Delayed gratification is key feature of new Hipstamatic photo app

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Hipstamatic rolled out DSPO, a new product that creates a social network. Photo: Hipstamatic/iTunes
Hipstamatic rolled out DSPO, a new product that creates a social network. Photo: Hipstamatic/iTunes

Many smartphone photographers use Hipstamatic as a way to articulate their personal vision. But the quest for beautiful photos need not be so solitary.

The iPhone app that lets you apply a vintage aesthetic from any era of photography now has a social component called DSPO.

Appearing in the iTunes Store for free download for the first time Monday, DSPO lets a user create a group camera and set a timer, from one hour to one year. Then the user can invite friends to join the camera via Twitter. They can chat with friends while shooting thanks to the app’s messaging feature, but pictures are not viewed and shared until the timer expires.

Users of the DSPO app set a timer and can not view their photos until time expires. Photo: Hipstamatic/iTunes
Users of the DSPO app set a timer and cannot view their photos until time’s up. Photo: Hipstamatic/iTunes

“There is a certain magic that happens when you can’t see the photo right away,” Hipstamatic founder and CEO Lucas Allen Buick wrote Monday in introducing DSPO. “Of course, this is how photography used to work before digital. These days we snap billions of photos a day and post them in real time – as they stream across our feeds we like, comment, and move on. When everyone is experience DSPO images at the same times, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

The idea of waiting to look at what you shoot is the latest trend in vintage applications in smartphone photography. Cult of Mac last week wrote about Disposable Camera, an app by Photojojo that doesn’t allow you to see your photos until prints arrive on your doorstep. Other apps for iPhone and Android also try to conjure old, analog feelings of mystery and anticipation.

With DSPO, the anticipation becomes a group experience. After shooting a cover photo and applying a name to your camera, the app asks you for contact information and location so your friends can find you.

Whether serious artists make DSPO a part of their process remains to be seen, but Hipstamatic developers see the new app becoming popular among groups of friends at events like weddings, concerts or meet-up group shoots.

DSPO is the first Hiptamatic product that lets you apply the filters later so you don’t pause and pull away from the rhythm of life.

“First and foremost, DSPO is about collaboration and communal experiences,” Buick said.

If this concept sounds familiar to Hipstamatic users, it is. Hipstamatic launched a similar product in 2011 called Hipstamatic D-Series, also known as Hipstamatic Disposable. The concept was very similar in that a group of friends shared a roll of film and could not view the photos until after the shoot.

On his blog, Buick said problems with monetizing the product and service issues forced the company to pull it from iTunes after just 2 million downloads and less than a year. He said technology like CloudKit means Hipstamatic no longer worries about server costs.

“There aren’t many opportunities in life nor business when we are presented with a redo,” Buick said. “I’m so happy to get this opportunity. I just hope we got it right this time.”