Many of my readers have been asking about my favorite photo apps for iPhone, and I thought it would be a good idea to put them together in a post. To me, some of these guys below aren't really made for photo editing, but they are my go-to apps when I want to experiment with something a bit different such as lomography. For my portfolio, I always make an effort to produce a consistent style, but when it comes to photographing with my phone, I like to explore new options and create fun effect. Some nights, all I do is browsing App Store for new photo apps and having some fun getting to know what they can do. (Seriously, these stuff are addicting!)

These guys are my current picks:


1. VSCO Cam




I'm sure you have figured out by now that I am a VSCO-addict. I'm pretty much obsessed with VSCO (Visual Supply Co.) and I adore this company so much. VSCO Cam is no doubt my top favorite photo app, and I use it more than anything else. I bought every filter they put out; that's how much I'm obsessed with this app!! Though I don't use all the filters, some of my favorite are A6, SE3, HB1, Q5, and M5. It depends on each photos but I surely use the mentioned 5 over and over again. With VSCO, you have great control over your photos, using tools such as Shadows Save, Highlights Save, Skin Tone, etc.
Don't miss out on this goodie!! It is free and it comes with some basic filters as well!


2. Hipstamatic


photo: Adam Kuban
photo: Adrian

I'm sure many of you have already heard of this guy. Hipstamatic lets you take retro-look photos with your phone; you can change different virtual lenses and films to obtain a certain effect. The app also has a fun, analog interface and is capable of shooting with flash (though I haven't found it much useful). By clicking on the lens, you can view the combination of lens + films that other people have used, which is always quite an inspiration. This app is simple and easy to use, and it'll certainly add much colors to your daily life.
Want to explore more? Photojojo created a fantastic ultimate Hipstamatic guide here.


3. Pudding Camera




Pudding Camera is another tool to create retro-look, lomography photos. With 9 different camera choices and 8 film options, you can let your creative mind go wild with this tool! What I love about this guy over Hipstamatic is that it offers real-time filters - aka what you see is what you get. It's a lot more convenient and less time-consuming (going back and forth between the camera and library). I have used this guys for about 2 years and still love it.


4. Andigraf




This guy is a little less popular compared to the rest. I discovered this app in 2012 and loved it so much. Andigraf is a multishot toy camera app that lets you take motion photos (4 - 9 photos continuously) with various effect. Using 6 different layouts, this app helps to create your story in just one shot. "It's just like Andy Warhol's pattern-repeating pop art or the multilens Lomo camera."
You can also easily adjust the time lapse between each photo, from 0.01 second to 1 second and even set it to manual mode.


5. Pomelo 




Alright, time to steer away from the analog world! I haven't used Pomelo much lately but I find it quite an incredible tool. This app has a great variety of live filters (again, what you see is what you get) for you to turn any ordinary photos into something fun. When you import photos from your library, you can choose different groups of filters to experiment with - Film, Polaroid, Lomography, Vintage, to name a few. It seems to offer less filters when you use the camera though. And like most photo apps nowadays, it allows you to edit photos as you need with features like crop, rotate, fade, etc. 


6. Instagram




Though I've been using Instagram as a platform to share pieces of my life rather than a photo app, I do think it's a great tool to create good images. The difference between Instagram and the above apps is that you can only take photos in square, but that can't be a drawback! With 23 filters and all the essential tools, Instagram offers a wide range of options when it comes to photo editing. Apart from popular tools such as crop, sharpen, saturation, Instagram has tilt shift, which people have used to create miniature world.


7. Snapseed




I can't recall why I don't use Snapseed as much as I used to. This app, made by Google, is loved by many well-known bloggers and photographers, and you'll see why. With powerful features, Snapseed is great either for basic image enhancements or creative editing. It offers more precise control over edits and allows you to apply filters to certain parts of the image using the app's brush tool. This helps us to make something stand out a bit easier. Also, you can save time from repeating the same workflow over and over again by copying edits over from one image to another (VSCO Cam also has this feature). Personally I think this app works best for landscape and travel photos!



I have to say, editing on the phone has always involved way too many different apps so don't limit yourself in any way.
If you have something else that you think I should try out, let me know in the comment!



Boston in the summer is so full of fun outdoor events that I can hardly catch up. I tried to stay up-to-date through Facebook (clicking that "Going" button) but sometimes you just can't do it all. That's how much fun people are having!! I recently got to explore this SoWa market though, and I really can't wait to tell you all about it. Every Sunday from May through October, lots of vendors gather around SoWa in South End. In about 3-4 blocks, they have open market (with lots of food trucks), vintage markets where you can find all the old and unique stuff, and farmer's markets (organic food!). You can even check out galleries and other cool stores in the area.

Food: We arrived around noon so it was about lunch time. I had to say you wouldn't run out of options for food here, since they had... everything. The first one that caught my eyes was this Bon Me truck with a long long line of people waiting to order. At first, I thought Bon Me was a city in Vietnam (it is) but apparently it stands for how Americans pronounce Vietnamese sandwich (Bánh Mì). The line did give us a bit of dizzy heads, but we ended up getting a sandwich and noodle salad from Bon Me as well. It must be pretty dang good to have so many customers! My thought? Though the food is not that authentic, they were pretty good. I enjoyed my /bon me/

Vintage Market: SoWa has a section for vintage stores on a basement of a building. As an avid thrift shopper, I absolutely loved exploring all the old and dusty stuff here. There are tons of stores that sell unique vintage clothes, jewelries, and home decorations. I would say the price is a bit high, but it's really fun to check out! Also fell in love with some places that sell old maps. Urg! I wish I could just buy all of 'em, maps! When you go back outside, there are a lot more shops. You can find homemade candles, ceramic pots, cards, cute little plants, custom designed clocks, et cetera. It was really fun and eye-opening to see what the talented vendors make.






























Yesterday, we had to drop off a friend in Gill, MA which is about 2 hours northwest of Boston so we did a little road trip around this area. Left Boston around 4pm, we ended up making it to Gill around 7 and it was a bit too late to explore much. I remember passing by Millers River flowing along the road; it looks a lot like the Swift River in White Mountains. Wish we got to stop by but the sky was getting dark quickly.
It was our 20th month anniversary (cheesy kids) so on the way back from Gill, instead of going back the same way we got there, we decided to have dinner at Hooters in Springfield. Funny, I know, to celebrate at Hooters but I was pretty excited to see what it is like there, knowing all the things people say about this restaurant chain. If you don't know, Hooters is just like any other American restaurant that serves wings/ burgers/ etc, except all the waitresses are super duper hot and they dress in tank tops + short shorts (Google for yourself). You might expect their customers to be all men yet I found quite a few female customers as well. Girls often freak out to see their boys going here but I think it's a pretty funny place to check out together. Trust your man; he'll be fine! The thing is... I didn't like the food at all. We had Pull BBQ Pork Sandwich and Buffalo Platter, which both taste okay. I wasn't too happy with the price but it's worth a try just to see.
On our 2-hour drive back, Hieu and I got to talk quite a bit about some feelings we have recently. It's always a good kind of talks and it's a great way to get things off your shoulder. Sometimes in a marriage life, you both get pretty busy doing your own things and it's hard to sit down and just... share. That's why we like to plan a day trip to change up the routine and create an intimate atmosphere for us to let go of what bothers us.
Anyhow, I got to snap a few pics on the way. Hope you enjoy: