You’re Android handset comes with a built-in camera application that is fine for taking the odd shot. I’m not sure whether this is specific to my HTC Sense phone, but my stock camera app has options to change photo saturation, brightness, and other variables. There’s also the option to add some very basic filters like sepia and negative. This is a nice set of features that my iPad 2 (and, presumably, an iPhone) doesn’t have and, especially if your phone has a nice five or eight megapixel shooter on it, can be helpful in taking some valuable shots you can look back on.
Cisco’s recent decision to kill off the Flip video camera family also demonstrates that smartphone cameras are becoming the tool of choice for most people’s photo and video capture needs, so these options are becoming increasingly important.
The quote, “the best camera is the one that’s with you”, is tossed around a lot and, although I can’t seem to find its origin, I certainly know it’s true. Everyday moments can be captured with relative ease and with quality to compete with most point-and-shoot cameras. However, these cameras are smart and not like their dumb-phone counterparts.
Little Photo is fairly simple and straightforward to use. Opening the application launches an image of a camera which, upon a tap, leads you to a fairly normal camera view. However, this does not have the average photo controls apart from a simple flash toggle. Tapping on the screen captures the photo and introduces the edit mode.
The camera interface is very simple and I was disappointed by the lack of optical trackpad functionality that is available in HTC Sense’s stock camera application. However, instead of tapping the screen to capture, you can use the volume button to take your snap.
While it may not be true, I got the impression that photos taken within the app came out stretched and were not as well-lit as if they had been captured elsewhere.
Little Photo has a number of filters that can be overlaid onto your images. Unlike most applications, the selection that is available is not small. In fact, there are over 60 filters that can be added to your photos to introduce some style to boring photos.
Unfortunately, while there are many filters to choose from, most have terrible results that look just horrible. However, there are a small handful of filters that I do like and are hidden, but surprisingly good.
Vintage Aged is by far my favourite filter since it adds a great sepia effect making your photos look old and, as the name suggests, aged. Out of all the filters i’ve tried, this one has the best outcome.
My only disappointment with this filter is it adds a “torn” effect around the edges, which causes the final image to have a black background and not to be transparent in a PNG format.
Another filter, Vintage Paper, has similar effect. One thing I love about this application is the sub-filters that allow you to modify your image further. For example, if you apply the Vintage Paper filter, you can choose the type of paper shown from the likes of notepad and pages.
Black and White
The Black and White effect is fairly straightforward: it turns your photos grayscale. This simple effect works well and does just what you’d expect, although a similar effect is able to be applied live in HTC’s stock camera app.
Of course, these are only two of the filters available. There are some other ones that may be useful if you need them, but I didn’t find this to be the case.
Text and Add-Ons
In addition to adding filters, Little Photo allows you to add text overlays to your images also. Unlike most of the filters, however, this works fairly well and produces an amicable outcome. Text can be resized and recoloured with relative ease.
There are also options to draw straight onto the photo, and to add frames and even a bokeh (a type of blur) to the background. The bokeh option, especially, works really well, as does pixelization which allows you to “draw” the effect on.
Overall, these add-ons make Little Photo worth downloading since the supply of filters aren’t really up to scratch.
Little Photo has a wealthy range of options that are nice enough for quick shots to be manipulated with. While most the filters look very substandard and inferior to other photo applications, the “add-ons” work very smoothly and do what they say on the tin.
There are some glaring omissions to this application, however. For example, one can’t share his photos directly with social networks like Twitter or Facebook, although the images are saved to your Gallery and so can be uploaded via other applications.
UPDATE: The app does actually include Sharing options, but they are included in a separate menu; tapping the screen brings up an overlaid menu with tools, effects, and options to save the photo (as shown in the first screenshot), but the option to Share is in a secondary menu, only accessible by pressing the Menu button. Separating the Share functionality like this makes it easy to miss, and what is built in relies on third-party apps, rather than being tightly integrated. This means the app fails to tap into the social photo market even though it has the potential to do so.
Little Photo is certainly not a horrible application to use — far from it — but there are some improvements to be made. I prefer similar iPhone applications that offer some better pre-built templates, although they don’t offer the same text and simple editing features that Little Photo does.
The application is free, but a paid version is also available that offers some promising features such as effect tuning. However, if Little Photo isn’t your thing, consider related applications Vignette or Camera360. See also our roundup of over 30 excellent Android apps for photographers.