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Anything that can make the view from the office rear window look good has to be worth a mention…

The Hipstamatic app for the iPhone – “Digital photography never looked so analog (sic)” – makes a virtue of the fact that the built-in camera (iPhone 3) isn’t that great.

Mimicking the effect of the original Hipstamatic – a camera that cost less than the film – it seems to make just about anything look cool.

This is a walk in the woods with two of my daughters and our dog. It could have been taken 35 years ago by my dad of me. (Were in not for the ponytail and the bob).

I did say that it could make “just about” anything look cool. But some things are beyond redemption.

Even when it goes wrong it goes right.

I find myself digging the flared out effect from the particular lens/film combo* that took this shot earlier on the same walk as the shot above.

* Kaimal Mark II & Kodot Verichrome

The ability to vary the combination of lens, film and flash is what makes the app really interesting and presumably really commercial.

The basic app costs £1.19 through the iTunes store and comes preloaded with a standard flash (all flash effects are added by the application after you’ve taken the shot) and a few lens/film options.

The user interface is really simple and intuitive and makes for easy browsing through the various options.

And here’s the clever bit.

The browsing options include lenses, films and flash options that don’t come as standard but which can be bought in “Hipstapaks” from within the app.

These Hipstapaks only cost £0.59 and are almost impossible to resist once you’ve had your almost narcotic initial taste of Hipstamaticrack.

I have searched high and low for sales figures for the app itself and for the add-on Hipstapaks, but to no avail thus far.

However, clues to the app’s popularity can be found in the form of well supported, active communities and competitions.

I’d also bet that the proportion of app buyers that subsequently purchase one or more Hipstapaks is very high.

Given that you have to shell out for the app, this isn’t exactly a freemium business model, but it’s pretty close.

The app is very, very good at what it does. It deserves every bit of free word of mouth marketing that it gets.

The unpredictable results are a major part of the app’s appeal. And the low cost Hipstapaks are an easy way to level up on that unpredictability.

I hope these guys are making good money.

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