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Review: Photogene, my favourite photo editor for the iPhone


This is one of those buy-on-a-whim apps that ends up becoming one of your life-saving, can’t-do-without apps. The people call it Photogene, and it’s a great little tool kit for quickly touching up iPhone photos and having some fun with your shots.


Photo parlour
I was initially drawn to Photogene by all of the features listed in the store. Most of the apps that I’d seen before were just one-trick ponies that added a couple of filters for $0.99 and called it a day. Photogene can quickly throw a few of its own filters on your photos, but it’s also great for adjusting exposure, contrast, and each picture’s RGB balance. You can also resize, crop, frame, and add fun text boxes to the mix. I’ve made many a JAiB title picture with Photogene, and the process never takes more than a minute or two. The photo editing capabilities are about equal to what you’ll find in a program like iPhoto or Picasa — this isn’t Photoshop, but not everybody needs that kind of power on the go.


A great, compartmentalized UI

As I later learned, it’s easy enough to find an app with a longer feature list than Photogene, but what really makes me a Photogene fan is the interface. Every function within the app lies along a thin on the left side of the screen. Once you tap on an icon, you’ll be presented with a pop-up set of buttons or sliders. It’s very easy to experiment with effects, since you can preview your changes live and the Redo, Undo, and Reset buttons are only ever a tap away. Once you’ve achieved the desired effect, all you need to do is tap on the checkmark at the bottom of the screen and choose an option from the pop-up menu (screenshot below).


The app easily rotates into landscape via the accelerometer when needed, but I find the control bar doesn’t adjust quite as well here. Two buttons are moved to a different column and waste a fair amount of space – so I’m hoping the developers think up a different solution soon (maybe let the bar scroll?). In any case, this is the only complaint I can raise against Photogene’s UI — otherwise, I think it’s pretty much perfect.


Aside from creating quick and silly title images for my posts at JAiB, I’ve come to rely on Photogene for adding a bit of pizazz to photos before I share them with anyone. The iPhone takes fantastic photos by default, but Photogene really ups the ante for iPhone imaging quality. It’s difficult to put into words how amazing this $2.99 app is, so I’ll leave you with this picture (which is a giant link to the iTunes store) and let you decide for yourself:

Buy photogene!

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