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Photography Apps That Work with the Newly Revamped Camera App for the iPhone and iPad

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While the iOS 5 edition of the Camera app has been dramatically improved, there are a handful of third-party apps that can be used in addition to, or instead of the Camera and Photos app to take, view, edit, enhance, share, and print photos. Jason R. Rich explains how each can be used to dramatically enhance the photos you take using (or have stored in) your iOS mobile device.
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If you enjoy taking pictures, one of the improvements that the iOS 5 upgrade offers to the iPhone and iPad are new features built into the Camera app. The Camera app comes preinstalled on your iOS device, and allows you to take vibrant and detailed photos, and even use a built-in digital zoom.

Plus, if you've upgraded to the iPhone 4S, you can enjoy that phone's vastly improved built-in 8-megapixel camera. The iPhone or iPad is ideal for snapping photos virtually anytime and anywhere, without having to carry around a separate point-and-shoot or digital SLR camera.

After snapping photos using the Camera app, you can view, edit, and share them using the Photos app that also comes preinstalled on the iPhone and iPad. However, when it comes to editing images, the tools built into the Photos app are somewhat limited compared with what's possible when you purchase, download, and install one or more of the photography-related third-party apps that are available from the App Store.

Many of the available photography-related apps work in conjunction with the Camera and Photos apps, but provide a wide range of editing and photo enhancement features which can dramatically improve an image in seconds, plus make it easier to share your edited photos via email, text message, Twitter or Facebook, for example.

In addition to using any of these apps to edit or enhance photos taken using your iOS device, as you're actually shooting photos, make a point to hold your iPhone or iPad steady (avoid any movement, especially in low-light situations).

To help hold your iOS device stable as you're taking pictures, consider investing in a low-cost tripod. iStabilizer (http://www.istabilizer.com/index.php/iphone-tripod.html) and Joby (http://joby.com/store/gorillamobile/iphone4) both offer sturdy, desktop tripods for the iPhone and/or iPad that are priced under $40.00.

Third-Party Photography Apps for Editing and Enhancing Photos

Available from the App Store are literally hundreds of third-party, photography-related apps that allow you to easily edit and enhance your digital images quickly. Several of these apps offer photo-editing tools that rival what you'd find in advanced photo-editing software for your PC or Mac. The following sections show a sampling of what's available.

Blurb Mobile

There are many companies that allow you to create and publish professional-quality hardcover or softcover photo books from your digital images. However, one company that offers the most versatility and creative control over the photo books you create, as well as the highest quality and most extensive options when it comes to printing your photo books at competitive prices, is Blurb (http://www.blurb.com).

Typically, to create a photo book, you'd download the free Blurb software on your PC or Mac, and then use it to drag and drop your digital images into page templates. Doing this allows you to design a highly personalized photo book in a matter of minutes. The book you design then gets uploaded to the Blurb service, which publishes your book and ships it to your door within a week.

The new Blurb Mobile app for the iPhone and iPad allows you to design and lay out extremely impressive digital photo books, which can be viewed on the iOS device's screen; and/or shared online via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.

Using the free Blurb Mobile app, you can tell compelling stories using animated photo books that feature eye-catching page layouts and photo special effects that the app allows you to implement.

Creating a digital photo book is an alternative to creating an animated slide show that features your images. It's also a quick and easy way to showcase a collection of images in a visually appealing way.


This easy-to-use app is designed to replace the Camera app that comes preinstalled on your iPhone or iPad. Camera+ gives you access to a handful of additional camera features that can be utilized as you're actually taking pictures. For example, there's an image stabilizer, timer, continuous flash (on the iPhone 4/4S), and burst shooting mode, as well as a more advanced digital zoom and auto focus feature.

Then, once images are shot and stored on your iOS device, the Camera+ app provides a handful of tools for editing and adding special effects to your photos using customizable digital filters, for example.

Editing commands offered within the app allow you to make blurry images sharper. You can also enhance lighting, rotate or crop images, as well as add any combination of nine special effects. Before saving the image, you can even add a customized border.

Once an image has been edited and saved, from within the Camera+ app you can share it via Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, text massage, or email. Priced at just $0.99, this app greatly enhances your ability to take, edit, and share photos using your iPhone or iPad.


Available as an iPhone or iPad-specific app ($1.99), CameraBag works in conjunction with the Camera and Photos apps to give you greater control over photo editing and image enhancement.

With the tap of a finger, choose between 15 different image filters that will enhance the clarity or vibrancy of an image or add a visually impressive special effect.

The one drawback to this app is that you can't manually control the intensity of the filter or effect used to enhance or alter a photo. In seconds, however, you can take a modern-day, full-color image and transform it into a photo that looks like it was taken using a vintage Polaroid Instant Camera or an antiquated film camera, for example. The CameraBag app is ideal for quickly altering images before sharing them with others.


