Make the perfect shot after you take it with these iOS apps

When getting together for the holidays, friends and families may have more of a tolerance when it comes to reviewing photos that have already been taken than participating in ones that have not. This can pose a challenge to even the most skilled photographers. Thankfully the following iOS apps will serve to turn the photos that you have already taken into the photos you wish you had.

Making Photos Better

Touching up afterwards

Beautifying portraits — Meant to be used when enhancing close up portraits, Facetune ($3.99 iPad, $2.99 iPhone) can do what you would only expect from high-end photo editing software on a desktop. Removing blemishes, smoothing out wrinkles, whitening teeth, coloring gray hairs; just about anything that helps make your subject look marvelous. You can even shed a few pounds using the reshape tool and evenly apply (or remove) a suntan with the tone tool. When it comes to portraits, this app is in a class all by its own and cannot be replaced by any of the other photo editing tools I have come across.

Making adjustments — Being able to quickly enhance a photo is what Photo Editor (Free, Universal) is all about. Photo Editor by Aviary quickly opens a photo for editing and allows you to apply some very powerful effects and enhancements to your photos without getting lost in endless workflows. Finely tuned tilt orientations, depth of field focus adjustments, brightness, contrast warmth and color saturation adjustment controls are all quick and easy to access. Using the tools Splash control, you can even choose which parts of the photo have color and which parts do not.

This one photo editing tool has replaced several single purpose photo apps that I have had in my arsenal of photo editing tools. Two other multifunction photo editing apps that I have used quite a bit over the years are Photogene ($0.99 Universal) and Laminar Pro ($0.99 Universal). Both are equally as powerful when it comes to editing photos, but neither are as quick and easy to use as Photo Editor by Aviary.

Replacing subjects — Trying to get everyone to participate in a photo can be a challenge without a tripod and a means to snap the photo remotely. Even when using a timer, getting everyone to look at the camera and smile without blinking can be a near impossible task. Juxtaposer ($2.99, iPhone) solves this dilemma by allowing you to choose a background and foreground photo as separate layers. You then decide by erasing sections of the foreground photo what parts of the background photo you want to see. When you do this with two very similar photos of the same group of people, you can pick and choose whose face goes where. A good alternative for the iPad, since Juxtaposer is an iPhone only app, is Superimpose ($0.99, Universal). Superimpose gives you more controls, and is therefore a little more cumbersome to use.

Making Photos Better

Using artistic license

Shaping themes – Taking a collection of photos and arranging them into different shapes is what ShapeCollege ($1.99 Universal) does best. In fact, that is all it does. With a wide assortment of silhouetted shapes to choose from, there is bound to be just the right shape to express almost any theme a collection of photos can represent. The text tool even allows you to type in a letter or word of your choosing to use. While the desktop version allows you to select and create your own custom silhouetted shapes, the iOS version does not.

Something unusual – Working better with landscape photos than close-up portraits, Fragment ($0.99 Universal) will transform your everyday photos into modern art suitable for hanging in a gallery. By taking segments of the original photo, creating mirror images and flipping cut out segments around, the end result can be quite stunning. Two additional apps by the same group of developers worth taking a look at are LoryStripes ($1.99 Universal) and Tangent ($1.99 Universal). All three will have you thinking differently about how you take photos from now on.

Selecting filters – A quick and easy way of adding a flare of artistic value to a photo is by applying a filter with Afterlight ($0.99 Universal). There are tons of ways to apply filtered and almost every photo editing app has their own assortment of filters to choose from. Keeping up with which ones work best for your particular tastes can have you shopping in the app store for hours. I have found Afterlight to have a good mix of filters that can be quickly and easily applied to your photos.

A great alternative to Afterlight for quickly applying filters to your photos is FX Photo Studio ($2.99 iPad $1.99 iPhone). I am a rally big fan of MacPhun’s desktop photo apps.

Making Photos Better

Telling the whole story

Framing collages – While it may be true that a single photo is worth a thousand words, I have found that stringing together a series of photos helps tell a more complete story. With the iPhone 5S’ burst-mode ability to take ten photos per second, you now have the opportunity to piece together the before, during and after shots of almost any situation in their original sequence. Each of the 179 different layouts found in Diptic ($0.99 Universal) can be adjusted to suit the individual photos you have selected. Another quick and easy photo collage tool that has proven effective over the years has been TurboCollage ($2.99 iPad, $1.99iPhone). I particularly like the ability to ‘shuffle’ the photos after selecting them.

Comic affairs – Creating a comic strip using people you interact with in every day life can be a fun project to under take. Keeping to the form and layout of traditional comic books, Comic Life ($4.99 Universal) will have you piecing together a fun story line using your photo library as inspiration. However, for turning individual portraits into a comic style drawing, I have found TunePAINT ($2.99 iPad, $1.99 iPhone) to get the job done quickly and easily.

Movie slideshows – I have searched for an app that can quickly and easily create stunning video slideshows using the photos in your camera library, and none come close to Apple’s own iMovie ($4.99 Universal). While the workflow is a little mundane, adding each photo in a series one at a time, it is not too terribly difficult. The automatically added transitions and ability to alter the time spent on each photo by pinching and zooming is easy to master. Add a music track from you iTunes library and you have your own story to tell in no time at all.