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iPad and iPhone Apps For Editing and Enhancing Photos

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The cameras that are built in to the latest Apple iPhone and iPad models are rather impressive from a technological standpoint. With the help of the Camera and Photos apps, these cameras allow users to snap, edit, and share photos from virtually anywhere. Beyond the Photos app that comes preinstalled with iOS 6, which offers basic photo editing and enhancement capabilities, countless optional apps are available from the App Store that offer powerful photo editing and enhancement tools. In this article, Jason R. Rich takes a closer look at some of these versatile photography-related apps.

When used with the Camera and Photos apps that come preinstalled with iOS 6, the front- and rear-facing cameras that are built in to the latest iPhone and iPad models allow users to snap, edit, and then share digital photos from virtually anywhere. The front-facing camera allows users to include themselves within photos, while the rear-facing camera built into the iPhone and iPad offers superior 5MP or 8MP resolution (depending on the device), face detection, and a handful of other useful features.

After snapping photos using the Camera app, basic editing and enhancement can be done using the Photos app. However, to make your photos look even better, many optional apps are at your disposal, some of which allow you to snap, edit, and share photos using a single app, while others focus just on editing and enhancing photos using professional caliber tools and filters.

When you’re ready to share your photos once they’re edited, most of these optional apps allow you to upload and publish them onto Facebook or Twitter, create an iCloud Shared Photo Stream, or email images directly to others. A few are compatible with other online-based photo or file-sharing services, like Flickr or Dropbox. Of course, you also have the ability to store the edited and enhanced photos on your iPhone or iPad, within the Photo app’s Camera Roll album or within a custom-created album.

To discover the hundreds of different photography-related apps available from the App Store, launch the App Store app on your iOS mobile device. Tap on the Featured button that’s displayed near the bottom of the screen, and then tap on the Categories button on the iPhone or All Categories button on the iPad. Next, choose the Photo & Video category.

The following nine apps are just a sampling of some popular and powerful apps that make it easy to edit and enhance digital photos taken on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Some of these apps give you full control over every aspect of an image while editing it, while others offer a selection of whole image filters that with a few taps on the screen quickly transform a photo’s appearance.

Adobe Photoshop Touch ($9.99, iPad Only)

Photoshop CS 6 is a photo-editing application for the PC and Mac that’s used by many professional photographers. In addition to being costly, Photoshop CS 6 is also a highly complex package that takes most people a long time to learn. For amateur photographers, Adobe’s Photoshop Elements is a more suitable photo-editing application for the Mac and PC. It’s inexpensive and easy to use, yet very powerful.

When it comes to editing photos directly on your iPad, Adobe’s Photoshop Touch offers many of the tools found in editions of Photoshop for the computer, but the app as a whole has been designed specifically for the iPad’s multi-touch display. As you’d expect from a Photoshop product, the app is packed with photo-editing features that give you total control over most aspects of your digital images.

Many of the most popular Photoshop features have been incorporated into Photoshop Touch, so you can create multiple layers, access a variety of tools, make adjustments, plus take advantage of many professional-quality and adjustable image filters.

Yes, Photoshop Touch does have a learning curve associated with it, but if you’re already familiar with Photoshop CS 6 or Photoshop Elements, you’ll be able to use this app in no time in order to achieve extremely impressive photo-editing and enhancement results on your tablet. If you’re new to using Photoshop software or the app, take advantage of the step-by-step tutorials that’ll show you how to utilize many of the app’s best features. The interactive user interface allows you to learn while you’re editing your own photos.

Directly from the app, you can share photos via Facebook or Twitter, or use Adobe’s Creative Cloud to transfer images wirelessly between your tablet and Mac/PC for editing and/or sharing. Photoshop Touch is one of the most feature-packed and powerful photo-editing apps available for the iPad.

Camera+ ($0.99, iPhone)

Camera+ is an iPhone-specific app that will run on an iPad, but not fully utilize the full size of the tablet’s screen. Instead of focusing on editing images after they’re shot, this app replaces the Camera app that comes preinstalled with iOS 6, and offers a handful of shooting features, like image stabilize, a digital zoom, a timer, and a burst shooting mode.

Then, once images are shot, Camera+ offers a photo-editing toolset that includes the ability to crop and rotate images, add borders, plus include any of several dozen special effect filters to your entire images. Some of the filters, however, require a one-time in-app purchase to access.

From directly within the Camera+ app, images can then be shared via email, message, Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr. This is a handy app for quickly improving the look of photos shot on your iOS mobile device before sharing them while on the go.

CameraBag ($1.99, iPhone)/CameraBag 2 HD ($1.99, iPad)

This easy-to-use app can be used to shoot photos instead of the Camera app. As you’re shooting pictures on the iPhone, however, you can add any one of 16 image filters to give your shots a vintage look. Once taken, the pictures can be stored on your iOS mobile device. It’s also possible to import photos stored on your device in order to enhance them after-the-fact using the app’s one-tap image filters.

The iPad-only CameraBag 2 HD app includes more than 50 image filters that are adjustable using on-screen sliders. The app also features a vast selection of digital borders that can be added to images with a tap. Edited images can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you’re already an Instagram user, you’ll enjoy the added selection of image filters offered by this app.

