A brass tabletop captured by the MarbleCam app, which magnifies the center of a frame and softens backgrounds.
By Kit Eaton – July 4, 2012 – NY Times
Time for a quiet little chat about smartphone photography, just between us. Sorry, but there is really not that much charm or creativity to be had in the average photo we take with our phones.
And we are all using our phone cameras more. A friend of mine who is a professional photographer even told me recently that he spent a lot of time taking pictures on his phone instead of his real camera, simply because the imaging technology in smartphones has improved so much and they are so convenient.
But with thousands of photography apps available, our photos can be much more creative with just a little thought.
Take MarbleCam, an app that makes it look as if you have taken a photo of the world through a perfect glass marble, with the rest of the view dropped beautifully out of focus behind the sphere.
It’s a freshly updated free iPhone app and it’s simple and yet powerful. Using it couldn’t be easier. You snap a photo, using an on-screen guide that shows where the image’s center is. Then three icons let you choose where the glass marble effect is applied in the image, how big the “marble” is, and which way the image is rotated.
These settings are a little tricky to get right, but they are easy enough to learn. When you are done you can save the image, share it or pass it on to another app like Instagram. The results can sometimes be startling, and are best when you are looking at something detailed, like the example shown here, a beautiful brass tabletop in a cafe. Photos of faces are probably not suited to this app, unless you are a fan of noses.