Tadaa – Your photos are awesome

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Because I didn’t like the recent changes in Instagram’s term of service I deleted my account and I started looking for alternatives. Tadaa is one such app that I’ve used for a few weeks to replace Instagram. However, I decided that was more useful as post-processing tool for creating Instagram images.

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To get started with Tadaa you create an account using your Twitter or Facebook account. Once you create your account you can import your photos from your existing Instagram account. Your photos and captions will be imported but your likes and comments will stay on Instagram. Creating an account in the app also creates an online profile. It’s not as well done as Instagram’s. In fact I think it’s terrible.

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In Tadaa, the main screen has three buttons — Photos, People, Camera, Me and Settings. The photos tab has two options, New and Awesome. New features photos uploaded by new users of the server. I think this is meant to help with finding followers. Awesome is a stream of photos that are popular on Tadaa. It’s a good place to discover interesting photographers to follow.

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Tap any image to see a larger view with comments and likes. Tapping the user name in the upper left corner of this screen will take you to the profile for that photographer. Use the profile to see that photographers follow and follower count. You can follow that photographer and get notified when he/she uploads a new photo.

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The social features of Tadaa — sharing of images, replying with images and ‘retweeting’ images — are buried in the user interface, requiring some learning to get to them. I soon grew tired of them and was ready to delete the app. Fortunately I later discovered features that changed my opinion of the app.

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Tapping the “+” will bring up a menu of options. You can share the photo via Facebook or Twitter, email or SMS. You can add a comment. You can simply clicks the heart to let the photographer know you liked the photo or leave a smiley face. You can even repost the photo to your Tadaa followers. This is sort of like the “re-Tweet” function in Twitter.

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Tapping the share icon — the little square with a curved arrow — will bring up sharing options. As you can see you are limited to Facebook, Twitter, Email and SMS.

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The camera app allows the user to take full screen or square cropped photos. The photographer can apply filters before or after shooting an image. There are a lot of filters — a lot more than I’ve seen in Instagram. The app allows the user to arrange the list of filters. Use this to move your often used filters to the top where you can get to them quickly. You can also apply ( and arrange ) your photo frames before taking the photo.

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After taking — or importing — a photo Tadaa adds them to it’s internal library. Photos are organized by session. I’m not sure how the app decides what a session is but it seems to be based on time of capture. From the library you can make additional edits to any of the capture images.

Photos taken with Tadaa are saved at 2048×2048, and uploaded at 1200 pixels along their longest edge. Contrast that with Instagram’s 1936×1936 for local files and 612×612 for uploads.

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One interesting feature of Tadaa is that any edits in the library are non-destructive until you export the photos to the iPhone’s Camera Roll or another photo app. Even after taking a photo you can change the filter or frame. Additional post processing includes tilt-shift/blur options, brightness, contrast and saturation adjustments and something called HD Clarity. I assume the HD mean high-definition.

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Once you are done processing your image you can apply the changes to the image. After changes are applied you can continue processing the images by overlaying more filters or adjustments. Hitting the save button brings up options for adding a caption, modifying location information, and sharing options — Facebook or Twitter. Hit the Tadda button to push your creation to the world. I wish there was an option to send the image to a Tumblr or WordPress blog.

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As a social sharing app for photography I don’t like Tadaa. I don’t like the way Awesome and New and Trending etc are separated out. I felt like I was jumping around and in-out of the photo stream in a random way and I got lost a few times. I find the online profile lacking and quite ugly compared to Instagram.

However, I’ve decided to keep tadaa on my iPhone for other reasons. I like the fact that filters can be applied before a photos is taken. I like that filters and adjustments can be applied cumulatively without leaving the app. I think this make it a great camera app for creating images for export to other app including Instagram. While tadaa offers similar functionality to Instagram — take a photo, add a filter, add a frame, post it to the web — it adds its own twist which make it worth a look. Tadaa is a free download and available in the App Store.

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