Instagram-ExampleBy {grow} community member Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

I have about a dozen photo apps on my iPhone.  It’s possible I have a problem, but they all serve different purposes!  Here are my favorites, from frequently used to occasionally launched.

The Must-Haves

Instagram – Free

Like the “Insta” implies, this app makes sharing fast, and the newest version even lets you choose the filter before you take the pic. Whatever my mood, there’s a filter to match, but that’s not why I love Instagram.

Kerry GorgoneI love the little windows Instagram opens into people’s everyday lives. People showcase their passions, hopes and dreams, from the simple to the monumental. They illustrate their sense of irony or whimsy, and reveal their personalities. I think of it as “Instagram intimacy,” or “Instamacy” for short.

Another great thing about Instagram is how easy it is to share from the app. You can upload Instagram images to Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook simultaneously, email your photos to your social circle, and even tweet someone else’s photo that strikes your fancy.

The less than perfect aspects include some counterintuitive UI elements (swiping to the right to delete or reply to a comment isn’t obvious to most users, and placing “reply” right next to “delete” could result in some unintentional slights.

Photoshop Express - Free (with upgrades from $1.99 to $4.99)

psx example

The granddaddy of photo doctoring apps, this mobile version enables you to assuage your mom’s fear that she looks bad without make-up, or in the sunlight, or wearing that dress, etc. Knowing I’ll punch up the color or smooth out the speckles makes my subjects more comfortable, and that always makes for a better photo.

From Photoshop, you can upload your creations to Photoshop.com, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Tumblr, email images, or save to camera roll.

Snapseed – $4.99

When you need to break out the big guns, go for Snapseed. At $4.99, it’s expensive by app standards, but prolific photographers will appreciate the granular level of control it gives you over the final image. Add filters, adjust every aspect from contrast to structure, or add “Drama.” (Yeah, that’s a filter.) You can even add a digital frame, for that gallery-ready look. For the newer digital artist, there’s an automatic fix that enables you easily to adjust contrast and color.

Share capability is also supersized, or you can open the edited image in Camera+ or ColorSplash for more fine-tuning and fun.

My Fun-to-Haves

Diptic - $0.99 (with optional “expandable” layouts available)

Diptic-Example

Example of Diptic

Simply put, the best $0.99 cents I’ve ever spent!

I love Diptic for before and after photos, progression photos (like my son coming down the slide) or for showing the front and back of a sexy muscle car! However you use it, Diptic is great for letting you combine different images into a single, eye-catching collage using one of 52 customizable layouts. The app has 14 filters you can apply, or share to Instagram and use one of those. You can also upload to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous, Camera+ or ColorSplash.

incrediboothIncredibooth – $0.99 (with optional add-ons)

The fun of a photo booth in the palm of your hand! Better, really, because you don’t have to keep dropping coins in. You can choose filters prior to posing, and can share the entire strip or any single photo to Facebook or Twitter, email it, or save to your camera roll for additional doctoring.

Hipstamatic –  $0.99 (with optional add-ons)
I like to play with this when I get sick of the same old Instagram filters. Somehow not as fun as Instagram, but it’s great for moody photos. The biggest downside is that you can’t add effects to existing images from your camera roll: you have to take a new picture. Huge bummer, which makes it less appealing to me and, I’m sure, many others.

Just Because I Want Them

Marblecam – FREE

Marblecam-Example

Marblecam Example

This free app does one thing: distorts part of your image so it looks like there’s a marble in it. The right subject and the right light make this one thing awesome, but you can’t choose what gets “marbleized” or make adjustments. Still fun to use once in a while and, given the price, I’m not complaining.

Email your marbleized image, or share via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can even open the pic in ColorSplash or Camera+, and punch up the contrast or tweak the color.

ColorSplash-Example

Color Splash

ColorSplash – $0.99
Like Marblecam, this app’s really good at one thing. Ever see a black and white picture of people milling around a rainy street, and the only thing in color is a red umbrella? This app can do that.

I use it to showcase the artwork on my Johnny Cupcakes shirts. ColorSplash lets you save the session, which is useful, because it can take a while to brush the color out or in. Share, save, print, or send to a slew of other compatible photo apps.

Flipagram - $0.99

Flipagram lets you turn your Instagram photos into a movie. You provide the title text, choose the images, and even select background music (just make sure you have the rights to use it). My masterpieces to date include Carporn: the Movie and a Flipagram for my son’s birthday. Very fun app, especially for special occasion slideshows. Share directly to your social networks or save to your camera roll. 

My Hidden Gem

Panorama 360 – $0.99

This one takes some getting used to, but when you view a finished panorama, it will take your breath away. Panorama 360 offers a whole new way to stand in someone’s shoes, and see the world around them (and above them), just as they do. Here’s what it looks like: Panorama 360 example. Be gentle: capturing a great image with this app takes patience, but it’s worth the effort! Share to the usual social networks.

What did I miss? Which apps are your favorites? 

kerry gorgoneKerry O’Shea Gorgone, JD/MBA, teaches New Media Marketing in the Internet Marketing Master of Science Program at Full Sail University in Winter Park Florida. Follow her on Twitter: @KerryGorgone

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