top ten iphone photo apps

I got my iPhone 4S about a year ago and I don't know how I ever lived without it.  It's my phone, gps, daily planner, music player, and camera, literally my all-in-one.  So it's a little embarrassing to admit that more than 80% of my phone apps are photo apps.  Obsessed?  Maybe a little. But I really do love to take pictures of my kiddos and you really can't beat the portability of a phone camera.  With two little ones, it can be hard lugging around a DSLR camera and then finding the time to upload and edit pictures on the computer.  So after experimenting with dozens upon dozens, here are my top ten iphone photo apps.

10.  Camera +
Very popular app known for it's many features like a stabilizer, self-timer, tons of cool effects, filters, and borders.  But for me, I get overwhelmed with too many options and I really only use Camera +  for one thing:  it's ability to separate FOCUS and EXPOSURE points.  This comes in handy when the lighting situation isn't ideal.  In the example below, the focus point [square] remains constant on the roses but I moved the exposure point [circle] around until I achieved my desired brightness.  You use one finger to touch what you want in focus and a second finger to locate your desired exposure point.  On the top left, our exposure point is touching the brightest part of the photo [behind the blinds] which causes the camera to underexpose your picture making it too dark.  In the center, the exposure point is touching the red roses which brightens the photo a bit but it's still a little too dark.  On the right, the exposure point is on the darkest part of the photo [the green stems] and it significantly brightens up the entire picture.  So, in a nutshell, if you want to make your pictures brighter drag the exposure point to the darkest area of your image. 

9.  Big Lens
An App that gives you a way to be creative with depth-of-field, or in other words, the blurry background.  With Big Lens you can create an illusion of a large aperture. In the picture below, I used my finger to outline my children and the app successfully blurred out my messy living room.  The only downfall is that is can get a bit tricky to blend certain areas.

8. Picfx
Fun little app that has over 100 effects, textures, and frames but I really only use Picfx to create false bokeh [blurry circular light spots]. Below I've applied three different types of bokeh on the same picture. 

7.  Shakeit
Gives your photos that nostaglic look and feel of the vintage polaroid camera. You also have to literally shake your phone to process the picture like we used to do with real polaroids - which i think is kind of fun [you can bypass this by clicking save].

6.  Picframe
Just another photo collage app.  I prefer Picframe over the others because you can adjust and change the shape of each frame.  You can also add text, rounded corners, and change the background colors.

5.  Squaready
I use this app ALL the time for instagram.  It allows you to keep the original size of your photo by adding a white background to the frame.  Have you ever wanted to post a picture only to have someone's head cropped out by instagram's square format?  Well, that's where squaready comes in. You can keep your entire photo within the frame.

4. Phonto
A simple app that allows you to add text to pictures.  It has more than 200 fonts and the best part is the's free.

3.  Snapseed
The best photo editing app out there [which is probably why google bought them out]. Snapseed gives you a massive amount of control but is still really easy to use.  One of the things that sets Snapseed apart from the others is it's selective adjustment tool.  You can selectively edit only certain parts of your photo - which can be very useful.  I use this app to make small but significant tweaks to improve my images. 

2.  Afterglow
I love Afterglow for it's beautiful filters and the option to adjust the strength of the filter.  A lot of other apps have great filters but sometimes it's too strong for my liking.  Afterglow allows you to adjust how much of it you want applied to your photo.  Another popular feature is it's cropping tool - you can crop your pictures into a circle, oval, heart, etc.

My absolute favorite photo app.  I love it so much I even sometimes use this on my DSLR camera pictures to give my pictures that "film" look. VSCO is a simple and clean app with only 10 filters (3 of which are black and white) but it also has the ability to change things like exposure, highlights, vignette, grain, etc.  The only con is that if you save your pictures at a high resolution, it can take a really long time to save to your camera roll.  Other than that, this is my number one go-to photo editing app.

Happy editing!