Since chunking my iPhone and going all-in with the Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone, I will admit there was a brief learning curve switching from one operating system to another. The pros of this smartphone have definitely outweighed the cons, but one problem I’ve come across is the lack of photo apps that can do the same thing as many of the apps I had installed on my iPhone. The good news is, not only does the Lumia 900 offer a high quality 8MP Carl Zeiss sensor inside, but over the past few weeks a few new photo apps have been approved for availability in Windows Phone Marketplace. I’ve had fun discovering which ones are user-friendly and which ones should be avoided. Windows Phones offer quality over quantity when it comes to apps versus other smartphone systems.
Here’s what I currently have installed as keeper photos apps on my Lumia 900. Oh, and did I mention they are all FREE?
My Top Three
Creative Studio – This is the first photo editing app I installed on my Lumia. I can crop photos, change the filters, and make other adjustments. It also offers a very easy panorama option to stitch multiple images into one seamlessly. Since initial installation it has been updated with even more features. This app was developed by Nokia and is exclusive to the Lumia range, meaning you won’t be able to find this for other Windows Phones. There is a Face Warp option, but since I’m not 12 years old, I haven’t taken an interested in playing with that enhancement. I do however enjoy being able to see a live comparison in the editing before saving the edited photo permanently.
InstaCam – I think my biggest disappointment in switching from iPhone to Windows Phone is the loss of Instagram. This isn’t just a fun social photo app, but it also integrated a different level of sharing of my photos and editing on the go. InstaCam offers almost the same capabilities as Instagram, yet it is still missing a few key elements. It’s similar to switching from a name brand ketchup (American sauce to you Europeans) to the generic brand. It tastes similar, but you know it’s not the same thing. Hopefully the Instagram developers will hear my plea and make a Windows Phone friendly version of the app. Until then, I’ll use InstaCam. (Photo below is edited with InstaCam and Photo Editor +)
Phototastic – I love making photo collages and finally I found Phototastic while browsing through the apps in Marketplace from my Lumia. You choose your template, tap which space you want to add a photo, choose your filters and frames and there you have it! If you don’t want a collage, a few Polaroid frames and filters are also available. There’s an in-app option to upload your saved photo to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Photobucket, and Tumblr. There is a paid app version, but I installed the free version.
Other Apps of Interest
My Comic – This is a cute, gimmicky way to add a conversation bubble or text tag to your photos. It’s easy to use but for me, I wasn’t too impressed.
Photo Editor + – I was looking for an app to add text to my photos, and while this app offers that capability, it is extremely limiting on the number of characters that will appear on your image. If you are wanting to add a quote or text that wraps to the next line, you’ll be disappointed. Otherwise, for a few brief words, this free app will do the trick.
Apict – This app is available in a free and paid version. You can edit your photos with a Polaroid frame and add a caption at the bottom. It is very simple to use, but also very limited in capabilities.
Don’t forget to download Camera Extras on your Lumia to expand what the camera in your smartphone is capable of. It offers Smart Group Shot and another Panorama option right from your camera’s settings features. Personally, I prefer the Creative Studio app for panoramas. All these apps should be available at Windows Phone Marketplace online or through your phone’s Marketplace Live Tile.
Special thanks to my high school/college buddy Paul Rice for the tip on InstaCam. And also, huge kudos to Mark Squires of Nokia who quickly replied to an email regarding photo apps while I was traveling and looking for photo enhancement options.