Fake It Till You Make It. Photo apps for the not-so-tech savvy.

Confession – I am a bit of a photo app addict. I currently have seventeen different photo apps on my phone. Realistically though, I only use a few of them regularly.

Quite often I get asked both on my personal Facebook profile, and on the Hesitant Housewife Facebook page, what apps I use to edit my photos. I thought I’d put together a little tutorial on the most common editing tools I use.

Straight up I’m going to say that this is just a really simple guide to how I edit photos. I’m not very ‘technically minded’, so these are just some basic tips that anyone should be able to use. All of these apps are iPhone apps, I’ve tried to include Android equivalents if available.

PicTapGo

($1.99 iTunes, currently not available on Android)

This is my ‘go to’ app, that I use to enhance pretty much every photo I take. It is really easy to use, just choose a photo, then you get a selection of previews of that photo with different filters.

Original Photo.
Original Photo.
Filter Previews.
Filter Previews.

There are over 50 different filter/effects to choose from. Some are just subtle highlights, such as ‘warming’ up the colours in a photo.

Warm filter.
Warm Filter.

Then you have your more fancy ones; different colours, cross processing ect.

Once you’ve applied a filter, you can add other filters over the top, and also adjust the strength of a filter.

For outdoor photos, I often use the 'Crispity' filter, which highlights the details of the landscape.
For outdoor photos, I often use the ‘Crispity’ filter, which highlights the details of the landscape.
Over the top of 'crispity' I added 'sweet tooth', which is one of my favourites to ad vibrancy of colours to a photo.
Over the top of ‘crispity’ I added ‘sweet tooth’, which is one of my favourites filters to bring out the vibrancy of colours in a photo.
To tone it down, and make it look more natural, I reduce the 'sweet tooth' effect by about half.
To tone it down, and make it look more natural, I reduce the ‘sweet tooth’ effect by about half.
Once you have finished you have different options for sharing accross social media, or you can just save it to your camera roll. You also have the option to 'Save Recipe'.
Once you have finished you have different options for sharing across social media, or you can just save it to your camera roll. You also have the option to ‘Save Recipe’.
When you save a recipe it saves exactly what filters you have used, and the strength of those filters.
When you save a recipe it saves exactly what filters you have used, and the strength of those filters.
Then when you next upload a picture, you can select the 'Recipes' tab, and see a preview of that photo with each recipe you have saved previously.
Then when you next upload a picture, you can select the ‘Recipes’ tab, and see a preview of that photo with each recipe you have saved previously.
This is a picture I have previously edited, using 'crispity' and 'sal and pepper'. I find black and white photos really 'pop' when you add the 'crispity' effect.
This is a picture I have previously edited, using ‘crispity’ and ‘salt and pepper’. I find black and white photos really ‘pop’ when you add the ‘crispity’ effect.

Mextures

($2.49 iTunes, currently not available on Android)

This app is also part of a social media platform, but you don’t have to ‘join’ to use it. I never have, I just use it as an editing tool.

There are lots of different filters in this app, saved into categories, eg. Light Leaks, Radiance, Emulsion and more.

Some of the different categories of filters.
Some of the different categories of filters.

You could spend hours playing around with the different filters, (trust me, I have!) and it works similar to PicTapGo, in that you can layer different effects, and also adjust the strength of the filters. The main feature I use from this app though, is “Landscape Enhance.” Here are some examples of how you can add filters to your landscape and scenery pictures.

Original Photo.
Original Photo.
Using the 'Sunrise' filter, to make subtle enhancements.
Using the ‘Sunrise’ filter, to make subtle enhancements.
The 'Horizon' filter.
The ‘Horizon’ filter.
For a more dramatic effect, "Neverland" filter.
For a more dramatic effect, “Neverland” filter.

Tadaa

(Free iTunes, currently not available on Android)

This is the app I get asked most about. This app can do heaps of amazing things, however I only know how to use it for one effect, which is blurring the background of photos. I am sure if you all had a play around with it, you could probably teach me a thing or two!

I’ve done this step-by-step, as it took me a little while to figure it all out, so hopefully you will find this helpful!

