Previously we've reviewed photo editing and photo effects apps for the iPad. This week we're focusing on apps that enhance the display of your photos and help you share them with others, including collages and social networking sites. You'll even find an app designed to make you a better photographer. So get ready for a few apps that will make your iPad into the digital equivalent of those wrinkled old snapshots you used to keep in your wallet. It's time to get organized and share your photos with others.
Bill Atkinson Photocard ($4.99)
The Bill Atkinson Photocard app for iPad allows you to create picture postcards you can send to anyone, either via email or postal mail. It includes 150 gorgeous nature photos taken by Bill Atkinson, or you can use your own photos. Simple editing tools are included if you choose your own photos, including fit to card and fill card options and brightness controls. Add captions (in your choice of fonts and sizes), stickers, decorative stamps, even audio recordings, and then send the completed card via email.
If you'd like to share the postcard with someone who doesn't have email, you can choose to have it sent as an oversized 8.25" by 5.5" cardstock print that can be sent to any address in the world. The first one is free; additional printed postcards are available for purchase.
Bill Atkinson Photocard is simply brilliant, and not to be missed. If you travel often and like to send postcards to family and friends, this app will allow you to do that without having to scour the tacky tourist traps for overpriced picture postcards, find the local post office and buy postage, and then wonder if the recipient will even get the card before you return. Digital isn't always better, but in this case it just might be.
Diptic is great for photobugs who have a lot of photos to share, because it makes the process of creating collages as simple as one-two-three. When you start the app, you choose a layout. There are nineteen different layouts from which to choose, and there are plenty of options for two, three, and four photos. Next you choose the photos you want to include, and that is as easy as tapping on an area of the layout and choosing from the photos on your device. You can pinch and zoom, and choose the portion of the photo you want to include by panning with your finger.
Next you transform your photos by choosing the mirror image or rotating it 90 degrees. Then it's time for special effects, such as hue, brightness, and saturation, or you can change the border thickness and color. When you're finished, you can export the finished product to the iPad's photo album, or you can send them via email. There's also a link to the Diptic Flickr group, which is definitely worth the visit -- there are some very creative examples there that have been posted by other Diptic users.
Diptic is easy to use and produces results comparable to desktop programs I've used in the past. It would be nice to have the option to create my own custom layouts, but that's almost a nitpick since there are so many predefined layouts available. If you have a lot of photos to share and like the idea of creating collages instead of just sharing them one by one, Diptic is definitely the app for you.
The Finearts iPad app is a combination photo editor and photo display program. The controls are similar to Outcolor, reviewed last week, but Finearts goes a step further by helping you to display your artistic creations. You start by choosing a photo and painting a mask on the portion of the photo you want to highlight. There are 34 different filters included, from newspaper and pencil to feather and watercolor and blur. If you can't decide what you like best, scroll down to the "try all" function at the bottom of the list, and you'll be treated to a slideshow of all the available effects.
Choose what you like and you'll then move on to the framing tools. You can choose from six main types of frames and then customize the size and color to your exact specifications. Once you have everything set up, create a slide show with music and use your iPad as a digital photo frame that you control. The idea is simple, and the price tag is low. Finearts is a good choice for when you leave your iPad sitting in the dock on a table or desk if you want slideshows a small step above the usual.
Do you spend all of your free time on Flickr? If so, Flickstackr is a must-have iPad app for you. You can browse to your heart's content, search for specific photos, people and groups, or you can check out your own photos on Flickr.
There are a few extras here, such as a photo stack that you can populate with photos you've saved as you browse. You can also share photos via email, Facebook and Twitter, or go to a particular user's photos when you stumble across something interesting. Flickstackr is an excellent example of a well-conceived, well-executed iPad app.
FotoEdges HD ($2.99)
Like Diptic, FotoEdges HD is 1-2-3 easy to use and very quickly produces nice results. Just follow along the icons at the bottom of the screen, from choosing your photo to selecting the inner and outer "foto edges" and then the color for your custom frame. You can share your finished photos via Facebook or email, and you can save presets so that you can quickly apply the same settings to several photos.
You won't find any advanced extras here, and the assumption is that you're starting with a good photo each time, because there are no cropping or photo fix tools included with this app. It seems to be slightly overpriced for what it does, since so many similar apps are priced at a dollar less, but I still enjoy using FotoEdges HD.
