My top 5 camera apps

Ever since I've gotten an iPhone and Instagram took off, I've been obsessed with mixing and matching camera apps to process the photos on my phone. It's definitely trial and error, but I think I've found my top five... and I'm going to share them with you!

These apps are definitely available in the Apple store on your iPhone - some may or may not be Droid friendly. Which pretty much means... you gotta switch over to the dark side if you want some of these. ;)

(If you want to follow all the fun on Instagram, @erinpurchase is my username!)

Here we go!


My fab sister Kelsey in front of Forever 211// Instagram [FREE]

Instagram is similar to a Twitter status feed, but just with pictures. It's the best way to network with other friends to see and comment on their pictures on your feed. There are numerous filters and frames, and it also has a fun tilt-shift option near the top that I use all the time.

I love using Instagram's filters, but I can also take photos from other camera apps in my photo album and import them into Instagram for others to see. I love this app SO MUCH! AND it's FREE. Can't beat that!

My favorite IG people to follow: @taza, @promisetangeman, @thezoereport (Rachael Zoe), and @sisiliapiring.






At C&I Studios in Fort Lauderdale at an Instagram Art Gallery2// VSCO cam [$.99]

I use VSCO presets for Lightroom to process my regular DSLR photos... the same geniuses that came up with that also launched a camera app that allows you to use similar presets for your iPhone photos. All of the filters emulate a certain kind of camera film, which I loooove.

It's also SUPER customizable. To give you an example, you can adjust exposure, add grain or fill light, and throw a vignette on a photo in no time. It's definitely not a "one and done" camera app like Instagram is - you will need to play around with it to find the magic touch. It's well worth the work and patience.






On our way to celebrate July 4th - my absolute FAVORITE holiday!3// Lomora 2 [$1.99]

There is a type of photography called "lomography", which is a film photography done with toy cameras and are typically bright and punchy when they process. This app is reminiscent of that idea, and I have taken some of my favorite sky and city scape photos with this app. There are tons of films to choose from such as the legendary Sensia, Provia, and Ektachrome (I believe I shot this with the R/B film).

Of all the apps I have, this one probably shoots the clearest photos and gives the most definition to the photos I take. :)







Making the all-famous Purchase family salsa!4// Hipstamatic [$.99]

In Lomography (as explained above), there are rules... one of the rules is "shoot from the hip" (see Rule #4). Meaning, change your perspective a little once in awhile. And the "Hipstamatic" app name pays homage to that rule.

This app has different films and lenses, so you can mix and match to achieve your favorite look. Also, Hipstamatic will give out free extra, unique films if you sign up for their emails and actually open them. I've gotten some cool B&W ones for free!

I don't always shoot from the hip, but this photo on your right is a hip shot of when I made the famous, ever-secret Purchase family salsa. Jealous yet? ;)





On location with Rowan for a Carter's shoot in January!

5// Polyframe Lite [FREE]

Sometimes, it takes more than one photo to tell a story and you don't want to flood your Instagram feed. This app is a fun little app that lets you combine your photos into one!

My favorite thing is that you can round edges, and make your own shapes with the photos!








What are YOUR favorite camera apps?!



Christmas Card Blues

I have lots and lots of holiday sessions to post. In short, the last two weeks have been a marathon. Usually, the 10 days after Thanksgiving are a rush of photoshoots, editing, and shipping photos to my lovely (last minute) clients for them to design, order, and ship their Christmas cards on time. Black Friday Shopping? Nope. I hunker down like it's a hurricane and edit until my eyeballs fall out to make deadlines. Happy clients, happy me. That's just the way it works. :)


What if you're JUST thinking of holiday cards and it seems like it's just. too. late.

Honestly, I have never had a family photo done of my OWN family because there is just no time in the holiday season rush - but now that I have a little one, I want to. For (all) my grandparents who don't use Facebook... or EMAIL for that matter. So, I came up with a plan.

New Years cards!





And you're saying... what the what?

Yep. New Year's cards. For those of us who just can't beat the holiday rush, are forgetful, or are just way too busy to think about it enough in advance to make it in time. I will probably send these out early January. I'm really excited about this, because I've found a solution to my Christmas/Holiday card blues. And yes, there ARE websites that do these cards! I didn't even think it was possible to find them, but they're out there!

I've already started looking online at some templates, and I LOVE the ones on the Minted and Peartree Greetings websites. 

My theory is that the cards will stick around someone's house all YEAR (hence "New Year" cards), thus making my investment in the photo itself so much more worth it. 

Disclaimer: This is not -- in any way -- hinting that Christmas cards do not matter. I lurrrve Christmas cards. In fact, I have already started to display the ones I've received (see below).

p.s. - Sorry for the iPhone pictures. And the fact that this photo REFUSED to rotate. It's not my fault. But I figured your neck can get some exercise checking out my holiday card display ;)

Remember the DIY I posted a year ago for a Christmas card display? It's there all year 'round to collect the photos I love.