Similar in functionality to the CameraBag app, the $1.99 Fotoyaki app works with the iPhone or iPad and allows you to easily add a collection of unique special effects to your images.

For example, in just seconds, you can make a modern-day photo look antiquated, or transform it into black and white. The app also integrates seamlessly with Facebook and Twitter, so you can share your edited photos with ease.

One unique photo-editing feature offered by Fotoyaki is the mosaic effect, which uses all the images in your iPhone or iPad's photo library to create a single mosaic (tiled) image. To keep the app fresh, new photo effects are regularly added to this powerful, but easy-to-use app.

Like CameraBag, the photo effects you can add to your images are not manually adjustable. You can simply turn on or off each effect and then mix and match effects to create a truly one-of-a-kind image.


Designed for the iPhone or iPad, Luminance is a free app that allows you to edit photos easily, but instead of just implementing pre-created filters or special effects, you can customize the intensity of each effect, and then mix-and-match effects in order to enhance the visual appeal of your images.

After loading an image into Luminance, select from 20 special effects to add. Then, using a series of sliders, adjust the intensity of the effect, as well as a photo's colors, white balance, hue/saturation, exposure and vignette, for example. You can also manually crop or rotate images.

However, if you don't want to manually tinker with special effects or filters, simply tap on the special effect presets to transform your images with professional results in just a second or two.

When you're done editing, your newly enhanced images can be saved or shared via email, Facebook or Twitter.


Designed as an iPhone ($1.99) or iPad-specific ($2.99) app, Photogene can be used to replace the Photos app when it comes to organizing, viewing and editing your images. Using a series of on-screen command icons, Photogene's editing tools rival what's possible on your computer[md]using full-featured, photo-editing software such as Photoshop Elements or iPhone '11.

After selecting a photo to edit within Photogene, choose from a series of preset special effects in order to modify the appearance of the image with a single tap on the screen. There are dozens of color and black-and-white effects to choose from.

However, you can also manually crop or rotate an image, or use a series of onscreen sliders to manually adjust an image's exposure, saturation, vibrancy, contract, shadows, highlights, and/or white balance.

Using the app's Retouches tools, use your finger to instantly fix red-eye, or remove unwanted blemishes or wrinkles from your subject's face (or remove unwanted elements from a photo altogether).

Tap the Text icon to add a cartoon bubble caption or tap the Enhance icon to access a series of editing tools for adding user-adjustable vignettes, frames, or borders to the image.

Photogene offers an incredible amount of control over your photo editing and enhancement, yet it makes using these tools extremely intuitive. In less than 30 seconds, you can dramatically improve or alter an image, and achieve professional-quality results before sharing the photo online.

To help you keep your digital images organized, Photogene allows you to view and edit metadata associated with each edited image.

Out of the hundreds of photo-editing apps available for the iPhone or iPad, Photogene is truly among the most powerful, easiest to use, and competitively priced.

Pic Stitch

Using photos taken and/or stored on your iPhone or iPad, the free Pic Stitch app gives you access to 32 different photo collage layouts and then allows you to drag and drop two, three, or four separate images into one layout to create a custom photo collage that can then be shared online (via email, text message, Facebook, or Twitter) or created into a 4"-x-6" or 3"-x-4" print.

After you create your custom collage, you can add a frame, image border, and/or special effects to the individual photos or the collage as a whole. Some of these effects require a $0.99 in-app purchase in order to upgrade the app Pic Stitch, which works on an iPhone or iPad.


Developed by Nik Software (a division of Nikon), Snapseed ($4.99) is an easy-to-use photo-editing app that allows you to pick and choose from dozens of effects, filters, borders, and frames[md]and then manually adjust how each is used within your photo.

After loading an image into Snapseed, select from 13 different effects categories, including Auto Correct, Selective Adjust, Tune Image, Straighten & Rotate, Crop, Details, Black & White, Vintage Films, Drama, Grunge, Center Focus, Organic Frames and Tilt+Shift. Then use a series of onscreen finger motions (directly on the image) or onscreen sliders to adjust the intensity of a selected editing tool or special effect.

You can preview your image in real time as changes are made and add one effect after another until you've achieved the results you're looking for. If you make a mistake, tap the Undo or Revert icons.

When you're done editing, images can be saved on your iPhone or iPad, or shared with a tap of the screen via email, Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter. Plus, if you have an AirPrint–compatible photo printer set up to work with your iOS device, you can use the app's Print command to create prints from your edited images.

Snapseed is a perfect photo-editing tool if you want to invest a few minutes utilizing your own creativity as you edit and enhance your images before sharing them. The collection of tools this app offers is impressive, and similar to what Nik Software offers within its full-featured photo-editing software for PCs and Macs.

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