Update: Photo Editing Apps


One of the problems…or joys or writing app reviews like this is that by the time you finish the review, it is already almost out of date.  So, from time to time, it is necessary to return to  a review to ensure it remains up to date with the latest information.  With that in mind, a few months ago, I wrote a roundup for our print edition of some fantastic photo editing apps for the iPad (Kudos for MacPhun, winner of the Editor’s Choice Award from that article).  Since that time, I have stumbled upon several fantastic new apps which make editing photos even easier than ever.

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SnapSeed was a new discovery for me, compliments of my good friend Patrick over at iPad Insight.    What impressed me about Snapseed was the truly unique approach it took to the user interface and controls.   The main interface features an adjustments sidebar on the left side of the screen.  Rather than containing a myriad of menus, there are simply two panes containing general basic and creative adjustments.  Simply tap the one you wish to use to begin editing.  From here, swipe vertically on the screen in order to switch between enhancements.  Swipe horizontally to adjust the settings and apply that enhancement.  I really liked the controls in this app, which truly took advantage of the iPad interface.  That being said, though, I will admit that the unique aspects of the interface did come with quite a learning curve.  Once you take the time to learn it, however, it is a truly remarkable approach.

Snapseed is available for iPad in the iTunes app store for $4.99.

FilterStorm Pro: FilterStorm Pro is not your average photo editor, nor is it designed for your average photo editor user.  This app is designed to offer the tools which professional level photographers use to make their photos look great.  Sure,  you will still find all of the usual canvas tools, including the ability to resize, scale, crop, and rotate the canvas.  So far, this is all pretty basic…and it works just fine.  The real magic happens under the filters tab, where virtually every control you would ever need can be found.  I will say that some of the controls could have been more intuitive, but that is really just a matter of spending some time with the app.  Once you are familiar with it, this is the most powerful photo editing apps available in the App Store.

Filterstorm is available for iPad in the iTunes app store for $14.99

PhotoForge 2: At first glance, this app does not look like much.  In fact, when I initially opened the app, I thought this was going to turn out to be a poor performer.   Well, 15 adjustments, 28 effects, 5 canvas adjustments and plenty more later, this has turned out to be one fantastic app.  The key to the app lies in the controls.  Rather than a control panel or sidebar, like most apps feature, there is a scrolling “river” of buttons flowing across the bottom of the main screen.  What’s more, within each category, the buttons continuously repeat, so there is no beginning and no end to the river.  Just scroll and scroll and scroll until you find the feature or effect you need.  The downside of this approach, of course, can be losing the feature or effect you need in the river of buttons.   So, make sure you are paying close attention to the order of the buttons, and you will quickly lose yourself within the app…rather than simply getting lost in it. 

PhotoForge 2 is available for iPad in the iTunes app store for $2.99 (currently on sale for $1.99)

I have really been impressed by the apps in this category.  The three apps mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg in what has really become one of the deepest categories in the app store.  I will be anxiously watching to see what comes next and how future apps continue to outdo those which came before.

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