Tech Corner: Which Photo Apps Should I Use?
With Instagram continuing to rise in popularity, camera and photo-editing apps are becoming more essential for the typical smartphone user. Photography has proven to be a cornerstone of social networking, but sometimes effects, ranging from sharpness to filters, are what is needed to grab the attention of friends and acquaintances. Since hundreds of apps are available through the Apple and Android stores, it’s important to know which items to avoid and those that are fully worth the functionality and, in some cases, the price.
Collage apps have become staples for Instagram users who want to show more than one photo in the same set, especially since photo spam is generally not welcome. PicStitch, developed by Big Blue Clip, provides a number of eclectic layouts to place multiple photos within the same frame. The app also offers several effects, including rounded corners, frame patterns and basic photo-editing techniques. While this is ideal for a mobile environment, files created in PicStitch do not often translate well onto a desktop, the images grainy and sometimes oversaturated (depending on what effects are used). Another, perhaps more bothersome downside is that developers have yet to update the app for Apple iOS 7, which implies problems for consumers who have opted for the recent upgrade. But regardless of its downfalls, PicStitch exists as a solid app for users who grow tired of the square, one-frame photo that’s become standard in social networking.
Unlike PicStitch, CameraSharp is focused (no pun intended) on offering an opportunity for smartphone users to take clear, high-definition shots. The default iPhone camera app has barely been touched since its inception, leaving behind frustration about its low quality and lack of basic tools. But CameraSharp bears an anti-shake/steady function, allowing phone photographers to capture a moment in motion. This capability also cuts some slack for those with unsteady hands – myself included – and minimizes the possibility of photo ops gone awry. The app also offers a timer and continuous-shot settings, which are perfect if you’re a fan of self portraits. Since its creation in 2011, CameraSharp has improved steadily with more features accompanying every update, and at $1.99, it’s definitely worth it.
A recent wave of networks on Instagram and Tumblr have taken to doing more than merely adding an exclusive retro mask over the face of their photos. Many have chosen text and graphic overlays that make hi-def pics look more like arrangements in a fashion catalog, and at the root of this trend is PicLab. Created by developer Roberto Nickson, PicLab is vibrant and easy-to-use, with a wide selection of typefaces, filters and elements at one’s disposal. Users fed up with the standard square or rectangular frame can choose something abstract in the vein of a polygon, creating a graphic that could have only been created with Adobe Photoshop and similar software in the past. The one drawback, like PicStitch, is the app’s product is only suited for mobile devices, with photos coming up blurry or low-quality on a high-resolution monitor. But unlike many other available apps, using PicLab is a fun experience and definitely passes the time even if an end result fails to be reached.