Beyond Instagram: More Photo Apps

Yesterday, we talked about Instagram — embedding images from your stream, sprucing up your blog with these instant pics, and…

Yesterday, we talked about Instagram — embedding images from your stream, sprucing up your blog with these instant pics, and more. Today, let’s explore other photo apps, shall we? From in-phone editing to photo sharing to managing your image libraries, you can experiment and have fun with other cool tools out there.

We’ve rounded up some popular ones below:

Image editing apps



Hipstamatic: The tagline — “digital photography never looked so analog” — perfectly describes Hipstamatic. With just a swipe, you can “change” the lens, flash, and film of your image. It serves up a number of filters to give an image a vintage look, or to create a distinct effect or frame. The app is part of the IncrediBooth and SwankoLab family: IncrediBooth allows you to create photo booth-style pics with your pals, while SwankoLab acts as a darkroom simulator and lets you choose and experiment with chemicals to process photos — right in your phone. (Download for iOS.)

SnapSeed: This app offers retro filters, dramatic effects, and frames, as well as editing tools like cropping, fine-tuning the saturation and contrast, and more. (Download the app for iOS and Android.)

Camera+: This app offers lots of extras for the iPhone and iPad — touch exposure and focus, a timer for better self-portraits, a stabilizer to keep your shots steady, and the Burst feature to take rapid streams of shots. Manage and edit images in the Lightbox, and drastically improve a shot with the Clarify filter, which adds crispness. (Download for iOS.)



WordFoto: For all you lovers of images, words, and the intersection between the two: turn your images and words into cool typographic works of art. (Download for iOS.)

TouchRetouch: Did some stranger — or squirrel — photobomb your photo? Does it look like there’s a pole sticking out of your friend’s head in an otherwise awesome ensemble shot? With this Android photo app, you can remove unwanted content or objects using your finger and the brush tool. (For the record, if a squirrel hijacked one of my images like that, I’d share it with the world, not delete it!) (Download for Android.)

Piction: While some pictures are “worth a thousand words,” other images may need captions. With Piction, you can add a layer of text over a photograph to add context, or simply jazz it up with a complementary quote or phrase. (Download for iOS.)

PicFrame: Love the tiled gallery feature on Create tiled grids with PicFrame, which lets you combine multiple photos inside a frame. At the time of this writing, there are 70+ different frames to choose from for iOS; nearly 40 for Android. (Download for iOS and Android.)

Nofinder: Most of the apps above are great when you want more control over your images. But what if you want the opposite? Nofinder is all about getting out of the way and letting chance compose your shot – it’s a way to loosen up your work and capture something random. With no viewfinder, no shutter sound, no flash, and no image editor, there’s an element of surprise. Take a pic with one hand, or shoot from the hip: let the experimentation begin! (Download for iOS.)

Photo management and sharing apps

Perfect Tool for Picasa: Do you use Picasa to store your entire photo library? The app helps you manage your Google photos and web albums. You can upload, edit, and resize images, as well as manage entire albums, browse your comments, and follow other Picasa users. (Download for Android.)

Snapchat: Life is about fleeting moments. Don’t you think? Well, the folks at Snapchat think so. Snap a pic with the app and send it to friends. They’ll receive it, and after the timer runs out, the shot disappears. We currently live in a time where services and networks make it easy to store memories digitally, but this app simulates the act of forgetting. (Download for iOS and Android.)



Flickr: Snap photos with the in-app camera, make edits or enhance with filters, then upload directly to your Flickr stream. You can read comments from your Flickr friends and see their latest uploads and activity, too. (Download the app for iOSAndroid, and Windows Phone.)

23snaps: Want to share the latest photos of your family but don’t want to display images of your children everyone’s Facebook walls? 23snaps was made especially for parents who want to capture and share family pictures on a private social network. (Download for iOS and Android.)

To browse more photo apps for specific mobile devices, read on:

Do you use other photo apps you enjoy? Do you want to share tips on using these apps with the rest of us? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. My favorites are camera+ and CrossProcess. Occasionally, I’ll use PicShop as well. You can have so much fun with these apps, and, come up with some pretty stunning pictures! Thanks for doing the phoneography thing this month, WordPress!