Moodboard Pro ($6.99)
I think of the Moodboard Pro app as a more freeform version of Diptic. In effect it's a digital corkboard to which you can add photos, captions, and web clippings. Icons along the bottom of the screen allow you to take control of the board and have fun. There are 17 different backgrounds you can choose or you can create your own custom background. Want to add some text? Use the toolbox icon. You can share the final results via email, Facebook or Twitter or you can save it to your iPad's photo library.
One of the nicest things about Moodboard is its flexibility -- you can use it for much more than photo display and sharing. If you're trying to redecorate the living room, planning a trip or brainstorming a solution to a problem at the office, Moodboard Pro can provide the virtual workspace you need in order to solve the problem. There are similar apps in the App Store, most notably Corkulous, but Moodboard is much easier to use with simple drag and drop controls. $7 may seem like a high price to pay but if you're a visual thinker you need Moodboard Pro.
The PhotoGrab app is designed to make photo sharing from your Mac computer fast and easy. It will automatically share files from iPhoto on any computer on your Wi-Fi network. You can grab whatever photos you like - hence the name -- without the need to use iTunes to get them onto your iPad.
Unfortunately this is more of a warning than a review, because I'm a "PC" and didn't notice that it only works with Macs when I purchased the app from the Apple App Store. Don't make the same mistake I did if you're a Windows user!
Photo Wall ($1.99)
Like Diptic and FotoEdges HD, Photo Wall is a collage app, so it allows you to quickly fill a canvas with all of your shots for easy sharing with family and friends. When you first launch the app a tutorial video will pop up, which is helpful, but all of the controls are generally self-explanatory.
The icons at the top-left of the screen are what you'll use to add photos, a background photo and captions to your collage. The zoom control is in the middle and on the top right corner you'll find the export, settings and help icons. On the bottom you'll find basic editing controls, opacity and rotation pickers and controls for the size and color of the photo borders.
Everything is so simple and you can use either gesture or finger controls. I prefer the touch controls but, if you want to shake things up a bit, you can actually shake the iPad to create a random layout from the photos you've already chosen. When you're done, share the finished collage via Facebook or email. It couldn't be easier and it's definitely worth the price of admission.
Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet for iPad ($8.99)
I consider myself to be a pretty good photographer. Not great, by any stretch of the imagination, but good enough to generally get the shots I want, to never cut off someone's head when taking a group shot, etc. But I still want to know more, because I have always been fascinated by photography.
If you feel the same way, then you really should run to the App Store and get Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet. Organized into three main sections -- Seeing, Making, and Editing -- this app contains a wealth of information that is practically guaranteed to make you a better photographer. Almost all of the topics have several example photos and many of them have short videos that really drive each point home in a fun, engaging manner. There is even special coverage of the iPhone camera.
This app seems expensive, but $9 is a rather small price to pay. When you consider the multimedia approach and factor in the cost of the photography books you've likely bought (and discarded) over the years, it quickly becomes obvious that the Photo Buffet is a very good value. I was blown away by it, not only because I've already learned quite a bit from the app but also because this app, like The Elements before it, really does showcase what the iPad can do to make learning more fun, effective, and engaging.
Sort Shots ($4.99)
Do you have way, way, way too many photos on your iPad? Would you like to be able to find any photo in your photo library fast, with just a couple of taps? If so, check out Sort Shots, which uses the power of tags to quickly sort and organize your photos. You can rate your photos (to sort your favorites to the top quickly) and tag multiple photos at once. Tags can be organized into hierarchical categories as well; the default top level categories are People, Places, and Events.
The more photos you have, the more useful this app becomes. Why sort through multiple photo albums when you can use tags? Tap the Sort button on the top left corner of the screen to find what you're looking for fast. If you have 35 pictures of your kids on your iPad, but you only want to see the ones from the last birthday, for example, you would tap on your child's name and then on Birthday under Events. You'll only see the photos that are appropriately tagged.
You can share photos via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Picasa, create slideshows and much more. If you're simply overwhelmed by the number of photos you have on your device and can never find what you're looking for when you're ready to share a particular shot with friends and family, you need Sort Shots.
Web Albums ($2.99)
If you use Picasa, you need the Web Albums iPad app. Just log in with your Picasa information and it automatically syncs all of your photos to your iPad, unless you've turned off the caching feature. You can control the size of the cache, if you're running low on storage space. If you want to see your friend's photos, just type their Picasa or Google account name in the account field, and you'll see all of their public photos.
This photo viewer works almost exactly like the built-in Photos app, including slideshows. It doesn't add any real extras, but it works exactly as advertised and is definitely worth the money if you use Picasa as your online photo management tool.
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