Category Archives: app review

January iPhoneography Workshops

This past weekend I held an iPhoneography workshop. The focus of the class was on the creative process and exploration with apps. We spent a little time on the fundamentals of photography, then talked about some creative edits.

We also took a deep dive into a handful of apps, including some of my faves. I wanted to share the images that I edited, in class, showing off how each app works.

We started with Hipstmatic and Snapseed. Reviewing some of my fave features of both. Then moved on to VSCOcam.

This photo of a car was taken in December when we had the smallest bit of snow in Seattle. I simply found this car adorable! I use the VSCO C1 filter and adjusted the contrast just a bit to really highlight the cool tones.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Then we moved on to Mextures. Mextures is great because you can stack layers within the app + control how much of a given effect you apply.


Here’s Picfx in action. I applied one of the film filters and added one of the space filters. As with Mextures you can control the amount of the use of the filter. There’s just a nice spot of brightness at the top of one of the skyscrapers that is pretty cool.


And the Seattle skyline. This one edited in Alien Skin Software’s AltPhoto App. I used the Daguerrotype filter, at just about 50% to just provide a hint of the border effect.


It was a fun class, I look forward to doing this one again!

Have questions about apps, just let me know!

~ kate

iPhone Apps – my fab five

Yesterday I had the honour of doing a short segment on iPhoneography/Mobile Photography on creativeLIVE. I’ve been involved with creativeLIVE for a number of years, first as a volunteer and then as an employee, it’s a pretty cool place to be. But yesterday was a very different experience, which I’ll share more on later.

I wanted to quickly answer one of the questions that was posed a few times: What are my top 5 go-to apps?! So here they are, with links and a few examples…

My fab five:

HipstamaticiPhone – $1.99 + in App upgrades

These two images were captured via hipstamatic, they are “straight out of camera”, no other edits than the filter combination used for shooting.



SnapseediPhoneAndroid – FREE!

These images were edited with Snapseed. Snapseed is a very robust editor! check out my tutorial on Snapseed here. Some of the functionality has changed a little since I did this post, but there’s still a lot of great information there!


VSCO CamiPhoneAndroid – FREE w/in App upgrades

This was edited via VSCO cam. VSCO offers a handful of “film/analogue” styled filters, occasionally they will have free upgrade packs and additional packs you can purchase.


PicFXiPhone – $1.99

Picfx is filled with lots of fun filters, some crazy colours and awesome textures + effects. You can control the amount of the effect that’s applied as well stack effects on top of one another.

This image was edited with PicFX + Mextures


MexturesiPhone – $1.99

Mextures has different filter options, some colour gradients, textures and event a little grit and grain. Want to get a little dirt on your iPhone images and make it appear as if the image was created years ago, this is a fun option to play with. Like Picfx you can stack effects on top of one another. You can also use different blending modes, like “Overlay, Screen, Multiply… ” sounds like Photoshop doesn’t it?!

This image was shot with Hipstmatic and edited with VSCOcam, Mextures + Picfx.


Thanks for asking and please let me know if you have more questions!

~ kate

Focal Lab

Let’s talk a little more about blur, tilt shift and creating a different world or viewpoint in your imagery. FocalLab is a nice tool which contains a handful of blur effects. It’s clean, simple and easy to use.

Once in the app, if you tap on the “i” in the bottom right corner this loads the cheat sheet of features.

Tap on “FocalLab” to load your blur options:
Dreamy Blur
Soft Focus
Zoom Blur
Motion Blur

Black and White

The blur’s, vary, of course, if you want a dreamy, glowy effect you may like either the Dreamy Blur or Soft Focus. If you want a more dizzying effect, check out the Motion or Zoom blur.

Want to move the central point of focus, tap on the image, and move your finger around on the image, you should see the central focus point move about. Want to expand or contract that point, pinch your fingers together to make it smaller, or part your fingers to expand the circle. There’s no real guide to show you the diameter, but you should visibility see a change.

The Vignette tool offers a circular, elliptical or square/rectangular option. After playing around with the vignette tool, I’m not a huge fan of it. If you use the slider you can adjust the amount of the vignette but if you remove the vignette you can see see where the vignette would be, like a circle in the middle of the photo. I’ve never actually used this particular feature of this app. I believe there are other apps that handle a vignette more smoothly, like Snapseed.

The settings option, provides you with a few file output sizes, as as a crop on/off button. I’ve saved an image with the crop on or off and haven’t seen a difference, so that might be a bug with this app. Or, I’m just missing something!

As I said before, it’s nice app, I’ll usually use this in conjunction with another app or three ;).

If you’re wondering about these little houses, they sit on Lake Union, near the Fremont neighbourhood of Seattle. If I had loads of $$’s it would be amazing to have one of these little cuties!