  2. Your description of Hipstamatic is deceptive. It’s nothing like Instagram, or other image editing apps. There is no editing involved. You choose lens/film prior to taking the photo, and what comes out is what you get. That’s why they call themselves analog. Also, it’s the best.

  3. I do believe that was a They are indeed squirrels, but not the kind that swing through trees with the greatest of glee (unless there’s a chance of jumping into your picture)! They live in alpine environments like lakes and tarns, just as this one does. Adults weigh in at 6 to 7 pounds. Friendly little folk, they buddy up with human beings, especially for photo ops ;-). Fossil remains of marmots have been found dating from before the Pleistocene era. I have hiked with marmots in places as diverse as Mt. Ranier, Washington, Antelope Island, Utah, Ein Gedi, Israel, and Catalunia. Thank you for the opportunity to go on and on about marmots!

  4. is a great, free online photo editor. I don’t have a smartphone, but they have a Mobil App for your phoneographers out there. I use pixlr online when I want to get a little creative with my photos.

  5. CameraBag! Some nice effects either in the moment or later as a touch up. Instagram and snapseed round out my tool box at the moment.

  6. I used to love using an app called Vinyette. It was very similar to instagram in terms of editing features, but didn’t have the community sharing aspect… At least not with its free version. I stopped using it once instagram became available on Android.

  7. I’m starting to use Photoshop Express now.
    When it comes to using the Instant fix, this App rules. Then for extra filters and a frame, I go to Snapseed. Then, for that final touch, I use the Instagram lo-fi filter. Or I use the brighten button. When using multi-apps, it’s best to save the the photo in the current app before you move on. You especially do this if the app gives you the option to move to Instagram. Instagram automatically crops in places you don’t want cropped. I’m sure many of you aren’t fans of seeing heads cut off in your pics.

    1. you can also use sumo paint just Google it you can use it online for free. Also Google Gimp its very good free software to download. I use this to teach photography manipulation. I have guide I wrote last year i will post once I find it keep an eye out :D

  8. Disappointed with this article.
    There were more iOS apps than Andriod apps…
    Android is swiftly becomming the future of the smartphone, therefore there should have been more focus/equal focus on Andriod apps.

    1. Thanks for your feedback — I hear you. In fact, I neglected BlackBerry and Nokia and only referred to Windows Phone once. That said, there weren’t many solid apps to recommend for those. But I could have added a few more Android apps — thanks for the input.

  9. I always read posts like this with a sense of wonder and admiration. The level of technical competence displayed is so far ahead of mine that it might as well be a signal from a distant planet. Never the less it inspires me to try and get my head round some of this stuff

  10. Great article, very informative with a tint of humor.
    Thanks for culling the info, I’ve been wondering about managing the photos on my phone, and now I have a good resource.

  11. I think hipstamatic is not too great..even though it does provide you with some nice effects and you can change the lens before you take photo…one thing I don’t like about it is how small the picture appears on hipstamatic when you try to take a photo using the app. Snapseed is pretty awesome though.

    There’s 2 other apps that I think are pretty awesome:

    Piclab: It’s just a photo editing software but you can create really pretty effects – available on App Store

    Foap: It’s an app that allows you to submit iPhone photos to earn some pocket money. Pretty cool concept! – available on App Store or you can check out at:

  12. Photography assignment generator apps! lots of great assignments, tips, great example images. These apps give you interesting ideas for shootings and arent about doing things to your photos! Truly unique to the app store!
    There is also a daily reminder if you are taking part in a photo 365 challenge.
    There are version for both iphone shooters and those who use SLR/point and shoots.
    iphone/ipod and ipad versions. If you really want to improve your photography, get this app!!

    Camera+ is a great camera replacement app as well. separate and lockable focus/exposure controls.

  13. I’m trying to find a good one for Windows phone as I just bought one over the weekend. I love it and understand MOST apps out there aren’t made for Windows yet but the phone platform is growing in popularity so I hope within the next year I have more to work with in terms of photo apps. :) If you do find some I’d love to hear about them!