Mini Photo Journal - Spring Break Meetup at Ken Lockwood Gorge

I'm carpooling with local photographers Ed Velez and Prasanna. The meet up is at 3 PM, but we decided to have lunch at Hurry Chutney in Somerville. I also think it's an excellent opportunity to test out the photo journaling workflow I developed around Pressgram.


This was my first time eating at Hurry Chutney and my first time eating lamb Gungara. The vegetable samosas were delicious. Ed ordered some coconut curry dish, which he says was quite spicy.

man with camera, ken lockwood gorge
Prasanna and his kit.
man with tripod
Ed and his kit. It's cold!!! Too cold for spring.
man standing at edge of water, tripod, ken lockwood gorge
Ed getting shots of white water.

The sky was grey all day, and the greenery was ... not green. The gorge was still in winter mode. So we resorted to long exposure photography. I don't use a neutral density filter, so the best I could do was shoot at f/29 at ½ of a second. I'll post the images from my Nikon in a few days.

Published via Pressgram

Photo Journaling with Pressgram 2.0

Driving home from work yesterday thinking about all the new features in Pressgram, it suddenly struck me that two new features, Drafts and multi-photo attachment, when used together turn Pressgram into a photo journaling application. This makes the changes John added a more powerful than at first glance.

Let me explain.

A photo journal is series of photos that chronicle a person's days, trips or special events. It is a way of keeping chronological memories of an individual's events. Photo journals may be kept in different ways depending on the

The original Pressgram functioned more like Instagram with a WordPress publishing option. A great combo but maybe not what John had in mind. Snap a photo, apply a filter, publish. If I wanted to post a series of photos, with the old version I created a new Pressgram post for each one. I could use this for photo-journaling but the results are a bit disjointed. There was no way to piece together a series of photos in a way that told the story. Pressgram 2.0 changes that.

Now imagine that I'm out in downtown Philly hanging out with friends or family celebrating a birthday. Or maybe I'm traveling to Manhattan with my family for a trip to the American Museum of Natural History. We decide to hop on a train from Princeton Junction and when we get to the platform I launch Pressgram to snap a photo of the kids sitting on a bench, waiting for the next train. I title my post "A Day at the Zoo"1, add some descriptive text to the photo and save the draft. A few minutes later I open that draft, click the "Add a Photo" button and capture a photo of the train approaching the station. We get into Penn Station and I snap a photo of my wife and kids looking alarmed at the mass of human being while we walk to the find the subway train. My kids love riding the New York Subway.

I open Pressgram again and capture a few more photos of our subway ride. Maybe I capture some photos of the zoo animals getting on/off the train. We get to the museum and we visit the dinosaur exhibit, and the hall of Native Americans. I use Pressgram to add a few shots of my son standing in front of T-Rex. All of these photos I am adding to the same draft I started back in New Jersey.

A few hours later, before we are too exhausted, we walk across the street and take a stroll through Central Park. There are lots of trails and little semi-private nooks and climbing rocks. A bit of civilization the middle of the zoo. The kids are having a blast and I capture a bunch of cool photos to for my photo-journal. As the sun sets we get back on the train for a ride back to New Jersey. It's been a wonderful day.

On the ride back I open up Pressgram and edit my draft post. I revise the title, add some text for each phot and maybe edit my the photos to get the artistic effects I want. I add filters, change contrast and maybe add a frame. Then with a few more clicks I send my post to my blog, Facebook and Google+. I just created a photo-journal of my day.

I haven't used this as yet but, I think this is just one of the subtle but powerful creative features that Pressgram 2.0 brings to the user. What do you think of the new features of Pressgram? Do you plan on using Pressgram as a photo-journaling app? Leave me a not with your thoughts in the comments section below.

  1. A friend of once referred to New Yorkers as zoo animals due to their famed rude and obnoxious behaviour. 

What's new in Pressgram 2.0

It's been a few hours since version 2.0 of John Saddington's photo publishing application, Pressgram, debuted on the iOS App Store. You can tell that John has put a lot of effort -- some heart and soul -- into improving and simplifying the Pressgram user experience. Some old features have been removed and some new and exciting ones have been added.

