Mobile phones and their cameras have come a long way since those first days of 1megapixel cameras that could just about focus on an inanimate object that was lit perfectly. They were slow, unreliable and there was nothing you could do with the picture after you had taken it.
My, how times have changed! The iPhone 4s has a whopping 8 megapixels as well as all new, never before seen, optics that give you the best pictures you have ever been able to take with a camera phone. In fact 8 megapixels is what you can expect from most digital cameras these days and at least with your phone you don’t have to upload them to your computer before you can post them online or send them to your friends.
However, now we want more. Now we want the choice to make our pictures look as good as possible before we post them online, and why not? In our ever expanding online world people freely comment on everything we choose to share and increasingly we are feeling the pressure to make everything worthy of a good comment.
That’s where editing apps come in, and there are a lot of them, but here are three that are going to take your pictures to a whole new level and significantly increase your chances of creating that all important wow factor.
Instagram: For Editing and Sharing
Instagram has been an instant hit, especially with lovers of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Easy as pie to use, Instagram gratifies both our need to edit our pictures and our desperation to share them with others all in one neat package.
A free app, Instagram is probably the most basic editing app out there but it’s hard to knock the results. Once you’ve created an account (this takes no time at all) you can start editing your photos straight away. You can choose either to take a new photo from within the app or upload one you’ve already taken from your gallery. This makes it hugely versatile because you don’t have to remember to go into it before you take your picture.
Editing is easy, you simply crop the picture to the size you want and then scroll through the options at the bottom of the screen to select which effect you want to apply. No change is permanent until you save so you can edit and re-edit until you’re 100% satisfied.
Once you’re happy with your picture you can finish it and choose whether to upload it to another social network like Facebook. The app will automatically create a new folder in Facebook and upload the picture to there. Within the app itself you can also find and follow friends and browse the most popular pictures of the day, allowing you to see, like and comment on the pictures you like.
Although Instagram is more of a social app the effects you can apply are really very good. You can totally change the look of any picture and it really does only take seconds. For the busy photographer on the go this is a fantastic bit of kit.
Colour Splash: For When you Fancy Something a Little Different
Colour Splash really does do what it says on the tin. Selected by the App Store for the Hall of Fame this app costs less than $1 and can really make your photos eye-catching.
Colour Splash allows you to create an effect that till now was only really been accessible to those fluent in Photoshop. It enables you to turn your picture black and white but keep certain aspects of it in colour. This striking effect creates truly beautiful pictures and the intuitive interface and easy to follow tutorials make it simple to get a professional looking effect in seconds.
Let your fingers “paint” the colour back into your picture and use the two finger pincer movement to zoom in and out. This app is easy to use, a lot of fun and will produce pictures that are the envy of your friends. There is also a free version of this app if you want to try before you buy. It has slightly less functionality and you have to take the picture from the app but as a test run it’s still pretty good.
Phototoaster: For More Control and a Professional Finish
Phototoaster is pretty much the closest you can get to having full on Photoshop on your phone. Again with this app you can either take pictures from within it or upload them from you own photo gallery. With a vast array of effects and endless ways to personalize them this app does take a little getting used to but the more you play with it the more you get out of it.
As with other apps the effects aren’t permanent until you save so you can play about with your picture to your hearts content. It’s not just the bog standard black and white or sepia either. This app gives you the ability to lighten, darken, sharpen, de-noise and even saturate the picture with other colours allowing you complete creative control over your masterpiece.
Once you’ve changed the look of your picture you can finish it off with the frame of your choice. The pictures are saved to the internal memory of the app and also into a new folder on your phone. It also has the functionality to upload your pictures to any of the major social networking sites.
Therefore, whether you have 10 seconds or 10 minutes to edit your pictures there is an app for everyone and never again will you have to settle for pictures that are just so-so.
Liz Weston is a freelance writer from England who covers technology issues from the latest iPhone apps to how to save a broken phone from water damage.