In terms of photo styling, I’ve always been a purist. I have a passionate dislike of HDR (other than when it is a necessity of commercial photography), and I think Instagram‘s filters ruin every image they are applied to. In photographic terms, I believe that a great image is taken with a lens, not constructed with an app.
But that’s not to say that all styling is bad. The subtler effects of Vignette can bring out the natural tones in a beautiful landscape, and many folks add nicely designed overlays to their images to create a kind of photo-based artwork. I’m averse to neither technique.
So PicLab looks — from its Play Store description, at least – like my type of photo app. With a focus on text and image overlays, rather than filtering, it’s clear that this image styler is aimed at classy presentation. Does it have the quality to be a worthwhile download, though?
The recent release of the Nexus 5 marked an important landmark in Android phoneography. The physical camera hardware in Google’s latest flagship phone is not a great improvement on the Nexus’ predecessor, but the overall photographic quality of the new handset, particularly after the 4.4.1 software update, shows that Google is taking mobile photography seriously. At last.
Developers are playing their part, too. Both Android-specific apps, such as Vignette, and iOS imports, such as PicLab, provide good quality, classy editing options on an OS that only had Instagram to play with, not so long ago.
But now, things have gone up another level. VSCO Cam, the self-proclaimed “standard of mobile photography” has exited private beta, and it is now ready to bring its comprehensive adjustments and subtle retro cool to our side of the mobile divide. But can this legend of iPhoneography successfully make the transition to Android?
As an exponent of photography in a professional capacity, I just like taking photographs, no matter what the equipment in my hand may be, and that includes my phone. Unlike many of my iOS-owning counterparts, however, the range of high quality Androidography apps at my disposal is pretty small. This, in essence, can be attributed to the two main general deficiencies Android is trying to overcome — hardware, and third party apps. For many years, the photographic hardware with which Android handsets have been equipped has been inferior to Apple’s technologies, and, as a result, many development companies haven’t felt the need to bring their best products over to our mobile community.
Thankfully, things are changing. Both Samsung and HTC nowadays produce handsets which can photographically mix it with the best, and developers are responding; take the example of VSCO Cam, the self-proclaimed “Standard of Mobile Photography,” which is now currently in beta testing on Android.
Another promising new iOS-derived arrival into the world of Androidography apps is Repix. With a sleek design and a heavy bias towards stylizing, it has the usual ingredients of any self respecting Instagram-inspired photographic offering; but does it have the killer features to elevate it above the competition?
So, you are sitting there, flicking through the latest images in your Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr timeline. Some of the photos fit into “human interest” – these photos usually include someone else’s meal – and others are mediocre views of a sunset from the inside of a car. On the face of it, you’d think that these pictures have little in common. Look and think again, though, and you will realize that there is a theme which runs through vast swathes of the photos you see. That’s right, you’ve got it; filters. Photos, it would seem, are nowadays regarded as being dull unless they’ve been doused with a squeeze of zingy Lomography, or made musty with some aged, scratched, sepia.
This popularity, you would think, should drive innovation, and an improvement in the quality and diversity of the filter apps on offer. In reality, however, most apps are just happy to be regarded as competent Instagram clones. Not so with the new Android app Camera 2. Not only has the developer, JFDP Labs, packed 28 effects into its $2.99 offering, but it has also been brave enough to try something different – live, pre-capture filtering. Depending on your outlook, this either sounds like a brilliant, killer feature, or a fast-track route to mobile-computing meltdown. Let’s find out which it is…
The prevalence of camera phone means that we are now taking more photographs than ever before. Some people take the time to optimise their photos using one of the various image editing tools that are available, but this task has generally been limited to desktop platforms.
However, if you’re working with an Android phone or tablet, you do not need to spend time transferring your photos to your computer when there are apps on hand to help you transform them into something truly impressive. Lithic is one such app, and anyone who’s a fan of gothic graphic novels will love the style the app can inject into their photo collection.