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5 Apps for Making Your Smartphone Pics Look Incredible


Since I was a kid, I have been in love with taking photos. I still have photo albums stacked up to the ceiling in my parent’s basement back home. I love the feeling of capturing a moment, a beautiful, perfect moment and being able to keep it forever. When digital cameras and Smartphone cameras came out, this just made my obsession more accessible. I find being able to share the photos I take in real time through my social networks, really amazing. Since I am always asked about how I get my photos to look so great, I decided to share five of the apps I use on a daily basis.

1. Snapseed

I love using Snapseed because it’s a simple tool that can dramatically improve the look and feel of your photos with a few clicks. I find that the brightness of the sunset or the beauty of the sun, never really shines through on a phone image. The tools in Snapseed help you bring those colours and brightness up so the image looks more like what you saw with your eyes.

Here is a great way to start: Open an image by clicking on camera icon on top left. Click ‘Tune Image’ button. Hold your finger on the screen to bring up options like: Brightness, Ambiance, Contrast, Saturation and White Balance. Select one and move your finger right or left to raise or lower the adjustment. You can see a preview of how it will look and either choose to continue or undo. The arrow on bottom right will save all your adjustments.

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2. Camera+

This is one of the first photo editing apps that I used and I still find myself using it for certain features today.  You can instantly apply 27 different filters that include colour, retro or special categories. Sometimes these can be a great option for a quick fix on a photo.

There is also the option to actually take the original photo within the app. This can really be helpful if you want to change the point of focus or exposure of the original photo. All you need to do is open the app and the camera function will begin. Then touch the screen anywhere to pull up the focus box. Click the ‘+’ sign on the top right corner. You can now drag the focus and exposure points to two different locations.

*Tip: Open up a scenic photo in Camera+ and select the ‘Clarity’ filter.

Available on iPhone

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3. Diptic

This app is the best way to put a few photos together to create a collage. The only thing I warn about this feature is not to use it too often! The last thing you need is every photo on your Facebook or Instagram to be a collage, trust me, use sparingly. It can be great to use when you want to tell a story of an event with 3-4 photos or when you want to show 2-3 different scenery panoramas in one post.

Available on iPhone and Android

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4. Square Ready

This app is really just a way to ensure your photos that you want to be more panoramic will work on Instagram. Instagram will maximize your photo to the square box and won’t let you have white space on the top or bottom. While this ensures the Instagram network has beautiful, full images, it doesn’t help if you want a photo posted that is a rectangle. All you need to do is open your photo up on Square Ready and position it to have as much white space as you want on the top and bottom. Use the ‘center’ button at the end to ensure you have even space on both sides.

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5. Phonto

This app is useful for when you want to add text to your photo. There can be many uses for this feature and also remember to use it sparingly. I sometimes use it to add quotes to my photos before posting on Twitter. It is very simple to use, just open up a photo and touch on the screen where you want to add the text. You can change the font, colour and size.

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But where is Instagram?

The biggest misconception with Instagram is that its main purpose is to add filters to your photos. Yes, it can add filters but Instagram is more of a photo sharing app than a photo editing app. The filters are very basic and they don’t let you adjust how much of each filter you want.(I’m sure this will change as the App evolves) This can mean that you don’t get the best editing for your photos. I do, however, highly recommend Instagram as a way of sharing photos with friends and family and also meeting like-minded people in the community that share your interests.

You can check out some of my photos here on Instagram and Flickr.

Kate Wienburg is a Marketing Communications Manager at TELUS.