Photo-Editing Apps

By Ted Greenwald | 05.18.12 5:18 PM

Photo-Editing Apps

Cole Rise is a professional photographer whose moody shots will look familiar to any regular Instagram user-he created the Hudson, Sierra, Sutro, and Rise filters for the app and has more than 160,000 followers. Here he discusses some of the apps he uses to create his atmospheric iPhone photos.


I love this app. It's got great curve controls for adjusting colors. You can also layer effects and add blurs-a lot of the stuff you'd do with Photoshop. So you can do most of your editing in-phone, no computer needed. Some lnstagram filters started with stuff I was doing here. PRO TIP I eclcla !eyer thet'e Juet color end c:nete • vignette on It, retMr then directly on the lmege, eo thet your vignette leln color rather then just grey scale.

Cole Rise created this picture in PhotoForge2 by layering an image of a glass of water a landscape photo, then using the vignette and curves tools for the final look.

Average Camera Pro

I get images with this that I would have thought I could only get with my Canon 50 Mark II. The app lets you snap a ton of photos in a row, up to 128, then averages them together. If you're shooting moving water, for example, it will get blurred while everything else stays steady. (You need to use a tripod.) Rivers end up looking like bands of fog. PRO TIP You can use to average out noise low-light settings, llke a sunset.


Spin in a circle and snap photos for a 360-degree panorama. But what's smart about this app is how it uses the gyroscope and accelerometer. As you move, it looks at the previous image and tracks the scene, then snaps for you at just the right moment. PRO TIP The switching isn’t so accurate close up. If you experiment with this, you can create portrait that look like photo collage-turn flaws to your advantage.


The iPhone is already pretty good at creating lens flare, but you don't know what you're missing until you try this app. You can choose from dozens of lens and flare types and customize them with rotation and scaling to get the right effect. It's great for landscapes. PRO TIP Use it sparingly; It can look overdone and cheesy. The affect works best when you can't tell it's there. Drag the flare off the Image so Just a bit of it is showing.

Doctor Popular is a game designer; illustrator; and founder of Objective Scenes, a blog about smartphone photography. He let us in on some of the apps he uses to create what he calls "appsperiments" -he'll frequently use several apps on a single photo to get the desired effect.

To create this image, Doc Pop ran the photo through Decim8 then layered parts of the original photo back over it in Filterstorm to soften the corrupted look.


Pretty much every photo I take goes through Camera+ at some point or another, mostly for simple things like cropping or tweaking color. It's my all-purpose app. The magical thing in Camera+ is the clarity feature. It doesn't just enhance color; it actually finds edges of objects in the photo and helps bring OUt the details. PRO TIP Any time you use one the filters on this app, dial it down to 25 percent or so for a boost that's more subtle.

Anti Crop

AntiCrop helps you ext11nd an image at the sides to be bigger than the original. It uses digital resampling to clone the edges and push them out: It's especially useful for changing the dimensions of a photo, like turning a landscape into a square for lnstagram. PRO TIP have some fun by fading an AntiCropped image and then reimporting the new version end extending it. lt starts sampling itself, creating reaIIy weird Images.


Decima is the weirdest editing app for iOS. It makes your photos look really glitchy and wrong. It does this because it's specifically designed to destroy images. It's not like a normal filter that you place over your photo; it's actually going into the image file and corrupting the data. PRO TIP When using multiple Declm8 effects, switch them Around. Using the same filters in a deferent order will create a diferent outcome.


This is the most powerful in-phone editing tool ever. It lets you do everything you could do with Photoshop five years ago: boost colors, crop images, use layers. But, like Photoshop, it can be overwhelming. PRO TIP The curves feature is a real workhorse. If you have an unexposed image-very common with phone shots-open the curves tool, add a point near the center, and drag it upward to bring out some detail.