro goodness. Anyway, just wanted to shout out and say if you guys have not yet tried Hipstamatic, give it a whirl. I get nothing for my recommendation, but I have been having fun with it for months now and have came away with some pretty cool photos. I always say I will write about the photography related things that I enjoy, and this is one of them. Whatever gets us inspired to grab a shot, even if it is not a masterpiece..doing what you enjoy in life is a priority IMO and why not have a cool retro vibed camera built into your Iphone to grab some creative shots every now and then?


It’s slow, it’s retro and it’s viewfinder is sort of odd and not accurate but so what? In these days of cameras that cost $6k+ this little $2 app can work wonders with your Iphone giving you better results than some of the $40 toy cameras using medium format film! There are different lenses to choose from as well as different film stock, built right in to Hipstamatic app. It’s all about being CLASSIC…all about looking ANALOG and I must say, it works as advertised! You are not going to get clean, sharp, perfect results but that is NOT what Hipstamatic is all about. Nope, its all about that special old film look and i think its a MUST own for $1.99. The only drawback is they charge extra for film stock and some lenses, but even so I bought EVERYTHING they were offering and it cost me about $10. Well worth it. Here are a few shots that I have taken over the past few months with this app.

All of these are direct from my Iphone photoshop as the app does all of this for you when you choose your lens and film stock.


Swankolab is a new app, and it is a wet darkroom simulator with all of the chemicals, sights and sounds of a real wet darkroom. Very very cool, only $1.99 and is a little gimmicky but fun. Basically you open a photo within the lab and add whatever chemicals you want. You can add vignetting, contrast, funky colors, light streaks, or whatever you wish. When you switch the lever to develop your print, it throws it in the chemicals and you see it appear before your eyes just like a real darkroom. Yea, like I said, its gimmicky but fun. Here is a before after with Swankolab…

BEFORE, My son at his 8th Grade graduation as taken with the Olympus E-PL1 and 17 2.8 lens.

AFTER using Fantabra Magic Warm, Jerry’s Developer and Grizzle Fix in Swankolab on my Iphone!

one more if you want to get really crazy…direct from my Iphone…

and after a crazy Swankolab treatment of Vinnys BL94, Vinnys WA12 and Fantabra Magic Cool

The possibilities are endless really so this one will take lots of expirimenting. But its fun to have all of these tools right on your Iphone and makes for a great little travel camera when you do not need serious resolution or results!

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  1. LOVE Hipstamatic with the new Hipstacase! Wicker Park Hipstapak is the best! Great Article Steve!

  2. Hipstomatic is nice but way too expensive.
    PS : I dreamt that I met you somewhere between Canada and Phoenix Steeve ! You had all the “Daily inspirations” pinned on a board. Ha ha ha !!!

  3. I love Hipstomatic. I use it often. I also love Best Camera App by Chase Jarvis. That one is fun to use too. So many cool iPhone apps out there. I like Swanko Lab, but am not used to it. It’s funny how it develops and makes the sounds too.

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