Oh, and do you not LOVE the Elswick's card this year? I took the photo on a glorious November evening, and Jon designed the template himself. Addi & Morgan designed and hand-knitted the sock monkey hat. Love. Love. LOVE.

Guys, I'd love your feedback. What do you think of this idea? Would you do something like this? Have you found any templates (holiday or New Years) that you LOVE? Share with the class :)


5 Must-Haves for Mommyhood

OK. So there is always things people don't tell you about pregnancy or the post-partum phase after you have the baby. I do appreciate the discretion some people give me (as in: "Ignorance is bliss"), because I tend to be overdramatic if I don't have all the information. However, sometimes that backfires.

The truth is, motherhood is a scary adventure where there are lots of opinions and unsolicited advice around every corner and you never know whose advice to heed. In addition, every mom has their favorite baby products and will go to battle with another mom (no, seriously) for their product to come out on top. There are so many unknowns that you just have to figure out by yourself.

I know this is a stretch from my normal photography blogs, but I have put together a list of things that I personally love and make my life easier. Of course, in reference to the paragraph above, this is just my opinion and the stuff that I came to love in my mommyhood journey. I won't cry in a corner if you don't think the same ;)


1. Baby Jogger City Select stroller. Although this is slightly against my nature, I tried to think far out into the future for my stroller buy. When I went into Buy Buy Baby to test drive some strollers, I gave the sales associates the following criteria:

+ Lightweight

+ Easily collapsible

+ Can hold more than one kid (eventually)

I didn't want to get a double right away, but I didn't want to buy a single stroller and then have to update to a double (costing me an add'l $300 in addition to the single stroller cost). I did research. Watched Youtube videos. Perused Amazon for reviews. I finally came up with the City Select. Not only is it a single, but it can convert to a double when that extra kid comes along. Not only THAT, but you can also buy a glider board for your older toddler to ride behind the handle... coming to the total of being able to carry THREE kids if needed. AND (and!!!) it can convert into 16 different positions (see website above). Holy guacamole. I was sold. It also has a ginormous cargo area where I can grocery shop and it's not a big deal.

Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it to not have to spend any more money? Yes. Can you get it cheaper? Probably. The 2011 version is retailing for $500... but I got a 2010 model (brand new) for $380. Soon, the 2011 version will be old and will probably be selling it at the same price. Worth every dollar in my opinion.


2. Aden + Anais blankets. These things are soft, huge, light, and amazing. Probably the best bankets you'll ever find. They're made out of muslin, which is SO light and wonderful for Florida summers. They're so big you can use them as a nursing cover. You can buy these at Babies R Us, Kohls, Buy Buy Baby, Target or online. It's around $30 for a pack of four. A little pricey, but TOTALLY worth it.

Even if you're friend doesn't have this on her registry... just take the plunge and buy it for her. She'll thank you later.

No. Trust me.


3. Little Tummys Gripe Water. This stuff is One day, Rowan cried for literally 10 hours straight (around 6 weeks old). We couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. She wouldn't sleep, she wasn't hungry - she was just fussy, uncomfortable, and clearly very upset. Out of desperation, we gave this to her (we weren't sure what it did... and we were new parents. So our troubleshooting skillz weren't the greatest.) She passed some gas, fed one more time, then knocked out for TEN (count 'em - TEN) hours straight.

This medicine helps colicky babies and babies with stomach trouble and pops all the little troublesome bubbles floating around in there. Apparently, babies can have bad tummyaches. And there's a remedy for that. Who knew?


4. Baby Einstein Sea Dreams SootherThis is a little aquarium that you attach to the side of your crib, once your little one is finally in there. Once you hit the big blue button at the bottom, it goes for a 25 minute interval of music and starts rotating the fishies inside. It gets quieter and darker as the time goes by, and finally stops. I started using this with Rowan at about 6 weeks old, and it helps her go to bed every night. I bathe her, feed her, stick her in her crib, and turn this on. She watches the fishies and gets drowsy while sucking on her paci. She's usually out in 10 minutes and it's a great distraction.

It retails for about $40 at Target, and it was definitely worth the money to me.


5. Any Infant to Toddler Rocker (or - in my personal words - a portable chair).

I didn't really know how much I needed this. A friend gave me hers for free, so I kept it around and BOY has it helped me a lot. I put Rowan in it when I eat and rock the chair with my foot, I put her in it when we are at the pool or the beach, traveling, at someone else's house, etc. Plainly put, Rowan gets sick of her carseat because it gets hot and boring. This vibrates, has fun colors and toys, and is a LOT cooler on her skin. She falls asleep in it all the time. It is so convenient to bring with me to other people's houses and Rowan always has a place to sit and hang out no matter where she is. Thank you, Kelli, for blessing me with this!


But enough about what I love.


Moms - what products can you absolutely not live without? Share with me!