Reported by Jessica Ripley
I’ll admit it, I have an unnatural attachment to my phone. However, I am not an iPhone user. At the mercy of my husband who is the tech guru of the household, we became an Android family, and while I once rolled my eyes at those that had their very lives tied to their smart phones, I became a quick convert once I got my hands on my current Android Samsung Epic.
Yes it is a great phone, but like the iPhone, what makes Android so much darn fun is the Marketplace full of apps (short for Applications in case you are in the dark like I was not so very long ago). There are apps for everything, and after I’d found several games to waste time during my train commute (like tools to balance my budget, and ways to find a new restaurant), as a scrapbooker I naturally began to seek out camera apps. I had long envied those super cool shots that iPhone users were able to get right out of their phone. It was like they had a mini Photoshop (which is also an app by the way) right at their fingertips. But which apps would allow me to do this on my Android phone? I was thrilled to find several! Below are three that I would recommend. All are found in the Android Market:
FxCamera is an app that does exactly what it says, instantly applies certain effects to your shot. There are a total of six different effects to choose from including:
ToyCam (provides a light leaky colorized effect):
Fisheye (gives the effect of a fish eye lens):
SymmetriCam (creates a mirror image effect of your photos, not necessarily my favorite but could be neat).
Warhol (think Andy Warhol art from your photos):
This is a simple to use app that has some basic functionality to give your photos that little extra something. Many of the effects also have options to configure them further, such as adding a faded or aged effect. My favorite of these options is by far the Polandroid, and I use it again and again.
- A very decent app for free.
- Easy options to navigate and use.
- There are ads since it is a free app, but they are unobtrusive and only in the selection screen.
- I only use one or two of the effects regularly, and they are similar to effects in another app I have and prefer (see below) so I rarely use this app anymore.
Cost: Free or $2.99 for the “Plus” version.
Inspired by Lomo and Holga type photography, the Retro Camera app is very fun to use, and turns your phone into one of five vintage cameras. What I love about this app is not only the pictures it takes, but also just the look of the app itself. Each camera is artfully illustrated from the moment you navigate through to select one, to actually taking the photo itself. Choices include:
The Barbl (Creates a square, grungy bordered, low saturation shot):
As you can see, all of the options provide the slightly faded, grungy look that we love about vintage photos. While I don’t use this one all the time, I do really love the ‘artsty’ effects it brings to photos that are very unique to the app. The only difference between the free and paid version of this app are the advertisements. As of the date of this article, both versions provide the same effects, though the developers are currently taking suggestions on their Facebook page for their next “camera” to add to the group.
- The free version is a bargain indeed.
- Very fun to use and to play with. One photo could take on many, many different looks with just this one app. (Though you’d have to take the photo several times rather than just edit it, see more on that below)
- Ads for the free version are more “in your face” and never really go away. But, they stay at the bottom of the screen and don’t interfere with your photo fun.
- The photos this app take may be a little too “stylized” for some.
Cost: $4.00, but a free demo version is available.
I highly recommend this camera app for Android. If you only ever wanted to have to deal with one, even with a small cost associated, it is by far my favorite. With over 60 effects, frames, and styles, it provides countless opportunities to play with and edit your photos right from your phone. Here’s a collection of some of favorite shots with this app:
There are far too many options to list (there are eight categories such as “Vintage”, “Lens Effect”, and “Colour Highlight” that have several further sub-options to choose from). However my favorite feature is that I can take a photo using any effect, but apply a different effect (or another, or another) until I achieve the look I want, just like I would do with actions in Photoshop (a series of edits meant to achieve a specific look, but with the act of just one click rather than several adjustments). On other apps, the style you choose to shoot the photo in is the one you are stuck with.
Not only does this app have a plethora of effects from which to choose (from normal to highly stylized), it also includes support for the front facing camera (for those of us who like to take those self portraits for Facebook which again, I’ll admit to that), a self timer, and even a digital zoom. For a $4.00 app, I’ve replaced my $200 point-and-shoot. Why take photos on a regular camera which I then have to download into Photoshop and edit when I can do it in one easy step on my phone? I am also able to further customize the app by saving certain favorite features I like together, such as “Action Movie” (vivid reds against a blue-green tone) together with an “Instant Transfer” frame. Just another two of the many options.
- So many options to choose from, I consider the $4.00 price tag a big bargain.
- Includes additional features such as support for the front facing camera if your phone has one, self timer, and digital zoom.
- It can be a little slow to load due to the number of options available, but this isn’t a huge deterrent for me to make it my go to app when taking a photo.
- The number of options could be overwhelming, but I just find them fun!
There are of course many, many other camera app options both free and at a small cost out there to choose from. I’d love to hear if you have an Android phone and have another favorite and why, or if you use any of those above what your favorite feature is.