Essential iPhone Digital Imaging Apps v.1

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This July will mark three years since Apple released the iPhone, forever changing the things we can do with a phone. I still find it difficult to call the iPhone a phone, because making a phone call is somewhere down the list of things I use my iPhone for. Reviewing and writing emails, surfing the Web, listening to or creating music, watching TV shows or movies on the plane, playing a game, checking a map/GPS, calculating a tip, catching up on the news, sports and weather are among the many things I use my iPhone for. With well over 100,000 applications for the iPhone, there is something for everyone. My iPhone even pops popcorn and pours beer (well, digitally, anyway).

The iPhone, especially the iPhone 3GS, is also a handy camera. Yes, I know, all cell phones have cameras in them now, nothing new there. And the iPhone still lacks a flash for low light situations to go along with the 3.0 megapixel camera. But when used in conjunction with many of the photographic editing apps, the iPhone becomes a nice little mobile digital imaging workstation. And with the ability to share the image in an email, Facebook, Twitter or Flickr you can instantly publish your masterpiece for the world to see. I subscribe to the theory that the best camera you have is the one that's with you when you see a great photo in front of your eyes.

So being the shutterbug and pixel junkie that I am, I thought I would do a few quick reviews of some of my favorite image editing apps for the iPhone. These will be applications that excel at one thing or another - color correction, image enhancement, painting, special effects, illustration, etc... To make this a quicker read, I will break them up into separate blog entries, so check back here to The Color Space daily for new reviews.  

Up first:

PhotoForge by Ghost Bird Software - Price: $2.99

If I could have only one app on my iPhone for image editing (I have many - duh), it might be this one. This app contains most of the common tools you need in a photo editor.



  • It is one of the only editors that lets you adjust levels AND curves, and lets you do so in RGB, CMYK or Lab. Note that It does not actually change the color space of the image.
  • It has a good assortment of filters and special effects, including posterize, sepia, dreamy, black and white, pencil, emboss, television, tilt shift generator and more
  • It combines a nice brush tool with 8 different brush strokes and other painting functions like smudge
  • You have the ability to begin with a blank canvas to create an illustration from scratch
  • It is one of the only editors that has a clone stamp tool
  • Unlimited undo and redo


  • Instructions claim you can edit in portrait or landscape, however, I haven't found that to be true
  • No instructions or help (although it's pretty simple to figure everything out)
  • No layering ability
  • Lacks creative border treatments (if you're into that sort of thing)

Topics: Creative

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