Title: Crop
Cost: Free, with $ 1 in-app purchase to remove ads and maintain aspect ratio
Platform: iOS

Sometimes an app is so simple, but works so well, it’s hard to imagine how you would get along without it. For me, one of those is Crop by Green Mango Systems.


Whether it’s focusing on the content of a screen-captured Instagram post or creating a quick thumbnail for an avatar, there are many occasions when you’ll want to remove the bulk of an image or rotate it on the fly. You simply select the image, use the eight points of the image canvas to determine the size you want, and you can keep finessing things until you hit “Save.” And unlike the crop option within the iOS photo roll, Crop saves your creation as a new file, so you don’t loose the original.
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Title: Sphere 360º

Platform: iOS, with some limitations

Cost: Free

Sphere 360º bills itself as “the future of photography.” It adds a three dimensional aspects to your panoramic shots, with sometimes startling results. Be it a Siberian forest or an Italian coastline, there’s a definite concrete virtual reality aspect to viewing a “sphere.”

The gallery of shared spheres is pretty intimidating. Many are taken with a rotating gadget called a Motrr, which can be controlled wirelessly. There is an “easy” mode, but there is a definite art to creating a sphere. Additionally, you must be connected to a network, which could make capturing nature scenes difficult

To begin your sphere, you can scan a panorama or upload one saved to your camera roll. To complete the sphere, you use your finger to create details and depth, essentially zooming in and moving around to flesh out the experience of being there.

If that’s not enough to get your teens interested, Kendall Jenner recently recommended it her recent Vogue interview with an enthusiastic “Download immediately.”

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Name: Brushstroke
Cost: 2.99
Platform: iOS 7 or later

code organa logoBrushstroke is a seemingly simple app that turns a photo into a painting. You might think to yourself, so what? But really, it’s a pretty powerful tool that gives teens, teachers, and librarians the chance to use a variety of effects on their photos and is a great way to start discussions on painting techniques, styles, how visual messages change as a result of visual choices, and even artists and art movements.

The way it works is that a user selects a photo from an iPad or iPhone camera roll or takes a photo from within the app. The next step is to crop the image if need be. After that, and I admit it took me a minute to figure out how to get from the crop screen to the painting screen – it’s the > on the top right (as you can see in the images below) – the image is rendered as a painting. In the photos below you’ll see the original version of the photo I painted on the left and the painted version on the right. Read More →

Title: Hyperlapse
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS 7 or later

A couple of weeks ago Instragram released its new app, Hyperlapse. What does Hyperlapse do? It enables users to shoot time-lapse videos. And, while you might have other apps on your iDevices that already do that, Hyperlapse has the added benefit of a stabalizer so that hand-held time-lapse creations actually look pretty good. Take a look at the video below to get some idea of what I mean.

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App: Getty Images
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS 7 or later

Finding images to use on websites and blogs can be difficult. But, life got better in July when Getty Images updated their app and included features that make finding and using images so much easier to do. Watch the screencast below to find out why and how.

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storehouse logoTitle: Storehouse
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS

Storify is one of my favorite tools on the web – the app is a little glitchy – for taking content (images, videos, Tweets, etc.) and putting them together into a story. Storehouse takes a similar approach and gives users the chance to combine text with images and video in order to create a tale about a topic of interest.

For teens the Storehouse app is a great way for them to take those images and videos that they take on a device that’s in their pocket or under their arm, and turn them into something that helps to tell about their lives, places they’ve been, events they’ve participated in, and so on. It’s a great tool for giving teens the chance to go beyond the image to the story behind the image.

The app is pretty simple to use. The first step is to tap on the + icon on the top right. That opens up the screen for adding images and videos that are either stored in your iPad photo library or in Dropbox or on Instagram. (Teens will have to connect your Dropbox and Instagram accounts to Storehouse if they are going to import photos from those services.)
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Title: Cycloramic
Cost: $1.99
Platform: iOS 6 or later

manga box logoIf you watch Shark Tank you may have seen the Cycloramic app featured and actually funded by the sharks. If you don’t watch Shark Tank you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Either way Cycloramic is an interesting app that is sure to be of interest to teens and adults. The idea is to make it easy to take panoramic images. Sure, there are other apps that make it possible to take panoramas, but here’s the difference between those and Cycloramic, the app uses the iPhones features to take the panorama image in a hands-free mode.

The video clip below shows the pitch by the Cycloramic developer on Shark Tank and you can see how the app works.

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Title: Face Juggler

Platform: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, but optimized on iPhone 5 and requires iOS 5.0 or later

Cost: Free


I first stumbled across this app when I heard a couple of co-workers giggling about something at work. When I wandered over to their desks, I was overcome with laughter to see a picture of two co-workers with their faces swapped onto each other’s bodies. You can’t help but want to try it yourself with every single picture of family and friends you can get your hands on. So that’s just what I did. I quickly downloaded the app and here’s what I found:

When I launched the app I was faced with two decisions: first, I could take a shot or second, I could choose a photo from my camera roll. If you choose the first, the app launches the camera for your convenience and allows you to easily snap away. If you’re like me and you want to swap faces using your formal wedding pictures that are saved in your phone, you would want the latter option to “choose photo.” Once you have taken your photo or made your selection, hit the button “Juggle” and the screen will flash “prepare to be juggled.” A few moments later, it’s time for the big reveal and your newly juggled faces appear on the screen. Everything in the photo remains the same except the faces, which is the most hilarious part. Read More →

Title: MoPho: Prints and Photo Gifts

Cost: Free (with exclusion to in-app purchases.)

Platform: Requires iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Compatible with iOS 4.3 or later.

In this day and age no one carries around an actual camera anymore, especially when the quality of our phone’s camera is just as good. Today we are all about simplifying things at our fingertips. We like that our smart phones are just that… smart and can handle more than just one function.

Everyone has tons of photos on their phones and especially teens, who constantly take “selfies” and pics of their “bffls.” There are, however, some circumstances where you would like to have an actual print copy of a photo that you love rather than risking it being deleted or lost in the god-forbid, sudden death of your phone. Enter, MoPho. MoPho is so simple and the user experience cannot be clearer. MoPho is an app that lets you print and develop your cell phone’s photo stream right from your phone! This app allows you to choose the photos you wish to print by drawing from your phone’s camera roll, Instagram, and Facebook pictures. Read More →

Title: Process
Platform: iOS
Cost: 9.99
(It was recently marked down to 4.99 when it was included on the “App Store Essentials” list, but the discount price has ended.)

Most photo apps give you a selection of filters to choose from, with Process you can make your own.’  There is something reminiscent of’  darkrooms and f-stops as you turn the dial of each of several possible image adjustments. Each time you make adjustments to a photo you can easily add and remove different effects and see your changes in real time. Once you create a combination you like, you can save your “process” and apply it to other images.


The evil kitty and my godson are both enjoying a “process” I called Blue. Read More →