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Mobile App Review: Camera Apps, Part 1 (iOS Apps)
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Mobile App Review: Camera Apps, Part 1 (iOS Apps) - Executive Leadership Articles

Mobile App Review: Camera Apps, Part 1 (iOS Apps)

Executive Leadership Articles

Mobile App Review: Camera Apps, Part 1 (iOS Apps)

Besides the cell phone itself, the greatest innovation in consumer electronics in the past fifty years has got to be the cell phone camera. And if you’re not willing to give it that, it’s tough to argue against it being one of the most successful out-of-left-field ideas. Conceptually, the cell phone camera is a bizarre, non-sequitur clashing of concepts we take for granted every day, but it has changed the way we think of photography, and it’s changed the way we do a lot of daily tasks.

Students grab quick shots of their teachers’ whiteboards to go with the notes they’ve taken. Shoppers compare prices with quick shots of products and their price tags. Drivers take photos of their parking spaces to help them remember where they left the car. And the selfie has made the celebrity autograph a thing of the past. Scribbled names on a cocktail napkin don’t do it enough; now it’s a quick seflie to prove you made contact with that celebrity. It’s a seemingly endless list of ways our lives have changed, ways nobody could have predicted.

For these many reasons, if you’re just using the default camera app, you’re almost surely not getting the most out of your smartphone camera, so here are a few worth trying. Because there is such a ridiculous number of camera apps for all mobile platforms, it’s impossible to declare a “best” or even a “must have,” so our approach instead is to categorize the way we use our camera phones and pick a good app as a place to start for each category.

Filters aren’t just fun, although they certainly are that. They can sometimes make up for less-than-satisfactory lighting conditions, or they change the mood, tone, and purpose of a photo. Photo-sharing platforms like Flickr, Instagram, and Facebook come with a few filters built in, but nothing beats an app called 100 Cameras in 1. Its 100 filters do some magical things that may at first seem strange, but there’s something beautiful about turning that shot of your cat into something looking like a Polaroid that’s been left in the rain. The app lets you stack filters on top of filters, adjust opacity (you’ll need to if you’re stacking more than two filters), and adjust the intensity of each filter’s effect. The app is not only a fun way to see your photos a different way; it also gives them a different look from everyone else’s, especially if you’re using the app’s share function to send your pictures right to your social media streams.

Collage-making apps are largely the same, so choosing a good one usually means deciding on a preference for an app’s prepackaged layouts and for the kinds of customizations it lets you apply. For ease of use, flexibility, and a certain look and feel that make your collages stand out among collages from the other popular apps, Polyframe is a little-known gem (only 219 customer ratings as of this writing). At $1.99, it’s pricier than similar apps, but it’s two bucks well spent. In addition to customizable preset collage layouts, there are options for freestyle, vertical stitching, video-in-video, blended (that is, collages with photos blended into each other, without the familar borders between images), video collage, slideshow, and even an auto function that lets you choose your photos while the app chooses a layout for them. You can add stickers and text, and you can customize just about every characteristic, including border width, corner rounding, background colors, and text size.

If you’re taking a lot of selfies and portraits, a touch-up app can make you feel a lot better about the quality of your photos, and Facetune 2 is the standard. It has the kind of involvement a pro likes, while working amazingly well for the casual user sticking to the easier options. There are some touch-up apps that seem to do more, but they’re not built for the speed of shooting and sharing, the way most of use our mobile phones. Facetune 2 is powerful enough to let you change the direction of the lighting, making shading adjustments accordingly. If you’re self-conscious about the size of your nose, you can adjust that with just a few taps. Blemishes, pimples, and beauty spots can be faded or hidden entirely, and while the learning curve can seem a bit steep, the results are very satisfying. The app is free to download, but to unlock the features you’ll need, you’ll either have to subscribe via monthly or yearly charges, or pay a large one-time price within the app.

New camera apps are released every day, so if your photo game has become a bit ho-hum since the excitement wore off, take a chance on a few new one-buck apps and give them a spin. A nice thing about the plethora of apps is that there’s always either a cheaper copycat coming along to compete against the popular apps, or some new concept that does what no other apps do. A bit of experimenting can bring to life a feature that for many of us has lost its spark beyond the practical uses we’ve added to our arsenal.


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Mobile App Review: Camera Apps, Part 1 (iOS Apps) - Executive Leadership Articles

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