Back in May, Hipstamatic launched its own social networking app, Oggl. The free app brings Hipstamatic’s filters into a social network environment a la Instagram, but with an admittedly unique feel to it. Available in the Apple App Store and the Windows Phone Store, Oggl not only gives its users a way to see what other Hipstamatic aficionados are up to, it also gives them a new way to use Hipstamatic itself.
If you’re new to Hipstamatic and want to get a better idea of how the app works, check out our beginners guide to Hipstamatic. This will give you all the information you need to understand how filters (made up of lenses and films) work. The same rules and combinations apply to Oggl as well.
After you’ve signed up for an account, familiarising yourself with the app is very easy. When you first launch the app, it automatically opens up into viewfinder mode, allowing you to take photos straight away. The menu at the bottom consists of three buttons. The bottom left button gives you access to your Oggl photo library (which consists of photos you’ve taken within the app), the bottom right button gives you access to Editor’s picks, while the middle button brings up the camera settings.
In the photo library or popular photos tabs, you’ll find that the menu features two new buttons – giving you access to notifications (see the screenshot below) and to your personal profile. To return to viewfinder mode, you can tap the camera icon at the top of the screen.
Taking and Posting Photos
Unfortunately Oggl is one of the few apps we’ve seen of this kind where you can’t import photos from your camera roll. Any photos that you want to share with other Oggl users have to have been taken within the app itself. While that is a little bit annoying, the good news is that you can apply Hipstamatic filters (i.e. choose the lens and film) afterwards. With the original Hipstamatic app, it’s both a blessing and a curse that you can only take photos after having selected the lens and film. If you’ve ever taken a photo with Hipstamatic only to discover you had the wrong settings, Oggl will now let you take the photo and then select the look of your choice afterwards.
When it comes to capturing photos, you can use the front and back cameras, switch the flash on and off, and can choose between several different shooting modes: landscape, portraiture, nightlife, food, or sunset.
If you’re a regular Hipstamatic user, you’ll want to import all of your Hipstamatic gear into the app provided you’re a user of the service. In the viewfinder tab, on either side of the shooting modes – there are two buttons – an ‘M’ button and a ‘+’ button. Tapping the ‘M’ button will pull out a small menu with all of the basic lenses and film.
Tapping the ‘+’ button will open up a new window. From here you can add lens and film combinations to your favourites for quick access to them as you take photos. Of course, the beauty of Oggl means taking the photo using your favourite settings doesn’t mean you have to stick to that combination before finalising the image.
More importantly, tapping the Get More Gear button will take you to a page where you can import your Hipstamatic gear.
As you take photos they’ll be saved in your Oggl library, which is viewable only to you. When you open up a photo from the library and tap on it, it will show you the lens and film combination, the location and date the photo was taken, whether or not it’s shared, and whether or not it has a caption.
Captions and the geotagged location can be set using the dedicated buttons, while sharing is done via the Share icon. From here you can simultaneously post to a variety of social networks and photo sharing website, provided you’ve connected them to Oggl. The supported services currently include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Tumblr and Flickr.
Connecting your accounts can be done quickly in-app by opening up the profile tab and tapping the Settings button.
Oggl profiles display the number of followers you have, your username and bio, and whether or not you’re a contributor. Oggl contributors pay either $9.99 a year or $2.99 for 3 months and get access to a bunch of films and lenses unavailable to non-paying members. These are all accessible from the Get More Gear tab.
There are three separate tabs for photos in Oggl. Captured photos are the photos you’ve taken yourself, Curated photos are photos that other Oggl users have taken that you want to showcase, while My Collection features both your Captured and Curated photos. All photo tabs employ an endless scroll to display the images, for easy viewing.
Interacting With Other Users
Oggl is, after all, a social network, so a key feature to the app is interacting with other users. You can view the most popular photos and add them to your favourites by double-tapping them. Adding them to your favourites will not make them appear on your page.
Tapping a photo once will open up other options. From there you can gauge the photo’s popularity and tapping the Curate button will showcase the photo on your profile. You can also tap the person’s profile photo to see the rest of their profile.
To follow another Oggl user, just tap the plus button next to their profile photo.
Oggl is a pretty slick app, but one that has its quirks. In your local photo library, there’s no way to swipe between photos, meaning you have to keep going back to your gallery to open up another photo. When you have a big gallery, this could get a bit annoying. Another major complaint we have with Oggl is the fact that your limited to using it only with photos taken within the app.
While we understand that Oggl is all about a photography community (and we appreciate the fact that this means that you can only post original work, that it’s a purely mobile photography experience with no screenshots or memes), it does also mean that you’re limited to not sharing your other photos taken using other iPhone camera apps. So, if you’re a fan of Camera+, ProCamera, or other shooting apps, you’re out of luck.
So what do we like about Oggl? We love the fact that you can apply Hipstamatic filters to photos after you’ve taken the image. Since Oggl retains the ‘negative’ image, you can try a bunch of different themes on the same image. The app provides a slick experience, with a solid community, and certainly sets itself apart from the rest. The interface doesn’t really mimic other apps giving Oggl users a unique experience. Quirks aside, it’s not hard to see Oggl becoming a staple app for any one serious about mobile photography.
What do you think of Oggl? Let us know in the comments.
Photo: Alex Brown