(I think this is another app that has a social media platform, however again, I just use the editing part of it. )

Once you have uploaded your photo, select 'Focus'.
Once you have uploaded your photo, select ‘Focus’.
Click on 'All', then 'Create Mask'.
Click on ‘All’, then ‘Create Mask’.
With the 'edges' button, and the 'mask' icon selected, use your finger to 'colour in' the object that you want to remain un-blurred.
With the ‘edges’ button on, and the ‘mask’ icon selected, use your finger to quickly ‘colour over’ the object that you want to remain un-blurred.
This will give a rough outline of the area to remain un-blurred, however you need it to be a bit more accurate. Turn off 'edges', and click the 'move' icon, so that you can zoom in, and move the picture around to see the parts that have been missed, or where it has gone over the lines, onto the background. Click back on 'mask' to fill in areas that have been missed.
This will give a rough outline of the area to remain un-blurred, however you need it to be a bit more accurate. Turn off ‘edges’, and click the ‘move’ icon, so that you can zoom in, and move the picture around to see the parts that have been missed, or where it has gone over the lines, onto the background. Click back on ‘mask’ to fill in areas that have been missed.
Use the 'erase' icon, once zoomed, to clean up areas that the mask shouldn't be.
Use the ‘erase’ icon, once zoomed, to clean up areas that the mask shouldn’t be.

tada after erase

Once you are satisfied with the masking, tap the 'tick' in the top right corner.
Once you are satisfied with the masking, tap the ‘tick’ in the top right corner.
You can now see the backround is blurred, around the main focus of your picture. If you notice parts you missed, you can go back, and edit it some more.
You can now see the background is blurred, around the main focus of your picture. If you notice parts you missed, you can go back, and edit it some more.
You can adjust how strong you want the 'blur' to be.
You can adjust how strong you want the ‘blur’ to be.
Finished photo.
Finished photo.

Lumie

($2.49 iTunes, is also available for Android)

This app is just a fun little app, I like to use sometimes to add a bit of sparkle to my photos. It has a whole gallery of different types of bokeh.

Lumie option
Just a sample of some of the bokeh you can choose. There are 15 categories all together!
Once you have uploaded a photo, you can experiment with different types of  bokeh. You can use the tabs up the top to move and rotate the 'sparkle'.
Once you have uploaded a photo, you can experiment with different types of bokeh. You can use the tabs up the top to move and rotate the ‘sparkle’.

lumie hearts

Finished picture.
Finished picture.

 

Often I will use different apps together to create the final picture.

This photo was created by using 'sweet tooth' filter from PicTapGo, blur from Tadaa, and  bokeh from Lumie.
This photo was created by using ‘sweet tooth’ filter from PicTapGo, blur from Tadaa, and bokeh from Lumie.

Pic Collage

(Free on iTunes, is also available for Android)

I love using this app to create collages, as it has lots of fun backgrounds, stickers and texts to decorate with.

pic collage random text

You can also select different lay outs, if you would prefer your collage to have more structure.
You can also select different lay outs, if you would prefer your collage to have more structure.

InstaCollage

(Free on iTunes, is also available for Android)

This app is perfect to create collages that you can then upload straight to Instagram, without having to crop them.

There are lots of different layouts to choose from, include shapes and patterns.
There are lots of different layouts to choose from, including shapes and patterns.

Instacollage exsample instacollage 2

So there you have it, those are my most used and favourite photo editing apps.

Some other apps I have in my ‘collection’ that you might also want to check out include~

Camera + ($2.49 iTunes, currently not available on Android) Can be used as a camera instead of the standard iPhone camera, includes lots of editing tools and filters.

Afterlight ($1.29 on iTunes, and apparently ‘Shark’ is a very similar app available on Android) Editing tools, filters, light leaks and frames.

A Beautiful Mess ($1.29 on iTunes, available on Android) A fun app to add text,doodles and borders to photos.

I’d love to hear what other photo editing apps you use? Come on, feed my addiction!!

34 comments on “Fake It Till You Make It. Photo apps for the not-so-tech savvy.

    • Hesitant Housewife , Direct link to comment

      Thanks Jodi. Even just the PicTapGo app alone is a handy one to have. I use it for almost every photo I take, it’s great for those subtle enhancements. Makes an average photo look a bit fancy ;)

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