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Picture this

OKC photographers snap up Instagram.

Malena Lott February 8th, 2012

Once upon a time, cameras were for the wealthy; and photography, as art, for professionals only. Thanks to smartphones and even smarter apps, photos and art have entered into a covenant for the masses at the altar of Instagram, which Apple named the 2011 App of the Year.

Described by as “the repository of some of the best snapshots on the net,” Instagram topped 10 million users even before celebrating its first birthday. That popularity is reflected in Oklahoma City, with more than 5,400 photos given the hashtag #okc. The #igersokc community got together early this year for its first “insta-meet,” taking photos in downtown OKC.

The app differs from photo-sharing feeds like Picasa and Flickr due to its 11 filters, taking an otherwise “meh” picture to new heights, whether it’s increasing contrast (hefe), making it black and white (Inkwell) or giving it a retro Polaroid look (1977).

The iPhone-only app (for now) is free in the iTunes store and lets you find and follow friends from your Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as sharing your Instagram pics on your other social networks, adding a caption and even geo-tagging it. Users have followers, and can like and comment on each other’s photos. IG lets users import any photo from the camera library or take pictures on the spot. Additional third-party editing apps like Snapfeed ($4.99) or Noir ($2.99) can further enhance the photos. For macro shots — like getting close-ups on creepy crawlies or beautiful buds — users can buy a lens from PhotoJojo for the iPhone.

What makes it truly special for local IGers?

Edmond “iPhoneographer” Elizabeth Panko (@elizabethNDP), who has been on Instagram since June of 2011, says of the community, “Instagram has some of the most talented, inspiring and supportive people I have ever encountered on such a consistent basis,” said Panko. “By participating in IG, my skills as a photographer have grown exponentially by experimenting with editing techniques used by other IG members, as well as by participating in various challenges and contests. Not only is IG a wonderful creative outlet, it is a great source of connection and support.”

For Beth Weiss (@pernicioustwit), the draw is simple: “Oklahoma sunsets rock.” A Bethany mom and co-owner of Weiss Productions, she often takes pictures of the gorgeous Oklahoma sunsets, particularly at her “happy place,” Lake Overholser in Bethany.

She opened her account July 4 and has connected with other IGers as far away as Australia. Like Panko, she said she enjoys the community of Instagram.

“Behind every picture there’s a person that’s put a lot of thought, feeling, emotion and editing into it,” said Weiss.

She encourages IGers to consider color, contrast, composition, framing or catching the light just right to get a memorable photo.

“If you like it, and it means something to you, that’s going to show,” Weiss said.

Want those pictures in real life? Users can print their favorite Instagram photos using services such as Instaprint or Keepsy to create prints or photo albums.

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