One of the most useful features of the iPhone is it’s in-built camera. Despite the very limited pixel count and disputable optical quality, it still allows you to take snapshots whenever you please. But what if the photos don’t turn out exactly the way you want them to? Or maybe you want to give them just that little “extra” that makes them an eye catcher? Apple’s native camera and photo apps don’t allow for any kind of editing, but there are many apps that can.
The following article features four popular photo editing & manipulation applications for the iPhone and takes a look at what they can do on-the-fly for your photos. So, if you ever wanted to know how to quickly convert your photos to black and white, create a multi-photo panorama or apply filters to your images – read on!
Color Splash is a fun way to alter your photos by converting them to black and white while keeping some parts in full color. You don’t need special skills and you don’t need to read a full user manual. It’s as easy as finger painting – literally.
After installing the app, you can either choose a photo from the library or take a new one. The photo is then converted to black and white and by simply touching an area or swiping your fingers over it, it turns back to color.
While it’s already very easy to use, Color Splash offers a range of options to make its use even more comfortable:
- Unlimited undo means you don’t have to start over should you accidentally touch a part of the screen that should have remained colorless
- Four different brush tips allow you to draw precise borders or intentionally leave a fuzzy gradient between the black & white and color parts
- Extra buttons for zooming, color painting and gray painting make it very easy to move around the image and always apply the correct effect
- And last but not least, the landscape mode and the ability to hide the palettes let you use the entire screen of your iPhone to work with
Also, you can save multiple sessions. That comes in handy if you decide to work on another picture but want to come back to your current one later. Finished photos are saved to your library and from there you can share them with friends and awe them with your photo editing skills.
The Best Camera
The underlying assumption with The Best Camera is that the best camera is the one you have with you. And even though the iPhone camera often times lacks in many areas, this app lets you enhance your photos with many different filters to produce stunning results.
As with Color Splash, you can either take a new photo after opening the app or choose one from your library. Once a photo is loaded you can let your creativity loose by applying a wide variety of filters. You can apply multiple effects to one photo (stacking), you can change the order of the applied effects (rearranging) and thereby change the look of your photo, and you can share your photo directly from the app with Twitter, Facebook, Email and The Best Camera’s own online community.
The four most important filters can either make your photo look warm, high contrast black & white, cool desaturated or very saturated. Additional filters can help you to increase or decrease brightness, color temperature or saturation. For a final touch, you can add vignettes, a white frame or cut your photo to a square format. Again, all of these effects can be rearranged in order and the change of the order can affect the final look of your image.
While The Best Camera is easy to use and can produce appealing results, it is by no means an image editing replacement. If you are looking for some astonishing effects that will make your photos look unique, The Best Camera is definitely worth its price.
Tilt Shift Generator
Tilt Shift Generator gives you amazing abilities to control the depth perception of your images. After taking or importing a photo, you can add a radial blur to your image, leaving only parts of it in focus. Depending on your perspective and motif, it will not only give your photo a unique look, but maybe even cause a “miniature effect”, making people or objects appear small and toylike instead of life-sized.
While this functionality is the main feature of TSG, which has an online and Adobe AIR version as well, it also comes with color, brightness, and contrast controls that are quite decent. You can also add a vignette for more drama if you desire.
So, if you turn off the blur feature, you get an app that can enhance you photos on the fly and I found I actually preferred it to Photoshop mobile. The slider adjustments are very easy to control and precise as are the pinch gestures used to adjust the blur position and size.
Overall, Tilt Shift Generator is a multi purpose app, giving you the ability to not only alter your pictures to give them a unique look, but also editing them comfortably before saving them to your library or emailing them right out of the app. Oh, and did I mention you can tweet them right out of Tilt Shift Generator too?
Imagine yourself on top of a tall building with an awesome view of a city around you. Or picture yourself surrounded by a breathtaking nature landscape. And all you have on you to capture these wide, surrounding spaces is your iPhone. No wide angle lens, no DSLR near you. Reason to worry? Not really. Because that’s when Pano comes in. Pano is a smart application for your iPhone that enables you to take panorama shots of up to 16 photos. All you need to do is take the photos and Pano stitches them together for you.
How it works? You start by taking the first picture, either in portrait or landscape mode (yes, both are available!) and once you have one photo, a transparent overlay of that photo’s far right will be shown on your iPhone’s screen. You can now align that semi-transparent guide with the features around you until they match and then you take the next photo and so on, moving from left to right.
Even though Pano makes it very easy to create panorama shots, be prepared to hold your breath. Aligning images, even though there is the ghost view, requires quite some balance in your fingers (try it at -12 degrees Celcius) and some planning ahead. Keeping your perspective leveled out (so that your last shot doesn’t require you to tilt your phone because you have started to tilt your horizon line) will take some tries.
But once you are finished and have downloaded your panorama to your computer (or shared it via Pano’s own Flickr group), it will all have been worth it!
Here are a handful of other photography applications you may like to try out. Some are better than others, but you’ll be surprised at the range of different software available for such a basic camera!
- Photoshop.com Mobile: Offers basic editing features like cropping, adjusting colors, applying filters etc. You can save your edited images to your photo library or to your photoshop.com account.
- Dash of color Free: Offers similar features as Color Splash, but has no zoom option, which can make it difficult to select details.
- Zoom Photo: Allows you to zoom in on the object you want to photograph with up to 4x digital zoom.
- 10X Camera Tool: Offers a wide range of easily accessible functions for photo shooting and editing, including: zoom, self timer, geo tag switch, filters and much more.
- Format126: Free app that converts your photos to square format and allows you to apply a variety of filters to it. Best of all: it saves the resulting images in native 3GS resolution.
- Hope Poster: Politics aside, this app allows you to apply the Hope Poster look to your images and then tweak them some more, including the addition of captions.
- Photo Booth Classic: Does what a photo booth does: takes 4 photos in rapid succession and outputs them in B/W or color.
- PhotoTropodelic: Analyzes your photos and converts them into bright and colorful 60’s pop art.
- CameraBag: Offers a wide variety of filters to apply to your images, similar to The Best Camera.
- Camera Genius: Offers a very wide variety of features to help take better pictures like anti-shake stabilization, timer and much more.
- FocalLab: Offers similar features as Tilt Shift Generator, but focuses on applying different kinds of blurs to your images (dreamy, soft, motion, zoom, vignette).
- Night Camera: Aides you in low light situations where you have to keep your camera still. Comes with zoom, color options, geotagging and many more features.