CloneCamera ($1.99, iPhone/iPad)

This popular photo-editing app allows you to select an object, such as a person, that’s featured within a photo, and then copy that object into multiple locations within a photo. It’s also possible to select subjects from multiple photos and superimpose just those subjects onto a pre-selected background.

For example, the app can be used to snap several images of yourself (using the app’s self-timer), and then superimpose yourself multiple times, in several different poses, into a single image. The app makes it easy to select and copy objects within an image, and then make your edited creations look seamless and natural.

To further enhance your photos, add any of the app’s 27 image filters and use the app’s other basic editing tools. Once the photos are edited, it’s easy to share them via Facebook, Twitter, email, or Flickr. While the app has a small learning curve, it does allow you to tap your creativity and transform basic photos into visually interesting images.

InstaCollage Pro ($0.99, iPhone/iPad)

When it comes to viewing and sharing the photos you take on your iOS mobile device, the Photos app allows you to view and share them, typically one photo at a time. Using the InstaCollage Pro app, however, you can quickly select a pre-created multi-image collage template, choose which images to store on your iPhone or iPad to include within a collage, determine where each photo will appear, add visual effects, and then save your customized collage.

Once you select one of the app’s collage templates (which allow for between two and nine photos to be included), the collage can be customized in a handful of ways. For example, you can add a custom border or superimpose digital stickers (such as emoticons, holiday-themed graphics, and/or text).

In addition to having a fair amount of creative control over a collage’s layout and design, InstaCollage Pro includes one-tap image filters that can be used on each individual image. Once your multi-image collage is complete, it can be saved as a single file and then shared directly from the app.

Instagram (Free, iPhone/iPad)

Instagram is a fast-growing online social networking service that’s now closely integrated with Facebook. It allows users to snap and share photos via a smartphone or tablet that can then be viewed in reverse chronological order by online friends and/or the general public. Each photo can be accompanied by a short caption and a geo-tag (that displays where it was taken).

In addition to being able to create a photo timeline to showcase your life’s adventures, the Instagram app offers a handful of stunning image filters that can be applied with a single tap. Only one filter can be used per image, and they’re not adjustable. However, you can add digital borders and frames in conjunction with a filter.

Using Instagram’s image filters, you can dramatically alter or enhance the appearance of a photo within seconds, and then immediately upload and share it. Using the privacy options built in to the app, it’s possible to edit and enhance your images, and then view them online yourself, or share them with specific people.

If you’re already active on Facebook, you can set the app to automatically upload your Instagram images to your Facebook page.

iPhoto ($4.99, iPhone/iPad)

Mac users are probably already familiar with iPhoto ’11, which is a comprehensive tool for managing, viewing, editing, enhancing, printing, and sharing digital photos. The iPhone/iPad edition of iPhoto is compatible with iPhoto ’11 for the Mac, as well as Apple’s iCloud service. It offers a handful of advanced features compared to the Photos app that comes with iOS 6.

While iPhoto doesn’t offer the same caliber of features as Adobe Photoshop Touch, for editing specific aspects of images, it does provide a basic toolset for easily editing and enhancing photos that are taken with an iPhone or iPad, or that are imported into an iOS mobile device. What’s nice about this app is that it works seamlessly with iCloud, so if you have multiple iOS mobile devices and/or a Mac, you can automatically and wirelessly keep your images synced, plus share them using an iCloud Shared Photo Stream.

Photogene for iPad ($2.99)

Photogene, which is available for the iPad only, is primarily a photo-editing and enhancement tool that offers a comprehensive toolset for editing many different aspects of a single digital image. It also offers a selection of adjustable image filters (that quickly alter an entire image), plus a selection of customizable digital frames, borders, and digital stickers that can be overlaid over photos.

Using Photogene, you can invest time to utilize each tool separately in order to edit or manipulate specific aspects of a photo, such as brightness, exposure, contrast, and/or saturation, or use a multitude of one-tap editing tools to alter entire images in seconds.

One nice feature of Photogene is that it incorporates a collage-making tool, so you can easily combine multiple images into a single college photo that can be shared from within the app or wirelessly printed.

While the core app sells for $2.99, you’ll probably want to invest in several add-ons (available via in-app purchases for up to $7.99 each) to fully utilize the photo-editing and enhancement capabilities of Photogene. Another nice feature of the app is that it allows images to be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, FTP, Dropbox, or Flickr, and images can be resized as they’re being uploaded.

Like Adobe Photoshop Touch, Photogene for iPad offers versatility that amateur and semi-professional photographers will appreciate.

Toon Camera ($0.99, iPhone/iPad)

This easy-to-use app allows you to import digital photos taken using the camera that’s built in to the iPhone or iPad, or that you’ve already imported into your iOS mobile device, and then instantly transform them into comic book-like artwork that appears to be hand-drawn.

The app’s templates allow you to create full-color or black and white artwork from your photos, using adjustable cartoon, pencil, stipple, or ink effects. The app works in conjunction with the Camera and Photos app, but allows you to share images that have been converted into comic art directly from the app. Toon Camera is a fun and fast way to add a whimsical appearance to your digital photos before sharing them.

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