No more socializing

Pressgram 1.0 was released with both a publishing component and a social networking component. While the publishing component has been retained and expanded, the social network has been "deprecated". Pressgram no longer feels like an Instagram clone with the ability to publish to WordPress. Users will no longer be able to follow each other or "heart" photos. That part is gone. I'm sure it was a tough decision for John, and he probably received a lot of flack for it, but I think removing the social layer was a sound decision.

More social sharing

Although, Pressgram the Social Network is in the bit bucket, Pressgram the app has added more social sharing options. Pressgram 1.0 had options to share a photo post to Twitter, and Facebook while simultaneously publishing to a WordPress blog. Version 2.0 adds the option to share to Google+ and publish to Tumblr, Blogger, Squarespace, Moveable Type, and TypePad. Wow! I think that covers all the major self publishing platforms. The fact that Pressgram can now post to Google+ gives it a leg up on any other photo publishing app on the market.

Simplified workflow

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Upon first launching Pressgram 2.0 I was presented with a screen with two large buttons and three smaller boxes. First and foremost are the icons for snapping a photo and one for choosing a photo from the iOS photo library. But first I wanted to set up the app so I tapped on Settings.

Once in settings I could setup my publishing options. I tapped Accounts and connected my self hosted WordPress account and my Google+, Twitter and Facebook accounts. I am not restricted to one account per platform. I can create connections to multiple accounts. If I have separate twitter accounts for personal and business use I can create an entry for each.

John leveraged the built-in iOS account settings for Twitter and Facebook. Setting these up was a quick two-tap process. Setting up WordPress was a bit more involved but still simple. Just be sure to enter a category and tag for the WordPress account.

If you have multiple blogs, regardless of platform, you can choose which blog is your default for image posts. If you have one main blog where you post most of your images this will save some steps in your publishing workflow.

Another workflow feature is that the user can specify that the camera is the first thing the user sees when launching the app.

Image settings

The Global Settings section of Pressgram Settings has options for adding a watermark, saving the original photo to the iOS photo library, and adding a link to each post to help promote Pressgram. But, the settings I am most excited about are the ones allowing me specify the image resolution and the retention of EXIF data.

I use a WordPress plugin that adds a caption with EXIF data to my posted images. For my purpose and for the curious photographer I want the EXIF data to be shown. I think keeping the EXIF data was a feature requested soon after Pressgram 1.0 was release. John listened and delivered.

The Pressgram Store

Pressgram 2.0 ships with a some nifty Premium features which can be enabled with an in-app purchase. I bought them all (a total of $15). Yes, it was a bit indulgent but if you are serious about your iPhone photography you'll get them all as well. You don't have to buy them all at once. You can buy them one at a time ($0.99 each) as your needs and budget allow. Tap each premium feature to get a description of what each does. I think I'll be spending a lot of time messing around with the vignette and clarity adjustments in the refinement pack. The photography graphics in this part of the apps are very well done.

Snap & Publish

So now I had everything all setup. Time to publish. My office is not in an attractive neighbourhood so for my first post I used a photo I took earlier in the day. The Pressgram photo editor gave me options to crop my image, apply a filter, adjust exposure, clarity, texture etc. All of these adjustments can be layered. Once you have the photo just the way you want, you can add a border or layer text on top. There is something here for everyone.

After editing the image, you can tap the check mark and Pressgram takes you to the next stage of the workflow; publishing. Here the user can set a title for the post, add some text for the body of the post or go back to editing.

One added feature that I almost missed is that from the publishing page I can add another photo. This is something the original version of Pressgram did not have. In the original the user is restricted to publishing a single square image. With Pressgram 2.0, the user can publishing multiple and various sized images in the same post. Oh yeah!

Once the user completes entering the post information, a single tap of the check mark takes the user to the last stage. Select the one or more publishing options from the ones you've setup and tap the check mark. Boom! Done!

But wait. I forgot something. Back on the startup page there was a button titled Drafts. What's that about? Well, if for some reason you change your mind about posting in that moment or your iPhone battery craps out before you hit publish, don't worry. You can save or recover your post as a draft for posting later. In fact you can have multiple draft posts waiting. This allows for non-instant posting. Capture a photo now, add some text with your first initial thoughts, then edit later and post when you're ready for the world to see your creation. Brilliant!

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Wrap Up

In some ways Pressgram 2.0 is the app that I think John originally set out to build. Snap, filter, publish an image to any platform of the users choosing. I don't miss the social network part of Pressgram. I can use the social networks I already have. Now off to snap photos.