5 Paid iPhone Photo Apps Guaranteed to Add Pizzazz to Your Shot

You might feel overwhelmed with the number of photo apps in the iPhone App Store. I know I was, so I did some research and downloaded some (okay, a lot) of photo apps in my quest to search for the perfect photo app that has everything I wanted and needed. After some time I realized there is no such perfect photo app. However, there are some which can do only a few things but do them extremely well. Here are five paid iPhone photo apps which I tested and now can’t do without. They are well worth the price of a few dollars for they greatly boost the bland shots I’m getting from my iPhone 2MP camera.

1.  SwankoLab ($1.99) – long before anyone could conceive of the idea of digital processing, the photographer’s darkroom existed. It was a place of alchemy where images appeared from blank paper or plastic film with the use of chemicals. Darkroom magic has been recreated with the SwankoLab app. The visuals are very appealing with the rich dark wooden shelf that holds various chemicals which you can mix unto the processing tray below. Experiment with eight various formulas and watch your images materialize in different effects depending on which chemicals you chose. Nine more chemicals are available with an additional one time $1.99 subscription fee. Not bad at all considering the number of combinations you can use.

2.  Hipstamatic ($1.99) – From the creators of SwankoLab is a camera replacement app which allows you to imitate vintage toy lenses such as the John S lens and the Kaimal Mark II lens. You can also choose from a variety of lenses and flash settings, all with just a flick of your finger. When you open the app, the screen displays an image which simulates the back (or front, if you press the flip icon) of an analog camera, including a small square viewfinder. This viewfinder is not precise, so what you see is not usually what you get. The experience of this randomness adds to the appeal of the app. You will have to take a picture for the app to be used, unlike some photo apps where you can use images already saved in your photo library. Hipstamatic saves the images in a square format and the results from the filters can be very moody and unique. More filters and lenses are available in what is called ‘HipstaPaks’ which you can purchase from within the app.

3.  Photo Forge ($2.99) – if you’re looking for a photo editing app which will answer most of your needs, then this could be it. This app packs quite a punch, having extensive features to help tweak your image to your satisfaction. It offers very useful adjustment tools such as the unsharp mask, crop tool, levels and RGB curves. It also has several effects such as Lomo, Dreamy and Vignette. On top of that, it provides illustration tools as well such as brushes with color and transparency options.

4.  CameraBag ($1.99) – this camera replacement app simulates several effects that you would get from various cameras and lenses.  These presets vary from Helga, to Colorcross to Fisheye. You may take a picture or get one from your camera roll or photo library. To change the effect, just swipe your finger left or right and you’ll immediately see the various results. What could be easier than that?

5.  Best Camera ($2.99) – what better iPhone photo app developer than a professional photographer?  When Chase Jarvis decided to make an app, he wanted to make sure it did everything an iPhoneographer was looking for.  You can use Best Camera to take a picture, edit it using 14 presets, and then upload it straight to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, thebestcamera.com website or to your email. That’s quite a lot of features in one app, which makes this one of the top rated photo apps in the App Store.

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