Mirrorgram: a Funhouse in Your iPhone

I’m a sucker for fancy photo apps. I want to go beyond Instagram effects and do really fun things with my images, like animate my cat or put moustaches on all of my friends. Sure, my definition of fun may not be the same as the next guy’s, but there’s no denying the iPhone has made us all amateur photographers, and all our photo editing apps let us make something really special with our pictures.

Mirrorgram is such an app, helping you create really imaginative images in a flash. Like the name implies, you’ll be creating a mirrored copy of your image. However, the features and sharing options go beyond just simple image editing, allowing you to create tiny works of iPhone art.

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Creating a Mirrorgram

The easiest way to use Mirrorgram is to take a mirrored picture right in the app. You can also flip the camera around and take a picture of yourself. This will allow you to really control the mirror effect, as you can adjust the mirrored shot even before you capture the image. You’re going to look mighty weird taking mirrored pictures of yourself or anybody else, really — like something off of the X-Files, with a tiny nose and giant alien forehead; just something to think about before you get started.

If you’ve already got a picture you want to edit in Mirrorgram, you can open it up in the app by tapping the icon next to the camera button. Once your picture is loaded up, tap and hold somewhere in the image. Swipe left or right to create a mirror effect. Keep swiping to adjust how the effect is going to work on your picture and the point where the mirrored image starts.

Adding an image to Mirrorgram and created a mirrored version

Adding an image to Mirrorgram and created a mirrored version

Create a blur effect by tapping the droplet up top. The default is an image with clear center and blurry edges. Another tap will blur only the top and bottom thirds, leaving the middle in focus. Keep tapping the droplet icon to get rid of the blur effect entirely.

There are some photo filters to use on your mirrored image, similar to the sort of thing you’ll find in any social image editing app. There are a couple extra to buy that are a real value add, too. The 8-bit and Toon filters, available only through in-app purchases, are the stars of the filter feature, and really don’t look like what I’ve come to expect from simple photo editing. That said, they’re sold separately via in-app purchases, and Mirrorgram isn’t the first app to think of making a picture look a comic book.

You can add a neat blur effect or use Mirrorgram's included or paid filters.

You can add a neat blur effect or use Mirrorgram’s included or paid filters.

Tapping the M icon changes how your picture will be mirrored. The default is to mirror it down the middle vertically, but you can also mirror it horizontally if you wish. There are diagonal mirrors, too, should the mood strike you; just keep tapping the M and you’ll get to them eventually.

Saving and Sharing

The forward arrow will get you to the save and share menu. Mirrorgram lets you write a caption for your image before you go any further, and it will optionally tag your photo with the #mirrorgram hashtag, making it easier for you and others to find Mirrorgram images on social media.

Saving and sharing a finished Mirrorgram project

Saving and sharing a finished Mirrorgram project

Mirrorgram will share to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, nice for those of us who do most of our photosharing via Instagram; no need to upload a mirrorgram separately if your favorite social network is included. You can also share to StageBloc, the developer’s site. To be honest, I’d never heard of StageBloc, which at first blush seems to be a content management system, but it’s nice the option is there. I can always find something missing, and in this case I would have liked to have seen Tumblr integration.

Finding More Mirrorgrams

There isn’t a user stream or really any direct way to view other mirrorgrams from the app. An in-app timeline or stream of others’ images is always nice in niche photo and video apps. Not only do you get to see the neat things other people are doing, but you gain inspiration and insight from how others are using the app. You can view recent mirrorgrams at the Mirrorgram website, but I’m not sure if these are just those shared with StageBloc or anything tagged #mirrorgram the developer can find on the Internet.

Tacked on app-specific social networks can really get in the way though, so I can understand why Mirrorgram left user streams out of the app. Instead, they gave you the #mirrorgram hashtag, which by default will be added to your caption whenever you share an image from Mirrorgram. By searching for that hashtag on Twitter and elsewhere, you can cobble together your own Mirrorgram timeline. While it’s not as seamless a process as it could have been, Mirrorgram is still pointing you in the direction of sharing and finding new mirrorgram-style images.

Conclusion

All the sharing options are there that you’re going to want, and while it takes a few extra steps, if you look hard enough, you’ll find some mirror images to use as inspiration. Mirrorgram is a really simple app to use, but that said, it may take some time to start turning out images that look good at all. It takes some practice and fiddling around to find what makes a good mirrorgram and what’s going to come out looking like just a big old mess of color. The tools and controls are easy enough to work with though, and before long you should be able to create some pretty cool images.


Summary

Create cool mirror effects and apply filters to your images. Save and share in the app, too.

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