Make Your Photos Pop with Krop Circle

You probably don’t have enough photo-editing apps, right? Or you have plenty, but you don’t have any apps that let you put a silhouette of a pig on your best friend’s head. Krop Circle is the app that let’s you put a silhouette of a pig on your friend’s head.

It’s not all just pig silhouettes, though; there’s birds, skulls, lightning and the alphabet, too. You could be putting all sorts of things all over your friends’ bodies right now. More than just a gimmicky app to embellish photos and cover pictures of your friends with skulls and swirlies, Krop Circle makes awesome images and is a lot of fun. But will this minimalist app have enough features to make it worth your while?

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Put a Bird on It

You’re going to need an image to create a Krop, and if you’ve ever used your iPhone before now, you know what to do. Snap a new picture or pull one from your Camera Roll. If you’re feeling saucy, flip the camera around and take a selfie of yourself making a duckface. Don’t worry too much about zooming or cropping yet, though, because next you’ve got to choose your overlay.

Grab an image and use the default Krop overlay or use a premium one.

Grab an image and use the default Krop overlay or use a premium one.

The overlays are what make Krop Circle special, and there’s more than a few. Once you download the additional Krops, you’ve got the entire alphabet, though the M and W are about two-thirds as large as the rest of the letters for absolutely no reason I can figure out. The letters still look pretty cool and will make just about any photo resemble something you’d find on a T-Shirt at Urban Outfitters, though. There’s also all the numbers — except, inexplicably, zero — and a pile of mostly unrelated but still neat shapes.

Tap the dotted-line circle in the bottom right corner to bring up all of your overlays, and tap whichever one you like best for your image. The shape will appear over your picture; whatever’s inside the shape is going to be visible in the final product. Zoom in or out and drag your image around to get just the right placement, remembering that anything that appears faded and falls outside the shape will be removed when you save.

Pick a different overlay, or just stick to birds.

Pick a different overlay, or just stick to birds.

Once everything is set, tap the big, green checkmark and Krop Circle shuffles you off to the save screen. Enter something hilarious or snarky or brilliant in the text field; whatever you type here will be the accompanying text when you share your image, so make it good. Post your picture to Twitter or Facebook, open it in Instagram or just save it to your Camera Roll.

When Freemium Falls Short

This is a freemium app; you’re not going to get a lot of use out of it without downloading the additional Krop overlays for a buck. Firing up Krop Circle for the first time, I knew I wouldn’t have access to all of the overlays, but I expected to have a few to play with. Sure, you could create Krops from now until the cows come home with the single overlay that comes with the free version of the app, but that’s not a lot of fun. To really enjoy Krop Circle at all, you have to pay to download more overlays.

This is what a saved Krop looks like. Spiffy.

This is what a saved Krop looks like. Spiffy.

Which is fine. I’m all for paying to enjoy an app, but freemium works best when there is some great introductory content to get you hooked. Then you’ll want to shell out that dollar or two to get the even better stuff, the content that’s going to make for a really great experience. I just wish Krop Circle had charged the $0.99 up front so I knew what I was getting into. Offering this app for free but keeping absolutely everything that makes it worthwhile behind the wall of an in-app purchase seems more than a little disingenuous and does a disservice to an otherwise terrific app.

Pros and Cons

There are currently sixty-seven Krop overlays, and that’s a lot of shapes to add to your images. More than half of those, though, are letters and numbers. If I don’t want to use an overlay that could also be anthropomorphized to sing a song on Sesame Street, I’m only going to have thirty shapes to choose from, even after I’ve paid up.

Here's that thing I was talking about before. The W is smaller.

Here’s that thing I was talking about before. The W is smaller.

Krop Circle doesn’t offer a lot of options when creating your image, either. While it’s super simple to create something that comes out looking really cool, you don’t have a lot of control over it. I really wanted to adjust the intensity of some of my overlays, making them show up better against my pictures, or adjust the brightness of my original photo. These both seemed like no-brainer options, but they’re not present in Krop Circle.

Also missing is the ability to adjust the transparency of an overlay or change its color. It sure would be awesome to create a pink or yellow Krop overlay, but nothing doing here. You’ll notice during the Krop creation process that your overlay looks semi-transparent but becomes opaque when you’re done. I’d like to adjust that, too, because those overlays look neat when they’re transparent.

I Really Liked It, I Promise

I don’t mean to be such a Debbie-downer about Krop Circle. I made so many Krops, that if you were following me on Twitter before, you’ve probably stopped because of all the pictures I tweeted of my cats with letters of the alphabet on their faces. Krop Circle makes cool pictures look even cooler, and it’s so easy to use, it’s silly. Krop Circle has a great minimalist interface while still looking bright and cheerful.

I did genuinely like it, and it seems that the developers are adding new Krop overlays with updates for those who’ve made the in-app purchase jump. I just think Krop Circle was missing a few options I would have liked to have seen to really make its image creation work well, and as a big fan of the freemium model for apps, I think Krop Circle is a good app that got it wrong.

Did the developers get everything right here? Nah. Would I still recommend Krop Circle without reservation? Absolutely. It’s fun, it’s easy and it works well. Krop Circle will definitely find a home with my other photo manipulation apps, and I’ll go to it anytime I need to put the number seven on someone’s face.


A fun app for making neat photo cutouts, but it's missing some key edit options. You'll have to pay to get any fun overlays at all, too.