Hipstamatic introduces Family Albums and attempts to restore peace in UI chaos

The popular Hipstamatic app has received a new update including the brand new Family Album feature—a solution to share and organise your photos. iPhoneography fans missing social features in the app should be happy now that the new update adds Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr support. Perhaps not the most ground-breaking or original addition but a serious need for those used to the more social Instagram. 

I just installed the new 220 update to see what the new albums are all about, since the release notes are not very descriptive. There are three types of albums for specific needs, all very similar but with small differences that just add more complexity to the app's UI. The simplest of them, simply called "photo album" is a folder to curate your favorite pics. It turns out that family albums are Hipstamatic own way to deal with your photo collections, in a similar way events work in iPhoto. The process of adding HipstaPrints to the folder is somewhat cumbersome, since there's no bulk method to add several prints at once—you'll need to do this individually. 

Magic Albums smart way to filter prints shared by others, selecting a location, date, tags and people. I can see the feature being very useful to find pictures of particular events or taken close to landmarks that interest you. Between you and me, I'm calling these smart folders. When you first select the Family Albums option, the app will automatically create one of these according to your GPS location.

Shared albums are a collective folder with limited access to friends, who can contribute when you send them an invite. Every album is customizable with its own metadata, allowing you to set aperiodic of time to use it, location and tags. Since the albums will sync automatically, it sounds like a great way to start exploring the latest updates from friends whenever you launch the app.

Some users have already mentioned in their App Store reviews that the app is not very clear about managing prints shared in case you don't want to keep them online. I'm running a little test with a shared album with an end date to see what happens, but I haven't been able to delete the pictures myself.

For those new to Hipstamatic, the app has its hardcore fans but also numerous critics for some questionable design decisions. If you are the sort of person who shoots with, lets say, Camera+ and then uses other apps to add filters, Hipsta's method will ruin your workflow. With Hipstamatic it's more about selecting the correct lens and flash for your composition as you shoot, with no option to tweak effects whatsoever. It brings the fun of analog photography to the iPhone in a very smart way, but the UI execution might get you lost during your first attempts.