I own a first generation iPad, and therefore I cannot take pictures with it. They didn’t come with a camera back then, remember? Despite this oversight, the iPad is still a great vessel for photos: I can easily upload my best photos to it, bring it everywhere with me, and my friends and family can easily look at my latest pictures. To tell you the truth, when it comes to photos, they sometimes seem better to me just by looking at them on the iPad. And if it’s that useful for me, I can’t imagine how much fun it is for those who own the latter generations.
But what if those photos are not perfect to begin with? Let’s admit it, the iPad’s camera is not the best in the world, and even if it were, it can be hard to take really good photos with it. Heck, even with a real camera, most photos need some sort of touch up to be perfect. So is there a good way to do this on the iPad?
Browsing my way through our Best of iPad Apps page, I found a new app – Photogene. At $2.99, Photogene is more expensive than most of my apps, and there’s no free version to try before you buy. Nevertheless, I decided to throw caution to the wind and spend the $3. Was it worth it? The results are in front of you.
Edit Some Photos
If hearing the words “photo editors” makes you think of complex, unfriendly apps, you’ve got it all wrong. Photogene is a simple, straightforward app, with no learning curve whatsoever. Meaning, 5 minutes after launching it for the first time, you’ll be staring at your own beautiful creation, after editing your photo like a pro. To start, tap the “Edit New” button and choose your photo.
Upon loading a photo, you’ll find a toolbar at the bottom of your screen with all your editing options. These are: Presets, Crop, Rotate, Adjustments, Retouches, Text and Enhance. We’ll come back to Presets in a moment. For now, let’s look at Crop and Rotate.
Photogene’s crop abilities are pretty flexible. You can set your own aspect ratio or choose one of the available presets, and hit Crop when you’re happy with the results. The Rotate options are also pretty straightforward: you can flip and rotate your image any which way, and even use the app to straighten your photo if the original is a bit crooked.
In the Adjustments tab you’ll find all your usual touch-up tools such as brightness and saturation controls, but it doesn’t end there. Photogene also comes with sharpen/denoise tools, a full histogram for each image, RGB controls, and even curves. These options are all easily accessible, but you do need to scroll for them, which puts them in the perfect place for those who really want and know how to use them. If you’re not interested, the most simple controls are right there for you to play with.
The Retouches tab is where you can fix such things are red eye, hide problematic areas, and create some cool effects with filter brushes. Photogene includes some pretty advanced options such as clone, and heal, and you can paint over your photo with over a dozen of different effects. If you do this right, you can get something much better looking than the screenshot below.
The Text tab includes, surprise surprise, the text features. You can add multiple types of text balloons in any color and font you wish, and also add various annotations in different colors such as arrows, circles or squares.
Last but not least is the Enhance tab, where you can add frames, create general gradients, and vignette effects, add reflections and change the background color. It’s all very flexible, and in just several minutes of work, you can come up with some pretty stunning results.
Remember that Presets tab we skipped? It’s time to get back to it. The Presets tab includes numerous presets, or filters, if you wish, for you to choose from. If you just want instant gratification without the work, choose one of these to transform your image immediately. But the best part is this: you can add your own presets to the mix.
Let’s say you’ve worked on your photos for a while, and achieved the perfect look. You wouldn’t want to go through the whole process again, right? In this case, simply tap the Presets tab, access the My Presets area and tap on Save. Now you have your own Preset which you can immediately apply to multiple photos in a second.
Saving & Exporting
Photogene is a pretty strong editor, but its capabilities don’t stop at editing. To start, you can view your photo’s metadata with a single tap on the Metadata button. When you’re done with your photo, the Export button includes no less than 14 different options. These include services such as email, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Tumblr, and Evernote. Photogene also lets you export your photo to any other app on your device that has anything to do with Photos.
Own another iOS device? Install Photogene on both of them to instantly transfer your photos between devices. You can also send photos to your printer right from the app (if you have air printing set up), even copy your image to the clipboard.
When exporting, you can also easily resize your image or change its resolution, and add a very customizable date stamp.
So is Photogene worth the money? The answer is easily yes. The only thing I found slightly annoying about the app is the fact it comes with only 8 frames, and to get more you need to purchase yet another bundle. But frames are just a tiny part of what this app can do, and not a very important one at that.
Photogene is an app that manages to find an almost perfect balance between being too simple to being too complex. The features it includes are far from being the most simple, but the interface makes the simplest ones the most apparent, with the more advanced ones just slightly hidden out of the way. In this manner, it manages to be the perfect iPad photo editing app for both complete beginners, and more advanced users.
What do you think of Photogene? Do you have a different favorite you use to edit photos on your iOS device? Tell us everything in the comments.